back to article Ballmer bitch slaps Vista

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has admitted that Windows Vista is an incomplete product, even though the operating system has been on the market for more than a year. Speaking at the firm's annual Most Valuable Professionals event in Seattle yesterday, Big Steve told the gathered crowd that the unloved OS was "a work in progress". …

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Heart

before fanbouys kick off

He should be applauded. It takes real guts to admit you have cocked up. Lets hope they do learn and get rid of a lot of the bloat.

Further more, let hpe a few more out there can admit their kit isn't perfect....highly unlikely I know.

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Paris Hilton

no vista on my network

I'll stockpile XP licences before I put vista on my network. When I trialled it with SP1 , it broke sophos, broke our print management and broke our network monitor (all of which may well have patches but i'll wait till things mature a little) Dell have been putting it on my machines quite happily (or the account manager knows he'll lose my business).

Paris as she comes on my network regularly.

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Gates Halo

MS have always said Vista was Bigger

its designed for the next gen of computers as past OS's have.

People get crap performance when they update their OS but not the hardware.

just look at the minimum RAM requirements of the OS's over the years.

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Hang on....

> ...told the gathered crowd that the unloved OS was "a work in progress"

So he's admitting that it has been mis-sold and the wording on the box is not an accurate description of the product?

....errr What's the number for Trading Standards again?

> ...he also promised that Microsoft would learn from the mistakes it has made with Vista

How come? They've not bothered learning from the mistakes of all the other rubbish they've produced over the years? What's different this time?

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IT Angle

Learn from their mistakes?

What, like they did with Windows ME?

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Happy

Straight from the horses mouth

Vista is officially bollocks. I have as much inclination to install that os as I have rubbing my testicles up and down a razor blade.

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Not that bad

To be honest I haven't had many problems with Vista. It seems people forgot all those glitches we had with XP and therefore claim it's better, but I seem to remember more problems rolling up to XP than I've had so far with Vista.

My only personal problem with it is the ridiculous hard drive access. I can leave my desktop on for days and it will still be grinding at the disks, even after turning off indexing etc. What could any OS possibly need to be doing after being left alone for a few days? I can't see any of our Vista laptop drives lasting long that's for sure.

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Jobs Horns

Pure gibberish

"We have to make sure it doesn't get bigger still and that the performance and the battery and the compatibility we're driving on the things that we need to drive hard to improve."

How does someone who puts together sentences like this get permission to run a bath let alone a multinational company?

Or is it some sort of automated quote generator, like Buzzword Bingo?

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Flame

Do I have to say it again?

It isn't the bloat we hate. Ok, some of it is the bloat. But mostly it is the condecsending philosophy on which Vista is based. UAC needs to go. Driver signing needs to be optional. All DRM needs to be removed. Deleting files *needs to work*. The "new" networking stack needs to have application layer crap pulled out of it. And they need to take away the layers of dialogs that get added in between you and TCP settings with each OS release. Essentially, they need to throw the whole thing out, and start from XP.

Oh yeah, and they need to fix the aweful deadlock issues so the system doesn't randomly freeze when deleting a file or whatever.

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Happy

New Machines & XP

Some major retailers are still selling XP machines, even to private customers. For example, that Paragon of Customer Service, PC World *cough* will still provide XP machines through their website - look under the "business laptops" section, for example and you'll see a bunch running XP rather than Vista (as of last week when I last looked). Which is nice. Though whether you'd want to deal with them is another matter...

Nice to see Ballmer 'fessing up to Vista being "less than perfect" after so long defending it.

<insane optimism>

Maybe they'll extend XP's shelf-life a bit to try and stop people defecting to Linux & Apple.

</insane optimism>

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Anonymous Coward

it's okay

Pirate copies of XP shall circulate till the end of time. We will never need to live with Briksta

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Anonymous Coward

Backward Compatibility

Microsoft should just get rid of backward compatibility and move straight to 64bit instead of having a 64bit and 32bit version of the OS with the ability to run 8 bit software. That will get rid of a lot of bloat.

But, include Virtual PC software and a XP or Server OS to install on it as part of the purchase of the new OS so they can run old software in a virtual environment.

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Gold badge

Differences between Windows, Linux and OSX

The big difference between Windows, Linux and OSX is that OSX and Linux run well on existing hardware and can be adapted to run in limited resources (See Linux embedded devices and OSX on iPhone).

Microsoft has to face the fact that not everyone wants to upgrade hardware all the time to run their latest bloatware OS. Leopard runs on older Macs sufficiently, Vista won't run well on PC hardware that goes as far back as the Motorola G4.

Microsoft knows it has to force people to upgrade their PCs to generate more revenue as many users just buy a new machine with an OEM licence.

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Re: MS have always said Vista was Bigger

"its designed for the next gen of computers as past OS's have.

People get crap performance when they update their OS but not the hardware."

This is a rubbish argument. Why does "better" have to always equate to "bigger"? (and I'm not in anyway way saying Vista is "better" - I'm talking generally).

Yes, as new features are added, code inevitably gets bigger. But it doesn't have to get 100 times or 1000 times bigger! Compare (say) Vista with the CD that Windows 95 came on! The code size difference is several orders of magnitude greater, but the functionality isn't. Is Vista (or XP come to that) 1000 times more functional than Windows 95? Or even 100? I think not.

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Alert

work in progress?

I guess we can't go calling it a beta anymore. Betas are ment to be feature complete!

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Gates Horns

@Learn from their mistakes..

Well, they did can the whole 9x line after the POS crap that ME was.

Hmm, maybe Vista will take down the venerable VMS^w NT line next...

And people wondered why Bill retired.

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Upgrading the OS, not the HW

I'd be more convinced that was a bad idea if I had not successfully put OS-X on a space-clam (which produced the crap performance I expected from a major new release, that's why I put this "test drive" on a "retired" machine), then eventually upgraded _that_ to 10.3, which has quite acceptable (better than the OS-9 it came with) performance.

_Sometimes_ OS upgrades really are. And before Webster gets his knickers in a twist, yes, sometimes Apple screws up, and sometimes MSFT does "actually making it better without loads of bloat" updates. Heck, I even remember a couple VMS upgrades that really were.

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Tom

well..

Ive been with Vista for about 8 months now, on first use it was pretty good, liked it, it ran relatively fast. However it has now slowly mashed its own face in, runs like a dead horse and likes to perform random delayed actions.

I also transfer a number of files between external hdd's, and the timing that it gives seems to be taken from a random number generator as even when the files are the same size and going to the same drive they give completely different times.

In the new job i am using OpenSUSE, whilst not perfect as it has had some crashes with the desktop, it runs nice and quick and doesnt feel bloated in anyway. The message of this epic story is, if microsoft could produce something like opensuse, or any other linux distro then I would see no reason to use a linux distro.

I for one would have thought that Microsoft would have released a gamers edition of their OS, allowing it to use large amounts of ram, all the useless crap removed, and network and video usage optimized, this is a market that you could easily tap.

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Flame

Unbiting my toungue...

Why not just get a Mac?

Cheaper, faster, safer, runs everything you need.

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Black Helicopters

Some good news at last

Well it works fine on my 'bought-to-use-Vista" PC. OK, copying is still not the zippy task it should be, but it's stable and not too sluggish in working on both of my PCs and my father's too.

But it's good news that MS are saying Vista is not a complete product. On that basis, can I have some money back please? I don't see why I should have paid over £100 for a program that's not done yet. Alternatively, I'm willing to accept a free upgrade to the OS when it is finished, seeing as I paid for a finished OS AND as reward for my years of work beta testing their current offering.

If I'm not eligible for my free upgrade/refund, people should fear Windows 7. If £150-350 is the price for an incomplete OS, how much will they charge when it's ready?

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Computer says No!!

OK, I'll say that it's a good thing that he can stand up and admit that things are not what they want them to be. i.e. Vista is full of bloat and has a poor track record.

However, it's easy to say that things will improve, and another thing entirely to actually achieve that improvement. So far, we've yet to see anything that would actually instill confidence that the situation will improve.

Can I suggest Steve, that instead of getting one of your tame techs to install a PC for you, that you take a shot at it yourself. Then, when you find something that doesn't want to play ball, you then phone the support line and speak to a cubicle dweller who is not a tech and only reads instructions from a series of set menus. You might then begin to really understand what many people have been saying for a wee while now.

You really should have a "computer says no" icon

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Re: MS have always said Vista was Bigger

That will be why all those people who recieved Vista with their brand new machines are having problems then? I think what you meant to say is "I'm not having problems, so they don't really exist". Consider yourself lucky because in my experience you are in a small majority if not a minority of Vista users.

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Flame

Still learning

So Microsoft is still learning? I am sick of hearing the excuse about learning. Instead of saying we messed up, firms always talk about learning process. Come on, the this is not school, Microsoft released a bunch of OSes, it is about time to finaly stop learning and starting to create some quality products.

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Coat

There's a reason for everything

Look, as a trade-off for getting exclusivity with the OEM's, they promised their hardware partners Vista would be BIG enough so people would have to buy new machines. It's a sad thing, but that's exactly what's been happening. Unfortunately for them, not everybody has an IQ of 50 and people are starting to know that there are other alternatives out there that work just as well (or better) on their old computers. The fact people are sticking with XP is not because they 'love' it, just pure and simple economics.

Personally, I wouldn't touch Vista with a bargepole. People should completely ignore it and move on.

The fact that when I go to a computer shop and see about 20 machines for sale/display, ALL with Vista, tells me that something wrong is going on here... it should be illegal to sell a computer with an OS without giving the consumer a choice. In any other branch of retail, this coupling would be met with total consumer outrage. So, why is it not like that with computers?

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Gates Horns

Vista = ME2 ?

Why oh why does MS have to go through the same iteration of buggy, bloated product EVERY FSCKING SINGLE TIME instead of looking at the final development of their previous product and working from *there*

Last of old technology is seriously better than the first of new technology - ESPECIALLY where MS is concerned.

And before anyone (read: Vista fanboys) bitches - yes, XP had "lotsa issues" when it came out as well, and it was justifiably hated for it - but it's matured into a relatively reliable and stable (hah, I can't believe I just wrote that!) consumer operating system.

Basically, switching to a new MS OS is like turning back the clock 5-10 years - apart from hardware requirements, for which you need to crank the clock 2-3 years forwards ....

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Joe

@ Mark Broadhurst

Yeah, you're absolutely right, but the market doesn't want it (as the sales figures show).

Personal Computing seems to have arrived at a point where 99% of users can do what they want, and have no reason to upgrade. Actually, I think it arrived there in about 2005.

If a 5 year old PC can run a web browser, spreadsheet, word processor, email, and run them well, why pay for faster hardware just so you can pay for a new OS that will enable you to continue to do what you've been doing all along?

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Nub + crux

"Certainly, you never want to let five years go between releases" says Mr Ballmer.

Which is pretty much the nub and the crux of Vistas problems. Do you think the tech side signed off Vista as ready for the market, or do you think management stuck their oar in due to the half a decade lull between OSes?

It could be a really good OS. If they got around to finishing it.

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Linux

Nice one Wispering Steve !

Glad you could admit that Vista is a load of shit and a beta piece of software that M$ is charging the earth for.

I mean £201.48 for home premium from Amazon ! Are you lot having a laugh ?

OpenSuse 10.3 £0

When you lot at Redmond do finally get your act together you might not where Apple and Linux are.

BOO!

Behind you !

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Gates Halo

Think about it logically

You wouldn't install Windows XP on a Pentium 2 233MHz with 64MB of RAM, would you? So you wouldn't install Vista on a Pentium 4 2.4GHz with 512MB of RAM and expect it to work miracles either. I've got a Core 2 and 2GB in the desktop at home, with Vista Ultimate, and in my experience while Vista does indeed eat up more resources, it'll do more with high-end hardware. I've been using vista for over a year now and have neither had driver problems (and I'm using x64!) nor compatibility issues nor stalling/freezing/performance trouble. It's a new OS designed for new hardware. Keep on using XP on your current PCs, but Vista is perfectly acceptable for anything bought off the shelf in the last year.

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Stop

Ballmer never said...

...anything about keeping XP around. He said Microsoft was sensitive to customers' concerns, heard what they were saying, understood their position. But not once, did he simply state, "XP will be around for you as long as you need it"

That alone is enough for me to decide that XP will be my last Microsoft product.

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Dead Vulture

Gerald Ratner, anyone?

In this context is "bitch slap" analogous with "total crap"?

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Linux

It matters not

Vista is like NT4, bloated, late, missing features, buggy, unloved, and there is a cheaper faster alternative from Microsoft (95 to NT4 and XP to Vista).

However MS came back with 7 service packs (1-6a), then tried 2K then XP. In all honesty they have never produced a good OS yet, but people keep putting up with it and they keep promising that the next one will be better.

How is Vista any better than any of their other products? how are these admissions any different from any of their other promises to do better next time?

After the move from Win3.x to WinNT I lost patience in them and have been a happy secure and content Linux user ever since. Others I know upgraded to Linux or Mac and have been happy there too. I only touch Windows at work where I'm forced to use it and frankly I'd rather not.

Windows 7 will fix some bugs, introduce some new ones, fail on most promises and cost more money, just like every other product Microsoft ever produced. If you are a Windows addict you need to go cold penguin and try a superior operating system - any Unix/Linux flavour will do, or stop whining and pay the man his money...

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Stop

re: Vista for Nex Gen Computers

The problem most customers are experiencing isn't that they're trying to run the bloated OS on vintage computers, it's the performance drop they get when they compare their old computers running XP and the new multicore machines loaded with Vista.

A company can't (or shouldn't) responsibly release a product aimed at computers that aren't even being sold yet. Not to mention the abysmal compatibility with current software, an issue clearly underestimated during development.

I'd say back to the drawing board.

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Stop

What was up with THIS sentence?

"We have to make sure it doesn't get bigger still and that the performance and the battery and the compatibility we're driving on the things that we need to drive hard to improve."

Either his quote wasn't taken down correctly, or he needs to learn not to have run-on sentences in his speeches/addresses.

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@ Anonymous Coward

"What, like they did with Windows ME?"

They learned to kill off the 95/98 kernel in favour of the NT/2000 kernel. I'd say that was a lesson well learned.

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*Banging head on desk*

"Certainly, you never want to let five years go between releases."

No, no, no, no, no! That's *exactly* what you want to do. Build a system that ruddy well works, and then provide cheaper paid upgrades as necessary, Mac OS style. Don't overhaul the entire system every 5 years and make everyone commit to expensive upgrades for more eye candy. That's when you FAIL.

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To be fair...

...the list of reasons why SP1 might not be available in general seems to boil down to "you're using crap drivers / have monkeyed about with your system, and although you were lucky enough for it not to break so far, the changes in SP1 expose the latent crappiness"

re: SP1 "break"ing sophos... having used that....charming....piece of software before, i'd bet that it was always broken, it just didn't know it before

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Tom
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For business customers maybe

"I got a piece of mail from a customer the other day that talked about not being able to get XP anymore, and we responded: XP is still available."

When was the last time he went into Bestbuy or other shop that's taking Microsoft Vista only payola. They are trying to make Visa sell by making it hard to buy XP.

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Black Helicopters

@Mark Broadhurst

The problem is that they encouraged a lot of hardware vendors to stick labels on their new boxes implying that they were ready to run Vista, when they weren't.

As covered here before, the conversation with the vendors when something along the lines of

MS: You need this kind of spec

PCVendor: that's ridiculous, that'd cost a bloody fortune, no one will buy it.

MS: Well that's what it needs.

PVC: Well it'll never sell then

...

The upshot was they agreed to use weasel words to imply it would, they just didn't explain what they meant by "supporting vista", and shore enough if you close the top of your laptop it's possible to balance the DVD on the top - So look it supports Vista, it stops it falling on the floor.

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Bronze badge

Curious about trying Vista

My main gaming rig is still doing nicely running w2k and I have another box running XP. A while back I bought another copy of XP for when I build another boxI (and am considering getting one more before the June 30th deadline, just in case, you know).

Last week I ordered a laptop that will come with Vista. I'm excited as it's my first laptop and I'm actually, after all that's been written about it, kind of curious/excited about getting to try Vista for myself; always (well, usually) fun learning something new, innit.

Fortunately, it's coming with Vista Ultimate so I can always downgrade to XP if I find the experience less than satisfying.

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Learn from mistakes

> he also promised that Microsoft would learn from the mistakes it has made with Vista.

I've read this as "would earn from the mistakes", it sort of made sense.

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Re: *Banging head on desk*

No, in this case Ballmer has it right. If you have long development cycles there is a temptation to make huge changes instead of incremental ones. This leads to delayed releases and when you finally bow to market/shareholder pressure to make a release the product is unstable and bloated.

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Anonymous Coward

oh dear

I wonder what tradings standards, watch dog etc will say about that, oh and those lovely class action suits you get in the states. Oh not to mention the EU oooooooo fun times :)

@Will, will I for one wonder hwo xp would preform on the same hardware you need to run Vista, as well as you can run xp on a P4.

@Greg, I agree, I think Apple basicly ditch the old system when it stops "working" for people (and usual before most people want them too), but it gives you the time to get the thing in a usuable state.

@frymaster why shouldnt I be able to "monkey" with my system it is after all my system, if i want to use driver x y or z, well then its a build driver after all, it interfaces between vista and the hardware, why does it have to be vaildate just to bloody work.

I have just upgrade from 2K to XP, as the 2K box wouldnt boot everytime, I think it was more a harddrive issue then anything, and too be honest XP dosnt really give me anything that 2K didnt.

Oh and I will be upgrading to an iMac in the next few weeks :D

It does take courage to admit your mistakes, but then saying you will learn when you havent learned from any of the other mistakes. Why dont I believe them.

For once Steve B gets respect, and I am sorry, but I hope a few class action suits, then maybe they will learn!

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Linux

Just upgrade to Linux

If you are planning to buy a new PC, please ask your dealer if you can get it without Vista. If not, please don't accept the MS EULA. Instead call MS customer phone and demand for refund. In case this is not available for you, you must contact EU officers in this case.

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Gates Horns

Vista, Just say NO

I was at the Dublin launch of Vista.

It was marvelous to see all the funky things you could do with it. It was blindingly fast on the laptop the presenter was using.

We then caught a glimps of the 4GB mem and out there graphics card. Serious bucks worth of hardware!!!

Needless to say that when I received my free copy of ultimate I threw it in the bottom drawer of my desk and it still resides there unopened and long may it live there.

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Jobs Horns

Creative marketing

So let's try the new creative marketing ploy -- "a work in progress" -- on other products:

HDTV -- We've got the sound working real good now but, because this is "a work in progress" the picture can only display green hues.

Car -- This new model is still "a work in progress" so the airbags sometimes deploy when you slam the doors.

Airliner -- We've got the going up bit nailed but because this is a "a work in progress" getting down is a problem.

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Flame

Vista just plain doesnt work

Case in point, I've just bought a new top-end laptop which came with Vista pre-installed. Even with 2.5gig of ram and a >2ghz processer it absolutely crawls. Sure it ooks nice and flash but the cool-looking new hourglass icon loses it's shine fast once you realise how much of it you're gonna see.

Long story short, I said **** this, formatted and put Windows "it just works" XP on. I try to ignore the gloating looks I'm getting from my Gentoo partition on the same machine.

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Jobs Halo

Ballmer's Words to live by!!

When the high priest/executioner of Redmond Temple speaks:

"We have to make sure it doesn't get bigger still and that the performance and the battery and the compatibility we're driving on the things that we need to drive hard to improve."

Translation: "We are assimilate you; resistance is grateful denied!"

(Genuflection while easing out the room backwards)

Gray

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@Giles Jones & Mike

OS X wasn't always the nimble lover of old hardware that it might be now... 10.0 and 10.1 were *atrocious* piles of slow, buggy, unfinished junk. 10.2 was the first time I was able to use it as my everyday OS on existing hardware (Powerbook G4 500Mhz baby!) but booting back into OS 9 still gave it's tubby arse a complete pasting. I didn't move our studio onto OS X until we got dual G5s running 10.4

Microsoft's move to Vista is very similar to Apple's shift from OS 9 to OS X in terms of things like driver model and the scale of architectural changes, so I have *some* sympathy for their situation. Apple struggled with (and their customers suffered at the hands of) a lot of the same issues.

That said, every iteration of OS X has been quicker than the previous one, on the *same* hardware. MS can only dream of such a thing.

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