back to article Ballmer mixed on Windows 7's success

Steve Ballmer's been giving out mixed messages on the likely impact of Windows 7 on Microsoft and PC sales. With just over two weeks to go before Windows 7 is officially released, Microsoft's chief executive has reportedly played down the operating system's expected fillip on PC sales. "There will be a surge of PCs but it …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Elephant / room

    Perhaps MicroShaft is losing money because, y'know, its products are and have always been the most despicably awful excuses for technology ever to be vomited onto the world?

    This company makes utter, utter crap and the only reason it has been so successful is that most people don't know any better than to use it. That, and IT managers are cowardly, spineless dullards who enjoy torturing themselves with rubbish software.

    My only regret is that short of the end of the world, no recession could be bad enough to send these hateful cretins out of business, so successful have they been at seeping their risible products out into the world. It's a sad reflection on humanity that they have been able to do this. "Crappy software that doesn't work and that you have to pay through the nose for? Hell yes, we'll take it!"

    Ballmer must wake up every day and thank every god he can think of that he is so rich when he knows, like we all do, that he's just a fat, sweaty, bald used car salesman who knows precisely zero about technology, peddles the crappiest products in the history of the universe and is a laughing stock amongst anyone who has even the faintest idea about good products and how to make them.

    What a turd.

  2. Charles Manning

    Anyone waiting for Win7?

    A spike in sales due to W7 is based on the assumption that anyone is actually delaying PC purchases waiting for W7.

    Does anyone know anyone that's actually doing that? For the last few months all Vista PCs sold here in NZ have included an offer of a free W7 upgrade when it ships. That's been a ploy to prevent the dreaded overhang.

    Thus, it looks very unlikely that W7 is going to be anything to write home about.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Windows 7 is going to be good

    In a few years we'll all be using it in the office and MS will be announcing Windows 8 (7.1)

    That is what will happen, although my sentiment lies with AC - Elephant / room.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    @ A/C Elephant room?

    Really? How old are 12?

    So is SQL server worse than MYSQL? I think not.

    Was Windows 95 worse than Unix when it come to ease of use. I think not. The only other rival was a Mac, which at the time was roughly double the price of a pc and was only really used in publishing.

    Visio (yes I know it wasn't MS), still waiting for a decent rival to that.

    i.e, yes sorry to say, mid i.e was better than the bloated POS known as Navigator (ask your mom).

    You see you dumb ass your probebrly a) either going to spout some shite how great Unbuntu is compared to XP (try Using linux from 2002, good luck!).. In fact Unbuntumay not have existed if for not MS. After all hard core Linux guys like the cmd line, not the GUI, so we'd all still be mounting / unmounting our cd's and typing in 10 lines of text just to get it to play an audio cd.

    You see (and I was an Atari fan boy well until 98 came out). Without MS we'd

    a) either be using Mac's costing £5000 or be stuck in Unix CMD line hell.

    In the last few years they lost focus and just kept on whacking on features and doing knee jerk security slap on, instead of making it what it was known for in the mid years and that is ease of use.

    But you keep spouting off your crap, after all, the OS you have written is so much better.

  5. Chizo Ejindu
    Gates Halo

    W7

    Standard MacroBloat vitriol aside, by all the accounts i've read W7 is actually shaping up to be decent and XP is starting to feel a bit creaky. I have absolutely no intention of ever buying a Mac and i'll probably only ever use Linux on a netbook or as a server so for my standard box Windows, for better or worse, is where i'm at.

    I'm sure i'll garner some hate for daring to appear supportive of M$, but i counter that by saying opinions are like arseholes, everybody's got one :)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    i am posting this

    from my macbook - laughing at you windoze users

    hope your W7 is everything you hope for

  7. Hugh_Pym

    Light at the end of the tunnel?

    No it's the last train to irrelevance.

    Microsoft know that the business model that has been so lucrative for so long has reached the end of it's life. Users lock in and the constant upgrade cycle only worked when the old version was badly flawed and no-one else could fix it. By a mixture of legal manipulation and technical incompetence they have managed to hold back innovation to get a few more cycles than they should have done but the truth is XP was acceptable. Yes W7 is good but is it worth the upgrade cost?

    This is Balmer admitting that the golden age is over and Microsoft cannot plan on being able to use the vast and constant profits form Windows and Office to stifle competition and leverage its market. Microsoft works on monopoly positions, viable alternatives exist now and these can be used as a bargaining tool to drive down the price large corporates pay even if they never intended using them. They know that in the future they must to compete on an even playing field, no wonder Balmer is such an angry man.

  8. Paul 131
    FAIL

    In reality...

    Windows 7 is nothing more than Service Pack 2 for Viruses Intruders Spyware Trojans & Adware

  9. Andrew Martin 1

    Waiting

    Well, faced with the choice of a PC now, and the pain of an upgrade later, or just waiting for W7 to come pre-installed, I'd choose the latter. Not only is it less effort for me, I'll know that the vendor has done all the leg-work with getting W7-suitable hardware and drivers installed.

    So I'd expect a spike in demand - or rather, some kind of extended peak, since I for one will probably wait until after Christmas.

  10. The Original Ash
    Troll

    @AC (First post)

    Woo wooo! Here comes the troll train!

    MS succeeded because it marketed itself well and it had vendor support. Mac is making headway, but their hardware is priced outside of mainstream purchasing. Linux is still eating the scraps because it's too damn hard to get working properly in the first place. If Linux could get itself as easy to configure as Windows (I.E. It does it for you!) it'd be mainstream overnight.

    By appealing to the nerds / enterprise, Linux fails to deliver to the consumer.

  11. James Pickett
    Gates Horns

    Wait

    If I was buying a new computer, I'd certainly wait, if only to avoid having anything to do with Vista. I'm not expecting great things of 7 (still using Win98 and 2k, thanks) but it must be an improvement - mustn't it..?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    NO TITLE

    Earth to Balmer.

    1. Vista was crap. It was slow and clunky. Some may think this was planned to help improve PC sales.

    2. My 5 yo PC running XP is good enough for everything but gaming. Why buy a new one.

    3. Windows 7 is not bad, but not a reason to upgrade my systems.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    Loss?

    "Microsoft reported its first ever losses during its last fiscal year"

    I don't think Mircosoft has ever reported a headline loss. Yes, it missed its targets and revenue declined in some sectors, but it is still a hugely profitable company.

  14. Dan 10
    Go

    @Elephant / room

    Go on, AC, stop beating about the bush and tell us what you really think!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows 7 is suprisingly good

    Although I switched to Mac and use Linux on a daily basis, I ran a recent RC for 6 months and yep, it's good - but good as in better than Vista and good as in about as good as XP.

    Anyone ranting about how bad microsoft products are, isn't that sound of mind, or is just trolling. Yes, they have made some very bad products and product versions in the past, but they do actually turn out some pretty decent stuff. You can't keep on top of the curve just by bullying and savvy marketing alone - at some point, your products do have to offer some worth.

    The way I see it, Windows 7 is what Vista *should* have been, a worthy successor to Windows XP that'll make countless millions very happy and a few thousand get up on soap boxes to rant how rubbish it is - thing is, nobody is listening this time...

  16. Apocalypse Later

    Leading edge

    I usually try to stay one major Windows version behind, but am afraid it will have to be two when Windows 7 comes out.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    flippet

    If I remember correctly Microsoft did not report a "first ever loss" last fiscal year, but reported its forst ever reduction in profits. there's a pretty freakin' big difference!!

    And to the first poster... just grow up

  18. Bassey

    Re: Elephant / room

    Come on, no need to be so shy, tell us what you REALLY think!

    Always amazes me that people get SO angry over zeros and ones. Step outside AC. Take some deep breaths. Look around. Maybe try speaking to another human.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @A/C Elephant/room

    Has sir forgotten to take his pills this morning?

  20. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Linux

    Setting Expectations Low=CEO operations 101

    Then basking in all the 'glory' when sales exceeds expectations. It will probably have a positive effect on their share price (and thus his personal wealth) which has been somewhat weak in the recent past

    Then the Microsoft PR machine will burst into action and trumpet the 'success' from the top of every building, tree & mountain.

    I'd fully expect them to say that Linux still has less than 1% of market share and that Vista was a success (it probably was if you use some stats but the general perception says otherwise) and Apple is as irrelevant as ever.

    Tux as I certainly won't be using Windoze 7 in anger.

  21. Ole Juul

    Balmer vs reality

    I know Mr. Balmer pulls a lot of weight within the company, but from our point of view: does anything he says actually mean anything?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Charles Manning

    Actually, I've recommended my clients who are thinking of buying a new PC wait until Win7 is officially released - it's cheaper for my customers that way.

    If they got a Vista PC now with the "Free" upgrade, they would have the extra expense of paying the ridiculous postage and handling costs, plus extra for me to do the upgrade when the Win7 media arrives.

  23. Urs Keller

    Upgrade vouchers could spoil the party

    As Charles rightly pointed out, most PCs with Vista on them sold in the past few months have an upgrade voucher. So Microsoft will have to deliver large quantities of Win7 disks without actually making any money, though I'm not aware about who in the end pays for the upgrade (th OEM? hardly ...)

  24. sandman

    Re: Elephant/Room

    Not bad, just a more less polish needed to reach "Flame of the Week" standards.

  25. DrXym Silver badge

    Have Win7 already and its good

    Win7 is basically Vista on a diet and the rough edges smoothed. It very responsive, the desktop is pleasant to use and so far it works exactly like it should. I think Microsoft have done a decent job of addressing the faults levelled at Vista.

    The installer deserves a lot of praise. I upgraded over Vista and the experience was obscenely smooth. It managed to preserve all my apps, shares, desktop and settings from Vista except for one game DRM driver.

    I don't know if it should be called a new Windows OS, or whether its Vista 1.5 but it works. I would have no objection buying a new machine with it on, even a netbook. I'm less certain there is any reason to upgrade from an earlier version of Windows. Despite Microsoft's claims, I very much doubt if you replaced XP on a machine that Windows 7 would offer comparable performance.

  26. abigsmurf

    Two different subjects, not mixed messages

    The quotes are referring to two different areas: how W7 will affect new PC Sales and how it will effect Microsoft's profits. To give two different answers to different questions isn't exactly sending mixed messages. Last time I checked there are ways to get Windows 7 that don't involve the purchasing of a new PC so it's not exactly impossible for a surge in MS OS sales to only result in a minor increase in new PC sales.

  27. chr0m4t1c

    I'm mixed on it too

    I upgraded all of the Macs in my household with the purchase of a very reasonably priced Snow Leopard family pack - a whole £26 from Amazon.

    I have a handful of MCE machines that I'd like to upgrade to W7 - they're all over the base spec and MCE 2005 is very clunky, but at £80 for a single licence or £120 for the "Family" it doesn't look like it will be worth my while.

    Oh, and before anyone jumps in to tell me that I should install something else I should like to point out that I have almost 30 years experience and *you* don't know my requirements or who will be using the machines. I am aware of my options and what they will cost in time and/or money.

  28. Doug 3
    Paris Hilton

    10 years of ignoring Google?

    MSN and MSN Live Search were targeted at Google but failed so they change the name of MSN Live Search to BING( Bing Is Not Google ) and it's said that Microsoft or better yet, Ballmer ignored Google for 10 years? How long ago did Ballmer say he was going to F'en kill Google because another Microsoft employee was quiting to go work for Google? Wasn't it about 5 years ago?

    comments like that actually put Ballmer in a good light because it makes it seem like the gloves are off and this is the first fight and it'll be a good one. But in fact, it's an old fight and Microsoft has been failing badly.

    Paris because Microsoft is like Paris, all fluff and no substance.

  29. Ty
    Jobs Halo

    Hmmm

    Strange how M$ lost money whilst "overpriced crApple" had one of the most profitable years in history huh?

    Wakey wakey people. If you can't see that the dark ages of IT are coming to and end then you shouldn't even be allowed to go near a computer.

    Windows Mobile 6.5? Zune HD? Vista?

    Mediocrity. Not good enough.

    Apple shares at a 52 week high - almost tripling this year.

    Goodbye Microsoft. It's not been a pleasure.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Maybe people are

    just content to keep with XP. I am. There'll always be a section of society who want the latest gizmo. No doubt they'll be the ones who, upon reading the words "with Windows 7 we're doing a great job! I think the product is pretty fine!" will immediately and collectively loose control of their 'front bottoms' and spend some more cash.

    Each to their own. I'm not a fan of any OS, it's manufacturer, gizmo or purveyor of gizmos. Seems a bit of a waste of time and effort.

  31. Danny 5
    WTF?

    can't help but feel the urge to respond to A/C as well

    your comment strikes as coming from someone who is a MAC evangelist, i've been in a few MAC/PC flamewars and your flame looks remarkably similar to the ones i read back then (mind you, i'm not anti-MAC, anti-Linux or anything like that, i just like a good bout of trolling every now and then).

    my personal experience as an IT professional with Microsoft products haven't always been good, but in general i think MS cranks out decent software. i love windowsXP, i manage Exchange 2003 and 2007 environments and have experience with other MS server platforms. i can't follow you when you say they only make crap, some products do suck, but in general it pretty much does what it says on the box.

    frustration, or just trolling?

  32. N2 Silver badge

    Windows 7?

    Im sure it will be wonderful, once youve got over the fact it wont really do anything more than your last PC, Im sure that sales of screen cleaner will go through the roof as we cant wait for that touch screen functionality, Ive no idea how weve managed without it.

    & come first of January it will be so last year as Microshaft try to convince us Windows 8 will be 'the next best thing' otherwise known as Windows 7.1.

    @ chr0m4t1c - bargain for Snow Leopard, do Apple users have more lead in their pencil as the family pack has five licenses to M$s 3? :D

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    Still bashing vista

    Nothing wrong with Vista at all, all those bashing it are spineless bandwagon jumpers, sorry but the truth hurts :) Reminds me of the Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand thing, or the Brasseye Paedo edition - most people who are complaining haven't even seen it.

    Windows 7 is excellent and am looking forward to mine being delivered in a couple of weeks.

    When it comes to a media centre, Windows beats Mac on all fronts.

    When it comes to application availability, Windows beats Mac on all fronts.

    When it comes to hardware and having some choice over it, Windows beats Mac on all fronts.

    But keep flogging that dead horse you losers.

  34. Simon Buttress

    I'm posting this from my W7 Laptop

    and laughing at all you Apple fanbois.

    It's just an OS for Pete's sakes, not a lifestyle choice! Use your computer to run the programs of your choice and get on with your own life without evangelising to others. Let others do their own thing.

    FYI Win7 is definitely not a Fail7. A lot of non Windows users will have to enjoy humble pie, with or without CoolwHip.

  35. Adam Salisbury
    Grenade

    Riiiiiiight.......

    @ Elephant / Room

    Daaaaamn, did Gates & Ballmer bully you at school or something???

    @ Ty

    "Strange how M$ lost money whilst "overpriced crApple" had one of the most profitable years in history huh?"

    Yeah yeah, coz we're all flocking to get Snow Leapord on our Wintel boxes now aren't we? And besides, iFones, iPlods and iManks are ALL hideously overpriced, M$ incompetence notwithstanding.

    @ Ole Juul

    The problem with Ballmer is that when Gates was in charge oeveryone knew that M$ was a deadly leviathan, whereas Ballmer make me think of an 8 year old with a rocket launcher!

    @AC 07:31

    Here, Here, have a beer!

    @AC 07:37

    "from my macbook - laughing at you windoze users" - I'm on my PC laughing at your proprietary, overpriced laptop you'll have replaced twice before my next upgrade! Ho hum

    @Matt 89

    I'd agree with that comment you and most others have made, Win 7 (even RCs) is a bloody good OS but most of the praise us fans have for it kinda gets lost when you DO / WILL realise that it's not much more than Vista R2.

    I think that about covers it for now, flame retardant jacket...Check, steel-capped Troll-kickers...Check, Pint....Check!

  36. Hugh_Pym
    Stop

    @AC 07:31

    "Was Windows 95 worse than Unix when it come to ease of use. I think not. The only other rival was a Mac, which at the time was roughly double the price of a pc and was only really used in publishing"

    There where lots of alternatives to Windows when if first arrived, GEM for instance, Windows was far from the best of the bunch and wasn't really of merchantable quality until Windows 3.11 came along. By the time Win95 was out Microsoft had killed them all off with a combination of skilful marketing and questionable business practices.

  37. Jacqui

    Cost Benefit - the five factor

    It costs to upgrade your systems, upgrade apps that will no longer run under W7, upgrade your servers and upgrade AD to work with W7 *and* retrain staff to use the new user interfaces on apps, printing etc.

    The benefit is well a very minor improvement in memory usage. For one (small) client this may result in getting his desktops down to one crash a day - XP has roughly four crashes per day across ten production machines, however running XP under VMware eliminates the crashes altogether and provides hot/virtual desking options for those members of staff that peridocially telework.

    The rule used to be that unless an upgrade saved you five times what you spent on it then you did not bother. Apart from large scale operations, I cannot see the advantage of a W7 upgrade.

    Jacqui

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does Windows 7 use the registry?

    If it does then within 6 months the darn thing will be running at a crawl and home users will be encountering all the same problems that they get on XP and Vista.

    Someone needs to invent .ini files.

  39. Daito
    Badgers

    @DrXym

    I have also been running it now for a while, and there has been a very noticeable performance increase from xp to w7. I originally dual booted with XP but after weeks of not getting w7 to fail i decided to bin the xp install altogether.

    You are right though it is more of a fista v1.5 then a new os, after 2 weeks of using fista i ended up binning it in favour of good ole reliable xp. So in that respect m$ has 'fixed' a lot of the core issues that made fista so damned awful.

    After Fista i wanted to hate this, i wanted it to fail, i wanted some reason to justify staying on a xp/linux dual boot.... but i cant in all honesty say i havent been impressed, because i have been. As far as the windows platform goes this is a good stable enviroment for the 'average' pc user. And runs surprisingly well on old hardware.

    Sadly there are gonna be those who will say how rubbish it is, but you have to ask if these people have actually tried it. Or atleast approach it with an open mind.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can Win7 replace XP?

    That is the only question I care about. If it will give me multi-head, media centre and a few other "niceties" that my XP does (which runs pretty much sweet as a nut) then I may well consider upgrading.

    Linux is not an option (not because I can't use it, but because it does not meet my needs) and would cost the same anyway (I'd have to buy a new printer).

    My big concern with Win7 is that it will be a royal pain to use (Windows 2008 drives me nuts), slower than XP, not provide anything I don't already have and the software I need won't run (Virtualbox, Checkpoint Securemote etc).

    So until XP becomes unusable, or the Linux crowd get their act together, I think I'll stick with XP thanks.

    For the Linux fanbois: Yeah, go on, flame me. Tell me that not being able to get multi-head working smoothly is all my fault. Very well done. You are part of the problem, not the solution.

    The fact is that there are some things that *SHOULD* be super-simple ("This is my primary display, it's 1680x1200; this is my secondary display, it's a TV at 800x600. Oh, and I don't want either screen to scroll around") but aren't or are actually impossible on Linux (like the scenario I just gave).

    Then you have to try and get Myth running, fart around with black magic to get listings...urgh.

    Too much feckin' hassle.

  41. Aaron 6

    meh

    Windows 7 is a great operating system it delivers everything windows vista should have and is fast stable and as a gamer I use it as my operating system of choice on all my pcs.

    As a gamer I also therefore cant even consider mac or linux as a main os because their software support for what I want to use my computer for most of the time is sadly lacking.

    OSX is not without its issues as an os anyways, I used it on my work computer (along side a windows box and a linux shell). The value of an OS is only really determined by the uses the user wants to get from it.

    If I bought a mac to play games on id be paying over the odds for the hardware spec, to find id have to boot camp it just to get the things to run.

  42. Fenton

    OSX

    I've been running the Win7 final beta for a while (64bit).

    Personally I think MS should have released it as 64bit only.

    However it really is time Apple release OSX as a standalone package and not tied to their own overpriced hardware. It might actually make MS and the linux community truely innovate

  43. kissingthecarpet
    Big Brother

    Ballmer Icon Long Overdue claims report

    Big Brother closest relative say boffins

  44. regadpellagru
    Headmaster

    no more ammo

    Balmer knows, probably by reading through smoking remains of smashed furniture, that MS shot its one bullet per 5 years ammo with Vista.

    Consequently, except for the one who has a really obsolete PC (>5 years), noone will spit off the cash for a new one, even less the ones recklessly raped by the Vista debacle, who, by now, has noticed a top-notch PC with Vista runs as a P75 under Win98.

    So PC sales will remain flat and apart from the "me first" crowd, who spend all of their cash anyway on whatever new bells and whistles, the rest will just wait until W7 is proven, to envisage it as an OS.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows will go on

    as long as hardware only fully runs in Windows. It's a vicious cycle. The hardware guys won't or don't support alternatives so people keep running Windows. The same is true for software. My dad wants Excel, he doesn't care about OpenOffice or whatever. I have switched them to Thunderbird for email as they switched from AOL to another ISP and no longer had the AOL portal.

    I do use Linux but I'm not a hardware person, I just want all the hardware to work without patching or too much fiddling. If the O/S doesn't natively support it then a nice simple install. (nVidia does a good job). I really don't want bits to partly work. This is not the failing of Linux or the community but I don't really care.

    If someone can release an O/S that does everything that Windows does then people may choose the alternative at system purchase time.

  46. boltar Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    @A/C

    "Was Windows 95 worse than Unix when it come to ease of use"

    What good is ease of use if the machine silently corrupts your data then blue screens?

    "a) either be using Mac's costing £5000 or be stuck in Unix CMD line hell."

    This will probably come as a shock to someone like you who clearly knows bugger all about unix - but unix already had a usable GUI while MS were still dicking about with the abortion known as DOS 4. And if you want to talk about decent desktop alternatives to Windows other than Mac I suggest you go read up about OS/2 and BeOS you clueless gimp.

    Epic fail A/C.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wahay the trolls are here!

    Windows 7 is fantastic, does everything you could need and I think it will be a real killer. MS will finally get what they so richly deserve, dumping the O/S of V that shall not be spoken! WIndows 7 trial was brilliant and showed the world that MS can really pull it out when they need to!

    Can't wait!

    Oh by the way I don't run Windows anymore, only Mac, I just think MS have done right this time and deserve credit where it's due! Can we stop with the "crApple" thing please? I have stopped putting M$ or MicroShaft in anything about MS, I simply ask for the same respect back.

  48. Shakje
    Stop

    @chr0m4t1c

    I'm not bashing your choice of PC, purely questioning your point on pricing. How much more did you pay to buy the Macs in the first place? I'm guessing it was at least in the region of 200 quid extra (exponentially greater as the quality of the machine increases) for each when compared to an equal PC. I've cited it before, but I did post a comment on here somewhere ages ago, comparing my PC (which cost about 600 quid including OS and peripherals) with an equivalent Mac, and the price difference was about 800 quid. I personally think it's foolish to spend that much on hardware, but that's just an opinion, my real gripe is that I don't think you can compare the cost of the OS upgrades because there's lots of other considerations to take on board (how about the extra cost of getting Mac branded hardware to go with your PC for example?) that make the difference in upgrade price moot.

  49. Neil Kay
    Linux

    OS is not as important as it used to be

    OK, I don't speak for everyone, but I spend about 80% of my working day in a browser. NO - not looking at pron, but in the Web interfaces of our many business support tools. I check emails regularly and also do some SQL & programming development. I need to do the odd bit of graphical work and sometimes I am in VNC or an RDP session working remotely on a system elsewhere and....that's about it.

    My point? Well, the desktop OS is not important for me. I am currently working on a Vista-based PC because I need to know its ins and outs to support our customers, but beyond that, all the tools I need are available in the Linux, Mac or Windows worlds - in fact, I will probably reboot soon and pop back to Fedora Linux.

    Yes, there a number of OS-specific apps that I need to use, but not many (there's always Virtualbox!). It's obviously different for others that have specific AV, gaming or development needs, but I expect a serious number of people really could use any OS to do what they need - and if they could remove themselves from the MS-or-die groupthink then it all comes down to functionality and cost. I wonder if there's an OS that you can get for free...hmmm!

  50. Volker Hett

    are there hollidays in the UK?

    Reads like all the students have to much free time at the moment.

    Windows installs itself and does anything for you? Last time I installed Vista Business on a standard PC, two weeks ago, I had to provide drivers for the ATI 4890 and the S-ATA RAID.

    Win7, we are MSDN subscribers, does a better job, but still not that perfect. Especialy in the Ultimate 64bit Version I use on my Desktop, Asus P5k-EPU with C2Q 6600 and ATI 3870.

    Apple Laptops are overpriced? Hm, a HP Compaq with specs close to my Macbook Pro, save the 7 hours battery life and the dual grafics cards, is a bit more expensive with Vista Ultimate 64 on it.

    Oh, I forgot, your plastic Acer is 1/3rd the price, of cause, and fish&chips is gourmet food.

    Unix command line only? Linux had a GUI in 1993! SCOs OpenDeskop was better suited to run PC Games in 1993, I should know, I had Wincommander in SCO Merge running faster than natively under Win95 in 1995 on the same Box.

    Lack of applications in everything but Windows, sorry, which applications?

    I need X11 and BASH and remote access for my work, Linux and OSX come with that out of the box, for Windows it's pricey and/or a lot of work.

    SQL Server better then MySQL? Somewhat, from a performance point of view MySQL beats the shit out of MS SQL Server, replication and hotbackup have been in MySQL for quite some years now and MS is still catching up.

    Coming from REAL RDBMs like Informix and Oracle, both MS SQL and MySQL are nice but nothing I would put big workloads on.

    A datacenter ready MS SQL Setup makes a Sun/HP/IBM Unix box look cheap.

  51. Giles Jones Gold badge

    @ A/C Elephant room?

    >So is SQL server worse than MYSQL? I think not.

    You're comparing the wrong products, compare the consumer database product to MYSQL and yes the MYSQL product is better. Microsoft Access is awful.

    >You see (and I was an Atari fan boy well until 98 came out). Without MS we'd

    >a) either be using Mac's costing £5000 or be stuck in Unix CMD line hell.

    Don't you remember OS2 Warp? it did proper pre-emptive multi tasking and was much nicer than Windows.

    IBM were seen as the monopoly early on, hence Apple's '1984' style advert directed by Ridley Scott.

  52. andy gibson

    @ Jacqui / Cost Benefit

    Finally, a mature response from someone not afraid to put a name to their comments. I tend to ignore anything from an AC because they're either trolling or ashamed to put a name to their comments.

    I work in the public sector. The machines I manage are about 4 years old, but do everything they need to on XP. I'm not going to waste taxpayers money replacing them with suites of shiny new PCs just so they can do *exactly the same thing at exactly the same speed* but on a different OS.

    Yes, 7 may supposedly be more secure and manageable, but that doesn't justify the cost or environmental hassle of scrapping perfectly good machines and replacing them with something new that can run 7.

    The OS is supposed to work for us, not the other way round.

  53. Rolf Howarth

    @Fenton

    "However it really is time Apple release OSX as a standalone package and not tied to their own overpriced hardware."

    Why should they? Apple are a hardware company, not a software company. They write software to support their hardware, in exactly the same way that HP write printer drivers to support their printers, and BMW write engine management software to support their cars.

  54. RichyS
    Gates Horns

    Re. Leading Edge

    @Apocalypse Later.

    Well, Win 7 is really Win 6.1, so if you're still using XP (Win 5.1), then you are only 1 major version behind.

    Well done.

    Personally, I've used Win 6.1 on my wife's Sony Vaio (installed the RC just to get the thing moving again after a combination of Vista and Sony bloatware). While it's nice enough, and certainly better than Vista, I'm really not sure what all the fuss is about. It's still a bit messy and inconsistent to use. Parts of the UI and underlying control & config panels still seem to be stuck in NT4. Too many things are still not obvious or counter intuitive. It still has a registry. It still frustrates me.

    Evil Bill, 'cos there _still_ isn't an evil/chair throwing Ballmer.

  55. It wasnt me

    @AC 07:31

    Perhaps elephant/room boy got excited, but there is genuine reasone to despise the ground that MS walks on.

    For example they are the only company that I am aware of who sell a product that is 100 % completely and utterly exempt from the law with regards to warranties / fitness for purpose etc.

    I bought a Dell Vista laptop with "designed for vista" on it.

    Never, ever, will I give another penny to MS. It is truly terrible. The user experience is abysmal. They still cant copy large files for gods sake. It _removed_, yes, REMOVED functionality that is free with XP. Support for any useful form of syncing PDAs / Smartphones means shelling out for an Outlook license. The computer crashes all the time.

    Im no linux fanboi but I use unix a lot at work. And it is one thousand times easier to configure than the amount of crap you need to do with the windows registry just to get is useable.

    Despite all of this I still need windows because the monopoly they have created means that they are the only really supported platform. There is no choice.

    Given that, when I part with my money I want the product to work. If it doesnt, and I have no comeback, then despising and hating them is a very natural reaction.

    If windows 7 is reallly what people claim (a functional Vista) then it should be a free upgrade to anyone with a valid vista license.

    MS can still make their money from XP upgrades, it seems there are many people who didnt jump to vista.

    Not offering it as a free upgrade will drive people like me to piracy. I have never stolen anything in my life before, but I am certainly not paying for a vista upgrade.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Microsoft as a software developer

    You guys are all talking about Microsoft's off-the-shelf products and whether they work well or not - fair enough, the article is about Windows after all.

    However, count yourself lucky that, unlike me, you don't find yourself working for a company that has outsourced development of a bespoke application to Microsoft. You wouldn't believe the number of versions they've had to provide because of all the bugs we discovered in their code (their testing didn't find them funnily enough). This wasn't exactly a cheap option either!

    I wish I could tell you who I work for and what the application is supposed to do, but I'd be in big trouble if I did. Needless to say, choosing Microsoft as a software developer was the worst decision our IT director has ever made. But he doesn't have to use nor support it, and he believes what Microsoft tell him.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ AC 07:31

    "Without MS we'd either be using Mac's costing £5000 or be stuck in Unix CMD line hell."

    Yeah, because NO ONE other than Apple and Microsoft could possibly implement and popularise the GUI, which by the way neither company actually invented.

    Microsoft was a group of salesmen in the right place at the right time, they just flogged some other guys version of DOS to IBM, only later did they actually buy DOS off him for a fraction of the price they had just sold it (the poor sucker completely unaware of the IBM deal of course). And from there they could lock people out of other versions of DOS and begin cramming their new OSs in people's faces in much the same way they still do to this day.

    Each new iteration brings you the same lock-ins and the same planned obsolescence. All that changes is the version number, the amount of eye candy and it mysteriously uses twice the amount of RAM as before to do much the same thing.

  58. Kurt Lundqvist

    Massaged Figures

    Microsoft arent bothered about costs of free W7 upgrades. Their policy has always been one of providing false figures. They will claim a Vista sale on the original pc and a W7 sale for the upgrade, free or not. As far as their official publicity figures go thats 2 sales.

  59. Richard 102

    @The Original Ash

    MS won because they cut a jaw-dropper deal with IBM, because they did everything possible to kill competitors, because IT managers knew "no one got fired for going with IBM" and that meant DOS, because people bought what was used at work, and because the cost of entry (it not total cost of ownership) was relatively low, and because competitors (Commodore and Apple, mainly) kept shooting themselves in the foot. Plus, Compaq's BIOS hck helped.

    In a business sense, they earned their success, because MS understood the market better than anyone. However, they didn't earn it with quality products. Ever.

  60. This post has been deleted by its author

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ AC 12:34

    "a company that has outsourced development of a bespoke application to Microsoft."

    bwahaha I bet they have divining rods instead of a water cooler as well.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Coffee/keyboard

    @boltar

    "clueless gimp" - priceless and accurate

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Amazed

    It amazes me how so meany people diss Apple for overpriced hardware!

    So, basically, you can't afford it, so you rant and rave and about the only argument you can come up with is "overpriced"

    Own one for a week and you'll be converted, so long as you have an open mind, it truly is a joy to use. *everything* really does just work, there's no creaks when you open the lid, it'll come out of sleep mode in a second and work right away, rather than a windows laptop, which groans and stutters as if saying "what now, I'm sleeping dammit!"

    Bottom line, if you want a Windows based laptop as good as, say, a Macbook Pro, you need to shell out the same kind of cash - it's really that simple. I'm sorry folks, but a sub-£500 windows based laptop will get eaten for breakfast by a Macbook Pro, try kid yourself otherwise if you want, Mac owners really won't lose any sleep over it.

    To those who would disagree?

    It's your choice, but just take a gander at all the reviews and you'll see they all reach the same conclusions.

    This comment thread invevitably led to trolling - both in jest and oh so serious - which proves just how personal our choices in hardware and OS really are.

    For my part, I use frikkin everything - I'm a technology whore, Linux, Windows, Mac - it's all good...

    ... but there's nothing as good as my Macbook Pro, once you've owned one, you realise just why they are so coveted and so expensive... and why credit cards are so useful... ;)

    Oh yeah, this was about Windows 7 - silly me - erm, yeah, good OS, will plonk it onto a gaming machine and probably will end up using it at work - fine by me.

  64. No, I will not fix your computer
    Flame

    Blah blah blah blah

    To AC poster #1 The only thing you got right was signing your post "What a turd."

    To Mac owners, choosing an OS is not a lifestyle choice, are you listening? you are not a hip and trendy graphic designer or music artist just because you spent more on your computer. As Apple gets bigger more people will start to say crApple, remember, people only like the underdog, so to "the trolls are here", crApple, crApple, crApple, crApple, crApple, crApple, crApple, crApple, crApple, crApple (it's a sign of success don't 'chano).

    Vista was released before it had the driver base and had too many features switched on by default (end of story), W7 (and 2008) is Vista, all you early adopters that ran round the sweet shop going "oooooh shiny" have had your problems fixed so stop going on (and on, and on, and on).

    Yes, the world would be different if MS didn't get so big so quickly, but if everybody was using Amigas instead there'd be a small minority of Windows users banging on about how much better generic hardware is and saying how AmigaOS 7 runs like a dog on the latest multi Ghz 68090 or PowerPC and their Windows 99 machine runs everything they want, so maybe a different world wouldn't really be that different?

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Jiles Jones

    Access is not a database. Jet, SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL etc are databases. Access is a database development tool. If you are going to pick people up on comparing the wrong databases don't then compare a non-database to a database.

    You are right about os/2 warp though, it was ace.

  66. phoenix
    Pint

    @Fraser

    His name is Giles Jones. You are actually incorrect Access is database in so much as it meets the requirements, though not all of a RDBMS. Jet is not a database it is a data base engine. Access uses the Jet database engine. Please do not confuse the engines with the management system. MySQL has at least 4 engines I know of.

    As for windows 7 it is an improvement but it is windows. Trouble is windows is the youngst OS design of the three so it needs time to get there. Yes the Linux kernel was turned out in 1992 or something but the OS stuff Stallman was knocking out predates windows somewhat.

    As for Macs they are OK but I don't see them as anything special as from an OS point of view they are nice icing on someone elses work FreeBSD / Mach and it took Apple long enough to mutilple desktop instances to work. Hardware wise they are good not particulary fast, but stable Intel boards strapped to ECC RAM and server grade Xeons (Yes the POwer Mac). Laptops are OK if you like lumping around blocks of aluminium in your bag - me I prefer an atom GNUlinux setup but hay each to their own.

  67. serviceWithASmile
    Thumb Up

    @Volker Hett

    You, sir, win.

    That is all.

  68. kevin biswas
    Troll

    @amazed

    "Own one for a week and you'll be converted"

    Well yes. Otherwise you will have to look in the mirror and face up to having become the sucker who flushed 500 quid down an oh-so-tastefully designed toilet. Which is less painful ? becoming a fanboi to save face, or facing up to having been suckered ?

    If Mac is so great, then why don't they sell mac-os as a separate product to run on normal PC's ? or are they afraid that no-one would buy it if they hadn't been suckered into being locked in with poncy hardware first ?

  69. Dest
    Unhappy

    Please make this buffoon go away!

    Every time I see this crazy guy in the news it makes me sick.

    He is completely incompetent and likely insane as well.

    He has all but completely ruined the reputation and credibility of a once great company with his idiotic statements, horrible business decisions and clowning around and acting like he has dementia.

    Windows 7 may actually become somewhat successful but if it does it will be in spite of Steve Ballmer and not as a result of him.

    I have never met or known of anyone who actually likes this guy or admires him or even thinks that he is a decent CEO.

    I actually like the Windows OS but I despise Steve Ballmer so I am not going to run right out and buy it especially since XP does just fine for what I want it to do.

  70. magnetik
    Thumb Down

    Re: Blah blah blah blah

    "Yes, the world would be different if MS didn't get so big so quickly, but if everybody was using Amigas instead there'd be a small minority of Windows users banging on about how much better generic hardware is and saying how AmigaOS 7 runs like a dog on the latest multi Ghz 68090 or PowerPC and their Windows 99 machine runs everything they want, so maybe a different world wouldn't really be that different?"

    I disagree. IBM grew big quickly yet OS/2 was a far better product than Windows. Google has grown quickly and has in no time built a mobile OS (Android) which makes WinMo look pathetic. Apple has grown big relatively quickly but you'll never see them rushing crap products out the door the way MS does.

    Microsoft's problems stem from a lot more than their size. It doesn't help that their CEO is a blinkered idiot with no vision beyond the number of units he thinks he can peddle to consumers.

  71. Mike Flugennock
    Alert

    Seriously, where's our Ballmer icon?

    Suggestions:

    - a tight crop of Steve-o with his stiff-armed fist raised and his face all tensed out, from the famous "Monkey Boy" video;

    - any good, tight closeup of El Steve scowling in the middle of a trade-show speech might be good;

    - the easy way out, but a good one, the classic caution/warning yellow-triangle sign -- like the one up here one the left -- with a silhouette of a chair on it, which I kind of like.

  72. Adrian Midgley 1

    XP isn't very good

    It looked better than Windows 2000 at some things when it came out, despite the curvy bits and chrome from the Windows 9... series, but it wasn't better at usability or for maintenance so far as I could see.

    Since then the user interfaces for Mac and Linux have forged on, and Windows didn't. The underneath bits for getting the computer to repeatedly do stuff have been better in various Linux distributions for some time, and continue improving.

    Companies and organisations that want to give all their development budget to large outsourcers and get back a system for programming their people will be as happy with one product as another, but places where people run their own machinery to do clever or new stuff should be able to do better off MS platforms.

    W7 is fire and movement by MS, keep changing things sothat people chase you rather than getting on with development.

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @Fraser

    Just to out-pedant you, Jet, SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL and Access etc. are not databases themselves, but Database Management Systems (DBMS). Access is an excellent example of a RDBMS—incidentally the engine that Access uses is based on Jet. So, Jiles Jones was quite right to compare the two. You were half right, it is possible to use Access as a database development tool. Apparently, you can also use Paint to edit photos…

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ease of use

    I have an eeePC 900A - the Linux version.

    I believed all the hype about eeeBuntu, and replaced the operating system that shiped with the device with a version of Ubuntu that I was lead to believe was customised for this hardware.

    Result? A system that wouldn't sleep when I shut the case, so that I had to shut it down and do a full reboot (that took the better part of 2 minutes) if I didn't want the battery to drain. No obvious way to play RealMedia streams on the BBC, even though they worked out of the box on the original system. No sound until I realized that I had to use the hardware keys (FN F8) to make it audible.

    Yesterday I decided to upgrade the 4GB SSD to a 16GB version, and install Windows 7. In under 2 hours I had a working system that sleeps when I close the lid, has working audio, and doesn't require an hour to figure out how to install RealPlayer. I did have to download and install one driver that wasn't included with Windows 7 (an ACPI driver), and maybe I was just lucky, but Google pointed me to it within 5 minutes.

    I'm not convinced that Windows 7 is really worth upgrading from a working Vista installation, but it beats eeeBuntu into the ground.

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Short memories or lack of historical knowledge

    Seems the Apple brigade vitriolically despising MS forget that MS saved their beloved brand from oblivion. In the mid / late 90's, MS bought a bunch of special shares in Apple to keep it alive. Without that capital injection, it's fairly certain that Apple would have gone into bankruptcy proceedings.

    So perhaps instead of bitching about MS, get a clue and p'raps you'll appreciate MS for what they've done to actually help Apple...

  76. magnetik

    @kevin biswas

    "If Mac is so great, then why don't they sell mac-os as a separate product to run on normal PC's ? or are they afraid that no-one would buy it if they hadn't been suckered into being locked in with poncy hardware first ?"

    Why? Because Apple is predominantly a hardware company and not interested in supporting its OS to run on cheap, rubbish hardware. Putting OS X on other hardware would also force Apple to combat piracy with something equivalent to WGA. We all love WGA don't we? Not.

    BTW as someone who's used Windows since 3.1, Linux since the 1.3 kernels and OS X since 10.3 I'd happily pay over the odds to use a Mac. I've been building machines for 18 years so I could very easily build a cheap PC but I'm more interested in getting things done with my machine than having to fiddle with them.

    Put your scepticism aside and try a Mac and you'll understand why people become such converts.

  77. phoenix
    Thumb Up

    @magnetik

    Agreed but I would like to clarify why:

    I have tried a Mac - good machines. But need to compare like with like. Taking the power mac( Intel) for instance one motherboard one processer type one type of RAM and now at least, in theory, options on graphics cards. With such limited hardware options, at least internally, how can they not be stable.

    The Open architecture of the IBM clone (no not PC both Apple kit and none Apple kit that is of a certain size =PC personal Computer) leads itself to a level of instability due to too many compinations of hardware mix, that and poorly written drivers, leads to most of the instability in windows, plus lousey installers that fail to remove their crap from the registory after unistallation. I could go on.

    I don't have a preference for either windows, GNULInux or mac OSX on the desktop. They all have their good and bad points but so do other tools and too many times a poor worker blames his tools rather than accepting he cannot work with them.

  78. kevin biswas
    FAIL

    @magnetik

    You missed my central point. How can I just 'Try a Mac' in any meaningful way without buying it ? And if I do buy it, then I am pretty much stuck with it unless I want to write off half the value and sell it secondhand. If any Mac evangelists are keen enough to evangelize that they are willing to buy a Mac for me then I will be very glad give it a proper trial run. Anyone out there keen enough to put their money where their mouth is ?

  79. Volker Hett

    @kevin

    look at it another way, you're traveling a lot and you need a sturdy notebook with good battery life, say more than 4 hours, and you need some database and remote access tools for your job.

    A Dell Precision M4400 with 9cell battery and 4GB RAM, a 250GB HD and Vista Ultimate x64 might do the job vor 2160 Euros incl. VAT (german prices).

    For 160 Euro less you get a MacbookPro with less weight, longer battery life and a bigger and faster Harddisk and two graphics cards, one good enough for daily work and the other good enough for a decent 3D Ego shooter.

    Add an OEM copy of Vista Ultimate x64 from a shop of your choice, again in germany, and you're still some 50 Euro south of the Dell Precision price.

    And I can assure you, even Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit runs just fine on the recent Macbook Pro.

    Why do I use OSX? Easy! X11 is there, SSH is there, Java, Perl, Python, Ruby, C, C++ and Objective C is there, XCode is a very good IDE and I had to install Microsoft RDP only.

    On Windows I have RDP but need to get X11, SSH and a develeopment environment from somewhere.

    When I factor in the missing IDE, Visual Studio, the programming lanugages, Active State Perl and Python, and X11 and SSH the Windows option is even more expensive.

  80. magnetik
    Go

    @kevin biswas

    "How can I just 'Try a Mac' in any meaningful way without buying it ? "

    One word ... hackintosh !

  81. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Come Now

    Folks are waiting to buy anything. All sales are down. Redmond has to release 7 for competitive reasons. Can't blame MS for putting a brave face to the public.

    BTW - I'm a MAC user and do not plan to go to the newest release until sometime next year even though I do not plan to buy anything except perhaps some more memory so I can run more VMs. I can't believe that Windows users would even contemplate upgrading to 7 anytime soon unless their personal mainframe doesn't really need to do very much.

  82. No, I will not fix your computer

    @magnetik

    >>I disagree. IBM grew big quickly yet OS/2 was a far better product than Windows.

    For a while it was the *same* product (known as Microsoft OS/2), but IBM refused to add support for generic hardware, charged huge amounts for OS/2 whereas MS supported more hardware and bundled the OS with machines, so no matter how clever the OS was, it's irrelevant if you can't use the hardware, maybe a better OS but not a better product.

    >>Google has grown quickly and has in no time built a mobile OS (Android) which makes WinMo look pathetic.

    The pervasive technlogy of a mobile device is completely different to a PC, that said, all the hard work has already been done by the likes of the iPhone so it's quite easy to build something from the ground up when the user base is established and know what they like.

    >>Apple has grown big relatively quickly but you'll never see them rushing crap products out the door the way MS does.

    And that's why they'll never get the customers, coverage or investment.

    >>"How can I just 'Try a Mac' in any meaningful way without buying it ? ", One word ... hackintosh !

    hahahahahah.....

    Yet again, you completely missed the point, paying double for a Mac to do the same job as a PC or Linux box gives you nothing, the OS is an overhead, a way of getting at the hardware, turning it into a lifestyle choice is as vacuous as your arguments.

  83. Scott Mitchell
    WTF?

    Why insult M$ all the time? Get a grip ffs

    I work as a software developer. I use Visual Studio 2008 and that has the best IDE and online help *ever*. I work with the .NET framework and it is a fantastic piece of work (or should I say, fantastic compared to Win32, Visual Basic 6 and the Unix command line C++ compilers I used in 1996) - (BTW, you do know .NET forms based applications don't need to use the registry? They can use application.config ...)

    When I return home, I switch on my Windows 7 box and it boots up PDQ. I *do* see a speed improvement over Windows XP, I reckon it uses my I7 cores much better than XP did (unsurprising given that XP is 8 years old).

    I can not only play games designed for Windows XP but I can immerse myself in the fantastic XNA development studio, 3D Studio Max, Photoshop, Paint .NET ... then get back to Earth and use Word etc.

    Windows XP & 7 do the job for me.

    Tell me, what other OS could I use to do all of the above? And don't give me the freeware Blender, or the apparently buggy OpenOffice....

  84. Scott Mitchell

    Bah

    "Tell me, what other OS could I use to do all of the above? And don't give me the freeware Blender, or the apparently buggy OpenOffice...."

    Before people correct me in saying neither Blender nor OpenOffice are OS's, you know what I mean. Don't be pedantic.

    Now does Linux or MacOS have 3D Studio Max and/or Photoshop? Running it on a virtual PC is completely unfair ;)

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