Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Tale of Two Analysts

Now some 14 months post-release, it's abundantly clear to all but the most severely dunderheaded IT wonks that Vista will be on the podium of the Microsoft Failure Grand Prix. Not sure exactly where it will stand relative to Bob and Windows ME, but it's certainly not distinguished company to keep.

As I had stated (not predicted, because it wasn't a guess), in January 2007:

The first (well, pair) indicated that IT Execs weren't sold on Vista, and questioned whether or not Vista presented a realistic ROI case for companies.

I'll save you some reading. IT Execs aren't sold on Vista because it doesn't present a realistic ROI case.

Well, it turns out I was right. To wit, rumblings from the very top of Microsoft have been felt in faraway lands as rumors of Vista's successor are being released, and hints that VIsta should have been aborted mid-term slowly escape.

Dell, HP, and Lenovo have all been pressured by their enterprise customers into providing Windows XP via downgrade righs beyond the June 30, 2008 deadline Microsoft imposed for halting sales of XP. That's right, customers would rather use XP - even if they have to buy a premium Vista license to do it.

I don't know about Steve Ballmer, but that's how I spell failure.

More interesting was the completely divergent track two of the "industry's leading" analyst firms took in penning recommendations to enterprise customers regarding Vista.

The Gartner group proclaimed that Windows is "crumbling". That's right, Gartner actually said something disparaging about a very prominent technology product.

Forrester, it appears, prefers the Kasey Kasim approach - keep your feet on the ground, and yada yada yada.

"Vista is an inevitability, for a number of reasons," said Ben Gray, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc. He then ticked off several, including Windows XP's announced retirement and unsubstantiated talk about Vista's successor, Windows 7.

Mr. Gray invoked the wrath of Kahn in the comments section of this article. From being labeled as too ignorant to possibly hold the position he serves, all the way to questioning the integrity of Forrester. And rightly so. He is completely out of touch, and it is an embarrassment for Forrester to have this person writing on their letterhead.

One thing is perfectly clear - I was not alone in my view of how Vista would fare in the marketplace. It's done horribly, and Microsoft's attempts to pressure companies into using it have backfired. If they don't hit a home run with the next version of Windows, we may look back on Vista as the beginning of the end for Microsoft.

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