Windows Vista For What Reason Did Fail

In 2007, Microsoft officially released a brand new version of the Windows operating system, Vista. It included many overhauls to the Windows experience and its entire structuring surrounded a concept that would also become a part of Microsoft's marketing slogan, "Bringing clarity to your world." But for many people, Vista brought anything, but clarity. Before getting deep inside just take a look at this review from columnist, Gary Krakow, of NBC News, from May of 2006, just six months before the operating system's release to manufacturing,

Windows Vista For What Reason Did Fail

"I would like to tell you how easy it was to install "and how much fun I've had using Vista Beta 2 "over the past few days, "but I can't. "That's because the combination of Beta 2 "and the laptop computers I tried to install it on "was like trying to mix oil and water. "Installing Vista Beta 2 was one "of the worst operating system experiences "that I've ever encountered."

You might be thinking to yourself, "Well, that's not really a fair assessment. "Any piece of software that's still in Beta is going "to run into tons of problems "and is not going to be perfect." And you would be right to an extent. Even after Vista was released worldwide, this thought process did not really change for a lot of people. Many consumers complained about the OS's weak performance, with one user bold enough to claim that Vista was clearly the worst piece of software even Microsoft had ever released. A man was even arrested for shooting his girlfriend's computer because it had Windows Vista installed on it. In addition, Apple had a field day with all of this, taking every chance they had to attack Vista in their famous "Mac Vs PC" commercials ads.

  • What exactly happened? ☝
  • Why did this seemingly, revolutionary-looking operating system, receive such intense backlash? ☝
  • What possibly could have gone wrong with Windows Vista? ☝
  • Why did it fail?☝
It's a fairly complex situation that really needs to be delved into to be fully understood. A situation that frankly poses another interesting question,

"Was Vista really as bad as we remember?" πŸ˜•πŸ˜•πŸ˜•

For the above question, a superficial answer would tell you that Vista's failure was simply caused by development issues, the popularity of Windows XP, unfavorable marketing, mob mentality, and in some respects, simply coming out at the wrong time. But if we really wanna get into the details of what exactly caused Vista to fail, we need to go back to 2001. 

Windows Vista For What Reason Did Fail

Vista already began its decline before even the release of Windows XP. Though it wasn't called Vista at the time, Microsoft's new project was under a completely different name, Windows Longhorn. Code names were often given to Windows versions during their stages of development. Windows XP was Whistler, Vista was Longhorn, and Blackcomb was Windows 7. Whistler and Blackcomb were names of mountains in British Columbia, with Longhorn being a bar between the two places. And specifically, Blackcomb was meant to be Microsoft's next big release of Windows, and just as revolutionary as Windows XP. This Longhorn project was meant to essentially be the vehicle between these two operating systems, but it soon started to become more than that. Longhorn's originally anticipated release date was in 2003, with Blackcomb coming out later in 2005. But over time during its development, Microsoft began piling on more and more features to Longhorn which would ultimately harm productivity. Many leaks of the OS, both real and fake, began to surface on the web in mid-2002, giving out more information about its features than Microsoft wanted the public to know. But at the beginning, Longhorn didn't seem much different from XP. And because of this, people still didn't really know what to expect, despite what they were being told. An article titled, "A Fork in the Road to Longhorn," was posted to the Directions on the Microsoft website in October of 2002, expressing a lot of skepticism about the OS meeting its initial deadline. And they were ultimately right. By 2004, Longhorn was still in development. Rather than just being a transitional release of Windows like it was originally intended, Microsoft soon had a lot more features in mind that they wanted to add to Longhorn. This included a new security architecture called Palladium, designed to use both hardware and software to protect the end user from malicious activity, a brand new 3D GUI, faster desktop search, the Sidebar (a primitive version of what we recognize today as the Notification Center in Windows 10), and a new storage system known as Windows Future Storage. Longhorn became quite an ambitious project. And many of these features which were initially reserved for Blackcomb, were now essentially being crammed into one Longhorn. So its release date was extended even further to 2005. With how development was going with this entire project, it was apparent that Microsoft didn't really have a good sense of direction and wasn't exactly sure of what they wanted Longhorn to be. The OS became more bloated and unstable as time progressed. And some major changes such as even completely rewriting some parts of the operating system made it incredibly difficult to use. One of these features was the inclusion of the .NET Framework, also known as WinFX. This made application deployment easier, especially in enterprise environments, by eliminating the requirement of downloading and installing the .NET Framework. Additionally, a significant portion of the operating system was actually written and managed C-sharp, using the now included .NET Framework. While this framework increased security and cross-platform compatibility for the operating system, it also increased the amount of code and dependencies required for some of the default applications. 

Microsoft accepted that they were running into way too many problems. And by August 2004, the Longhorn project was completely reset and the release date was now uncertain. That's four years of Windows XP. Over time, Microsoft would include only a handful of the features that it originally intended for the project. Ultimately, dropping features like Palladium and WinFS, but still including new graphics and a Start search. In April 2005, one of the few Longhorn builds officially released by Microsoft, introduced the Aero theme and had a very close resemblance to Windows XP. To Microsoft's surprise, this was not well-received. Many changes were made to the system, including even the project's name which was now, Vista. Although future Beta releases of the OS did have their problems, it wasn't even comparable to Longhorn pre-reset. At least Microsoft now had a vision and was quite confident with its new release date to manufacturers, in November of 2006. Each Beta release gave them more opportunities to patch bugs and make everything look more professional. In a lot of respects, things were actually looking quite nice. And Microsoft was finally able to get Vista released on time. 

Windows Vista For What Reason Did Fail

Despite all the major changes that Microsoft made to Vista by the time of its release, people still hated it and the OS quickly developed a negative reputation. Although the issues Vista had been on the order of magnitude, less severe than they were with Longhorn, when looking at how everything unfolded during its development, it's easy to see where things went wrong. People waited a very long time to get an operating system that was completely bloated due to the rewriting of code, and over the top security feature known as User Account Control, and a GUI that seemed to only work properly on the latest and greatest hardware. Otherwise, the OS was incredibly slow. Because Microsoft didn't really have an objective throughout most of Longhorn's development, they didn't really have the chance to execute Vista's features properly. As a result, some unsatisfied customers even went back to XP, and this trend made Vista's reputation even worse. 

Windows XP was just too popular. And at the time, it would have been hard to top it. In 2008, over 70% of all computers worldwide were running Windows XP. Many businesses running XP, at the time, were also running critical applications that in some respects, only worked with XP. On top of everything else, Vista was also facing huge backward compatibility issues. So in addition to hearing all the negative feedback, it was receiving, many businesses either didn't have the money to upgrade or if they did, were just fine sticking with XP and didn't wanna risk corrupting their critical software. XP is already doing what it is supposed to.

Windows Vista For What Reason Did Fail

Matters got worse when it came to the marketing side of things. It wasn't that Microsoft advertising for Vista was bad, it's that the advertising against Vista was so much better. And it can be argued that the way Longhorns development was handled had a lot to do with this. The new storage system we mentioned earlier, WinFS, was hyped as one of Longhorns most innovative features. In short, it would form relationships between different types of data to make managing that data, easier for the user. But one feature that WinFS also boasted was its new metadata search. (You didn't have to just search for a name of a file on your computer. If you forgot the name of a text file, but remember, say, a particular word that was used in it, it would show up). It was a huge improvement over the XP search system. But because of development issues and many other complicated reasons, WinFS was pulled. But most of its search capabilities stayed. Most people didn't really care. But the way it was handled was problematic. Before WinFS was discontinued, Microsoft had announced in October 2003, that this new search feature would be standard in the next Windows. They really should have just kept their mouth shut because a lot of companies were betting that Microsoft was not going to release the next Windows on time, and we're now creating their own search tools for Windows XP or other systems so they could compete in the market. One specific person was Apple CEO, Steve Jobs. He saw the potential of this new concept and wanted to bring something similar to the Mac. Apple would achieve a pretty big milestone in 2005 with its release of OS X Tiger. The macOS would first introduce Spotlight search, a metadata search tool. OS X now had this cool search bar that Microsoft had been hyping up. Only for the development of Windows to continue being postponed. Such a feature became less exciting and more expected. WinFS wasn't just a search feature, it was much more than that. But most people didn't know that. With the removal of WinFS, a lot of people actually thought these search features would not be on Vista at all when that actually wasn't true. So to them, it was now just one more feature that Windows didn't have. Apple's release of Tiger made their "Get a Mac" campaign, pretty easy. And when Vista wasn't receiving the feedback it wanted, they had even more reason to brag. A lot of people who were impartial to the Windows Vista situation were now being evangelized into buying a Mac instead. Vista dug its own grave, but others helped. And of course, the reason why Vista was hated so much is that it was popular to hate Vista. First impressions are everything. And when things start out with such a significant negative result, it's kind of hard to gain redemption. Many people who dealt with the worst parts of Vista were not open-minded to any improvement. And even people who had never even tried the OS thought all the horror stories were enough and didn't want anything to do with it. They just didn't wanna see Vista succeed, and Microsoft understood this. They knew there was no going back with the project and decided to do something, a little bit different. 

Windows Vista For What Reason Did Fail

In 2008, Microsoft revealed to a small focus group that they were currently working on a new operating system. It was code-named Mojave and basically served as an apology for Vista. They first asked everybody to rate windows Vista on a scale of one to 10. It got a zero. Afterward, they were given a taste of the new Windows Mojave(actually vista). And they liked it a lot. It was given a 10. it was a social experiment conducted by Microsoft to show that Vista still had a fighting chance to be good. And that, with all these new changes, the negative perception was just that, In a lot of ways, Vista just came out too early. It did objectively have problems that weren't present on Windows XP. But a lot of the more glaring ones were just problems of the time. The reason Windows Vista crashed so much was often that the computer's GPU used drivers that simply didn't fully support it yet. It was slow because users were installing it on computers with hardware that just wasn't ideal for it. 1GB of RAM was pretty advanced at the time. It used up so much memory because, well, it actually didn't. Vista simply took the unused memory to run other background processes to make the OS perform better. It was only the illusion that it took up memory. Was Vista as bad as we remember it?  now the answer is both yes and no. Windows Vista did eventually get the treatment that it deserved, as hardware got better. With some changes, of course, Vista was re-branded to Windows 7 in 2009. Conveniently, the same year the "Get a Mac" campaign ended. Microsoft finally got the response that it wanted, with Windows 7 being considered by many as the greatest operating system of all time. And that is definitely something to be proud of. With that being said, thank you for your sacrifice, Windows Vista. 


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