A Self-Made Failure

Acer: PC Industry ‘Disappointed’ with Vista
by: Jerry Liao

“The whole industry is disappointed with Windows Vista,” Acer President Gianfranco Lanci told the Financial Times Deutschland. Lanci added that the impact of a new Microsoft “operating system” has never been so weedy as with Vista. Acer, is the first major PC manufacturer to accuse the software titan of having failed to remove major flaws in its new operating system Vista.

The chief of the world’s fourth largest manufacturer of PCs went on to say that never before in the history of the PC manufacturing sector was the impact on sales of a version of Windows so small as that of Vista; and that state of affairs was unlikely to change in the next six months. Mr. Lanci further said in a statement: “I really don’t think that someone has bought a new PC specifically for Vista.” As a matter of fact Mr. Lanci added, most of Acer customers especially the business clients had asked Acer to install SP on their new machine rather than Vista. “Stability is certainly a problem,” Mr. Lanci stated.

Acer was not alone in expressing its disappointment with Vista. Jonney Shih, chairman of Asustek said his company is disappointed in sales of Vista and people are still bothered about software compatibility of Microsoft products. Mr. Shih added that people still want Windows XP.

Harris Poll, an American market research company that specializes in public opinion research using both telephone and online surveys on online panels revealed that a poll of 2,223 US online adults in early March found that 87 per cent knew that Vista existed. But only 12 per cent of the Vista-aware respondents were intending to upgrade in the next 12 months. 39 percent also said that they will shift over to Vista when their computer explodes or they get a new one that met the requirements. The same poll conducted in December said that 20 per cent would upgrade to Vista in the coming year.

The survey also indicated that the release of the Vista has affected the timing of the purchase of a new computer for 40% of the respondents who were aware of Vista: one in five said they had delayed the purchase of a new computer, and one in five said they would bring forward the purchase of a new computer.

If we are going to look at the other side of the fence, Microsoft is seeing things differently. Upon presenting its income statement for the fourth quarter of Microsoft’s fiscal year 2007 – Microsoft had declared that the company had also managed to post gains because of the popularity of Vista. Microsoft’s quarterly sales grew in quarter-on-quarter terms to 13.4 billion US dollars from 11.8 billion US dollars, net earnings went up to 3.04 billion US dollars from 2.83 billion US dollars. The Client division (all Windows operating systems for desktop computers) was able to boost its sales to 3.808 billion US dollars from 3.347 billion US dollars, while its operating profit rose to 2.818 billion US dollars from 2.546 billion US dollars. Microsoft did not specify how much of this revenue is attributed to Vista; at the end of March the company had however already celebrated the shipping of 20 million Vista licenses.

One of the major problem of adopting Vista is the hardware requirement: It should be a modern, Intel Pentium – or AMD Athlon-based with a dedicated graphics card featuring DirectX 9.0 support, 512 MB or more of RAM, a graphics processor that will support Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM), and at least 1.5 gigabytes of hard disk space. Of course its more of more RAM than the 512MB – 2GB is more like it. Incompatibility issues with other hardware and software is another headache.

Other problem includes: lack of available drivers, security feature often flags existing applications as suspicious and interrupts service, few applications take advantage of user account control, Internet Explorer 7, ActiveX, security and others.

Most analysts think that Vista will not start to be seen in businesses until 2008, which is a pretty long time in software terms. As I have said before, Whether Vista will be successful is a question only Vista can answer – PERFORMANCE will be key.



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