Friday, May 9, 2008

Why are consumer chossing vista despite of all that problems

Windows Vista didn't make a smooth market entrance; in fact, nearly every aspect of the operating system has been attacked since its release on January 30, 2007. Multiple SKUs allegedly confused customers, anti-DRM groups disliked Vista's Protected Video Path and its overall DRM friendliness, and Microsoft's definition of "Vista Capable" got the company sued. Toss in a plethora of bugs and the usual consumer backlash over GUI changes, and you'd think consumers would be avoiding Vista in droves. According to new information, however, they aren't—Vista's adoption rate over the past year actually exceeded XP's in 2001, and consumers apparently choose Vista over XP by a 7:1 margin.

Small businesses definitely prefer Windows XP to Vista (70 percent to 30 percent), only 7 percent of consumers appear to be opting for Windows XP over Vista.

There's been a bit of a tussle over these numbers. PC World's Techlog recently published an article stating that by the end of its first year, Windows XP accounted for 36 percent of that site's users, while Vista accounts for only 14 percent today. Based on this evidence, the Techlog author concludes that Vista's adoption rate is much lower than XP's.

While Bott makes no statements regarding the current total number of XP users vs. the number of Vista users, he notes that while PC World's numbers are undoubtedly accurate, they reflect only the OS usage of people who visited PC World, not the entire consumer market. Regardless of what the current split is between XP and Vista, other evidence suggests that Vista is gaining market share over XP at an appreciable clip.

Battlestar Galactica's sexy Cylon Six summed up the current controversy when she said, "All this has happened before, and all this will happen again." Vista will inevitably supersede Windows XP as the dominant OS, and all the tongue-in-cheek "I upgraded to Windows XP" articles, criticism (valid or not), and frantic pleas from Linux users that this time they really are a mainstream alternative isn't going to change that. Consumers may or may not like Vista compared to XP, but they tend to buy whatever OS a system is shipped with and there's no evidence to suggest that large numbers of buyers are actually choosing to downgrade to Windows XP.

In time, Microsoft will release another OS (Windows 7), and the entire cycle will repeat. Vista will go from the heartily-disliked upstart to the "real" OS that end users vow to clutch unto death. It's a process that has repeated itself multiple times in the computer industry, and it speaks more to humanity's dislike of change than it does to the strength or weakness of any Microsoft product. Definitive information won't be available until Microsoft deigns to speak on the matter, but thus far Vista's launch and first year look quite a bit like XP's. Check back a year after Windows 7 is released, and see if you don't see a trend.