Microsoft’s Annual Meeting and Vista

by Janet Meyer Aug 01, 2006

Last week Microsoft held its annual meeting for financial analysts and media. Attendees left the meeting with some questions about Vista’s release date. They also left with a few good laughs.

Vista comes with built-in speech recognition technology. At the meeting, a Vista product manager demonstrated how well it works.

He started by saying, “Dear Mom, comma”, which immediately came up on the screen as “Dear Aunt.” He then said “fix aunt”, which the computer recognition software interpreted as “let’s set.” From there the errors just kept coming. Ultimately the computer screen read “Dear Aunt, let’s set so double the killer delete select all”, much to the amusement of the audience.

CNBC ran a video of this, and Microsoft wasn’t happy. They claim ambient noise was the problem. All I can say after viewing the video is that seemed pretty quiet to me.

CNBC’s commentator ended by stating that it is no wonder Vista keeps getting delayed. This fit in pretty will with the view of financial analysts attending the meeting, who are still asking if Vista is going to be delayed again.

It’s not the video that kept them questioning the latest release date. According to Reuters and others, Kevin Johnson (co-president of Mircrosoft’s platforms and services unit) said at the annual meeting that Vista will be shipped when it is available. That ties in with earlier statements from Bill Gates confirming a 20% chance that Vista will be delayed. Gates said that if beta testing shows that Vista is not ready by the announced date, he will delay it because Microsoft wants to get this “absolutely right”.

So how well has Vista been working in Beta? Symantec (which you might remember suing Microsoft over storage technology), released a report on July 18 indicating that Vista has some major security flaws.

Symantec claims that the User Account Protection (UAP) feature has implementation flaws that could allow outside attacks. Another feature known as Mandatory Integrity Control could be exploited, allowing malicious users to take control of a PC that has been infected. These are just a couple of the issues reported by Symantec.

Of course, the point of beta testing is to find the flaws and fix them before the final release. PC Advisor quotes Stephen Toulouse, a Microsoft security program manager, as saying that Symantec’s reported issues were all addressed in Beta 2.

Still, with such a massive piece of software it would be difficult to get it “absolutely right”. The question will be how close to right Vista will be and when it will be released. The demonstration of their voice recognition software didn’t exactly bring comfort to those who are hoping for a product that is fairly close to problem-free.

After Vista is finally released, what happens next? Steve Ballmer concluded the annual Microsoft meeting by promising that there will never be a five year gap between major releases again. Apparently they won’t just “promise them to customers and hold up big releases.” This is probably a good thing. Frustrated Windows users all over the internet are saying they are considering not bothering to upgrade from XP at all.

There is no indication what to expect out of Vienna, the next scheduled flagship product.










  • “So double the killer delete select all!” Someone needs to get that on a shirt RIGHT NOW. It’s the son of “all your base”!

    Aurora77 had this to say on Aug 01, 2006 Posts: 35
  • smile By the time I had this article written, somebody had already made the shirt.

    Janet Meyer had this to say on Aug 01, 2006 Posts: 36
  • Vista may well be the product which signals the start of the decline of Microsoft.  Corporate users were slow to take up XP - and some of my largest customers went from WINDOWS NT direct to XP when they finally did move.  It will be an expensive move - and corporates hate having to retrain users, reprint user manuals etc etc.  Microsoft have another problem - the move to thin client technology as corporate IT departments say NO to constant desktop rebuilds and new (and relatively expensive) PCs…

    And for home?  The Apple juggernaut is steaming down the freeway.  Its cool to buy a Mac.  It runs everything.  The product is gorgeous.  A Mac is so easy to use…  The only reason NOT to buy a Mac is if you can’t afford one.

    How long until Microsoft report their first quarterly loss?  It seems unthinkable, but they are spending money hand over fist to find new markets while their cash cows of MS Office and desktop O/S struggle to generate excitement…

    If Vista is a disaster, the world will stand in line to rubbish Microsoft.  Most of us in the corporate IT world hate their arrogance and their appalling attitude to customer relations.  If you think I am wrong, have a look in most corporate IT departments - you will almost always find at least one Linux box - an act of protest?  I think so.  It will only take one large MS customer to make a successful move away from MS for a groundswell to begin.  We really DON’T like the company, or their products.

    It wasn’t always this way.  But success has turned MS into a behemoth - and an arrogant one at that.

    I sense that a major shift is in the air.  I wouldn’t be buying shares in Microsoft right now…

    sydneystephen had this to say on Aug 01, 2006 Posts: 124
  • Vista has some major security flaws.

    Doesn’t that sound ironic after all the effort put on Vista’s security plumbing. That is especially a grave warning from someone like Symantec - the security Gods of the PC world.

    If Vista is a disaster, the world will stand in line to rubbish Microsoft. -Sydney

    That disaster started several years ago when M$ started decoupling structural features such as the fabled WinFS. With all that gone from the original Vista concept, M$ still have lots and lots of problem with the remaining Foundation frameworks.

    I agree that this Leopard/Vista OS generation will be the tipping point for Apple and the commencement of corporate IT adoption of Mac OS through the upcoming Pro workstations and servers coupled with their affordable RAID storage and their XGrid technologies.

    I just hope Apple will not foul this opportunity this time around unlike in the past.

    Robomac had this to say on Aug 01, 2006 Posts: 846
  • Vista has flaws. The major one is will it run on my PC I just bought? The Answer is “Probably not without upgrades.” This is gonna push customers over the edge with both the manufactures as well as MS. They’ll most likely continue to run there machine as most do for 3.4 years (average PC lifespan at the office, 4.8 at home). After that the world is Apple’s oyster. Linux will take a huge catch of those users with Distro’s such as Ubuntu which is easy to use, setup, and install other apps and not only that works well with others.

    Compare Apples to Apples (Apple computer to Washington Apples) and you begin to see the clear shiny apple vs. the bad one. Customer service is a HUGE Deal right now. I call MSDN and TechNet service for my MS issues and get somebody on the phone search the MS site or reading off the manual… I call Apple and get someone who THINKS and finds the answer without putting me on hold for 10-20mins to ask others. That is the turning point. I jumped ship a while ago and for at least the last 8 years had a Mac in the house because the Windows machines would allways fail at some point.

    Vista will flop due to hardware upgrades and purchasing requirements. Corporations will hold off as the replacement span for most was 2002-2004 (from what I’ve seen in the big corps). Linux will rein supreme on the server side so it is important for Apple to work with Linux developers/Distro’s comps. to get things working EXTREMELY Smooth (then do a get-a-mac commercial on that one). We’ve allready seen MAJOR relucatance to install Windows servers in 5 very large companys in the last year. 2 gave it the go-ahead and the other 3 flat out refused based on the IT Departments advice, they went with Red Hat/MySQL.

    Cats poised to leap, but when and how far.

    xwiredtva had this to say on Aug 03, 2006 Posts: 172
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