The latest wave of media overcoverage concerns Windows 7, the followup to Vista, which Microsoft hopes to have ready in 2-3 years. The theme of many blogs and news articles is that Vista is obviously a horrible, misguided mistake but it’s okay because Windows 7 will be swell.

This article in Business Week is typical:


“A number of companies are opting not to embrace Redmond’s latest operating system and, like GM, are waiting for Windows 7 instead

“General Motors may take a detour around Vista, the latest computer operating system from Microsoft. The automaker has encountered so many speed bumps getting Vista to work on its machines that it may just wait for the next version of Windows, due in 2010 or 2011. ‘We’re considering bypassing Vista and going straight to Windows 7,’ says GM’s Chief Systems & Technology Officer Fred Killeen.”

You get the idea. The argument is that Vista is unacceptable because it requires new, more powerful hardware; there are software compatibility issues with LOB applications; it will take time to port software to the new OS; and in any case the desktop OS is increasingly irrelevant “when so many applications are available via a Web browser.”

And Windows 7 – well, what a paradise THAT will be! It’s being designed to be more modular, “letting Microsoft release portions of the product, including its Web browser, on a faster pace.” Old programs can be run with virtual machine technology, “freeing Windows from the burden of having to support a slew of outmoded code, which could step up release dates.” Whoa! That’s great!

Can you find any flaw in this logic?

“Vista is not completely compatible with my line-of-business apps and older hardware, despite years of development and testing, 18 months on the market, thousands of updates from hardware and software manufacturers to improve compatibility, and hundreds of fixes and performance improvements in the first service pack. THEREFORE, I’m not going to use that nasty old Vista – I’m going to plan on adopting Windows 7 right away after a really short development cycle, because it will be swell and everything will work perfectly with it! Also, Microsoft will be including magic fairy dust that will make our offices larger! And maybe cookies! Boy, I can’t wait! Windows 7 will be GREAT!”

Yeah, right.

Silly stuff. And not to be petty, but are you really supposed to pay much attention to the long-term judgment of a company whose ten-year stock chart looks like this?

GM - 1998-2008

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