Joe Wilcox says enough is enough

Two weeks ago, Joe Wilcox of Microsoft Watch insisted “Microsoft, you need to get some good leaks out there to generate buzz. Please, let’s see more of this. … If (Shipping) Seven provides some juicy details, people will subscribe to his or her feed, and enthusiast sites will report or blog every little feature.”

Today, an obviously different Joe demands radio silence over Windows 7 proclaiming “buzz about the next Windows version distracts potential Vista adopters.”

Unfortunately this appears to be a dilemma only affecting Microsoft. In contrast, Apple who announced OSX Leopard (10.5) in June of 2005, two years before its eventual release had no problems selling Tiger (10.4) nor Tiger-based Macs through almost two full years.

A year after Leopard’s announcement in 2006, Apple sold 1.61 million Macs with Tiger, 30% growth over the year. When Leopard eventually was released in 2007, Apple sold a record 2.16 million Macs with Leopard, 34% growth over the year. Buzz about the next OSX version, even though Leopard didn’t change all that much from 2005 to 2007, surely didn’t distract any Apple adopters.

Joe also argues “(Windows) Seven won’t be a big, splashy successor, so why make it seem so?” I agree. In fact, these screenshots and videos are in some ways helping users understand Windows 7 is not some space-age operating system that’s going to shift every Windows paradigm into overdrive. Joe even shares a little about his shady past, “I recall the M1 leaks of Windows Longhorn back in 2003. I downloaded and used the warez software before writing about it. The UI already radically departed from Windows XP.” The difference here is Longhorn started off looking like the space-age operating system when it never could have been. Windows 7 on the other hand, looks modest and realistic.

After only insulting the blogger behind Shipping Seven, Joe turns around to say “I do see value in the Shipping Seven blog, which appears to be written by a Microsoft insider with some common sense.”

But what Joe really means is that we stop talking about Windows 7 after he’s had the last word. He speculates “PDC 2008 tips off that Windows Seven’s target release will be 2009. Microsoft generally, but not always, coordinates developer conferences with new Windows version development.” Gee, playing the release guess-date card so soon?

Speaking of distractions, I remember someone writing “Windows Vista is a train wreck“, but can’t recall who…

37 insightful thoughts

  1. Is he a real journalist? He blamed the buzz and used the leaked infos in the same article. Does he really think to stop the talking about Windows Seven by writing articles about it?

    Why shouldn’t we be allowed to talk about the biggest software product that may be available next year?

  2. two notes on Vista adoption vs. Leopard adoption

    1) On a Mac you don’t really have a choice… you buy the hardware and it comes with the OS pre-installed… and you can choose from exactly one operating system. Apple has a track record of quickly abandoning backwards compatibility in favour of innovation.

    2) An OSX upgrade is usually pretty cheap so people care less about what’s installed on the machine they buy. The same can’t be said for Windows Vista. I forked out AU$275 for an OEM version of Vista ultimate which I am technically speaking should be able to buy. The full version would have been over AU$600.

    Given the performance problems I have been having with it I must wonder why Microsoft would try and push out a new Version of Windows so soon as opposed to fixing the existing problems with Vista. I actually went back to Windows XP customized to a mini XP installation using nLite. Boot up now takes about 10 seconds and the system just flies compared to Vista… and yes I had Vista installed on a machine with the latest Core2Duo and 4 GByte of ram.

    This makes me think that XP SP 2 is now a very stable and fast OS (much like Leopard) without the fancy bling of Vista. Okay so Vista is a bit more secure… only problem was in order for me to use some hardware such as a Telstra NextG card I had to turn off the security manager.

    Now back with Win XP SP2 and living happily ever after.

  3. Ah okay, that’s gonna be hard to trace. 😉

    Since you’re here, nice work on Windows Media Center. Still the most beautiful and polished bundled application in Windows Vista.

  4. Of course, it’s what I use to watch HDTV. Buying a HDTV tuner card is still the cheapest way to enjoy HD here in Australia at least. Most HD set-top-boxes costs twice as much. It means I do have to watch TV content at my computer, but I’m comfortable with that.

    The TV guide is definitely my favorite, even though you need to jump through a few fire hoops to make it work in Australia.

    Next to that would be timeshifting/recording. No other application, not even those supplied by the tuner manufacturer, can match the instant-recording performance of Media Center. There’s no delay, it records the instant you click it.

  5. I was weighing to get either a Wii or XBOX, but didn’t get any because I simply don’t have time for consoles. PC gaming satisfies me.

  6. I wasn’t suggesting you get the XBox 360 for gaming (although it does work rather well for that purpose). Rather, get it for Media Center Extender and enjoy that recorded HDTV in your living room. I’m *really* hoping you know about Media Center Extender. If not, let me know and I will point you in the right direction.

  7. we♥tv – running through Xbox 360’s Media Centre Extender. You’re right Long, it’s the best option in Australia. HD set top boxes are ridiculously overpriced, then add on that a HDD recorder, DVD player/recorder… You get the point.

  8. Charlie, since it seems you are in these comments, let me just say Media Center is one of my favorite features of Windows. I use it probably 80% of the time Im on my home computer — usually Live TV. However, I do have one gripe. I have a dual monitor setup, and Media Center doesn’t really play nice with dual monitors. From what I understand, it is a DirectX problem that doesn’t allow me to use my second monitor while Media Center is maximized. One of my only request for MCE v. Next is that I can have it running maximized and still uitlize my second monitor. Thanks!

  9. @Nicko — I don’t think OpenGL is used in MCE, is it? Im not sure on that though. I believe OpenGL has support for mutiple monitors.

  10. @Cullen – Oh, I’m not sure about if it’s used in MCE as a whole, but it’s used in playing video I think, which is obviously a part of MCE. And I’m probably wrong again, but I think I remember seeing an option on my graphics card control panel to choose which monitor you wanted to use OpenGL on, so I figured that it worked only on one. I dunno, I’ll check if I get a chance.

  11. Oh yeah, Media Center is one of my favourite apps on Vista, too. It would be even better if the hundreds of third-party plugins would have a better quality. Maybe an official community or certificate program can help. Or MS delivers some plugins over UE? 😉

  12. As the author of the Vista Power Users’ Guide (not intended as a plug) I occasionally get emails from people asking stuff about Windows 7, as I’d written a short piece about it saying that in all probability Vista would be the last 32 bit OS from the software giant. I was wrong! Some people, including me, were speculating on talk from Microsoft that this would be the case. Clearly after careful consideration MS decided there would be one more 32 bit OS from them.

    The point I’m trying to make is that I saw a lot alphas and betas of Longhorn/Vista during the year and a half or so before it’s release, and the changes to the UI and under the hood were massive during that time.

    We cannot assume that any milestone or alpha release will bear any relation to a final product. Vista was a special case due to it’s super-long development period, but remember that most of it was dumped during the development process and rewritten.

    It’s going to be Christmas, AT THE VERY EARLIEST, in my estimation before we get any idea of what Windows 7 will look and feel like. Though remember I have been wrong before. There’s been talk of a radical new UI in this release but it’s all speculation and conjecture. Sure, I’d like to see it but I agree that what we’ll see will be more evolutionary than revolutionary.

    What Microsoft did with Vista is pretty cool and not a look that users will get bored with for years so the only reason to dump it this quickly, rather than refine it, would be if something quite extraordinary is in the pipeline, this I doubt. But with Mr Office 2007 now in the driving seat…

    …anything is possible!

  13. Long, you cannot draw parallels between Apple and MS in marketing. Apple fanboys are going to buy virtually everything which has Apple logo on it. Even if it sucks or glitches, or destroys their information. ‘Cause Apple is always cool or whatever the reason. With MS the situation will be completely turned upside down: everyone and his dog will curse their Vista, but in a year the OS will be installed everywhere and XP will gone. Given the situation with promised but not shipped Vista features, I’d prefer them to be numb ’till they have Beta 1 with some prominent features on it. Somewhere in end-2008 timeframe.

  14. Here’s the thing with building expectation and affecting Vista adoption. There’s really only a very small part of the population who is even thinking about the next version of Windows, and an even smaller group who know that it’s being worked on and it’s codename. Joe Schmo average consumer has no idea there were leaked screenshots, no idea what Shipping Seven is, and doesn’t really care.

    This contrasts with what Apple did, yes. Apple announced at one of its many public, hugely press-covered conferences that Leopard was coming. It’s really not a fair comparison, because who knows what the reaction would be if Microsoft did this with 7. Yes, it was done with Longhorn/Vista, and the reaction (mostly to the delay) wasn’t good.

    Going back to Longhorn, I often read about who they overpromised on features, interface, etc. and then underdelivered. But again, Joe Schmo has no idea what was promised, only what was delivered. And unfortunately, on what was delivered, the media has flat-out falsely blasted Vista, which is a shame, because that’s all Joe Schmo knows.

    In the end, my point is that as long as there is nothing said to the well-heard media, you’re not going to set expectations. You may to us, the techy-aware, but we’re a very small percentage of the population. And chances are (I hope), that if we actually like Microsoft, we’re going to tell Seven’s story as what it is, not what Microsoft promised it’d be.

  15. Apple may have announced Leopard 2 years prior, but Microsoft has announced Seven already..

    They shouldn’t make the mistake of Vista, by letting information out about all the IDEAS they had for the OS..

    For one they cause disappointment when they fail to delivery, but more importantly than this, they practically give away their advantage by letting the competition copy their ideas before they are even out..

  16. And speaking of Apple. I don’t really recall them to announce all Leopard features TWO years ago. To announce “we’re making Leopard” and “we’re going to add WinFS, Avalon, blah-blah-blah” are two different things…

  17. @Alex: Microsoft never said they were going to add those features to Longhorn/Vista. They merely previewed those technologies at very early stages. Which of the features in Leopard were kept under wraps for more than two years?, afaik, the 10 main features were shown in 2005 developer conference. Unless you mean the 3d dock or the semi transparent bar which I don’t know where they copied it from (hint, hint) also, the leaves wallpaper for the betas. How original of the trendy company, right?

  18. Jordan,

    There are definitely areas where Vista sucks royally. One of them is network throughput. I do creative work with large media files stored on networked NAS drives. The drives are attached via a 1 Gbit network. Accessing the drives from WinXP or Leopard is fast as hell while Vista seems to crawl along then speed up and suddenly start crawling again.

    It certainly can’t be driver related as it’s happening on different machines with different network cards. It also can’t be the NAS as if happend with different appliances. While I agree that this will probably get better over time as SP1 and SP2 for Vista get shipped it does make me wonder why Apple is capable of shipping an OS without such major issues. There is no doubt Leopard has it’s problems but it’s nothing compared to Vista.

    Where my confidence in totally plummets if I then read that they are already working on the next version of Windows which they intend to release next year. My question would be what about fixing the problems with Vista first?

    Usually the best indicator as to how well an OS upgrade runs and how much productivity improvements it brings is to look at corporate adoption. From about 20 odd large Australian corporates I work with not a single one has started a Vista migration. Most of them either will wait till SP2 or jump Vista alltogether and go straight to what ever the next version is.

  19. Tom, Apple is on 10.5.1 and readies 10.5.2. Two updates since October 26th. In 10.5.1 they still have WiFi completely broken — kick me if it’s not a major problem if your girlfriend has to reconnect the network every time she opens her laptop. So the heaven isn’t there.

  20. I love this “everything’s fantabulous” attitude that seems ever-present when aficionados talk write about Vista or OS X. People always speak about things like they’re completely perfect when in fact the complete opposite is true.

    For example. I was chatting with a friend the other week about the iPod. He told me that it’s design perfection and the role model that all other MP3 players will always follow. I ask why, if it’s so good, did apple completely dump the entire thing when they launched the iPod touch? Gone is the interface, style, everything that he was saying made the iPod the ultimate MP3 player.

    We were chatting about how great the iPod touch is and eventually agreed that it is also NOT the pinnacle of MP3 player design of usability. It’s merely the bee have RIGHT NOW. Sooner or later something better will come along, we just can’t envisage it yet.

    So everyone who says Vista is perfect or OS X is perfect had better remember… It might be perfect TODAY, but tomorrow you’ll probably think it clunky and old hat.

  21. Alex,

    what hardware is she using? I am using amongst other things an Intel MacBook Pro which doesn’t seem to have this problem… judging from the latest developer release though I think they might have fixed this issue.


    I am not saying things are perfect with any of these systems. At the end of the day they are being developed by humans which by design aren’t perfect. Thankfully!

    However, I am scratching my head as to why Vista has so many performance problems with the network and file i/o. What’s more after doing extensive searches on the this and other issue on the MS site I can’t find any mention of it which makes me wonder if any of these issues will be addressed in SP1.

  22. Tom, it’s 1.5-years old Intel MacBook. We just fixed WiFi stability on Tiger by replacing the router (Vista laptop didn’t have any problems even with the old one, mind you!), and everything got screwed completely when she upgraded to the $%$%ing Leopard.

  23. @charlieo:
    i know i’m probably one of the blasphemous few but i don’t use MCE for TV. it’s my video/play-music-really-loud-so-the-neighbours-want-to-kill-me kinda users.

    i just don’t understand how anyone can tolerate sitting in front their monitors to watch a movie. it’s crazy i tell ya! completely incomparable to kicking your feet up and enjoying your DVDs and other such content at 10′!

    excellent job! keep up the great work! one request (or two depending on how you count it): host/display HD DVD and Blu-Ray content from within MCE itself. might not be up to you but still, i’m just putting it out there.

  24. I have a hard time believing that Mr. Wilcox downloaded a Longhorn M1 build from a warez site, as the earliest leak was M3.

    Longhorn in M1 was… not impressive. The earliest build of Longhorn I’ve seen had: a download manager for IE and a drive space meter. Hardly a “space-age operating system” at that point! Flashy UI bits really didn’t start getting compiled in until 364x and later, around M2.

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