The Vista 'Turning Point'

Brad Brooks didn't mince words about where things stand with the Windows Vista operating system. "It is a tale of two cities in many ways," Brooks, corporate vice president for Microsoft's Online Services and Windows Business Group, said in a May webcast.

On one side of the border is the fact that, as of April, Microsoft had sold more than 140 million licenses, making Vista "the fastest-adopted OS ever," Brooks said in the free 32-minute show, now archived on the company's partner portal.

On the other side is the market's negative feedback, which Brooks conceded wasn't entirely undeserved. "We had an ambitious plan with Windows Vista -- a very ambitious plan. We prioritized security first above everything else. That led to some compatibility issues," he said. In addition, he said, "we had an ecosystem and a partner industry that was building drivers and software that wasn't ready for the launch."

But by May, Microsoft had reached "a turning point with what's happening in the marketplace" regarding Vista, Brooks said. Factors partners can use to promote Vista:

Compatibility. More than 77,000 devices now work with Vista, most having become available just since January, Brooks said.

Scheduled Deployments. "Sixty percent of IT pros right now are telling us that they plan to deploy Windows Vista within the next 12 months across the majority of their desktops," he said, attributing the jump in support largely to positive response to the release of Service Pack 1 in mid-April.

Customer Satisfaction. "We've seen steady increases in terms of user satisfaction" from both business and home users, Brooks said. Bottom line: There are 83 percent of current Vista users who now say they would recommend the OS to friends or relatives.

Performance. The improvements in SP1 level the playing field with Vista's still-popular predecessor, in Brooks' view: "We see [Vista] on par from a performance standpoint with Windows XP on similar hardware," he said.

Conservation. Finally, Brooks recommends touting Vista's power-consumption capabilities. "For every 10 machines that you have running Windows Vista with SP1, you can take one car off the road in terms of the carbon footprint," he said.