Vista Beta 2 Arrives to Screaming Crowds
Vista Beta 2 Arrives To Screaming Crowds
Well have to wait a little longer for the real thing, but Microsoft
did give us a tease this week with Beta 2 of its forthcoming (someday)
Vista operating system. As you might imagine, reviewers, bloggers and
other techy types were all over it like white on rice the minute the download
was available. This is sort of the post-modern, online version of screaming
crowds greeting the Beatles upon their arrival in New York on their first
trip to the U.S. in 1964.
No word yet as to whether Steve Ballmer has claimed that Vista is now
more popular than any prominent religious figures. In any case, the
beta download is plenty popular. (Oh yeah, there are also Office
and Longhorn betas available; info here.)
Back in 64, crowds of teenage girls screamed with delight as the
Fab Four first touched American soil. Vista Beta 2 is getting a somewhat
cooler reception. Teenage girls hardly seem interested at all. Beyond
that, some reviewers have made some fairly brutal comments. The crowd
is screaming, all right, but not so much with delight. Gary Krakow at
MSNBC tells one horror story of days (yes, days) of installation problems
that love is not all you need to get Vista up and running.
Krakows story stands out among the nightmares thus far, but installation
and driver problems seem to be the biggest things making beta testers
computers gently weep. Check out a pretty good wrap-up of several reviewsplus
comments from various blog nerdshere.
Well, hey. Its a beta, right? And betas arent supposed to
be as reliable and functional as the real thing. So, no big deal. Besides,
with no Elvis or Rolling Stones of the OS world to counter this Vista
invasion (open source not really being any more popular than, say, Hermans
Hermits), what choice do users have but to take what Microsoft gives them?
Then again, maybe its not about choice this time. Its about
technological advancement and Microsofts ability to execute, the
latter of which the companys investors are already calling into
Microsoft says its on a revolution with Vista, but it remains to
be seen how the OS will change the world. After all, this will ultimately
be the de facto operating system for the vast majority of the worlds
computersamong other devicesfor at least a few years once
it comes out. If its a dud, then users and the partners who sell
to and support them will suffer. And, Microsoft might suffer as wellat
least financially, if not competitively should the open source folks ever
get their act together and release an enterprise-ready offering.
Pre Beta 2, testers were already getting antsy about the quality of previous
Vista builds (as our friend Mary Jo Foley tells us here),
and while most reviewers havent yet dropped a silver hammer on Beta
2s headalmost everybody seems to like the new interfacethe
thus-far lukewarm response to the new build seems to indicate a lack of
confidence that Vista is on the right track. However, in fairness, its
still early. Lets see what happens as more testers get a look at
the new arrival.
Will Vista be the dream OS of tomorrow or make users long for yesterday?
If youve tested the beta or just want to sound off, write to me
at [email protected].
Steve BallmerS Worst-Kept Secret
And speaking of Vista, have you heard that it might not come out on time?
Steve Ballmer dropped a hint or two (in Tokyo, of all places) that Vistas
release date might slip past early 2007. Really, Steve? Any other non-bombshells
you want to drop on us? Care to speculate that the sun might come up tomorrow?
Dont go out on a limb or anything.
Those guys from Gartner who predicted a delayed Vista launch a few weeks
back must be feeling pretty smug right now, but Redmond
Partner Update told you back in March that once Microsoft missed
the end-of-2006 date for getting Vista out, all bets were off as to when
it would actually arrive. Count on this, though: Microsoft will have this
thing out by April or May of next year at the latest because its fiscal
year ends at the end of June, and it cant afford not to have Vista
sales count toward year-end numbers. We could go on, but read more here:
More From Microsoft On Virtualization
Heres one that might make the folks at VMWare grit their teeth a
little harder: Microsoft is officially in their rear-view mirror now in
the ultra-hot virtualization space.
Everybodys talking about virtualization now. Have any good stories
or useful tips about it to share? Send your virtual knowledge to my very
real e-mail address: [email protected]
Reader Reactions To Best Buy For Business
item on Best Buy moving into partners territory got people
Ray suggests that, just as we said in the newsletter, the retail side
of Best Buy can be as much a negative as a positive: I'm not really
going to worry too much about Best Buy's movement into the small business
market based completely on my own experience with Best Buy. I went into
the store on a Sunday morning and bought two 512 MB Kingston memory chips
to upgrade my laptop to 1 GB. I go home, remove the two 256 MB chips and
install the two new chips. The packages are sealed, as far as I know,
but I'm upgrading my laptop over brunch so I'm not really paying all that
much attention. I remove the old chips, install the new chips and reboot
the laptop. It reads one new chip as 512 MB and the other as 256 MB. So
I assume it's defective and drive back to Best Buy to exchange it. The
customer service teenager and then the manager inform me that I've obviously
switched the new chip I just bought with one I just removed from my laptop
and I'm trying to scam them into giving me another 512 MB chip. Nothing
would convince them otherwise and they refused to exchange the defective
"Kingston, being a company that I've relied on for years for memory,
listened and exchanged the chip. I have never purchased anything more
expensive than a DVD at Best Buy since and only if they have a serious
price advantage. I'll spend a couple bucks extra at Barnes & Noble
next door rather than give them a dime. I believe that Best Buy can capture
a small segment of the market, but I can't see them as a serious player.
Matt adds that the personal touch counts: Having been consulting
on my own since 1988, I have constantly had to redefine my business model
and sell myself. My breakthrough came when I stopped trying to compete
based on price. How can I compete on price when a complete system from
Best Buy costs less than what I can purchase the parts for? I have to
sell the value of getting a system from me rather than Dell or Best Buy
that is more than dollars and cents. I even tell people that I have a
high-price guarantee. If my price isn't higher than anyone else's, I will
raise it 10 percent!
"I may lose one or two jobs to Best Buy for Business, but (customers)
will be back when something happens after hours, or when Best Buy sends
out four different people to their office and they have to keep explaining
the same thing over and over before it gets done. How long are customers
going to put up with always seeing someone different who doesn't have
a clue personally about their companies?
"One of the things my clients like about me is that I have been
doing their work for years and have watched their companies grow, and
I know where all the bodies are buried. If they are tempted to use Best
Buy for Business, they are going to get tired of having to explain things
I would know automatically. I have even had customers who briefly went
with someone else who charged $25 per hour less than me. I was very polite,
burned no bridges and told them I hoped it worked out for them. A few
weeks later, they called me back because I didn't rant on them.
"The second thing is that I will stop recommending Best Buy for
purchases of anything dealing with computers and will send them to one
of Best Buy's competitors! They may be surprised by how much business
they end up losing because most of my clients ask me where they should
go to buy computer stuff that I don't sell. We consultants influence a
lot more purchases than we sometimes realize. Besides, most people have
heard enough horror stories about Best Buy's computer services with home
users; I'm not sure they will want to take that risk for their business!
Excellent work, guys. Thanks for getting back to me. Any more comments
on Best Buy out there? Send them to [email protected]
Posted by Lee Pender on May 24, 2006 at 11:53 AM