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Windows Vista upgrade? Don't bother

When Microsoft's Windows Vista OS was launched amid much Bill-Gates-hyped fanfare, I can't have been the only person experiencing upgrade-goldrush fever. Sweaty palms, raised heartbeat and that edgy feeling that you really should be first in the queue to upgrade - all present and correct.

But I've never been one of life's early-adopters. After a nice sit-down and a cup of weak tea, I realised that my creaking MacBook is in greater need of upgrade than my PC. And I have no real need or desire to get a new operating system for my PC. Vista can wait.

Don't get me wrong. Windows Vista is an excellent slice of code. And when next I buy me a PC I'll get hours of joy from making Vista's interface even more beautiful. But where I can see the immediate benefits of upgrading to Office 2007, Vista just doesn't seem that important right now. (Of course, I did get Office for free from the PCA cover disc, which helps).

And I'm not alone, it seems. Today we've learnt that Steve Ballmer wishes to downplay earlier, 'bullish' predictions of Windows Vista uptake. And Windows Vista sales are considerably slower than those of its predecessor, Windows XP.

The current, and the most recent, PC Advisor polls both back up this apparent trend. Our previous survey found that Windows Vista is comfortably the 'most significant' product release this year (as opposed to the iPhone, Office 2007 and Apple TV). But responses to the current poll suggest that more than 80 percent of PCA readers will stick with XP either until they buy another PC… or beyond. They have no intention of ever getting Vista.

These people are tech-savvy PC experts (love me, reader), and they are saying that Vista is good, but not worth rushing for. Vienna may be just around the corner, they say, and Vista is simply not enough of an upgrade to be worth the hassle. And we should all listen.

With broadband everywhere, and web-based tools comfortably recreating desktop apps, we simply don't need bigger, more bloated operating systems. And the differences between OS iterations is becoming much more difficult to pin down. (Try explaining to a layman why Vista is better than XP: 'er, it looks real purty and that...).

Online backup, wireless streaming and cool web-based applications. They're all here now. So who's to say that in five year's time we'll simply have a Google, MSN or Yahoo login with which we can access everything from any hardware, anywhere? Genuine workstation and entertainment capability, geniunely on demand.

The operating system could go back to being the background hum, and the fanfare could be reserved for the day Bill Gates topples child poverty. Really, who needs Windows Vista?

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