Vista SP2 is here. Principally comprising fixes to problems inherent with Microsoft's ‘greatest ever' OS, Windows Vista SP2's big improvements are, we're told, under the hood. Unseen, unloved and anonymous.
Taking Microsoft at its word, then, with Service Pack 2 Windows Vista is much improved. But you can't tell. (I'm tempted to draw an analogy with the Emporer's New Clothes, but that'd entail imagining Steve Ballmer in the niff, and that's best left to Mrs B.)
It's not fair really. Microsoft suffers from ubiquity. Windows is all most PC users have ever known. They notice it only when it breaks. And to many, a change is as good as a foul up. When it works, well, so it should.
Poor little rich MS. Like IBM in the 1990s, it's too big and unwieldy to be inventive. Hemmed in by younger, thinner rivals, thrusting out sexy, ad-supported products, while the Redmond monolith is chained to the desktop by it's lucrative past.
Meanwhile, reports suggest, over in the Googledome fresh-faced hipsters are stress-testing a cloud-based desktop OS. Google Android, the big G's one true operating system, was always meant for greater things than mere mobile phones. And Google Chrome has its clean white claws out to worry Windows, not Internet Explorer.
In short, the battle for your desktop is well and truly joined. And you're the winner.
Ubiquitous internet coverage means that the web is a viable operating environment.
In my salad days we waited in line to use a PC at the library, but the netbook generation doesn't need a £300 Office licence to scrape a 2:1 in Kylie Studies. Today's scruffy loafers require only a broadband dongle, a web browser and a Google account. (After gaining acceptance to the Poliversity of Slough, naturally.) These things come cheap.
I'm writing this using Google Docs, I'm gonna submit it via Gmail and I'm keeping abreast of the latest news via... er... Google News. I'm even wearing Google Pants. So what exactly do I need Microsoft for?