‘The Most Significant Product Launch in Microsoft's History'. So ran Microsoft's hype: rammed into every media outlet in the known universe by The Most Capslock-Heavy PR Machine in History, on the occasion of Windows Vista's 2006 birth. Significant... how exactly?
Make such a claim, and you're a hostage to fortune. Short of doing your ironing and cooking your tea, Vista could never match its billing. But significant Vista's launch truly was.
To discover why, I invite you to consider the computing world BV (before Vista), and then today.
To make Vista a 'must-have buy', Microsoft simply threw features its way - it had worked in the past, after all.
Fast forward to 2009, and you choose hard- and software according to need. Want a cheap, portable workstation? Linux netbook it is. Going gaming? Vista desktop, sir. And if you're running an office from home, but travel to clients, you'll want a Vista laptop. Or a MacBook. Or a BlackBerry for the road and a desktop at home. And an iPhone.
Look, it's your computer, you decide.
With the explosion in mobile computing, and laptops running OSes from Linux to Windows to Google Android, this diaspora of choice is unlikely to shrink. Vista's heavy featureset and sys reqs arrived just in time to seem bloated and unecessary. Hence the perceived failure, and the thirst for change.
So by representing the zenith of big-feature, Windows-only desktop computing, perhaps Vista really did change the world.
Compatiblity issues, so prevelant in 2006, have now been brushed aside by the unifying force of the web as an OS. Third-party apps work online, not on Windows.
And unlike the big brash launch of Vista, Windows 7 arrives stable, solid and good to its mother. It will be the best option for PC users, but no more. The Windows PC is no longer the only game in town, and for that we can thank Vista. Significant indeed.