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7/8/2008
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Microsoft Admits Windows Vista Mistakes, Criticizes Apple Ads

The company will work to reverse the widely held belief, informed by early troubles upon the operating system's launch, that Vista isn't compatible with many applications and devices.

As part of that compatibility message, Microsoft will work to reverse the widely held belief, informed by early troubles upon the operating system's launch, that Vista isn't compatible with many applications and devices.

The company says 77,000 devices are compatible with Windows Vista today (double the number when the operating system launched) as well as 99% of the major business applications. The company has launched two Web sites, Windows Vista Small Business Assurance and the Windows Vista Compatibility Center, to help turn these perceptions around.

"Windows Vista is an investment in the long term," Brooks said. "When you make the investment into Windows Vista, it's going to pay it forward into the operating system we call Windows 7." All the more reason, Brooks said, to upgrade to Windows Vista sooner than later. Whether this message will find sympathetic ears, it's unclear. Even close partners like Intel are resisting en masse upgrades to Vista, and analyst firms have found a large number of companies claiming they'll wait until Windows 7.

Microsoft also intends to talk up Windows Vista's upgraded security, including features like BitLocker Encryption. According to Microsoft, Windows Vista had fewer than half the security vulnerabilities Windows XP had in its first year. Brooks even made a bold claim that Windows Vista was the most secure commercial operating system ever in its first year of release, and said "you don't hear Apple saying that," though he didn't lay out the evidence for that claim.

It appears that Microsoft will also frame Windows as "a kind of language," as that's how Brooks referred to it in his keynote. "There are over a billion users using it today," he said. "It's bigger than Mandarin Chinese, bigger than English, and like those it connects people. That's what Windows started, that's what Windows delivers today, that's where we're going.

Overall, the message Microsoft hopes to impart is that Windows Vista is ready, and that Microsoft will no longer take a back seat while word of mouth and Apple drive negative messaging about the company and Windows. It's a necessary step for Microsoft, and one the company should have taken the lead on before, rather than waiting until negativity became pervasive. Nevertheless, Microsoft is finally starting to come around to the fact that it can't just sit back and let others define it.

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