CES 2007: Microsoft Offers Reassurance Via Family Testimony - InformationWeek

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1/9/2007
12:18 PM
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CES 2007: Microsoft Offers Reassurance Via Family Testimony

Microsoft has a tent at CES just outside the Las Vegas Convention Center where, among other things, they are offering interviews with families were were part of their beta testing program (excuse me: their Life With Windows Vista program). These families were given a computer loaded with an early version of Vista about two years ago and were asked to use it as their main computer while giving constant feedback.

Microsoft has a tent at CES just outside the Las Vegas Convention Center where, among other things, they are offering interviews with families were were part of their beta testing program (excuse me: their Life With Windows Vista program). These families were given a computer loaded with an early version of Vista about two years ago and were asked to use it as their main computer while giving constant feedback.The idea, according to Microsoft representatives, was to make sure that, among other things, Vista was ready to be adopted by the public without any embarrassing interface or other issues popping up after it has gone into commercial distribution. I was introduced to Cameron and Kim Abbott, a friendly couple from Charlotte, NC, who told me that after initial skepticism they embraced Vista enthusiastically, and are now reassuring their friends that it is perfectly safe to switch.

Programs like this, and the distribution of thousands of copies of Beta 2 Vista given out over the Internet, were meant, said director of program management Debra Weissman, to help make sure that businesses and consumers wouldn't need to wait several months (or years) before committing themselves to the new OS. All the creases have been ironed out It's been tested, retested, and tested yet again. It's ready to go. This is the message.

The problem, of course, is that the public has been burned too often to simply take Microsoft's word that the Vista that will be officially shipping on January 30 is absolutely, positively, no-question-about-it final. Companies like Dell have been sending out their pre- and post-holiday systems with coupons for Vista -- but the coupons have to be redeemed, and the OS installed, by March 2007. Consumers who remember having to install Windows XP Service Pack 2 may decide to hold off on the installation, coupon or no, despite Microsoft's assurances.

Will Vista indeed be adopted as quickly as Microsoft obviously hopes it will be? It will be interesting, in the next few months, to find out.

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