Do you remember Windows ME? If not, maybe it is because you skipped it all together or that the experience was bad enough that you choose not to remember.
Some key indicators are out there. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates has mentioned in more than one public speech that sometime in the next year or so, they plan on releasing a new version of Windows. It now appears that the development of Windows 7 has been moved into the fast lane and that Windows 7 alpha will also be presented to developers this October.
Microsoft is extending the sales of Windows XP again, until July 31, 2009. Windows XP will not be available directly to the end-user, but it will be available to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) and other system builders. One of the biggest key indicators that follows suit with this is that it is becoming more common to see computers packaged with Vista coming with “downgrade rights.” Dell for example, shortly after the launch of Vista, consumers no longer had the option of purchasing home system models with XP. The option to have XP over Vista was removed entirely. Dell however kept the option available for its business customers, but slowly tapered it off. Now, slowly the downgrade option is showing up everywhere.
According to a few ex employees of Dell On Call (Technical support offered by Dell for consumers for a fee), before the mass layoffs that took place in Canada – they noted that internal statistical data showed that technical support call volume was bigger than it ever has been with Vista over any other operating system. Dell On Call’s majority call driver was Spyware and Antivirus, but Vista support calls soon became king of the hill. These sources also had mentioned that not only was Vista crammed down the throats of consumers, but it was also crammed down the throats of technical support agents. “Nobody knew what was going on, nobody had proper training, resolve rates for technical support calls were in the toilet and the customers were increasingly becoming unhappy, requesting that they downgrade back to Windows XP”
A lot of people swear by Windows XP Service Pack 3, claiming that it is the most stable operating system ever. Business customers have yet to make the move from XP Pro to Vista Business – although this has a lot to do with volume license refreshing – businesses are not ready to shove a new operating system down employee throats, provide the training, and provide upgraded hardware to go with it.
Quoting another source that provides internal technical support for Canada’s largest telecommunications provider, Telus – “It just wasn’t the right time to release a new operating system, nobody required it, nobody needed it. What we have right now (XP) is more than enough. People know how to use it, people know how to support it. The expense of migrating from something tried and true to the unknown with a large price tag is essentially a bad business move.”
The indications are wide-spread, looking a bit like the Windows ME scenario all over again. Very few people have moved to the Vista platform, as most people are sticking with Windows XP for now and riding it out. On an another note – ever since the launch of Vista, OS X users have increased a notable amount – which is a whole other story.