Joe Wilcox from Microsoft Watch wrote a relatively long article trying to explain the negative public opinion on Vista. Basically, he thinks it has something to do with marketing failures. However, I think he didn't mention the real reason why Vista bashing has become so popular. Joe Wilcox's theory is that Microsoft made the mistake of giving free Vista notebooks to some influential bloggers. Some believed that Microsoft tried to bribe those bloggers and that's where the ball had started rolling.
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More and more bloggers and journalists started bashing Vista. Vista slapping became "chic" as Wilcox expressed it. People enjoy reading negative articles about Microsoft anyway. So for many Microsoft's problems with Vista are like Christmas and Easter together.
There is certainly some truth in this assessment. I have read many of those negative articles about Vista. The reviews were often unfair, especially those in the traditional media which are obviously from journalists who don't have much practical experience with IT management. In many cases, Vista's new features regarding deployment and management were not even mentioned. Often they blamed Microsoft where they should have complained about the sluggishness of third party software and hardware vendors.
However, I don't think that this is the real reason for the negative media coverage. In my view, Vista got this negative image much earlier. It started when Microsoft had to cut important features. At this time, Microsoft's critical journalists already started bashing Vista. And thus the negative image was born and Microsoft had no real chance to correct it. The press and bloggers alike realized that Vista bashing brings much traffic simply because many would like to hear Microsoft fail.
But the most interesting question is, why did Microsoft actually cut those interesting features? Many think it was just because they overestimated themselves. I think, this is not the case. The real reason is that there was a fundamental shift in Microsoft's strategy. I am talking about security. Microsoft delayed Vista because of Service Pack 2 for Windows XP which was mostly about security. This move was necessary because of the numerous malware attacks at this time.
This probably also affected their strategy with Vista. Microsoft cut all those great features because they wanted to concentrate on security. And there is no doubt about it that Microsoft succeeded in this field. But nobody really wants to write that because success stories about Microsoft don't sell. Those journalists who were bashing Microsoft because of their bad attitude towards security are now complaining because of the lack of new features.
Apple, on the other hand, gets lots of applause for Mac OS X. The fact that Apple obviously neglected security in favor of new features seems to be not that important. So was Microsoft too credulous? Was it wrong to listen to those journalists complaining about the bad security of Windows? Would it have been better for Microsoft to just continue with their agenda and add new features instead of focusing on security? You can answer this question yourself.