Windows XP: Was it Microsoft's last good OS?

Everybody's talking today about "Drivergate" — internal Microsoft e-mails that show senior Microsoft executives personally struggling to use hardware products sporting the "Windows Vista Capable" sticker. The e-mails also show that Microsoft lowered its standard for some hardware compatibility, apparently to help Intel impress Wall Street. This revelation is simply the latest in a long […]

Everybody's talking today about "Drivergate" — internal Microsoft e-mails that show senior Microsoft executives personally struggling to use hardware products sporting the "Windows Vista Capable" sticker. The e-mails also show that Microsoft lowered its standard for some hardware compatibility, apparently to help Intel impress Wall Street.

This revelation is simply the latest in a long series that add up to one inescapable conclusion: Windows Vista sucks. (And making it cheaper won't help, either.) Compatibility of drivers is just one issue. Another is a convoluted user interface that prevents ordinary users from gaining a sense of control over the OS.

The biggest problem isn't that the company's newest products are unusable, but that Microsoft may have actually lost the "ability" to make good operating systems. It may not be able to let go of its dogmatic insistence on the flawed vision of the same Windows "experience" from wristwatches to supercomputers.

And there is evidence that delusion or, at least, wishful thinking, prevails at Microsoft. The company's founder and chairman, Bill Gates, said last week that "Microsoft expects more Internet searches to be done through speech than through typing on a keyboard." Hey, Bill: Do you want to bet $10 billion on that? I doubt even that Microsoft will fix its Vista driver problem within five years. This is the same guy, by the way, who bragged that Microsoft would "solve" spam by 2006.

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Microsoft, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Vista Capable