Past was guide for changes to Windows development
By Elizabeth Montalbano
IDG News Service
About a year ago on its Redmond, Washington, campus, a member of Microsoft's Windows Vista team met with a group of journalists to face some tough questions about the OS.
At the time, it was clear Vista was not going to be the great success Microsoft had predicted, as many of the company's critical business customers were beginning to reveal they would wait for the next release of Microsoft's client OS instead of upgrading corporate desktops to Vista.
Among questions posed to Microsoft that day were how the company could have gotten Vista so wrong after five-plus years of development, and how much longer Microsoft could justify putting out major software releases that needed substantial bug fixes before they were fit for enterprise deployment.
It has long been the mantra among IT professionals not to "go out and buy that first release" of Windows, but "wait until the service pack comes out because there are so many bugs and issues," said longtime Microsoft partner and customer Scott Noles, director of technology and education at Microsoft customer Kinex Medical, a medical rehabilitation centre in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
The same rang true for Vista, and even for its predecessor Windows XP, a solid OS still in wide use that nonetheless also required a major service-pack release to deal with critical security issues that plagued enterprise users.
Microsoft had no answers that day to the questions it faced about Vista. Fast-forward a year later to now, however, and the company does.
For the past several months, Microsoft has engaged in an extended public mea culpa about Vista, and in the past two weeks alone has given a series of press interviews to explain how it changed the development process of Windows 7, the forthcoming client release, to learn from the mistakes it made in the past.
"We know we're still learning, but we always want to make tomorrow better than yesterday was," Mike Nash, corporate vice president of Windows product management, said about the development of Windows 7 in a recent interview.