The Windows XP era ends June 30 and soon hardware vendors will be shipping you all Vista all the time (in most cases). The save XP effort failed. The whining should cease. And now it's time for Vista to sink or swim.
Ina Fried has a good overview of where Windows XP will stand with PC manufacturers. And Matt Asay highlights a report from Evans Data noting that 92 percent of developers are ignoring Vista. Coupling these two items together and you come to one conclusion: Folks are skeptical about Vista, but a lot of that skepticism is because XP is still lingering.
If you're a Vista complainer you have two options from here:
- Move away from Windows completely (users try a new OS and developers jump ship).
- Or shut up and go with Vista.
My hunch is most folks will do that latter. I'd love to believe that Microsoft's Vista miscues would result in a mass exodus, but I doubt that will happen. I also wonder why people live in New Jersey and pay those ridiculous property taxes, but shockingly enough people stay. Based on my Libertarian leanings I'd reckon there would be four people left in Jersey by now.
But I digress. Once consumers no longer have the XP option they'll fall in line with Vista. Sure some percentage will go Mac, but if you didn't jump yet—after a gazillion brilliant Apple ads knocking Vista—you probably won't. And the developer worries: Developers will fall in line too. Evans Data notes:
Only eight percent of North American software developers are currently writing applications to run on Microsoft's Vista operating system, while half are still writing programs for XP, according to Evans Data's Spring 2008, North American Development Survey. These same developers forecast a fragmented Windows market in 2009 with only 24 percent expecting to target Vista and 29% expecting to continue with XP.
"Developers have taken a wait and see approach to Vista", said John Andrews, Evans Data’s President and CEO. "The new operating system has had more than its share of problems and the desire to move from XP on the Windows platform is still lagging - that coupled with interest in alternative operating systems is suppressing development activity and that in turn will further erode Vista’s acceptance."
Should Vista supporters be worried? Probably not. Developers have clearly hedged their bets, but that's because XP was still being distributed. Once that distribution ends developers will have to step up their efforts on Vista. Corporations will complain but still roll out Vista. There's a reason Microsoft cuts off previous versions of Windows—it works. And it'll probably work this time too.
Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and Editorial Director of TechRepublic.