If you can believe The Wall Street Journal, the main reason Microsoft suffered reduced sales is because of the “PC Blight,” which refers to the economic downturn affecting the PC industry. They sell less, so it means Microsoft distributes fewer OEM licenses, from which they earn most of their software income.
However, millions of netbooks with Windows XP preloaded on them are selling, so didn’t that make the difference? Not quite. You see, in order to get PC makers to ditch Linux and still keep the prices ultra-cheap, Microsoft had to dump cheap XP licenses on them. In other words, they were forced to push an eight-year-old operating system, because the current one, Vista, was too sluggish to run acceptably on these little boxes and, of course, too expensive.
Supposedly Windows 7 will be beefed up enough when it comes to performance to run acceptably. At least Microsoft is banking on that to gain decent sales in the final quarter of the year, but is that true? It’s hard to know, because there’s not much beta experience to depend on. Even then, you can’t assume that a beta version of an operating system represents the final product, or even that some of the people reporting great performance and fewer problems aren’t paid shills quietly doing Microsoft’s bidding.
Vista wasn’t such an obvious train wreck until it was actually released, and the truth was clear to one and all, although it’s also true the beta experience was less favorable. Or maybe Microsoft didn’t recruit a sufficient number of hacks to boost Vista’s prospects with impossibly positive spins instead of genuine reviews.
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