Microsoft has announced a new Christmas plan. This has obviously been driven by the major hardware suppliers that were looking at a scrooged Christmas with no one buying computers. 

Although no names were named, my guess would be Dell, Gateway, HP/Compaq (or whatever they call themselves this week), were among the less than happy vendors who faced a rough Christmas season, without the new (and maybe not very improved) Vista operating system, sales were looking at being flat, or even worse, negative. Why would anyone buy a new computer with 6 year old software in December (XP is 6 years old), when you can get the same computer, probably at the same price, with new software in January? 

The deal that was announced today will allow the major computer vendors to sell computers that have a “free upgrade” voucher in the box. Personally I am not sure that the average consumer is going to find this a compelling reason to buy. 

Vista supposedly will ship to corporate clients in November, based of the previous grief and pain that versions of Windows have caused to the corporate sector I would imagine that very few (a number less than one) will be installing Vista before the first quarter of 2007. Corporations like to understand the ‘enemy within’, before committing to it. 

The home user on the other hand has always been fair game for supplying a less than well tested product to. In many ways Microsoft has their priorities wrong. Sell Vista to the home user and see how much they gripe, fix a few of the major gripes, then sell it to the corporate user. 

Microsoft could have made everyone much happier by switching the release dates. Gateway, Dell, and the rest of them would have had a product to sell for Christmas.

Simon Barrett

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