Vista SP1 vs. XP SP3 Performance Stats: Flawed Samples or Market Reality?
Posted: 5:09 pm
November 28th, 2007
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IT Business, Microsoft, Vladville

The bad news for Microsoft Vista keep on piling on, this week from a group outraged that the Vista SP1 is apparently only focusing on the stability and reliability, not performance. Through what is arguably flawed test, a group has “proven” that Vista SP1 performs 30% worse than its 6-years-senior brother, XP SP3. Either way, the group gave in to the criticism and added another 1 GB of RAM to the system, and ran both XP SP3 and Vista SP1 with 2GB RAM. The results looked even worse for Vista running Office 2003.

Now I am not going to argue whether these conclusions are valid or not, I will even go as far to say that if I were @Microsoft I too would focus on improving the product reliability and stability over the performance.

What I will argue is that this test, with all its flaws, represents the marketplace a lot more realistically than Microsoft wants to believe. Yes, 1 GB ram. Yes, Office 2003 (or older). Yes, IDE drive. Yes, onboard SATA controller. Yes, 32bit systems because driver support for 64bit sucks. Those are the realities of your basic workstations, at best to be honest.

So what?

This reality disconnect is really only a Microsoft problem. Microsoft has been lying to itself, to its partners and to its customers about the satisfaction customers get from Vista. In much the same fashion Dave dismisses the statistics of comparing old with the new, Microsoft has been delusional in the Vista failure constantly quoting the growth units in spite of the fact that the global PC shipments have increased many times over since the release of Windows XP.

So the big question here is whether this Microsoft problem is really your problem? Is their supposed disconnect with the market reality something that should be allowed to impact your business or is this time time reject the notion of Microsoft-centric all-Microsoft business built on Vista, Office, Exchange, SQL, Server, Business Solutions?

There is a big rift, one that I have never seen before, between what Microsoft is offering and what customers are asking for or what is even available on the market. You see, the market is demanding a low cost PC with low TCO (read: managed services) and the operational basics: email, scheduling, shared files and some integration with the things they already own – smartphones, VoIP, (kill me now) Macs and iPhones.

They no longer want to buy into the Microsoft-only world and are rapidly rejecting any investment in the hardware beyond that of storage and VoIP. Since the release of Windows 95, users have done everything they could to upgrade to the latest. You can say, businesses were fanboys, swayed by the improvements in reliability, communication, speed. Not so much anymore.

The big question, one that even I am hard pressed to answer, is whether it is over for Microsoft? You see, my business exists at its core as a Microsoft business. We generally go into situations that involve the Microsoft platform at one version or another, and we work on getting it to the baseline. However, with the rapid de-Microsoftization of our core markets, is it still viable to solve problems by providing more of the same, or are Microsoft self-delusions of desktop/server strategy missing customer expectations and thereby inadequate for the long term?

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