Ever since Bill Gates stepped down and Steve Ballmer took over his role, Microsoft has been getting one thing after another wrong. Vista continues to be a disaster both for users and for the company’s bottom line. And Microsoft’s ad campaign last year, starring Gates and Jerry Seinfeld, is already a model of how not to do television advertising. Somehow, though, after years of stumbling around like a drunken college freshman after an NCAA basketball win, Microsoft is getting its act together.
First, Microsoft has reluctantly — oh how reluctantly — brought back Windows XP. Officially, Microsoft has cut XP support. Unofficially, hardware vendors such as Hewlett-Packard aren’t going to let XP die anytime soon. You’ll still be getting new PCs with XP on them well into 2010, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see fresh copies of XP appearing in 2011.
Microsoft finally got it. No one with two brain cells wants Vista.
What’s more amazing to me, though, is that Microsoft finally figured out that after Vista, no one wants a long, drawn-out rollout of a new Windows operating system. So, instead of orchestrating its traditional years-long series of pre-announcements and announcements, Microsoft is just focusing on getting Windows 7 — a.k.a. Vista Lite — out as fast as possible, with as little official fanfare as possible.