There’s a sign at the entrance to Stew Leonard’s Dairy Store in Norwalk, CT. Actually, it’s a boulder with this inscription carved in the rock:
Rule #2–If the Customer is Ever Wrong, Re-Read Rule #1
Keep that in mind as you read on.
Microsoft is about to release a new version of its Windows operating system. If you’ve got a computer now, you’ve probably got Windows XP. There might have been a time when you used Windows 98 or Windows 95 or even Windows 3.1. Those are operating systems.
Most computer users don’t have to bother with them. They’re just there. The operating system comes with their computer. There’s no need to change it.
But, if and when you buy a new PC, Vista will be all you can get. Actually, there will be incentive not to change what you’re currently running.
I’ve just read a fascinating paper by a professor from New Zealand. He’s worried about Windows Vista, the new OS.
Here’s his point, boiled down to its essence. Windows Vista is designed to protect the interests of the companies that produce or own the rights to ‘content.’ Where their interest and your interest conflict… well, let’s just say Stew Leonard wouldn’t approve.
In order to protect the rights of movie studios, record companies, TV networks and software producers, your computer will have to work harder with hardware that will cost more and often be restricted so it can only do less!
As he states it (I’m not quite smart enough to know anything other than it sounds plausible) computers will become more expensive and less versatile. They might not provide good video, audio or general performance if there’s a suspicion content might be compromised. Of course that’s a judgment call you won’t make!
Under the right or wrong circumstances, some outside force might bring your computer to its knees, with little recourse for you. This ability to cripple your computer to protect someone else’s content will be built right into the operating system. It’s a feature!
Windows Vista will come bundled on virtually every computer built. Nearly all new hardware will have to comply with its specs or be limited to an extremely fractionalized portion of the market. After all, Microsoft is (for all intents and purposes) the only game in town.
The real question is, will this product, designed to throttle not enhance the user experience, be too much to take? Will Microsoft have finally crossed some invisible threshold, killing the goose that lays its golden eggs? How long can a business thrive when the customer comes last?
Threats look much more ominous at this distance. Some parts of this will surely shake out and be more benevolent than they seem. But right now at least, Vista isn’t on my wish list.