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June 5, 2006

Vista News Notes Roundup

Posted by David Hunter at 2:32 PM ET.

Vista-Type Delays? Never Again, Ballmer Says:

Delays to Windows Vista have hurt Microsoft, but the situation will be fixed and will not be repeated, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer vowed.

Ballmer, like Jeff Raikes before him, has a huge amount of faith in Steven Sinofsky, the former Office executive who moved over to Windows in March with a mandate to get development in hand.

Sinofsky is now senior vice president of the Windows and Windows Live group in the company’s Platform & Services Division.

The Office team under Sinofsky built a reputation for delivering major releases in relatively timely fashion, typically every three years. The Windows group has not had the same success.

But Ballmer asserts that will change.

“We’ve got to get back into our pattern. We’ve put the master in there now. Steven Sinofsky. And believe you me, we’re going to get that thing into a regular pattern and are driving hard,” Ballmer told CRN last week.

We mentioned Sinofsky’s new job back in March when it was announced and observed that areas of responsibility are fairly murky which could lead to disappointment despite the big build-up. Speaking of Sinofsky, it took two men to fill his shoes in the Office organization:

Instead of replacing the former head of its Office engineering team with one person, Microsoft Corp. has decided to split Office leadership duties in two, the company said Wednesday.

To lead Office development and engineering, Microsoft has formed two new groups, the Office Productivity Applications group and the Office Business Platform group, each with its own top manager. Antoine Leblond will lead the former group as corporate vice president, while Kurt DelBene will be take on the same role of the latter group.

The development and design of the main Office client applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook will fall under Leblond’s division, while DelBene will oversee Office products SharePoint Server, Windows SharePoint Services, Content Management Server, Microsoft Project, Microsoft Project Server, Microsoft SharePoint Designer and Microsoft Groove, the company said.

There’s lots of buzz on Vista Beta 2 including Vista beta sucks up battery juice:

Windows Vista delivers some pretty snazzy new graphics, but all that “wow” can be a real drain.

With the new version of Windows, Microsoft has created an operating system that offers advances in many areas, but laptop battery life is not one of them. Going by internal tests at one hardware maker, which declined to be named, there is noticeably lower battery life when Vista runs in its “average power” mode.

Microsoft has said that the current versions of the update deliver less battery life than Windows XP, but the company has also said it hopes to close the gap in the coming months.

They’re attributing the blame to Vista’s spiffy Aero user interface with its rich graphics, but you’ll need a more powerful machine for Vista in the first place which doesn’t help battery life generally. Robert McLaws has more including the observation that heat is an effective male contraceptive. It’s hard to see what Microsoft can really do about it at this stage other than more aggressively moving into low power modes when there is no user activity. Speaking of Aero, Microsoft has also found out that its demands on the GPU are going to require a future rewrite of the Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) (via Neowin).

For more on the Vista beta, Tom’s Hardware has a massive 40 page article reporting on their 500 hour shakedown cruise. Net:

Microsoft’s new Vista is surprisingly entertaining. The new look of the operating system is good, and lets it outshine its Linux and Mac OS competitors.

It remains to be seen whether users will still enjoy the many colored effects in Vista after they’ve seen them for a while, or will decide to turn them off in favor of a normal default Windows scheme with gray windows. Either way, Vista incorporates many small but effective changes that can help simplify work and also boost productivity for everyday tasks. Many of these small details don’t manifest themselves to ambitious users until weeks or months of exposure to Vista, and are easy to miss when working with early versions of this system.

Not exactly a ringing endorsement. Also see Scot Finnie’s Visual Tour: 20 Things You Won’t Like About Windows Vista:

It boils down to this: The software giant is favoring security and IT controls over end-user productivity. Don’t get me wrong, security and IT manageability are very good things. But some of the people actually using the Beta 2 Vista software describe their experience as akin to that of a rat caught in a maze.

And make no mistake, the new Windows lacks a gotta-have-it feature, unless it’s the increased security that protected-mode browsing, built-in spyware protection and the new User Account Controls provide. To my way of thinking, security shouldn’t be something you have to pay for. What’s more, it seems like Microsoft is building some of the most ambitious security components of Windows Vista not for its customers, but for itself.

Ouch! As an example of a new Vista security feature, see Microsoft defends Vista by mixing up memory and try to explain it to your grandmother. However, there’s better news in Will Vista Run Your Games? The answer is mostly yes, although there are some annoyances. As for Microsoft’s promised release of a public Vista beta, we’re still waiting.

Last but not least, Microsoft has officially dubbed Vista’s version of Internet Explorer as Internet Explorer 7+. Since Microsoft famously considers Internet Explorer as part of the operating system, the separate version should be no surprise, but previously the nomenclature would have been something exceedingly tedious like “Internet Explorer 7 for Windows Vista.”

Filed under Aero, Beta and CTP, Executives, IE7, Internet Explorer, Jeff Raikes, Microsoft, OS - Client, Office, Steve Ballmer, Steven Sinofsky, Technologies, Windows Vista

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One Response to “Vista News Notes Roundup”

  1. Microsoft renames IE7 for Windows Vista -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Microsoft has ended its brief experiment with naming the version of Internet Explorer for Windows Vista as “Internet Explorer 7+”. I dislike product names with non-alphanumeric characters too, but you have to be careful what you wish for since as I originally observed: Last but not least, Microsoft has officially dubbed Vista’s version of Internet Explorer as Internet Explorer 7+. Since Microsoft famously considers Internet Explorer as part of the operating system, the separate version should be no surprise, but previously the nomenclature would have been something exceedingly tedious like “Internet Explorer 7 for Windows Vista.” So what’s the new name? Microsoft’s Tony Chor explains at the IEBlog: Specifically, here are the official full names: – For Windows XP: “Windows Internet Explorer 7 for Windows XP” – For Windows Vista: “Windows Internet Explorer 7 in Windows Vista” Even I didn’t realize the full magnitude of the horror! Of course, the official name is rarely used, but the key thing is that setting aside antitrust hangover claims that IE is part of the OS, there truly are differences between the IE7 versions on different operating systems as Chor illustrates. Filed under OS – Client, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Internet Explorer, IE7, Microsoft   [Permalink] [...]

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