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First concrete signs of the Vista backlash

July 31, 2007

Vista busy cursor On 21 June, I ran a post predicting a consumer backlash against Vista. The basis of this was the disconnect between the PC resources really needed to extract decent performance out of Vista and the typical spec of Vista PCs actually being sold in the market.

The first concrete evidence of that backlash is starting to materialise.

On 23 July, Financial Times Deutschland ran an interview with Gianfranco Lanci, president of Acer. The original is in German but there is an English translation of the whole article below (courtesy of Jonny Wright).

Gianfranco Lanci President Acer

Acer, the world’s fourth-largest computer manufacturer, has accused Microsoft of making serious mistakes with its new operating system. “The entire industry is disappointed with Windows Vista,” Acer’s president Gianfranco Lanci has told Financial Times Deutschland.

Never before has a new version of Windows had so little effect on PC sales, according to Lanci: “It won’t get any better in the next half year, either,” said the Acer president.

This is the first time that the new Windows operating system has been publicly criticised by a major computer manufacturer, and it is a blow for Microsoft, the world’s largest software firm. Speculation about possible alternatives to Vista now rages, particularly as Lanci claims to speak on behalf of the entire industry. Currently, about 90% of privately-owned desktops and laptops run Microsoft’s operating system; the rest use either Apple or the free system Linux. Computer manufacturers and retailers had hoped to see a growth in sales once Vista was launched at the end of January, but Lanci now feels differently: “I really don’t believe that anyone would buy a new PC because of Vista.”

Business customers are particularly likely to continue with the old operating system, Windows XP. Although Vista had been eagerly awaited for years by the industry, Lanci believes that it was launched before it was truly ready. “Stability is a major issue”, says the Italian, who runs the Taiwanese firm together with founder Stan Shih and CEO J. T. Wang. Acer’s turnover last year was $11.3 billion.

Microsoft made just $3.8 billion from sales of its operating system in the past quarter, barely reaching their own lowest estimate. Nevertheless, Microsoft’s head of operations in Germany, Achim Berg, was optimistic about the figures during a telephone conference on Friday. He claims that Vista has been “a great success” in Germany. According to market research firm Gartner, Vista doesn’t have enough unmissable features for home users. Ranjit Atwal, an analyst for Gartner, sums it up: “Vista is hardly revolutionary.” Vista offers more functionality than its predecessor, but requires far more computing power to run.

Lanci is speaking on behalf of the industry rather than consumers directly, but it is clear from his choice of words that he is reporting underlying consumer dissatisfaction.

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3 comments

  1. The point about computing power is that to get the same perceived performance as XP Vista demands a faster processor, particularly a lot more RAM, and ideally a dedicated graphics card. Many entry level PCs “make do” with a graphics chip built into the motherboard, known as “on board” graphics.

    Difficult to give you precise help without knowing specifics. I can only tell you about my own experience. I started off with a PC that only had 1Gb RAM and relied on an onboard graphics chip (nVidia 6150), as opposed to a proper plug-in graphics card. The built-in chip commandeered part of the RAM. Buying a dedicated graphics card made a big difference – it freed up the whole 1Gb RAM and had much more graphics muscle, taking the load off the processor. I bought a mid range card (nVidia 8600GTS from MSI) but even something more modest would make a difference. I still have only 1Gb but the PC now runs much better.

    I also found that Microsoft’s optional performance and compatibility downloads help too. These should really be part of the automatic update but at the moment you have to download them manually. This post might help you.

    Best of luck.


  2. Please tell me, what is `computing power`? ‘Vista offers more functionality than its predecessor, but requires far more computing power to run.’

    I am trying to help a senior citizen with her new Acer computer loaded with Windows Vista. The computer is running very slow. It has the minimum of RAM. She does not need anything more than a dial up connection to the internet so my son and I have downloaded programs because there is always a ‘timeout’ trying to download updates from the ‘net’. I have had a terrible time of it so far. First there was Norton AntiVirus that would not run until we got the updated ‘fix’ from Symantec. Now, getting Windows Live Messenger to run is another go round. This second one baffles me as its part of MicroSoft and so is Windows Vista.

    If you send me some info before Nov. 7, 2007 I can show her your email when I again attempt to get things running smoothly. Thanks, Jackie


  3. […] Acer hates Windows Vista Acer, the world’s fourth-largest computer manufacturer, has accused Microsoft of making serious mistakes with its new operating system. “The entire industry is disappointed with Windows Vista,” Acer’s president Gianfranco Lanci has told Financial Times Deutschland. Read more. […]



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