Eight different versions of Microsoft Vista?

In the CNET article Microsoft gives glimpse of eight Vistas, it is hinted that Microsoft Vista will come out in no less than eight (!) versions. While it isn’t quite as bad as it sounds, I really can’t understand this decision.

Sure, they need to keep different version with and without Windows Media Player bundled etc, but in the end my take is that they will just confuse the customers. Same thing happened with the new versions of Visual Studio 2005 and its different flavors like Visual Studio 2005 Team System. I think that by releasing too many versions of the same thing, their market, sales and support departments will have hell trying to explain it, and most people will have no idea what to buy…

Simplify, man, simplify!

13 Comments

  • Yannick says:

    I had the same thoughts on it Robert. Some people are going to be very confused and will probably buy one version and realise it's lacking features they want and have to buy again.

  • I originally thought it was too much, but after reading around I found out XP currently has 7 versions and it is doing well. When you think about it, 2 of those versions will only be in Europe, and 2 are Business only. Stores will be showing 3, possibly four, versions that basically equate to simple, better, good, best for the average user. On top of that, most computer users use an operating system because it comes bundled with their Dell. The people who buy operating systems in stores usually have a clue what they're doing.

    And at the same time, I wish there was less option and room for confusion. I guess we just have to trust they know what they're doing since they have had success with it in the past.

  • It would appear Apple has the monopoly on 'simple'…

    And given the list of features which have been dropped since Vista was first announced, a change of name to 'Mirage' might also be appropriate πŸ˜‰

  • Jules says:

    I read recently that Office 2007 (previously called Office 12) also will be coming out with a slew of versions.

  • Mats says:

    I still don't get why they feel they have to bundle WMP and IE and the other stuff that just gets them into trouble.

    Why not just offer those apps as downloads?

    Give people a slim fast working copy of the OS and let the bling be available as add-ons for free.

    Wouldn't it be nice if you could turn of every resource hog in your windows system and fire up a game and let the game use the resources instead? How sweat would that be … πŸ˜‰

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Ryan,

    That's very valid feedback. I guess it's up to the marketing department to make it easier and only promote a few of the versions instead of all eight of them. But the way I see it, maybe I'm simple-minded, is that two versions should definitely be sufficient.

    And yeah, sure, two extra versions can be there too with Windows Media Player bundled if they really have to.

    All in all, though, they really shouldn't underestimate simple.

  • Jens Meiert says:

    It's surely one thing: Not user-centric. A guerrilla user test will suffice, just go and ask your mom what version she would choose (or ask me, as I won't know either). IMO, they should just ship one version which is low priced, too. This will attract customers and "significantly" reduce irritation and frustration.

    I just need to shake my head. Though I surely can't "explain the world", it is apparent that approaches like this will fail. And regarding Microsoft in general, they drastically diverge from other global players when it comes to user-centered design (Google, Amazon, Yahoo definitely do more things right since they more or less focus on users and simplicity). Assuming Microsoft continues that way (cluttering GUIs as in IE7, inventing thousands of versions for one application, and so on), they will significantly lose market share during the next five years. (Exact prediction, right? ;))

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Jens,

    Yes, I agree. It does indeed seem like the user doens't get as much focus as he/she should get.

  • Microsoft makes its living off of creating problematic, complicated systems. To simplify would be death. Not that I would mind… πŸ˜‰

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Jared,

    Yes, I know many people that share your feelings about that… πŸ™‚

  • I think I know the reasons for the eight versions. They are trying to get as much money from as many people as possible:

    http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/CamelsandR

    Seems like a good idea doesn't it?

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Emil,

    That's some interesting reading! πŸ™‚

  • ???????? says:

    Before you waste $500 on VISTA ask yourself this, do i download music, movies or pictures for FREE? if you answered yes than i recommend that you dont get sucked into vista. it is exactly the same as XP accept it looks cooler AND IT WAS DESIGNED TO BLOCK MUSIC AND MOVIE DOWNLOADING. think about it hundreds, thousands of bands trying to make money and everybody downloads thier songs off limewire or morpheus or where ever they can. and what about multimillionare movies, most people like you and i just download them. VISTA has come to gether with an idea, to block all websites that offer FREE DOWNLOADING, to block all P2P software. the other day i decided to upgrade my morpheus and to my surprise anything that i wanted to download would be blocked, i typed in a song, tried to download it and it says, THIS IS A COPY RIGHTED VERSION. they are taking over our entertainment. in 5 years vista will be installed on every computer in the world. go to your daily harvey norman or WOW catalogue and what do you see, every single laptop, pc, now comes with vista. vista only came out like a month ago they would have to be mad to offer it already installed. maybe if you listen to the song DOWNLOAD THIS SONG by MC LARS you will understand. pass this on. tell everybody you know, about VISTA. just amagin, teenagers of the future having to pay for their music and movies.

    everywhere you look there is freakin vista. we have no choice they are forcing us to upgrade, thats why all the new computers and laptops are coming out with vista, and then you have to go and buy xp because your not happy with vista. it sucks

    not to mention over 60 programs dont work on it including norton anti virus and trend micro. also MSN doesn’t work but i dont use it anyway.

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