Business Week claims that it took nearly 10,000 people more than five years to make Vista. As the Seattle Times points out, since the average Microsoft salary is $200,000 that is $10bn that Vole shelled out for salaries alone
CEO Steve 'sound of silence' Ballmer told the paper the final cost of developing Vista would be impossible to count. He was sure it was a lot, but he is a master of the understatement.
Ballmer said the problem was that Microsoft tried to innovate too much and had to toss a fair amount of this development in the toilet and re-launch the project in the middle of 2004.
But, while there is some innovation under Vista's bonnet, there is much that is the same. Windows XP users will not notice that much difference.
We all know that Microsoft has a lot of cash, but it remains questionable if it will ever bother making such a dinosaur again.
Since Vista was first stuck on the drawing board, the development of software has changed a lot. Linux has made a huge splash on the market and has changed the way that projects are managed even among proprietary software outfits.
With the likes of Google starting to stick much of what Vole does for free on the Interweb, software is shifting away from the client and more to the web. While the technology is not there yet, that is where development will be, rather than where Vole is at with Vista, which is re-inventing the wheel.
One of the few innovations we have seen in the market of late is how Apple turned a mediocre offering like iTunes, with its ordinary, graphically simplistic operating system OSX and made it a winner. This is mostly by making an Internet formula part of the financial package.
Vista has showed the Vole that there is only so much you can put on an operating system without it getting unmanageable. Meanwhile the Open Sorcerers have been adding extra packages onto Linux so that punters can chose what they want the beast to do. This flexibility makes it incredibly useful in a business framework.
Microsoft has been so focused on its monopoly role over the operating system it has missed the fact that punters want to see the software, they do not care about the technology it sits on.
Some analysts tutted that the Vole was silly for delaying the consumer version of Vista until after Christmas, it proved only that they had fallen for the Microsoft belief that the operating system was important. No consumer would ever get excited about getting an operating system for Christmas any more than they do about nice woolly scarves.
It is less likely that Vole will want to blow billions on another operating system ever again. If it has any sense it will be looking at ways to connect consumers to services while unlocking computer power for the likes of games. µ
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