Friday, May 30, 2008

Is Microsoft Repeating Vista Mistakes with Windows 7?

In the world of technology, success is linked to perceptions. Microsoft its multi-touch technology in a Windows 7 demo at the D: All Things Digital conference this week, and the software giant may have hoped to overcome the perception that Apple owns touchscreen interfaces. Instead, some observers are wondering if Microsoft is making the same mistakes that now plague Windows Vista.

"We are always looking for new ways to deliver great experiences for our customers," Chris Flores wrote on the Windows Vista blog. "This is especially true of Windows -- where we're constantly examining trends in hardware, software and services to ensure that we continue to drive the innovation."

Copying Apple

But Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at JupiterResearch, is among those who are scratching their heads about Microsoft's moves this week. He has one overarching question after viewing the demo: Is Redmond making the mistakes it made with Vista all over again?

"Some of the mistakes Microsoft made with Vista were talking up the next version of Windows way too early, showing off features out of context with the rest of the operating system," Gartenberg said. "The second mistake was focusing so much on multi-touch."

Apple didn't invent touchscreen technology. In fact, Microsoft was working on the concept long before Apple publicly demonstrated its efforts. However, touchscreen technology has become almost synonymous with Apple and the iPhone, Gartenberg said, and he wonders why Microsoft is showing off a feature that makes the company appear as if it is copying Apple instead of innovating on its own.

"Yes, Microsoft wants to recapture the notion that Apple didn't invent multi-touch, that they have their own implementation of it, but is that really the right way to go about this?" Gartenberg asked. "It's a perception issue. It makes Microsoft look like it is chasing after Apple. Microsoft probably is working on some innovative technology in the back room somewhere that they could have shown off at this conference, and didn't."More>>