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July 9, 2008
Too little too late? Or right on time? Microsoft has launched the Windows Vista Small Business Assurance program — which aims to help partners (and their customers) “Move to Windows Vista with Confidence.” Shockingly, The VAR Guy actually likes the idea. Here’s why.
For more than a year, Microsoft has claimed that Vista has exceeded customer expectations and sales expectations. Hogwash. At the same time, Apple has trampled Vista’s reputation with great marketing and generally solid products. And Linux has caught on with some frustrated Windows users.
Now, Microsoft is finally responding with the Windows Vista Small Business Assurance program and a tagline stating “Move to Windows Vista with Confidence.” According to Microsoft’s Web site, the assurance program includes the following offer:
“Through September 30, Microsoft will provide a phone hotline and an online resource center to address compatibility, usability, and deployment issues around Windows Vista for small business customers that buy a new PC with Windows Vista Business or Windows Vista Ultimate.”
Let’s be clear here: The VAR Guy isn’t making the move to Vista. He’s super-happy with Mac OS X and Ubuntu Linux. But for those partners and customers who see value in Vista (yes, those folks are out there), Microsoft is finally — FINALLY — stepping in with better support.
Still, Microsoft should drop the September 30 deadline for the phone hotline. Small businesses (and their VARs) often buy the bulk of their PCs during calendar Q4 (October through December), when they spend cash on IT to reduce their annual profits and tax burden.
Shame on Microsoft for the Sept. 30 deadline. Shame on Microsoft for a not-so-great operating system. Shame on Microsoft for moving so slowly to address Vista’s shortcomings.
But kudos, Microsoft, for finally waking up and realizing partners (and their customers) needed better Vista support.
The VAR Guy is happy — yes, happy — to see Microsoft getting aggressive on the desktop again. He was a big fan of Windows NT Workstation a decade ago. And he’s open to giving Microsoft another try when Windows 7.0 arrives.
In the meantime, let’s hope Microsoft is serious about improved Vista support.
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