James Governor thinks that the Vista launch will be huge, due to web/RSS integration:
I have a post in mind about why Vista is going to be major launch, like Win 95, which not even the Microsoft Vista team seems to believe. But its not the OS that will sell the OS, its the integrated handling of standard specifications that will sell the OS. I am not the biggest fan of integrated aggravation but its a model that works for hundreds of millions of people. RSS, rather than XML per se, may be the killer spec for Office 12.
I have my doubts. For one thing, I'm not completely convinced that Vista will actually get out the door anytime soon. Microsoft has coded themselves into a corner with the the various integrations they've done already - this release has been delayed how long already? From the Vista Office blog:
The story of Windows Vista has been a scrappy one to date. Three years late, with countless stops and starts, plus a rewrite-from-scratch, has left public confidence more than a little shaken. However, its public release towards the end of 2006 should see the operating system back on track. Here’s a short rundown on what has happened so far:
I can't see businesses taking the new Office as a serious reason to move up from XP - the ridiculous Ribbon is certainly not a reason to move from Office 2003. What actual new functionality are you getting? As to the OS, what actual new stuff is left, beyond the UI shell upgrade? Not a whole heck of lot. The "rewrite from scratch" aspect of things also bodes ill for this - partly because I don't buy it. What I would guess is that they threw the (then current build) away, tossed a few of the more ill behaved new components, and started rewriting other stuff in light of their absence. Not a confidence builder, IMHO.
Windows has reached an impasse of complexity. It's largely C++, which is a hard language to deal with - especially for large projects. Making C++ code move from point A to point B is hard, and gets harder with large codebases. Heck, once the size is as large as the Windows codebase, even a dynamic language (Smalltalk, Ruby, et. al.) would be harder to push around. You wouldn't have memory handling as a problem, but there would still be problems.
All through the late 90's, I watched people whine about how MS "had to be stopped", because they were integrating "everything" into the OS. Heck, there are entities out there who still want Media Player removed. What none of those people saw was the expanding pool of molasses that MS was sinking Windows into. The more stuff they larded in, the harder it got to move. That's why Vista is so late, and why I think many, many corporate users will hold back. It's conventional wisdom to let a new Windows release bake for a bit before upgrading now. With all the delays that Vista has had, that notion is just reinforced.
IT managers won't even consider RSS as a reason to upgrade. I rather suspect that they'll consider XP to be "good enough" for a long while yet. On the consumer end, new machines will ship with it, sure. However - I'm going to return to one of my hobby horses here, DRM. Sony and EMI have caught a lot of hell for their stupid (and hostile) DRM implementations. Well, how long do you think it will be before the first person with a legal copy of a DVD slaps it into his upgraded machine and gets told to sod off before the same kind of hue and cry arises? Not long, I'll bet.
Here's the thing - RSS is big amongst the tech-literati now, and will eventually be big for the general public. However, any positive noise based on that will be overwhelmed by the DRM nightmare that MS is lining itself up for. The "cool, I can track 100 websites" buzz won't quite match the "why the heck does my DVD look so fuzzy?" Or worse: "Your monitor isn't compliant? WTF is up with that?"
We know that hostile DRM gets buzz. Unless MS gets a clue and decides against the PVP-OVM crapware they plan to include, they'll get hammered with the same cluestick that Sony and EMI are feeling. I'm guessing that they won't like it any better.