Profit or Functionality?

Microsoft’s profits fell for the first time in 23 years, assumably due at least in part to weak sales of its Vista operation system.

The predecessor to Vista is called Windows 7, and was originally slated for release in early 2010.

Now the talk is that Windows 7 could be released as early as July of 2009.

Is this actually because Windows 7 will be ready, or merely because Microsoft wants to make the stockholders happy?

This hot on the heels of reports that Microsoft set records for the number of bug and security patches in 2008.

Microsoft has set the standard for all software developers that there are acceptable levels of bugs in released software, and that it’s more important for software to be released on time rather than have it work properly.

Consider that the FAA is currently developing software called ERAM (En Route Automation Modernization) which will replace the software running the radar scopes at the en route centers across the country.  The software is being written by Lockheed Martin under contract, and never mind that there are a lot of critical bugs that have yet to be fixed.

What’s notable is that there is a clear push to have the ERAM software deployed on schedule, whether it works or not.  The timetable has already slipped several times (been re-baselined).

Of course the big difference between the FAA and Microsoft is that the FAA doesn’t have stockholders to satsify with deadlines.

So why the big rush to meet the timetables for ERAM?


  1. On time bonuses for Lockheed Martin trumps all else including safety. Work-arounds and bugs in the system are nothing more than mere annoyances. The folks Flight Service can tell you all about it.

  2. um, i think W7 is the successor and vista the predecessor, but what do i know?!?!?!?!?!?

    as for eram, i do not look forward to that. it will not be ready when we go to it, we are all pretty convinced of that. here’s to hoping that nothing major happens.

  3. It’ll be interesting to see how Microcrap is going to market Windows 7, especially after their “Mojave Experiment” advertising campaign. How do they convince those who just shelled out cash for Vista that a mere two years later they need Windows 7?!

    Regardless, Windows 7 is the OS that Vista should have been.

    Most OS’s are evolutionary; not revolutionary. It’s marketing hype to believe otherwise. And early adopters get penalized; those who rushed out and paid for Vista will pay again for Windows 7. The rest of us benefit from that cycle and pay for only the refined product. (BTW, thanks Vista buyers!)

    Operating systems are about functionality; not flash. Vista was mostly about flash; it’s performance still doesn’t even match XP in many ways. Sure Vista added much needed security to the OS, but most users were blissfully unaware of those issues, and those that weren’t added on software to protect their PCs.

    Vista has had lackluster sales (discount the sales of Vista that weren’t bundled with PCs and it would be dismal I suspect), and MS has had its worst profit ever. You do the math. MS needs an OS that’s going to be popular and sell. Windows 7 might fit that bill.

    It took more than five years from the time Windows XP was released to the release of Vista. It’s only been a little over two years now since the release of Vista and MS has a Release Candidate for Windows 7.

    So either MS just figured out how to cut its last OS development cycle in half, or Windows 7 is just an evolutionary development of Vista.

    And that’s fine, but people don’t really need a new OS every two years. Only OS geeks want a biannual OS change. Win XP has been around since 2001 and is still doing fine; many performance and gaming geeks prefer it to Vista!

    The Vista release date slipped repeatedly and MS was under pressure to distribute it, whether it was ready or not.

    It would appear that so far the FAA/Lockheed Martin’s development of ERAM is almost a carbon copy of the development cycle of Vista.

    It’s taking far longer than they expected, and because of that eventually they’ll distribute it, whether it’s ready or not.

    Unfortunately for the air traffic controllers (and the taxpayers) we can’t choose to run the last version like we did with XP; this “upgrade” (ERAM) is already bought and paid for, and we’ll be forced to use it.

    I’m sure they’ll figure out ERAM eventually too, but initially it ain’t going to be pretty, and like Vista, I’ll be waiting for the successor to ERAM (“ERAM 7”?).

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