A timely snapshot, heading into PDC week; see the full article for more details
Today, Microsoft's operating-system software is thriving. It runs at least nine out of every 10 computers. Vista, for all the criticism, has sold more than 180 million copies since hitting the market Jan. 30, 2007. In the past quarter alone, Windows generated sales of $4.2 billion, 28 percent of Microsoft's revenue. As it has for years, Windows is fueling the company's expansion into newer businesses, including entertainment and Internet search.
Past the numbers, however, the Windows franchise, particularly Vista, has taken more than its share of hits. Vista was repeatedly delayed and stripped of features during a five-year development process that Microsoft has vowed not to repeat. When it finally arrived, the "ecosystem" of companies that make hardware and software for Windows wasn't ready, leading to months of compatibility problems that angered users.
Even though Microsoft and its partners have addressed these issues, and new computers handle Vista smoothly, the bad reputation has been tough to shake.