There's still more than seven months left in 2009 for any last minute tech flops, but barring any amendments, Time has posted its list of what it views as the 10 biggest tech failures of the last decade. Compiled in no particular order, Time kicks off the list with Microsoft Vista, pointing out the OS's "underwhelming" user satisfaction and rocky start.
Gateway comes next for its fall from being the No. 3 PC maker (in terms of market share) in the US in 2004, to being acquired by Acer in 2007 for just $710 million.
HD-DVD makes its requisite appearance on the list (we're still bitter over that one), and somewhat surprisingly, YouTube makes an appearance as well based in large part on low estimated revenues.
View the full list here, then hit the jump and tell us what you'd change.
Everyone seems excited about the upcoming launch of Windows 7, and with good reason. By many accounts -- speed being the primary one -- Windows 7 is what Vista should have been all along. So where, then, does that leave Vista once Windows 7 starts shipping?
"We are still not sure if [computer makers] will be able to ship Vista once Windows 7 is made available," said Richard Francis, general manager and Windows client business group lead at Microsoft Asia-Pacific. "Having said that, an enterprise customer that purchases a PC with Windows 7 pre-installed is allowed to downgrade to Vista should they desire, similar to what we have today on Vista to XP."
Francis went on to reiterate that Microsoft will stop support forVista in April 2012. And it's probably a safe bet that Vista won't see anywhere near the same user outcry that XP saw, which helped the OS avoid a stay of execution more than once. After stumbling out of the gates with performance hampering bugs, most are looking forward to moving on.
"It's been a long time since we've had a version of Windows that will actually run better [than a previous version] on the hardware that most customers have," Mike Nash, corporate vice president of the Windows product management group at Microsoft, told reporters during a conference call.
Windows 7 recently went into Release Candidate (RC) form and will be available to the general public for download tomorrow, May 5th.
Most users who have tried Windows 7 like it - a lot, but if you (or your company) are worried about what happens if old hardware or software you rely on won't play nice with the latest Windows version, stop worrying. According to Cnet's Ina Fried and ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley, Windows 7 users will have the option to downgrade from 7 to either Windows Vista or even "the operating system that will not die," Windows XP.
Volume-licensing (aka "Software Assurance") customers have been able to do this for some time, but Microsoft has confirmed that downgrades from 7 to either Vista or XP will be available for at least a while after Windows 7 ships.
If you're on the fence about Windows 7, does the availability of downgrade rights make a difference? Join us after the jump for your chance to sound off.
That's the message that Microsoft announced today on its Engineering Windows 7 blog, Cnet's Ina Fried reports.
While Microsoft says you can upgrade from Win7 Beta to RC when it becomes available, it prefers that you upgrade from Windows Vista to Windows 7 RC. Why? As the E7 blog entry points out:
The RC...is about getting breadth coverage to validate the product in real-world scenarios. As a result, we want to encourage you to revert to a Vista image and upgrade or to do a clean install, rather than upgrade the existing Beta. We know that means reinstalling, recustomizing, reconfiguring, and so on. That is a real pain. The reality is that upgrading from one pre-release build to another is not a scenario we want to focus on because it is not something real-world customers will experience.
This reasoning makes sense from Redmond's standpoint, but since the same blog post acknowledges that millions of users (including, I bet, a lot of Maximumpc.com fans) are using Windows 7 Beta as their "full time" operating system, Microsoft has outlined a way to bypass the usual installer checks. Join us after the jump for the details.
While Windows XP has proven itself to be the biggest contender to Microsoft’s (almost) flagship OS, Windows Vista, it could very well outlive it and perhaps come to compete with Windows 7.
According to recent reports, Microsoft recently granted HP and exclusive OEM license extension for XP all the way into the depths of 2010. This would line it up to go side by side with Windows 7 on netbooks, and provide healthy competition in that sector. With this number in mind, it will make Windows XP almost nine years old before it finally stops shipping.
It’s not expected that HP will ship PCs with Windows XP on them other than netooks. A massive 96 percent of the netbook market is running off of Windows, and an overwhelming majority of this is XP.
Still, netbooks aside, Windows XP is still the global majority leader with a market share of 62.85 percent. Windows Vista rolls in at second place with a 23.42 percent share.
Vista might not have lived up to the pre-release hype on the day of its release, but at least as time went on, the initial bugs and hiccups have been mostly ironed out. What started off as a problematic OS has evolved into a respectable replacement for XP, no matter what the haters might tell you. If only the same could be said for former Microsoft Windows executive Jim Allchin's first foray into the solo music scene.
Allchin, who left Microsoft in 2007, recently released a solo guitar-and-vocals album titled "Enigma" (we would have gone with "Enema"), which made its way onto iTunes earlier this week. But unlike Vista, which got off to a rocky start but held promise, "Enigma" might have more in common with Windows ME, another utterly forgettable release.
"This is literally one of the, if not THE, worst albums I've heard," a listener wrote. "I'd say it's the 'Istar' of music, but that would be doing a grave disservice to 'Istar.' I cringe when I hear this ,and I'm at a loss for words to describe why it's so bad."
So are we, but maybe you'll have better luck than us. Give it a listen here, then hit the jump and offer up your critique.
Developer Creative Assembly’s new-er RTS, Stormrise, isn’t a simple, no-strings-attached type of girl like its sister franchise-in-arms, Total War. No sir – while Total War only aims to please (and succeeds, by the look of things), Stormrise won’t relinquish the key to its post-apocalyptic chastity belt without a little wining and dining first. However, whereas Windows XP’s reliable charms might’ve brought the princess back to your castle back in middle school, Stormrise wants – nay, needs – more.
"Stormrise has been designed for DirectX 10 and Vista only right from the start," said Stormrise lead designer Artem Kulakov."Vista only. DX10 only. No fallback option. We have never suggested this or hinted at it, so it shouldn't be a surprise."
But why bet the success of a new franchise on a pie-in-the-sky setup that only 25% of PC gamers can even access? Short answer: consoles.
"DX10 has offered a lot of advantages over DX9," Kulakov added. "First of all, DirectX 10 allowed us to simplify the rendering engine. It matches capabilities of next generation consoles better than DX9, which is important for us considering that Stormrise is a multi-platform title. We had fewer driver-specific compatibility issues with Stormrise compare to our previous games released with DX9."
Person-with-bad-idea-during-a-recession-says-what? Consoles and RTSes (especially those of the obscure, generically titled variety) are notorious for their inability to play nice together. Really, it's like putting all of your eggs in one basket with a gaping hole in the bottom; the expected outcome is as clear as day, so why even do it?
Will Windows 7 bring glad tidings for gamers? Chris Lewis, VP of Interactive Entertainment Business for Microsoft EMEA, certainly believes the new OS will keep gamers happy.
"It's all good news - it's even more robust, it's quicker relatively, and the early testing cycles are proving very promising overall,” an excited Lewis told Gameindustry.biz in an interview. He said the company will divulge more details later this year.
Lewis didn’t forget to reassure gamers that Microsoft remains committed to PC gaming. “Ultimately we're a Windows and PC company at heart,” Lewis accentuated Microsoft’s commitment to its roots.
If you're on the Microsoft Connect testing list for Windows Vista SP2 or Windows Server 2008 SP2, Redmond has just rung the "come and get it" bell - SP2 RC (the same package upgrades both Vista SP1 and Windows Server) was released to MS Connect testers yesterday, Ars Technicareports.
So, what's special about SP2 RC? Some highlights include:
Support for VIA's 64-bit CPU
Integration of the Windows Vista Feature Pack for Wireless, including support for Bluetooth 2.1
Support for writing to Blu-ray media
Integration of Windows Search 4.0
Better and more secure installation experience
Over 690 hotfixes
If you're not among the fortunate few testing Vista SP2 RC, what should you be doing until you can try it? For our suggestions, as well as an early comparison with Vista RC1 (not to mention your chance to sound off), join us after the jump.
After purchasing a Lenovo PC preloaded with Microsoft's Windows Vista, Emma Alvarado was shocked to learn she would have to pay $59.25 in order to downgrade to Windows XP. She's now taking the matter to court and has a filed a lawsuit against Microsoft.
"Microsoft has used its market power to take advantage of consumer demand for the Windows XP operating system by requiring consumers to purchase computers preinstalled with the Vista operating system and to pay additional sums to 'downgrade' to the Windows XP operating system," the suit alleges.
The suit is an interesting one, though probably an uphill battle for Alvrado to convince a judge that Microsoft is in the wrong. The software maker had originally intended for XP to go the way of the dodo bird at the end of June in 2008, but has since offered more than one stay of execution due to consumer demand. Both Vista Business and Ultimate come with downgrade rights, but it's up to the OEMs to decide if they want to offer it as an option, and if so, for how much. Pricing varies by OEM, which might make Alvarado's claim that Microsoft extended its XP cutoff date because of "tremendous profits" hard to prove in court.
Does Alvarado have a case? Hit the jump and give us your verdict.