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Mission Accomplished: The State of Windows Vista

The text of Paul Thurrott's State of Windows Vista address, as prepared for delivery.

Madam Kroes, Mr. Jobs, members of the open source movement, distinguished pundits, and fellow netizens: Almost five years have passed since I first sat in the audience at PDC 2003 and gazed at the wonders of what Microsoft promised us in Windows Vista. In that time, Microsoft has been tested in ways that none of us could have imagined. The company faced hard decisions about security and functionality, rising competition from Apple, Linux, Nintendo, and Sony, from Google, Yahoo!, and a host of startups no one had even heard of just months before. These competitive issues call for vigorous strategy changes, and I think it's fair to say that Microsoft answered the call.


History will record that amid our disappointments and shattered expectations, the company acted with purpose. And with Windows Vista, Microsoft showed the world the power and resilience of its most dominant and important platform.

All of us were originally driven to Windows to carry out business. That is the purpose of this operating system. It is the meaning of our bond. It remains our charge to keep.

The actions of the European Union and antitrust watchdogs elsewhere will affect the security and prosperity of Windows long after the Windows Vista mainstream support life cycle has ended. In this interim year between Windows releases, let us show our fellow Windows users that we recognize our responsibilities and are determined to meet them.

Let us show that Windows Vista and Windows XP can compete for users and cooperate for results at the same time.


From expanding the capabilities of the OS to protecting its users, Microsoft has made good progress with Windows Vista. Yet the company has unfinished business before us, including the Fiji update to Windows Media Center, and Windows users people expect Microsoft to get it done. Service Pack 1 was only the beginning.

In the work ahead, Microsoft must be guided by the philosophy that made its operating system great. As Windows users, we believe in the power of individuals to determine their destiny and shape the course of history. We believe that the most reliable guide for is the collective wisdom of ordinary users.

And so, in all we do, we must trust in the ability of free peoples to make wise decisions and empower them to improve their lives for their futures. Don't listen to tech pundits with secret agendas. Windows Vista is not the failure they say it is.


To build a prosperous platform, we must trust User Account Control to protect users on their own PCs and empower them to securely run only those applications they chose to download. As we meet tonight, Windows security is undergoing a period of great improvement. Windows has had better security for a record 52 straight months. It's all thanks to Windows Vista.

But the ecosystem is now growing at a record pace as well. The sheer number of devices out there is up, and so is the number of legacy applications. Emigration to the Mac is rising, but the overall PC market growth rate is slowing. Vista lives in a different world than that faced by XP six years ago.

In home offices across our country, there is a concern about the future of Windows. In the long run, Windows users can be confident about Microsoft's ability to innovate, but in the short run, we can all see that Windows Vista hasn't really energized the user base.

So, this past quarter, Microsoft shipped Service Pack 1, a major update to Vista with a robust performance growth package that includes better compatibility for hardware and software and incentives for businesses to upgrade.

The temptation was to pack SP1 with extra features. That would have delayed it or derailed it, and neither option was acceptable.


This is a good update that will keep Windows growing and people working productively. And businesses simply must upgrade to it as soon as possible.


Microsoft has other work to do. Unless the company acts, most of the mobility, video game, and Internet innovations it has delivered over the past seven years will be taken away by the competition.

Some in Microsoft argue that letting its Yahoo! bid expire is not a failure.

Try explaining that to the institution shareholders who will see their share price fall by an average of $5 this week alone. Others have said they would personally be happy to see Microsoft buy AOL, or Facebook, or perhaps MySpace. I welcome their enthusiasm. I am pleased to report that Microsoft has enough cash on hand to buy all three.



Contrary to what the pundits say, most Windows users think Windows Vista is good enough. With all the other pressures on their tech dollars, Windows users should not have to worry about Apple taking a bigger bite out of their paychecks. I mean, we've all bought at least two iPods each already. There is only one way to eliminate this uncertainty: Buy Windows Vista, early and often.

Members of the blogosphere should know, if any attempt is made to preach a conversion to Mac OS X or, God help us, Linux, I will veto it.


But just as we trust Windows users to make the right OS choice, Microsoft need to earn their trust by spending their dollars wisely on new Windows innovations, and not by funding money-losing projects like Live Search and the Zune.


Windows users have to make the right choices; so should their OS vendor.

The people's trust in Microsoft is undermined by poorly-researched tech pundits, Mac-friendly mainstream news reporters, special interest groups dedicated to open source, antitrust watchdogs, and dubious Vista complaints that are often snuck in at the last minute, without discussion or debate. Microsoft has automated telemetry data. They know your all-in-one printer was fixed months ago, Mr. Pirillo.

Unfortunately, you never recanted your spurious charges.

So, this time, people, if you send me a link to a news article or blog post that does not accurately reflect how Vista is doing in the market, I'll send it back to you with my veto.


Our shared responsibilities extend beyond matters of truth vs. perception. On Windows Vista, we must trust users with the responsibility of upgrading and empower them to weather the occasional missing or poorly-written driver.

And Microsoft can help even more.

Tonight I ask the company to transparently explain how Windows will be upgraded in the future, both with regards to Fiji and other Windows Vista updates, and with Windows 7.


It's been a difficult time for many Windows users and, by taking these steps, we can help more of them plan for the future and ignore the anti-Vista hype.

To build a future of quality Windows updates, we must trust pundits and users to make the correct technical decisions and empower them with better information and better options.

We share a common goal: making computing more affordable and accessible for all users.


The best way to achieve that goal is by expanding consumer choice, not antitrust control.


So I propose ending the bias in the blogosphere against those who actually do use and enjoy Windows Vista. This one change would put private outrage where it belongs, in the sad backwater of the Apple blogosphere, and I call on users of all operating systems to ignore these people.

Microsoft has met challenges and faced dangers, and we know that more lie ahead. Yet we can go forward with confidence, because Microsoft has sold 140 million licenses of Windows Vista and will sell over 200 million by its second year anniversary. The State of Windows Vista is strong, its cause in the world is right, and tonight that cause goes on. God bless.


See you again when Windows 7 ships in 2010. Thank you for your prayers.

With sincerest apologies to President George W. Bush and his 2007 and 2008 State of the Union addresses.

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