I remember the days when software seemed to be the new rock and roll. In the era when Oasis and Blur were fighting it out in the charts for the number one spot, a little know act from the suburbs of Seattle, Microsoft, were working on their own latest release, Windows ’95. In order to maximise interest, Microsoft became the first company to sponsor an entire edition of the Times (I could be wrong on this, so please feel to correct me.) You couldn’t turn a page without coming across another advert or promotion for the latest revolution to hit the desktop.

Such was the media hype that the release even made it on to the BBC news, and my then boss was one of the first in the queue when the shops opened to buy a copy. I don’t know what he was expecting when he got it home and fired up the old PC, dancing girls exploding from the screen, a monitor that could now travel in time, but when he appeared in the office the following Monday, he seemed distinctly crestfallen.

Windows Vista is about the most eagerly awaited software release from the wizards of Redmond since that time. With the initial release date for the business version of the operating system set for November this year, this will be a full 5 years since the last major release, Windows XP and about the biggest gap yet between such important pieces of software.

Windows Vista wasn’t always called thus, originally it was codenamed Longhorn which I thought was a funny name, and I actually joked with a Microsoft employee that it sounded like a good name for a steakhouse. As it turned out it was the name for a steakhouse, one that has apparently been the leading après-ski joint in Whistler for the last decade and a half. Check out the mouth watering menu here

The most touted new benefit of Vista will be the improved security features, continuing Microsoft’s campaign to address concerns about the vulnerability of the various different versions of Windows, which seemed to really kick off nearly 4 years ago with the launch of the trustworthy computing initiative, to find out more check out Wikipedia’s article here. To find out more about the other features of Vista, have a look here.

Will Vista reinvigorate interest in software, only time will tell? Certainly it will be talked about in IT circles, and will grab many headlines in the IT press. Whether the home user will be enthused is another matter, but with the domestic market becoming ever more competitive, this is one area I feel that Microsoft will be determined to succeed in.


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