Even Joe Wilcox is saying we'd better start talking about features and less about the geeky improvements in Longhorn: "Been There, Done That" Isn't Good Enough. Specifically, Mr. Wilcox is evaluating Jim Allchin's initial Longhorn buzz-tour and what Allchin is talking about. Snippet:
Jim is telling a well-read story and one emphasizing too many negatives, what I see as code words for fixing what's wrong or what people believe is wrong with Windows: perceived security problems, protected files if notebook lost, troublesome patching processes or painfully difficult networking. I can't see how going on the road to tout perceived problems with Windows is the best way to promote Longhorn. What about the positive user benefits? Surely Microsoft has something to say about Longhorn's positive user benefits.
The more I talk to people when I'm out and about outside the Geekosphere, the more I do hear that they are incredibly happy with Windows XP. It's not just good-enough, it's super-incredibly good-enough.
When Longhorn comes out and if the economy is anything like it is today, folks are not going to be plunking down $100 for that upgrade. They'd rather refuel their car a few times, most likely. And if Allchin's message is forming the foundation for Longhorn's goodness, you damn well better believe they aren't buying a slice of that cheese.
If we as Microsofties (and those vested in the success of the Microsoft platform) want to ensure Longhorn's success we're going to have to take it on ourselves to build the viral buzz of ooh-I-gotta-have-me-some-of-that. To hell with the money drain of folks that can produce commercials of people flying around to Madonna's music. We have to pull Longhorn by the bit-straps now and conjure up the compelling end-user features and energize our customers from the ground up.
Oh sure, I get the giggles when I realize an XML tag can in fact instantiate a .NET class or that I have some super cool vector rendering going on. I'm still a geek at heart and stuff like that makes my heart go pidder-dang-padder. But so what? So what to the folks who have reached a critical mass with iPod deployments such that it is now an entrenched market point, let alone having a halo effect around MacOS deployments? You can poo-poo Apple all day long, but they have a working long-term strategy and seemingly a great ability to ship OS.
Tiger OS vs. Windows XP vs. Longhorn. Who wins?