Microsoft's best marketing for Vista will come from simplicity -- making the value of Vista as easy to understand as possible, so people can look and say Vista is a lot better than the version they have now, Are there too many of them to communicate the value of Vista?
It looks to me that Microsoft has added another layer of bureaucracy. At a time when startups are starting to show some real promise again, Microsoft now looks even bigger and potentially slower than it was before.
My concern is that Microsoft has introduced too much complexity, making more difficult the arduous purchase decision process. Microsoft is right to get information out earlier, because evaluating an Office purchase will be much harder for businesses this release cycle compared to Office 2003 or XP.
The approach has a lot of merit. Real is taking Rhapsody beyond the [PC software] and opening it with respect to other platforms, plus it brings the first real subscription music service to Mac and Linux-based products.
It used to be that the corporate network was totally separate from the home. Now we have a commingling of network roles, of devices, of technology, and of user behavior, and all of that increases the attack vectors open to hackers.
Microsoft has made more of a demarcation of versions around features and capabilities. If you look at Professional and Home, the major difference was networking. Now with the new line-up there is a fair bit of differentiation around features.
There's money to be made off browsers, in part because of search. The browser may be a giveaway, but it's a freebee people use to access content they are willing to pay for or advertisers are willing to subsidize.
By cutting these technologies free of the mother ship, they are able to develop based on their own merits and without any constraints. I do see the need to support Windows and Office as potentially constraining some development [within Microsoft].
I'm sure it's not lost on Microsoft executives that the world's third largest computer company is from China. Microsoft has a problem: PC growth is highest in emerging markets like China, where software piracy rates are high. China deals could be construed as generating goodwill, which Microsoft would want to use to gain greater Chinese government cooperation fighting piracy.