7th time’s a charm!

It’s hard not to compare Microsoft’s latest (and not so greatest) OS – Vista – with its millennial cousin, Windows ME. But perhaps, this isn’t as bad as it seems?!

In the same way that ME was to revolutionize Win 98, Vista was supposed to take XP to the next level. However, after what seems like endless negative reviews for Vista and its recently released service pack – SP1 – it is clear to many that Vista has fallen far short of expectations.

However, looking back, maybe this is not as bad (but still as frustrating) as it seems?! While Windows Millennium was considered a total dud, it eventually gave way to arguably the best Windows operating system of all time – Win XP. In the same way, maybe Vista’s successor – – will emerge as the next operating system savior.

It is imperative for Microsoft to “get it right” this next go around for a variety of reasons. For one, linuxUbuntu (more specifically ) will continue to gain more and more momentum and market share from both power users and the more casual users who are looking for high quality alternatives to Windows and OS X. Secondly, Apple continues to bite into the PC market with its proprietary hardware/software solutions. And finally, Microsoft does not have much of a choice but to release a worthwhile product. As more and more users rely on web-based applications and services, the desktop and its corresponding operating system becomes less and less critical to everyday computing.

With all this in mind, one cannot help but to hope that when Bill Gates makes reference to releasing Windows 7 “sometime in the next year or so” that he and Microsoft really mean it. The combination of Vista leaving a bad taste in the communal computing mouth and Microsoft’s notorious delays suggest that something needs to change…and fast.

For the record, I am going to bet that Windows 7 will be the next XP.

Update: Microsoft has released a follow-up statement to Bill’s earlier words – read