The colossal failure of OEM

On August 27, 2008, in news, by

On the Open Road blog the title of the article is “PC manufacturers seek shelter from Vista’s drizzle” and it points to a Wall Street Journal about how OEM manufacturers are introducing their own software to make the Vista experience palatable…

If you’ve bought an OEM retail and — not ordered from the business online store but walked into the local Best Buy and bought a retail machine, I’d argue that’s not what’s going on at all.  I’d argue that you don’t find that the OEM vendors are building their own software to make Vista pleasing, rather that what is happening is like what you see on Election day ballot measures.  Peel back the arguments and ask who is paying for the ballot measures and that’s where the real story is. 

There’s always another story behind the story, and to me it looks more like the OEMs have money deals with various software vendors than there is that they are making Vista better.  More often than not you have to pull off all the OEM stuff just to get a Vista that works.

The failure here is the OEM experience, make no mistake about it, but I’m not convinced that OEMs are making it better for users.


One Response to The colossal failure of OEM

  1. DJ says:

    I would have more sympathy for Microsoft’s inability to escape the bad press that hounds Vista like an endless loop of Apple commercials, if they hadn’t brought it on themselves. Years ago the entire tech industry decide that the measure of success for software, for hardware and even for IT concepts was “market share”. Rather than “waste’ time with surveys to determine how well users liked a given program or PC; they merely counted how many installs a particular product had and crowned winners.

    This was manna from heaven for Microsoft, got a new browser or media player, don’t bother with marketing just bundle it into the next release of the OS and instantly it is destine to be the “best” because as people buy new PC they get the new product and soon it has virtually 90% market share and is therefore the winner.

    The problem is that after a decade of bundling ‘middle ware’ (and drivers) Microsoft has completely blured the line between OS and programs for most users. Media Player doesn’t look/feel/play a DVD just like you expect “Vista sucks”, CD burner doesn’t work the way you are use to (Nero or Roxio or NTI) “Vista sucks”, Wordpad lacks the features of your old Word 2k “Vista sucks”, there is an issue with your wireless connection (even a hardware issue) “Vista sucks”.

    Microsoft’s chickens have come home to roost, most users don’t, won’t understand the difference between the OS, the programs and the hardware. Why, because they don’t buy and install programs, everything comes bundled into the PC when they get it. They don’t install hardware, they plug it in ‘plug and play’ does some ‘magic’ and it just work. Therefore everything that comes on the PC, every Microsoft program, most third party programs and even the peripherials is “Vista”. If any of them disappoint, even if that disappointmennt is only a trial version timing out, then it is Vista’s and by extention Microsoft’s fault.

    Microsoft loved bundling when it was a quick shortcut to 90% market share, now it is a expressway to being blamed for every disappointment that a new PC buyer has concerning his shiney new PC. Microsoft got themselves into this mess and only Microsoft can get themselves out, they are going to have to unbundle middle ware from the OS and let the Microsoft’s other divisions stand on their own two feet rather than count on the OS to help them instantly win market share from their competitors. They are going to have to unbundle drivers, all hardware drivers come from the hardware manufacturer, Microsoft doesn’t write drivers, test drivers or certify drivers because they don’t manufacture hardware; hardware problems are the problem of the hardware manufacture.

    If all Microsoft had to answer for was the core OS, then they could produce a new Windows that would be a market winner, if they are going to catch the blame for every flaw (or disappointment) in every new PC they are doomed to an endless string of bad press.