It is only fitting that this week I dedicate the computer page to the release of VISTA which was officially launched to personal customers worldwide this Tuesday.
Windows Vista is "dramatically more secure than any other operating system released", says Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Mr Gates said the security features in the new operating system were reason enough to upgrade from Windows XP. Microsoft launched Vista in 120 countries last Tuesday, with more than 100m computers predicted to be using it within 12 months.
Mr Gates also defended the pricing of Vista, which is twice as expensive in Europe compared to the US. Here in Thailand it seems that it will cost about B3,000 to upgrade a legitimate copy of XP home to Vista Premium, or if you don’t have the original XP home to buy a legitimate copy of Vista Premium is around B6,000. Bill Gates called the launch a "big day" that would bring a new digital work style and lifestyle.
The new operating system (OS) boasts an improved interface and security tools.
Mr Gates said security in Vista would mean it would be "much, much harder" for malicious hackers to attack computers running the operating system. "For anybody worried about safety, whether it is phishing or malware or parental control type issues, Vista brings that to a whole new level of capability," he added. Security analysts have praised the improved tools in Vista but many feel that holes in the operating system eventually will be exposed and that Microsoft will continue to need to update it through online patches.
Some industry analysts predict that Microsoft will come under fire if Vista proves to be the popular target of malicious hackers that exploit flaws and expose it weaknesses.
As far as Microsoft is concerned, it's crucial for corporate reputation and revenue that Vista proves more secure and stable than XP. Do your member the regular, almost monthly ‘security updates’ released by Microsoft in the first few years of XP’s life? Microsoft really took a PR hammering at that time. Also, not all PCs will be able to run Vista - Microsoft recommends machines have at least 512Mb of RAM, a 800Mhz processor and 15Gb of free hard disk space.
Worthy of note is that Microsoft has pledged to continue support for XP users until 2011, so as I have said before you really don’t have to rush and upgrade to Vista in the next month or two or even three or four!
The company launched Vista for business users two months ago. Now Vista has been released to consumers, who can buy four home versions.
There is also a stripped down version of the OS, Vista Starter, which is aimed at customers in developing countries. It will be available in 70 languages including Thai and will run on slower and older PCs. I don’t have a release date for this, but if the functionality is anything like the cut down version of XP that was released in Thailand then it will be severely limited in its usability for anything more than very basic users.
But Microsoft could face a backlash from consumers over its pricing plans in Europe. The cost of Vista versions in the US is roughly half the price of equivalent versions in the UK.
For example, prices for the OS in the UK range from about £100 (B7,000) for an upgrade version of the Basic package to £249 (B17,400) for a copy of the upgrade to the Ultimate version of Vista.
In the US prices start from $100 (B4,000) for an upgrade of Vista Home basic to $249 (B10,000) for the equivalent Ultimate version.
Mr Gates defended Microsoft's pricing plans: "We try to keep our prices largely in line from country to country... but with price you do generally get some things that get a bit out of alignment as currencies go up and down.
"Our goal across our product line is to largely have a global way of looking at things."
With nothing very new or exciting being released with XP for several years now, there is bound to be demand for some of the new features in Vista, and it is