Paul Thurrott has an interesting post on the Windows Vista Reset:
Much of the problems are related to corporate culture, and that won’t be fixed by Microsoft’s recent reorganization. Microsoft is far too big a company with far too many levels of executives, to move quickly and seize on new market trends. Windows Vista, as a result, is fighting the OS battles of the last decade, reacting rather than being proactive and innovative. Mac OS X users, for example, can point to many of Vista’s features and correctly note that they appeared first on Apple’s system, sometimes years ago. For Microsoft, a company that desperately wants to be seen as an innovator, this situation is untenable.
The ironic thing is that most of Microsoft’s system software customers don’t want the company to be a frontline innovator: they just want a system that’s reliable, works, and makes computers easier to use. Many of the early problems for Vista stemmed from its features being driven by engineers obsessed with the latest buzzwords rather than concentrating on the user – which, ironically enough, was one of the things that sank Apple’s Copland project.
On every feature that’s added in Vista, Microsoft needs to answer a question: "Does this feature add immediate benefits for either the end user or developers?" And, as a secondary question once you’ve decided that it does, "Can it be implemented in a way that either makes the system easier to use, or, at worst, no more difficult?" If the answer is no to either of these, then that feature cannot make the cut. This is what didn’t happen with Copland, and is one of the things that sank the project.
However, it appears that Microsoft has realised the potential for a Copland scenario. As Paul puts it:
All that said, Windows Vista is now on track. Current beta builds of the system show an OS that is far more similar to Windows XP, with fewer new features and a much less elegant interface, than originally planned. But it’s a solid-looking release, and some of the upcoming consumer-oriented features, which Microsoft will reveal between now and the Beta 2 release in early December, are sure to wow users. Has Microsoft gotten its groove back? Not at all, and there are still huge changes that need to be made. But righting the ship for Windows Vista was a good first step.
Fewer and better implemented is better, so it’s heartening to know that’s the path Microsoft is going on.