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FUD Surrounds Vista

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Hot on the heels of Microsoft’s postponement of the consumer launch of Windows Vista comes bad news about the actual code of the product, reported yesterday by Australian tech magazine Smarthouse:

Up to 60% of the code in the new consumer version of Microsoft new Vista operating system is set to be rewritten as the Company “scrambles” to fix internal problems a Microsoft insider has confirmed to SHN.

Quoting the complete text of an internal Microsoft memo about changes to the Platforms & Services Division that Microsoft announced, the article goes into some length to present a convincing story about a sense of panic at Microsoft, saying that “analysts estimate that Microsoft’s delays in releasing the next generation of its operating system, known as Vista, have cost it about $500 million.”

As you’d expect, this story has already been widely commented on and repeated in mainstream media.

But is it true?

According to Robert Scoble, it’s not:

Rewrite of Windows Vista underway? Hogwash! I can’t believe that headlines get written like this. Totally 100% false. Provably so. I totally agree with Alec Saunders. Can the journalist and editor who wrote this do some homework please?

Update: I just talked with Frank Shaw, vice president at Waggener Edstrom (Microsoft’s main PR company), he says this article is absolutely not true. Frank knows more people inside Microsoft than anyone else I know (he hangs out with all the execs). There aren’t any Xbox developers moving to Windows, he tells me (verified from other people I know inside Microsoft too).

As I write this post on Saturday morning, just 24 hours after the Smarthouse story, I see in my RSS reader more mainstream media reports on the Vista rewrite. What’s interesting, too, is that in the midst of this kerfuffle, more blog posts are appearing that question the supposed facts. Those posts stem from Robert’s hogwash’ post.

BetaNews has a story quoting a Microsoft spokesperson’ denying the code change story (some of the words Betanews uses are remarkably similar to the words in Robert’s post).

This is a meme that has gathered a real head of steam very quickly indeed in the blogosphere. It has already created a lot of FUD.

If this story simply is not true, then what Microsoft needs to do is squash it flat and do it quickly – at least as quickly as news and opinion flashes around the blogosphere. That means an official announcement of some sort which, unlike the typical Microsoft corporate press release, doesn’t have to be glitzy and massaged.

A clear and credible statement with the facts will do just fine.

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Neville Hobson is the author of the popular NevilleHobson.com blog which focuses on business communication and technology.

Neville is currentlly the VP of New Marketing at Crayon. Visit Neville Hobson’s blog: NevilleHobson.com.

FUD Surrounds Vista
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