Allan also brings up the good point about Vista's so-called Life Cycle (which was more akin to The Death Star, I though).
Vista's early bad rep was followed by Microsoft's incredibly quick announcement of Win7's imminent arrival. So "bad rep" plus "next new thing" really crushed Vista, I thought. I never understood if Ballmer knew what he was doing (was Vista so core-based BAD that he knew it had no future, or knew it needed a massive change into Win7 internals?), but he doesn't seem like a complete idiot. Although junking up systems with 300 non-useful fonts really angers me - I've never done that to HIS computer before.
We were putting out 2000+ PCs a year during those two years, and the great majority of those customers are "bleeding edge" types - "I will pay top dollar to have the greatest new thing!" They've done this for 20 years with our company.
But Vista and our red-flag Hold-Off signals weren't just lowering our bleeding-edge maniac temperatures - they were dousing them. And when user conventions show off hot-new hardware on XP running faster with fewer resources than on Win7, that's another good dousing of The Bleeding Edge Factor.
"Will our customers ever get this incentive back?" That's OUR big question. In our smaller market (home theater media RAID servers), it's still going to be HDD Capacity and "Ease Of User Interface to find one film out of 10,000 instead of 1,000 due to HDD increases". In our larger, lucrative audio-market, HDD capacity is the more normal back-office environment, but fast HDDs with good storage (2Tb) is still a desktop requirement, too.
Our computer-installs have been 400 since the HDD Prices went stratospheric, and a third of those have been Necessary Replacements. We still have a big Cautionary Use Of New Dollar Spending On Hardware for our customers just because of HDD expenses. When the Seagate Monopoly wants to start selling a lot, though, all they have to do is make prices reasonable-TO-CONSUMERS again. I did see they made record-profits recently. Gee - no kiddin'.
("Dear Ballmer & Wall Street Pundits: Win9 is REALLY causing these sales slumps.")