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Operating System of the Year: Microsoft Windows XP
Microsoft rolled out Windows Vista, its next-generation desktop operating system. But for many solution providers and their customers - - at least the ones brave enough to try it - - deploying Vista felt like swimming in cement. Driver support was off. Upgrade paths were off. The performance and security boosts just weren't there. By mid-year, it became clear that it was still no match for what we're now calling Ol' Reliable: our Operating System of the Year for 2007, Windows XP.
Not only are most Tier 1 PC manufacturers still offering XP as an option, most have continued to make it their wink-nod recommendation for business PCs. Some solution providers have gone further: by and large, many have come to view the XP Downgrade path as the most cost-effective and reliable for their customers when it comes time to deliver new hardware.
Driver support is still solid. Performance is great. The User Interface continues to be effective. And for the channel, it continues to do what customers need at a margin and price that works for everyone.
Faithful readers will remember that last year we actually bestowed this crown on Windows Vista, so, they might rightly ask, what gives? It comes down to promise. Last year, Vista packed nothing but huge potential for the channel. But now that we've gotten our hands on it and put it through its paces, we have to say that its promise was not met.
Solution providers say XP is still king, because it just works, and its hardware and service requirements still often make it the best pick for customers. To put it another way, we really didn't know how good we had it with Windows XP until Vista came to town.