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Partners To Microsoft: Stop Bashing Vista

Microsoft channel partners want the software giant to stop its string of public statements about XP deadline extensions and Windows Vista's shortcomings.

In the past month, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has referred to Vista as "a work in progress" and hinted that Microsoft might extend the June 30 deadline for Windows XP. Earlier this month at the RSA conference in San Francisco, David Cross, a product unit manager at Microsoft, said the User Account Control feature in Vista was designed "to annoy users."

These public comments couldn't come at a worse time for solution providers who've been dutifully chipping away at the market's calcified disdain for Vista, which is fueled by negative feedback both from organizations that have deployed the OS and organizations on the sidelines parroting the 'Vista sucks' meme.

Brian Williams, president of Advantech NW, a Gresham, Ore.-based solution provider, says Vista, when configured and deployed correctly, is actually a solid OS. "We've completed our deployment to Vista internally, and we're finding that we can support it in controlled environments and that it does work right," he said.

However, now that Advantech NW is ready to start recommending Vista to its clients, Williams says Microsoft's recent comments about Vista and XP are making it difficult to get clients excited about migrating. "It couldn't come at a worse time: The supposed June 30th deadline is around the corner, Vista SP1 is here, and folks are ready to get on board," he said.

In a Sunday blog post, Susan Bradley, a Microsoft Small Business Specialist partner in Fresno, Calif., implored Microsoft to stop making the task of selling Vista more difficult by publicly discussing its shortcomings.

"I'm not asking you to lie to your customers nor your partners, but a little Vista love out in the marketplace would go a long way to showing me that you understand that your business impacts [our] business," Bradley wrote.

Microsoft has been making statements about Vista that differ from the established party line, but that's just because the vendor is being more realistic about Vista than in the past, said Matt Makowicz, president of Endeavor Technologies, a Somerset, N.J.-based solution provider.

"Microsoft used to say, 'Vista is fantastic, what's the problem?' But now, Microsoft's field reps are talking with partners and acknowledging that not everything is perfect with Vista, but also assuring them that Microsoft is working on fixing the problems," said Makowicz.

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