Microsoft: The Vista Bullying Stops Here

That's the message from Brad Brooks, Corporate Vice President of Windows Consumer Products, who in a Tuesday keynote speech at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston attempted to swat away the negative mojo around the OS that has built up since its launch.

"There are a lot of myths around Windows Vista. We know the story is very different than what our competitors would like us to think," Brooks told the audience.

In a clear dig at Apple and it's 'I'm a PC, I'm a Mac' advertisements, Brooks suggested that Microsoft is preparing to retaliate against "noisy competitors" with a major new multi-million dollar advertising campaign, something that many channel partners have been hoping the software giant would do for months.

"You thought the sleeping giant was still sleeping. We've woken up and it's time to take this message forward. This is the true story of Vista," Brooks said.

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Security is one of the areas in which Vista simply hasn't received its due, Brooks said.

Vista has actually had a cleaner security track record in its first year since launch than any other open source or commercial OS in history, Brooks said. Vista also had 20 percent fewer security problems than XP in 2007, and users running Vista are 60 percent less likely to get malware than those running XP SP2, he added.

"This is the real Vista story, and it's only getting better," said Brooks.

Acknowledging that Vista was a major break from earlier versions of Windows, Brooks said the market is beginning to realize that Microsoft made these changes with their best interests in mind. "Yes, the changes did cause a lot of pain. But customers are starting to see benefits," Brooks said.

Brooks noted that the same architectural changes that caused hardships in Vista are carrying over to Windows 7, which means that users make the transition will already be up to speed when Microsoft launches the next version of Windows sometime in late 2009 or early 2010.

"Make the investment and#91;in Vistaand#93; now," Brooks exhorted channel partners. "Because when you make the investment in Windows Vista, you're not only making it in Vista, it's going to pay forward into the next generation of the operating system we call Windows 7."

Compatibility issues in Vista have also been exaggerated, and Microsoft's Windows Vista Compatibility Center, a database that shows the compatibility status of the most Windows popular devices and software products, is aimed at clearing the air on this front, according to Brooks.

Brooks also introduced the Vista Small Business Assurance program, under which Microsoft will offer free support and one-on-one coaching to small businesses.

"Windows Vista is a good product," Brooks told partners. "We need to make our voices heard."