CNET: Key to Windows 7 Success is Geeks

The way to maintain the reputation of an OS is to make it appeal to the resident geeks because they are the ones who make or break its reputation, according to Don Reisinger at CNET on Monday. Microsoft didnit do that with Vista, but Apple did with Mac OS X.

The downfall of Vista was that while Microsoft tried to build its appeal for the average consumer, its inability to satisfy the geeks created unexpected issued.

"throughout the past year, those stories written by geeks for geeks were littered with criticisms of Vista and countless reasons why the company made mistakes," Mr. Reisinger wrote. He described the trickle down effect:

"... a tech company screws up a product in ways that the tech-savvy crowd will notice, but the mainstream crowd wonit," he continued. "Once that happens, geeks start railing on the product and discuss why itis so bad. Eventually, they start complaining to their family and friends, who donit know much about it and the distaste for products starts entering the mainstream. Once that happens, those people will start talking to others and soon it becomes viral."

Itis important that Microsoft not make the same mistake with Windows 7, but the author isnit sure Microsoft can do it. "The one thing I donit understand about Microsoft and countless other companies in the technology industry is why they donit realize that the influential people are not the average John and Jane Doe," Mr. Reisinger explained. "Instead, the technology industry is dominated by a select few that tell their friends and family why a certain product or service is useless."

Therefore, making Windows 7 even more appealing to the consumer wonit help if the Geeks arenit happy. "...if Microsoft wants Windows 7 to be a success, it better create a product that appeals to that niche and start playing nice with it. If it doesnit, look for Microsoftis PR troubles to continue indefinitely," the author concluded.

TMO notes that Apple doesnit have that problem with Mac OS X. UNIX geeks can play with core elements like LDAP, communication sockets, Bash, X11, NFS, open source, and UNIX daemons to their heartis content, but the average user sees none of that as they read their e-mail and surf the Web.