Caution: This article contains personal opinions.Once upon a time, Microsoft said that Windows Vista would transform life as we knew it. I don't know about you, but my life hasn't been transformed. If Vista transformed your life, please let me know how that happened.
Microsoft also said that Vista would transform the way people worked and played, and address the “needs and aspirations” of people worldwide. Now Microsoft can't even get people to upgrade from XP to Vista: many PC manufacturers sell PCs with Vista installed and then also offer voluntary "downgrades" to XP, due to customer demand. So much for the "aspirations of people worldwide."
Microsoft isn't the only company to have its predictions turn into pixie dust. Circuit City said firing its most experienced salespeople would save the company. Have you been to a Circuit City store lately? Right. They aren't there any more. So much for saving the company.
Apple apple said that Web-based applications were all that iPhone owners needed. Now the Apple App Store is one of the most popular offerings anywhere on the Internet and provides (mostly) non-Web applications. Apple's new slogan is “There’s an app for that.”
eBay purchased Skype for $2.6 billion in 2005 but now is trying to sell it for $2 billion. In 2005, eBay stated that the purchase of Skype would enhance communication between merchants and buyers on eBay, but that never panned out. OK, so what's a $600 million loss over four years?
AOL purchased Time Warner in 2000 and immediately announced that it would create the world's largest media company.. (The new company also owned the Atlanta Braves, Turner Broadcasting, and numerous other companies.) AOL Time Warner has been going downhill ever since and has now dropped the letters "AOL" from the company name. The AOL subsidiary apparently has been for sale for some time but nobody wants to buy it.
Here's a bit of trivia: Did you know that AOL no longer ships millions of sign-up disks? Just try to find one in a store. Antique stores don't count. However, you can download an AOL disk online and burn it yourself to a CD. That's assuming that you can first get online through some other online service.If we go back further and further in time, we can find many more examples of corporate promises that fizzled. (Anyone remember the Apple Newton?)
Corporate CEOs and their PR departments have been notoriously inaccurate at predicting the future.
We can go on and on looking at the promises from all sorts of corporations. Most of them have similar track records. However, let's now examine the current press releases from a certain multi-billion dollar corporation.
Microsoft's Windows 7 is going to be released in a few days, on October 22. The company's advertising proclaims that Windows 7 will provide "faster, more responsive performance" but doesn't mention that you will need at least one gigabyte (GB) of RAM memory in order to run as fast as a Windows XP system with a quarter-gigabyte of RAM memory. Reviewers are suggesting that the new operating system will load and operate on one gigabyte of RAM memory but most people will find that to be slow. Two gigabytes is recommended.
The Windows 7 advertising also claims it will "reduce interruptions." I assume that is when compared to Vista which certainly increased interruptions from previous releases.
For those who find they do not care for the new Windows 7, Microsoft has added a Windows XP Mode which will allow the user to revert to the XP operating system. Using Windows XP Mode requires an ADDITIONAL 1 gigabyte of RAM memory (a total of at least two gigabytes and you might want more), an additional 15 gigabytes of available hard disk space, and a processor capable of hardware virtualization with Intel VT or AMD-V turned on. In other words, the processor in your present machine probably won't qualify. All this just to revert back to the eight-year-old version of Windows?
I am picking on Microsoft at the moment simply because it is the next company to release a multi-million dollar "upgrade" that will offer little new functionality. But Microsoft is not alone; plenty of other corporations have done the same.
The next time you read a press release that talks about something that will be "new, bigger, and revolutionary," just remember the tailfins of a 56 DeSoto. "Lovely to look at and delightful to drive!"