As the man in charge of getting the next version of the Windows operating system, called Vista, out the door, Allchin's schedule is understandably tight. But he agreed to field questions that were submitted by CNET News.com readers.
Interestingly, even though XP will be 5 years old by the time Vista ships (currently scheduled for the end of this year) the questions posted by many readers indicated that they need to be convinced that Vista will be a necessary upgrade.
CNET News.com's Ina Fried asked our readers' questions. Here are those questions and Allchin's answers:
Q: Leon Malinofsky, a lawyer from Northhampton, Mass., asks: For home users that aren't into high-definition entertainment, why do they need Vista? What's the killer feature for the average home PC user?
Allchin: I think that safety and security is the overriding feature that most people will want to have Windows Vista for--even if they're not into home entertainment or in any of the specialty areas. They're just going to feel more safe and secure by using it for a variety of features, whether it be in terms of the anti-malware protection or the anti-phishing protection or in the fact that we can put IE (Internet Explorer) in a sandbox and protect people from accidentally getting bad information or bad code on their systems.
Microsoft Vista coming your way
Microsoft's Jim Allchin speaks about Vista.
A vista of Vista
CNET News.com's Ina Fried asks Microsoft's Jim Allchin questions from readers.
Vista for developers
Microsoft's Neil Charney demonstrates some ways application developers could use the new Vista platform for graphics and data presentation.
Steward Hardt, a software consultant from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., asks how you respond to comments that many of the new features in Vista are already in other operating systems, like Mac OS X? With Mac OS X coming out more often, isn't Microsoft just always playing catch up?
Allchin: There are a number of differences between the Apple approach and the Microsoft approach. First and foremost is we view ourselves as a platform working with many partners. And by that I mean that the breadth of applications that we have on Windows is just unsurpassed. I just don't anticipate that changing, where if you have a particular specialty and you want an application, then an application is going to be available on Windows.
In the business space I think what we're offering with Windows Vista surpassed anything that's available with other operating systems, especially in the mobile space. I don't think Apple has a system that is as comprehensive addressing the control that IT professionals want.
Even in the home space, I think our gaming capability is far superior. And then, just in terms of our pushing ahead, in terms of innovation, the Media Center work we've done and integrating TV--I think that's tremendous innovation. I think the work we've done with Tablet and handwriting recognition--I don't think Apple has any products in that space. So I think Apple is a very good company (with) great products. I think we're making some incredible products and we're bringing a lot to the masses for them to feel that they're getting a lot for their money.
Dwayne Alton asks: Will Microsoft provide a family pack, or some other way to encourage multiple-PC homes to upgrade to Vista?
Allchin: I think that's a great idea and one that I'm supportive of and one that I think there's going to be discussion about for business development. I understand exactly where he's coming from on that.
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