Copyright ©2008 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

ARI SHAPIRO, host:

As of today, computer users can no longer buy the operating system Windows XP. And that means consumers will have to buy the newer Vista operating system. We called Lance Ulanoff, the editor-in-chief of PC Magazine, to tell us more about it.

Good morning.

Mr. LANCE ULANOFF (Editor-in-chief, PC Magazine): Good morning.

SHAPIRO: Well, why is Microsoft doing this?

Mr. ULANOFF: They actually have a new product out there - Vista. And they're really trying to drive people to buying that new operating system, whether they like it or not.

SHAPIRO: Why wouldn't people want the newer system?

Mr. ULANOFF: Well, it's very interesting. There were many great promises about the Vista operating system. And I think that Microsoft may have under-delivered a little bit. It is not as easy to use as it should be. It basically is a little bit dissatisfying, and everybody was finally quite satisfied with Windows XP.

SHAPIRO: But forcing people to buy the new system whether they like it or not does not seem like the best way to please your customer base.

Mr. ULANOFF: It's interesting, because they're not entirely moving on. First of all, they're going to sell out whatever XP is still on shelves. They're not really going to pull it. They're just going to say we're not going to ship it to you anymore, so you can sell it. Sell what you have. Also, system manufacturers, they're still going to be selling XP systems until the end of this year, and maybe even a little bit after that.

SHAPIRO: Any other options for people who are just frustrated with Vista and don't want it?

Mr. ULANOFF: There's always e-Bay and friends with old copies. But those options are going to become more and more limited. And, obviously, while Microsoft has promised extended support, you know, their attention will start to turn away from this operating system. And so will manufacturers, which means that when you buy new stuff, you may no longer find XP drivers.

SHAPIRO: Well, what are people's complaints, generally, about Vista?

Mr. ULANOFF: They find it confusing. They find that their hardware doesn't work with it. It is a learning curve. They understood how Windows XP worked. Windows XP wasn't - there was kind of this thread of connection, and Vista's a big change. And, for example, it does annoying things. There was a very big push on security, except that every time you do something, something pops up to ask you, do you really want to do that? Yeah, it's like, yes. I pressed the button. Of course I want to do that.

But, you know, to Microsoft's credit, Vista's actually a pretty good operating system. It is more secure. It does have a lot of features. Having said that, that's one of the problems. It has a lot of features. It's overwhelming to most people.

SHAPIRO: Does the fact that some customers are dissatisfied with Vista mean they're going to migrate to Macs?

Mr. ULANOFF: This is prime time for Apple, and they are taking it to Microsoft. You've seen the ads. They know there is an opening here. And a lot of home users are making that choice. Businesses, on the other hand, they're still going with Windows. And they're having the hardest time because, you know, they want to stick with what the whole company is standardized on, which is going to be XP. They don't want to upgrade. And they'll work not to for as long as they can.

SHAPIRO: So you think while businesses may be stuck with Microsoft whether they like it or not, individuals for their home computers may make the switch?

Mr. ULANOFF: Oh, I think so. I think more and more they are, because they understand that the Macintosh operating system, that platform is a really easy to use, safe operating system. There isn't tremendous confusion. It isn't bloated. And most of those things are true. But as the Apple platform becomes more popular, Macintosh's may be under threat of attack - meaning that, you know, more people will write malware to attack them.

SHAPIRO: Malware meaning like viruses.

Mr. ULANOFF: Spyware - exactly.

SHAPIRO: Lance Ulanoff is editor-in-chief of PC Magazine. Thanks a lot.

Mr. ULANOFF: It's a pleasure.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.