Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wait, What? Vista's Failure was Due to Security?

Everyone has a theory on why Vista was underwhelming. The most curious theory is that of Steve Balmer who said to the Telegraph:

"We got some uneven reception when [Vista] first launched in large part because we made some design decisions to improve security at the expense of compatibility. I don't think from a word-of-mouth perspective we ever recovered from that."

Hmm.  Something tells me that Steve is right about security being the problem, but it wasn't because of compatibility issues.  Security was improved at the expense of usability.  Remember this little Apple commercial that lampooned Window's security?

Vista's application security features were so annoying that it was laughable - and in the end poor security. Security expert Bruce Schneider has a  take on this as well:

"There was also the problem of Vista's endless security warnings. The problem is that they were almost always false alarms, and there were no adverse effects of ignoring them. So users did, which means they ended up being nothing but an annoyance."

So what's the takeaway?  Security doesn't work if users become conditioned to ignore your security features.

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