Local builders underwhelmed by Microsoft stickers

Microsoft might have dampened Christmas spirit for many resellers with the widely reported delays of its Windows Vista operating system, but a sticker campaign launched next month will look to prop up system sales in the mean time.

According to Microsoft's Windows SMB and consumer marketing manager, Duncan McGilligan, the 'Windows Vista Capable' campaign will be made available to resellers so they can direct customers to hardware capable of running Vista. The new operating system is currently slated for early 2007.

The sticker campaign will launch on June 1 but local builders are understandably underwhelmed.

Pioneer managing director, Jeff Li, said his company would take part but doubted it would guarantee steady sales through to 2007.

"We've been speaking with Microsoft and will be involved in the Vista campaign. It's good for customers to know laptops will run Vista," he said.

"But some people will still want to wait and see Vista running on a machine before they upgrade hardware. So the sticker might work for people who already have good expectations about Vista but, for the rest, I don't think it will really change things."

Protac International boss, Gary Jeng, is even less sold on the campaign. While he confirmed it would take part, he queried its value.

"Historically, businesses don't jump straight onto a brand new operating system," Jeng said. "So you might see some upgrade hardware now if PCs are old but it won't be many. Otherwise, they will probably wait six months after release until the bugs are ironed out."

Jeng predicted a similar reaction in the consumer market but Microsoft's McGilligan was hopeful the campaign would help resellers avoid customer confusion and continue to move hardware.

"Some customers are anxious that the hardware they're buying will work with Vista nine months from now and we hope the campaign will help resellers address that," he said.

The minimum hardware requirements to run Vista are defined by Microsoft as a 'modern' CPU, 512MB of RAM and a DirectX 9 class graphics processor. Pundits, however, have pointed out that much beefier systems will be needed to achieve the full Vista experience.