I wrote about Windows Media Center TV Pack yesterday and how it looked like Microsoft was going to royally botch it up. At the time it was all hearsay, but not any more. It looks like Microsoft decided to move up the announcement date for the TV Pack from next month to today. This is a situation where nobody comes out a winner.
A Lose-Lose Outcome
It is easy to look at the end-users and realize why we’d all be upset. The TV Pack is nothing like it was originally anticipated it would be, and there is no official channel, support, or upgrade path for anyone other than to buy a new PC. Who wants to buy a new PC just to get a software update?
Microsoft’s partners are also losing out on this one. I personally had been waiting for DirecTV support and was ready to switch to satellite as soon as it arrived. It would have been really nice to have a more integrated fully-digital solution, but it looks like I won’t be switching now. All the issues surrounding CableCard will probably be ironed out by the time DirecTV is on Media Center, or Duke Nukem Forever comes out.
You might think that OEMs would appreciate being the only channel to get the new software bits, but how many people are going to trust Microsoft or an OEM with supporting any product they buy? It’s hardly an incentive to buy that new Windows Vista machine you’ve heard about in the ads. In my book Media Center is a complete lame duck now that will never flourish.
It’s Apple’s Move Now
This also further illustrates the commonly held view that people should just wait for Windows 7 because that is exactly what these actions are saying. While we wait for Windows 7 Microsoft is just going to leave the door gaping open for Apple to come in and steal the digital living room. Honestly, even AppleTV’s history hasn’t been as bad as Media Center’s.
Keep in mind, I actually likes Vista and Media Center. Dictating moves like this to your users is straight out of Apple’s playbook. I hate it when they do it, and I hate it when Microsoft does it too. I just can’t believe how many of the usual sources aren’t running with this story.