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Pogue & Kaplan (and Cooley): "Thumbs Up" For Vista

Okay--after five years in development and $6 billion spent, Microsoft is finally rolling out its new operating system at midnight tonight for consumers-as we've been telling you. So--will Vista “wow” consumers the way Microsoft promises it will? Brian Cooley of CNET.com, Jeremy Kaplan of PC Magazine and David Pogue of the New York Times all joined CNBC's Bill Griffeth to discuss their first impressions of Microsoft’s newest product – and they all gave the thumbs-up.

Kaplan says the question is not whether or not Vista will be a success – it will be – but whether or not it’s good enough for consumers to actually upgrade instead of waiting until they buy a new PC. Cooley says the new operating system doesn’t quite have “upgrade excitement” but it does have “eventual excitement” surrounding it.

On the business side, Cooley says, any year with a new Windows OS is a better year than one without. So despite the delays, Vista’s launch will surely give Microsoft, and its affiliated companies, the boost they are all looking for.

All three guests agreed that Vista’s functionality is a real improvement over past operating systems, and users – especially those who aren’t as PC-savvy – will appreciate the transparency and ease-of-use. And it shouldn’t go without notice that Vista is “much prettier” than anything Microsoft has put out in the past, Cooley notes. So not only does the product work better – it looks better – which is a bigger consumer motivator than people tend to think, Cooley says.

Pogue especially likes Vista’s instant search capabilities, which Cooley agrees is a big step for Microsoft making headway in the Google-dominated search engine field. And meanwhile, Google is trying to break into the Internet-based operating system world – but Kaplan says Google’s plans shouldn’t interrupt the success of Vista, or any future Microsoft OS. Any operating system based on a local computer will always be more appealing and work better than one that is based on the Internet, Kaplan says. He points to Vista’s new Media Center as an example of how Microsoft has seamlessly integrated its software with the Internet.

The bottom line, according to Cooley, is that Vista’s transparency, elegance and “innate understandability” will make it a success. Kaplan agrees that there is no question Vista will be a successful product and will have a successful launch and upgrade process.

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  • Sue Herera is a founding member of CNBC, helping to launch the network in 1989. She is co-anchor of "Power Lunch."

  • "Power Lunch" & “Nightly Business Report” Co-Anchor

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Kenny Polcari