I have to say that I think Microsoft have lost the plot with Windows Vista. I can see where they're coming from, in that they've got all these programmers hanging around and they're trying to make money etc., but honestly, isn't Windows XP complex enough? Isn't XP good enough? In many ways, Windows 98 and ME was quite sufficient for hosting the work of 99.9% of computer users. XP added benefit in that it rolled in the guts of Windows NT, with enterprise-quality innards, but surely there comes a point when enough is enough. I'd much rather Microsoft directed its programmers to squashing the remaining bugs in XP (as opposed to disclosing and fixing them in a drawn-out series of updates) than invested millions of man hours in yet another new operating system.
Will Vista be better than XP? Probably. Will it need new hardware to run properly? Definitely. Does Vista offer any concrete benefits over XP? Not really. There is absolutely no way that most people/businesses will pay lots of money to upgrade their hardware and software just to be able to coo over extra transparency effects or desktop 'gadgets'. No doubt Vista will become commonplace 3 or 4 years from now, if only because replacement PCs will come with it pre-installed, but Microsoft shouldn't be under any illusion that professionals like me will give Vista the time of day as a considered upgrade.