I guess it's all in how you look at it. Mac fanatics and other Vista critics will try to point out that Microsoft's Vista "sales" are inflated because many of them don't represent real-world installations (yet). I'd point out that Microsoft has always recorded sales in exactly the same way, so this attempt at making Vista look bad is misplaced. Regardless, our views of Windows Vista continue to be guided by both perception and reality. So is Vista a failure or a success?

Failure

Vista's 11 Pillars of Failure
by John. C. Dvorak

1) Market confusion. There [are] simply too many versions of the OS for sale. Who needs all the variations? It's stupid—plain and simple.

2) Code size. I've got two words for you: TOO BIG. Enough said.

3) Missing components. Yes, WinFS.

4) Laptop battery-life drain.

5) HHD fiasco.

6) Bogus Vista-capable stickers.

7) Missing drivers.

8) Conflicting advice. Some people said that you should get anew computer only with Vista preloaded and not upgrade. Others said upgrades were fine.

9) XP mania. You'd think that the world was in love with Windows XP.

10) Mediocre rollout. The company seemed almost sheepish or embarrassed by Vista. This sent the wrong signals to users and may have made them hypercritical.

11) Performance. You're not supposed to deliver a new operating system that's been in development for more than four years yet performs worse than the previous OS.

OK, so I actually disagree with a lot of this, but whatever. He makes the case and certainly much of what he says is true, though some of it is hardly problematic for most people. (HHD "fiasco"?)

Success

Earnings Conference Call with Microsoft CFO Chris Liddell
Related PPT shot:

Microsoft has sold 140,000,000 (140 million) Windows Vista licenses as of the end of the first quarter of 2008. Thus, Microsoft sold about 40 million copies of Vista in the quarter, a rate of about 13-14 million copies of the OS per month. If this monthly rate doesn't improve--and it will, of course, as XP leaves the market mid-year--Microsoft will have no trouble reaching its publicly-stated goal of 200 million licenses sold in the first 24 months on the market (which occurs at the end of November 2008).

So.

I suspect I'm not going to see eye-to-eye with many on this. But from where I sit, Vista is doing fine. However, I would like to investigate one fact which would do much to settle the issue: I've noted that Vista's 100 million sales in its first year on the market means that Vista essentially outsold XP during identical periods of time on the market when compared against the installed base at the time. I'd like to make a similar comparison now (for what I guess is the first 16 months on the market). This will require a bit of research and may, in fact, be impossible. But I'm looking. My guess is that Vista continues to outpace XP and that the gap will only grow later in the 2008. But that's just a guess.