So Microsoft is to drop the price of Vista - and some reports even say that with online discounts it could mean half the price for some versions.

Does it smack of desperation? Possibly. Is it a good thing? Probably. Will it shift more copies? Definitely. Yet again, the more cynical observers will say it's another attempt - together with the premature release of Service Pack 1 - to convince more punters to upgrade from XP. They'd be right.

Mind you, Vista isn't a failure; it's sold 100 million licenses. Speculation surrounds just how many of that number are residing with corporates who won't even begin to deploy Vista for many months yet.

Nobody's fault but its own

However, it seems clear that Vista isn't doing as well in the home as it should be. And Microsoft's failure to sell Vista to the public is nobody's fault but its own. The whole promotion of Vista was wrong. It was all based around the visual gimmicks. That, thought Microsoft, would be enough to convince us that Vista was a lot better than XP. How wrong it was.

We were spoilt with XP. The OS was light years ahead of 95, 98 and the abysmal Windows Me. Stuff just worked. It dealt with photos OK. And, with Service Pack 2 on board, it later dealt with new-fangled stuff like wireless networks pretty adeptly, too.

Failure to communicate

Now, Vista sure ain't perfect. But it is ever so slightly better than XP in an awful lot of areas - the way it handles digital photos for example. But Microsoft failed to get the message across that it was better, merely that it was prettier, something not helped by numerous comparisons with OS X.

What's more, speculation surrounds the landing date for next version of Windows. If it arrives anytime in the next two years - and we're betting on 2010 - it'll mean huge swathes of people leapfrogging it to Windows 7.

If that's the case, it may be too late for Vista to ever get to the stage where XP currently is. Even people who've never used Vista think it's a dog. They're wrong, but you can't blame them for taking on board what their mate 'who knows stuff' said about it down the pub. Nope, my blame lies with Microsoft itself.