No Media Center on Vista Business Editions?

I wanted to write a positive article about Windows Vista.  I really did. In fact I’m disappointed that this article didn’t turn out that way.

I Kind of Like Vista

For the past five days of my life I’ve been taking part in Windows Vista training courses (5115A and 5116A) working towards my MCITP Microsoft certification. Every day I walk away liking Microsoft’s pariah operating system more and more, thinking that if they had only tried to market Vista’s features rather than compete for the hearts of individuals Steve Jobs-style, it just might have had a chance.

I get back to my hotel room with grandiose plans of using Vista to simplify and organize my life, and maybe even give my computing experience that personal touch that Mac users are so fond of casting in our rank-and-file, robotic Microsoft borg faces. I was going to use Media Center, a fantastic application that centralizes all your videos, pictures, and music into a single, organized interface. As trivial as this sounds, I was excited to see what Media Center could do not just for me, but for the school that I work for as well.

But Media Center Center Doesn’t Come With Vista Business or Enterprise

Umm, what? Microsoft tempts me all day by training me on how to use and secure Media Center on my customer’s machines, only to find out that neither me nor my customers even have this software.

I suppose in Microsoft’s defense I did learn this in my last class when I was forced to memorize the differences between the various versions of Windows Vista. However I can and will give you a strong argument as to why they should provide Media Center with Vista Enterprise Edition.

Public Displays and Kiosks

My first thought for Media Center was to integrate it with my Netflix account on my laptop, which is obviously not a business case for providing me with Media Center. My second thought, however, was to use it to retool an old SmartBoard that has fallen out of use  by sliding it into a large showcase in our lobby and using as a promotional attraction loaded with the hundreds of videos and pictures that our school produces annually.

And a school is certainly not the only environment where such a setup would be useful. What about a business showroom? A photography studio? There are plenty of reasons why a networked, enterprise-grade machine would also need quality media capabilities.

Of course I understand Microsoft’s decision not to include it in Vista Enterprise. If it did, there would be no reason to buy Ultimate Edition, except for that “free download” of Texas Hold’em Poker.  The more Microsoft changes, the more they seem to stay the same.

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