Here's what we know about Vista: It's too big, still hampered by internal code dependencies and was concocted by way too many cooks. Because of this, the product kept slipping and shedding features, missed the holiday buying season and was released to market before many Microsoft partners (and Microsoft product teams) had delivered Vista-compatible drivers and applications.
Here's what we know about Office: New versions ship every two years, like clockwork. If the development process is messy and features/functionality are cut, no one seems to know or care. Even when it includes controversial new features -- like Office 2007's ribbon user interface and the new XML file format that require a downloadable patch in order for users of older versions to read Office 2007 Open-XML-formatted documents. Nevertheless, Office still comes out smelling like a rose.
What can Microsoft do to make Windows more like Office?
* Don't bite off more than you can chew. Don't over-promise.
* Trim (or, more accurately, ax) the size of the team developing the product.
* Stop talking about unreleased products. Don't share publicly a list of promised features/functionality before the product is totally locked down. Punish transgressors both inside and outside the company.
* Cease sharing any information about delivery milestones or dates. Never talking about ship targets means never having to say you're sorry.
* Ban historical references. Anyone mentioning "WinFS," "Cairo" or "Hailstorm" gets put in the penalty box.
Hmm, I think that sounds like a good idea. The release of Media Center also happens quite often, which so far has been every year. Perhaps this will help Windows 7 comeout on the promised date.