It is no secret that Windows Vista had a less than smooth launch, and when it comes to trying to discover the real reasons behind the launch issues everyone seems to point the finger at everyone else. Today, the theory making the media rounds is that NVIDIA was somehow to blame for the major problems:
“The main early adopters of Vista were PC enthusiasts; the hardware of choice for PC enthusiasts at the time was NVIDIA G80 GPUs so it would be natural that more crashes would be logged as caused by a NVIDIA driver. Ars Technica also points out that the Microsoft data doesn’t specify if the crashes logged are from multiple machines or a group of particularly error prone computers experiencing multiple crashes.“
We're not entirely convinced that NVIDIA is to blame. Microsoft sets standards for device drivers, and thus they share in the responsibility of getting that information into the hands of key players in the industry early enough for them to do something productive with it.
The other problem with this theory is that the entire GeForce 8 series was indeed popular at the time, but there were other video cards out there too. We don't have any specific data on the hardware composition of the machines providing the early crash reports, but we can't help but wonder if they were honestly dominated by NVIDIA products, or if there was a fairly wide representation of everything from integrated Intel/SiS graphics to AMD/ATI in there as well.