Microsoft’s Vista wins Fiasco Award

February 28, 2009, 5:36 PM UTC

Twenty three were nominated. Nine were selected as finalists. But only one could take home top prize in the first-ever Fiasco Awards ceremony, held Thursday night in Barcelona, Spain.

And the winner was …

Microsoft’s (MSFT) Windows Vista, garnering 5,222 of 6,043 votes (86%) registered via the Web. The successor to Windows XP was cited for being over-hyped, overly complex and riddled with incompatibilities.

A quirky, slightly tongue-in-cheek project of the Catalan Association of Telecommunications Engineers, the Fiasco Awards are designed not to “criticize” or “engage in public derision,” according to their website, but to recognize that “technological advance is not a straight path” and that “success and fiasco are … head and tail of the same coin.”

“God rewards fools,” reads the award’s logo.

Using a balloting system weighted to ensure that “an opportunity was given to local projects,” a consolation prize went to SAGA, the Administration and Academic Management System of the Catalan Government.

The nine finalists were all over the lot, mixing the famous, the local and the obscure. The list included One Laptop Per Child’s $100 computer; Linden Lab’s Second Life; Google’s (GOOG) Lively; the DAB digital radio system used in Europe; the Madrid-based project; Maresme Digital, a project for bringing digital television to Catalonia; and some Linux-based free software packs distributed by the local government administration.

Vista made a particular strong impression in Catalonia because it was the first version of Windows that could be purchased in Catalan, the language of the region.

“Edison made over 1,000 attempts before inventing the light bulb,” according the awards’ press release, “so he learned how not to do it in more than 1,000 different ways… ”

Edison’s example could be applied to the Fiasco Awards themselves. Maybe they’ll be better next year.