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Windows Vista and Office 2007, according to industry analysts, may be the last time Microsoft can really cash in on these lucrative personal computer products, as software is increasingly distributed, developed and used on the Internet.
Friday, Microsoft announced that Vista would be shipped in late January and expressed confidence that it would pass regulatory scrutiny.
In fast-growing consumer markets, Microsoft is playing catch-up. It trails well behind Google in Internet search. Next month, Microsoft will introduce its Zune music player, in an uphill effort to take on the Apple iPod.
Is Windows Near The End Of Its Run? [news.com.com]
This NY Times article is thought provoking.
XP (and 2000) are sufficiently powerful and stable for home and (small) business use. That really only leaves appearance and security. No matter how hard MS has worked at security, given their track record you would have to be nuts to trust them for the foreseable future. So that just leaves appearance - big deal!
It's also worth noting that the Internet has increased, not decreased, the demand for Windows, because the Internet has made PCs useful for far more than just desktop applications. What's more, desktop PCs and laptops need to run some kind of operating system, and for the last 25 years, Microsoft's products (DOS and Windows) have been the de-facto OS standards.
Another thing: The Internet may change how software is distributed to consumers, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing for Microsoft. After all, Microsoft makes money whether it's delivering Windows, Office, or Microsoft Money via downloads or on CD-ROM. And there's no reason to assume that Microsoft isn't capable of developing, distributing, and marketing online versions of its flagship applications if the market moves in that direction.
What I personally find interesting is how much the computing landscape hasn't changed since I bought my first PC nearly 25 years ago. Here on Webmaster World, I'm doing essentially the same thing that I was doing with CompuServe's AutoSIG in the 1980s (though not as efficiently), and when I create Web pages in a WYSIWYG editor, it isn't all that different from creating DTP pages in Ventura Publisher in 1989. Even search isn't all that much different: Today I search the Web instead of searching pay-per-article databases, but the differences are only a matter of degree. The jump from Selectric typewriter to WordStar on a 1982 IBM PC was a far bigger leap than the jump from DOS to Windows or from CompuServe to the Internet.
That and a claimed improved (more secure) PC/Laptop File System with Operating System Security seem to be the main areas of improvement claimed.
I wonder how quickly Microsoft can drop XP upgrades?
I will just add the question of the 64 bit operating system too.
Anyone know the performance figures for a change from running 32 bit XP to 64 bit Vista on the same 64 bit PC's? Yes I know there is a XP Pro 64 version, but I bet its the same price as low to mid range Vista.
That's an interesting point and reminds me of an article I read several years ago that said that few things today rival the dramatic change the transatlantic phone line brought about. Most "innovations" today are really refinements or improvements of existing products - whether that's this years model of TV, fridge or computer OS.
Intel and AMD are looking at quad core CPUs and beyond. Does anyone really believe that's because my spreadsheet or document application runs too slowly?
Home automation is the next frontier - Windows has lots of legs...
The point is that Microsoft has wasted four year to six years and a lot of dollars to stand pretty much still. That is not good. They could have just continued with XP and continued earning money from licenses. As you point out most people have little choice or motivation to do otherwise.
> And while businesses may stick with XP a bit longer than consumers do, the point will come when they, too, will need to move on.
a lot of businesses are still on Windows 2000.
As already mentioned it will just come installed on the computer they buy from BestBuy or whatever.
The only thing keeping Windows going is Inertia and IT departments looking for job security.
It should have been called WINDOWS: INERTIA
it would still come pre-installed on most every computer you can buy and most people don't care.
And as always: switching on/off, between and interface will be the winner of the transition phase (as with railway, networking, Internet) creating the next bubble in some 20 years.
If MS is going to be part of it? Doubt that. Google might, IBM might.
But again: who knows, 20 years is miles away.
Gee, and I thought it was because computers need an operating system. :-)
Nah, that is too obvious.
I think the so called demise of MS is much over hyped, yet I keep hearing about it. At this point I see no serious competition for the Windows OS, nor for many other products that MS makes.
And for those that say that Win 2000 is "good enough", I think that is bull pucky. Yes, it might run what people have NOW, but that is assuming that nobody ever upgrades their computer, nobody will buy the new dual core and/or 64 bit thingies, that nobody will buy new wireless goodies, etc.
Base end computers are so cheap now that it is almost as cheap to buy a new one (with Vista installed), as it is to try and upgrade your old computer. I see that Dell, Tiger, and many other companies have computers for under $500 (some as low as $250) that run faster and better than a $2000 one from 4 years ago.
Personally, I think Vista will start slow, but will ramp up pretty high within a year.
But there are some people still running Win98, so what do I know..
I think the so called demise of MS is much over hyped
Absolutely, and thatís really the dilemma. Were all just lulled to sleep by the whole thing, because the system works, so there is no demise, and thatís exactly what MS wants. Everybody who buys a computer just starts it up and never really contemplates the system behind it. The lack of innovation and advancement in desk top applications in the last six years is stunning. Whatís changed? Whatís improved? Whatís really innovated? Nothing.
We have no clue just how much were missing out on because of their market dominance. It works very well for me and all of us, but at the end of the day itís dramatically sucking the life out of what really could be in a truly free market place.
The problem, as I see it, is the every day guy isn't going to want to buy a new computer with Vista just to surf the web; and he doesn't need it to do that either. Nor do the large corporations. But MS has us all sucked in because there's nothing easier to hook up right now.
In my case, I'm appealing to my stock broker to run their software over to Linux. In that case, I don't need Windows for anything. But my wife uses QuickBooks Pro which only runs on Windows and there's no equivalent on Linux. She could dump Windows if it wasn't for that.
Then the only thing left would be the kids for their games.
But Google is on the edge of all this. They are becoming the "web as the OS". They're not there yet but could be the 'OS' of choice for everyman in the near future.
Give me a shovel that won't shovel with 2Billion to market it, and I bet I could make it the #1 selling shovel that won't shovel of all time!
As for security, Vista will have security issues for its entire life cycle, you can't have an OS with 80 - 90% market be secure, its just too big of a target. Anyone hear of Patch Tuesday? How long has XP been on the market? Mac has security holes, Firefox has security holes, Linux, Unix, my Atari Mega ST didn't though :) ah ya prolly because I wasn't ONLINE in 1980 lol.
Vista RC1 was very unstable and RC2 still has issues, I won't buy it late January, I will probably hold off 3 - 6 months, but ultimately I will want the multimedia control that it offers for all my electronics. God I remember working in EB games when Windows 98 came out, OMG people fought it for months, guys would come in and grill me on why they should upgrade, bring up articles they had read pointing out every minor imperfection there was real or imagined. I use to listen thinking "its a new OS, it will not ruin your life, so get over it", and they would go on and on and on.
Ultimately MS is just too big of a gorilla, that will continue to dominate the OS market unchallenged. Google is not even close to being able to come out with a viable alternative, as much as I would love to see it. Ubuntu is pretty cool, but sadly cant run everything I need, so for now its XP and soon, Vista.
Heck, we don't even have voice command recognition in our OS yet but our cell phones do, nor do we have pen computing on our desktops like those handheld computers, and so on and so forth. I still see a lot of convergence coming as people will start to expect all these things on all their devices so prepare for more upgrades.
The problem is that all the 'wired' people don't really look at how your average joe workers still uses computers in their day to day business. Distributed apps are cute but one glitch in the system, such as no connectivity, and you're dead in the water which wouldn't be a very clever way to run your business.
I agree with EFV that nothing has really changed that significantly in over 20 years as we're still doing the same old things in the same old ways, just faster and more people online.
[edited by: incrediBILL at 12:46 am (utc) on Oct. 17, 2006]
Most people use a computer for things which don't require highly progressive new innovations. Chatting/Instant Messaging, downloading MP3s and ringtones, Email, writing/printing with a word processor, researching topics on the internet, and a few other rather degenerate activities.
None of which require a new operating system. It's all about planned obselesence to generate new income for the Microsoft Corporation. If everyone is satisfied, fat & sassy, MS won't make a dime. What makes the world go round?
If security were truly an issue, we would see a mass exodus to Linux - and perhaps that will happen in the future if a particular Linux OS team can calm fears of the badly bruised, bullied, and abused hardware manufacturers (hello AMD). Oh, but Linux is too difficult to learn, and it would confuse old ladies who just want to check their email. That's merely propaganda - anyone can get used to Linux, and if grams needs to mount a new program, she can ask her grandson, just like she would for Windows progs.
My hope is not to see Windows fail, but that Microsoft would support their slightly older products (Visual Studio 6, MS Office, Windows 2000), all of which are still powerful, viable, and unnecessarilly depricated. Try to search MSDN for VB6 documentation - what a sad state of affairs.
Do we really need a new OS for a candy-like GUI? There are GUI skin programs for sale (and even for free) which can change the entire look & feel of Windows to just about anything you want - gun metal, gemstones, crystaline, cartoons, anything.
Users are in for a shock with the new Vista product activation. In a paranoid attempt to stave off piracy, WinXP featured a built-in activation program along with security updates prompting users to register with Microsoft and subsequently writing the data onto your hard drive. Not so with Vista. Vista seizes control of your hardware and writes to your BIOS. I will never give Microsoft this sort of control over my machine. What's next - fingerprinting? A blood test? DNA profiling?
Want a better websurfing experience? Download Firefox.
Want better multimedia capabilies? Download new programs.
Want better security? Update your antivirus.
Want a pretty, candy-like look? Download a GUI skin program.
Or, you can fork over your hard-earned cash and get Vista.
At this point, you are probably looking back to see if you've read that correctly - being free is a fatal flaw - that doesn't make sense!
If there's no big money to be made from Linux, then there is no big marketing budget either - and that is just about the biggest possible flaw to defeating MS/Windows.
Back in 1994, IBM released OS/2 WARP. Had IBM made it free (or set a token price of, say, $5.00) then they'd have killed Microsoft almost stone dead. I don't think another company will find itself in that position anytime soon, but Google might be able to pull it off eventually.
Linux is great if you love to tinker with your hardware and lots of time on your hands. The last XP install took me all of 30 minutes. Suse took several hours. Maybe I'm an idiot, but I built all four machines and picking a Linux Distro took several hours just by itself to make sure my hardware was compatible.
Windows has a TON of momentum in the workplace. It is the Gold standard and will be extremely hard to dethrone. Think of the users your IT departments have to deal with...
Change management is very big, painful and costly. You can get Linux and OpenOffice for free and still most companies would rather pay for Windows - it's cheap insurance.
And if you still see Vista as a way to run a PC, you're missing the show. Personal computing will soon occupy just a small fraction of what the personal computer can and will deliver.
we would see a mass exodus to Linux
Which Linux? Most people and businesses want standards, not a surfeit of choices. Linux will never be a desktop standard because there are too many cooks in too many kitchens.
Speaking of standards, there's no inherent reason why cars should have engine compartments in front or steering wheels, but both have been widely accepted standards since the early 20th Century. Similarly, more ergonomic toilet designs get invented every few years, but today's toilets aren't that much different from those of a century ago as far as the user interface is concerned. Change occurs when there's a compelling reason for it to occur--and for most people, there's no compelling reason to look beyond the existing standards.
Totally agree! You think GE, PG or Citibank care that they have to spend $200 every 4-5 years for a new copy of windows? Let's say it's $100 a year per employee. Think of how little that is compared to the potential chaos of running linux, training, and virtually no support. You need to know where to cut costs.
Then the only thing left would be the kids for their games.
Kindof agree, but only to an extent.
What I really want, is one OS that just "covers" it all.
I've got XP on a desktop machine. It's my day to day workhorse, largely because of a large collection of Windows based software that I've collected over the years, much of which is now deprecated and no longer available, but still highly useful, at least to me.
A laptop running *nix, as a pure "productivity" machine. I get more bang for the processor with *nix, so it's a perfect fit for a loptop environment.
And a second desktop, which is a Mac, running CAD/CAM, and various graphics packages. Mac KILLS at these types of apps.
Wouldn't it be nice if we could get one OS that combined the benefits of all three?
As it is, I'm not entirely sure what OS I'm going with for my nexd build computer. And it's killing me. I've been holding off on my next build for over a year now, because the machine will be tailored to the OS it's going to run.
I'm down to *nix or Windows. Mac is out because, for Mac OS to run properly, it needs to run on a Mac. And I'm just not a fan of closed architecture in a desktop. I've extended the life of every desktop I've ever owned by swapping cards and adding components. Macs just aren't great in that regard.
One strike against *nix, oddly, is the lack of support for the current release of Flash. I hate to admit it, but Flash has become so ubiquitous on the web, that if you're running a machine that can only run flash at one or two releases behind current, it has a definite negative effect.
Another strike against *nix is my collection of antiquated apps. Don't even TRY and sell me on WINE. It's too buggy, and just plain fails with too many apps. This is the really big factor in sticking with Windows. I'm not much different from a lot of other people here, or many, MANY, businesses in that regard.
And I'm not going to bother with a second XP machine. I might as well go with the most current release of MS when it comes around. For the support, for the feature set, for it's ability to deal with the new generation of graphics cards coming out.
Which is a long way around to say I'll probably get Vista. I won't be happy about it, but I'll do it.
Fortunately, like a lot of other people here, it won't cost me a dime. I'll be able to fob off the license fee on some customer or another, and it won't really cost them anything either. You'd be amazed at how many businesses out there pay for far more licenses than they end up using, or maybe you wouldn't.
Anyway. PRedicting the demise of MS may be fun game, but it's an old game.
It has yet to come to pass, and is unlikely to come to pass in the forseeable future.
Want a better websurfing experience? Download Firefox.
I'm not sure where you purchased your rose colored glasses but Firefox has some serious issues that I won't go into to avoid threadjacking.
Microsoft has one of the most solid codebases on the planet and the resources to back it up with support and updates and upgrade everyone on the fly, which is why it won't vanish anytime soon.
Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, has that infrastructure or is anywhere close.
Back in 1994, IBM released OS/2 WARP. Had IBM made it free (or set a token price of, say, $5.00) then they'd have killed Microsoft almost stone dead. I don't think another company will find itself in that position anytime soon, but Google might be able to pull it off eventually
Kaled, I hate to burst your bubble but one of my team members (I was the manager) on a product at Lotus knew more about OS/2 Warp than IBM did. They actually paid him in excess of $1200/day to come teach THEIR people what he knew about WARP and wrote his own consulting ticket until OS/2 WARP died.
Then again, I only hired the best, sadly IBM didn't ;)