What’s wrong with Windows?

Ever since the very early preview of Windows 8 much of the .NET developer community have been doing nothing but whingeing like a bunch old squaws along the lines of “Microsoft abandons .NET! and we will all have to program now in [javascript|HTML5|COM|C|C++]”, etc. The whingeing has been to a large extent fuelled by the cries of HTML/Javascript monkeys who had a field day at the expense of XAML/.NET developer: “Haha, all your time spent mastering XAML/.NET etc. has been just a waste. Who’s the daddy now?”. The cries got so loud recently that I find it difficult to sleep at night so let me take this opportunity and explain in plain English why Microsoft is doing what it’s doing with Windows 8.

There is nothing wrong with Windows…

..and this exactly is the fundamental problem. Microsoft finds it more and more difficult to persuade existing customers to upgrade to the latest and greatest version of the operating system. If you happen to live in the UK you must have seen the latest “I’m a PC” adverts where someone’s home is being converted into a computer shop and they leave it with their own chosen laptop/desktop once they’ve realised how much better modern computers are than their old, “good enough” PC. Why is Microsoft paying for those adverts? The only way to sell the new operating system is to sell it preinstalled on a new device. If you consider what home computers are used for (mainly browsing the net), there is simply no need to buy a new one unless the old one is dead. And would anyone you know outside of IT ever upgrade their OS? What for? And this is exactly Microsoft’s problem.

Come forth the consumer device…

So the PC is bought and stays at your average home forever (until it dies basically) whereas it’s remote cousin mobile phone is being upgraded every 12-24 months. And every one of those phones needs and OS license. Hmmm, now here’s an idea. How about the tablet fellow? What is his lifespan? As a (let’s face it) fashion accessory it is bound to have a similar “time to live” which means another OS license every 2-4 yrs. And this exactly is the ball Microsoft wants to play and I do not blame them for it.

September 18 2011
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