Windows 7 beckons. Will Microsoft never learn ?
Media comment on the next version of Windows (dubbed “Windows 7”) seems to be increasing although Microsoft have yet to confirm a release date. It beggars belief that Gates’ crew seem hell bent on ignoring any lessons they might have learned from the plane crash that was Vista. Steve Sinofsky, SVP at Microsoft was recently interviewed by PC Pro magazine – with an arrogance that seems to be corporate policy at Microsoft, he appeared to be blaming the market by saying “The ecosystem wasn’t ready for the release of Windows Vista“. He does go onto to explain the lack of compatibility and admits fault. What had me rolling on the floor was his satisfaction with testing, saying “We’re really pleased with the performance of Windows 7, even on a netbook with 1GB of RAM”. You what ? So yet again, the Redmond ivory tower thinks the world’s PCs are all multi-gigabyte RAM, quadruple core and stand idle, waiting only for the bloated monolith that is the next installment of pretty DOS.
Forgive the rant – I have worked with MS products all my career and have a great deal of respect for some of their core values. Microsoft have some great product bases but seem to have no real idea how to strategically develop or sell them. Cynics have always suggested that Microsoft and PC manufacturers go hand in hand to ensure we have to upgrade every 6 months or so. I don’t buy into this. The level of co-operation between them is hopelessly flawed, based on Vista’s reception.
Take SQL Server. Its a great piece of technology, albeit closely related to Sybase. Then with the 2000 release, we get hit with Oracle-like pricing that all but eliminates its cost-effectiveness in smaller companies. Suddenly, businesses need a whole array of administration, tuning and development skills. A grown-up DBMS does not have to spawn its own series of job specs. Stick with MySQL. I also suspect that Exchange will face similar open-source challenges as it grows beyond the power available from the platforms it was installed on 2 years ago.
Of course, current XP users will no doubt have to pay to replace their OS. People won’t do it. Microsoft strategy assumes corporates will slavishly follow the upgrade path and keep the coffers full by paying to do so. Well, that plan failed with Vista. If the trend continues, Microsoft could actually be in serious trouble, despite some interesting stuff coming through like Live Mesh and Azure. Its time to develop an efficient, sensible, slimmed down and routinely upgradeable OS. Windows is in danger of no longer being ubiquitous – and deservedly so. I am, of course, pre-judging. I have not seen it yet !
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