Menu
Steven J. Vaughan Nichols: Windows 9 in 2015: Desperation isn't pretty

Steven J. Vaughan Nichols: Windows 9 in 2015: Desperation isn't pretty

Seriously, Microsoft? You want to get Windows 9 -- Windows freakin' 9 -- out in 2015?

I get that you want to distance yourself from the Windows 8.x train wreck. Who wouldn't? But by upgrading Windows on a consumer pace, aren't you taking a big chance that your enterprise customers will turn their backs on you? I mean, companies want desktop operating systems they can rely on for three to five years, not three to five seasons.

Let's start with some fundamentals. As Paul Thurrott, senior technical analyst for Windows IT Pro and the boss of Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows, put it, " Windows 8 is tanking harder than Microsoft is comfortable discussing in public." According to Thurrott, the free upgrade Windows 8.1, which offers major improvements over Windows 8, is installed on fewer than 25 million PCs. "That's a disaster," he wrote. Windows 9 (as it's expected to be designated; Threshold is the code name for now) "will need to strike a better balance between meeting the needs of over a billion traditional PC users" and enticing users to a Windows experience on new types of personal computing devices. "In short, it needs to be everything that Windows 8 is not."

That's not me, Mr. Linux, talking. That's a dyed-in-the-wool Windows expert and supporter speaking.

What Thurrott doesn't mention in that essay is how Microsoft is also facing serious competition on the desktop for the first time in decades. People love Chromebooks. Adding insult to injury, the two biggest PC OEMs, in the world, Lenovo and HP, are shipping Android-powered PCs, and AMD and Intel are supporting architectures that will let OEMs build dual Android/Windows systems.

That's four of what once were Microsoft's staunchest allies. The Intel move is especially significant. If you hadn't realized it before, you should know by now: Wintel is pushing up daisies; it's pining for the fjords; it's an ex-alliance.

And bringing out a new operating system will somehow change this? I understand that radical change is needed to get Microsoft back on track after the Windows 8 derailment, but I'm afraid the company is only going to further alienate its once locked-in customer base.

The company will be asking home users and CIOs to make yet another jump to yet another desktop experience in rapid succession. I don't think they're going to follow Microsoft again.

As it is, an alarming number are still hanging on to Windows XP or Windows 7 tooth and nail. When those folks do move, they seem more likely to move to smartphones, tablets or Chromebooks.

So what should Microsoft do? I think it should pull a page from its past. In 2008, Linux netbooks started carving into Windows' market share. Back then, Vista was the dead whale on the beach that no one wanted stinking up their offices. So the boys from Redmond brought XP back from the grave and gave it away to OEMs.

They can't do that now. XP is more than 12 years old at this point, and it's creaking too much for one more curtain call.

What Microsoft could do, though, is overhaul Windows 7. Users don't want Windows 8's "Metro" interface, but they do still want Windows 7, with its Aero interface.

So why not give it to them? Maybe Microsoft can't bring itself to abandon Metro just yet. Fine. Just make it an option, not a requirement. I'll bet users will flock back to a Windows that feels like "real" Windows to them.

Yes, it will be embarrassing, but which would you rather be, Microsoft? Red-faced, or fading to irrelevance in a world where Windows is no longer the dominant end-user operating system?

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has been writing about technology and the business of technology since CP/M-80 was cutting-edge and 300bit/sec. was a fast Internet connection -- and we liked it! He can be reached at sjvn@vna1.com.

Read more about windows in Computerworld's Windows Topic Center.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Microsoftoperating systemssoftwareWindows

Events

Featured

Slideshows

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners

This year’s Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards were held as an integral part of the first entirely virtual Emerging Leaders​ forum, an annual event dedicated to identifying, educating and showcasing the New Zealand technology market’s rising stars. The 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 recognised the outstanding achievements and business excellence of 30 talented individuals​, across both young leaders and those just starting out. In this slideshow, Reseller News honours this year's winners and captures their thoughts about how their ideas of leadership have changed over time.​

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners
Reseller News Exchange Auckland: Beyond the myths — how partners can master cloud security

Reseller News Exchange Auckland: Beyond the myths — how partners can master cloud security

This exclusive Reseller News Exchange event in Auckland explored the challenges facing the partner community on the cloud security frontier, as well as market trends, customer priorities and how the channel can capitalise on the opportunities available. In association with Arrow, Bitdefender, Exclusive Networks, Fortinet and Palo Alto Networks. Photos by Gino Demeer.

Reseller News Exchange Auckland: Beyond the myths — how partners can master cloud security
Reseller News welcomes industry figures at 2020 Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News welcomes industry figures at 2020 Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News welcomed 2019 inductees - Leanne Buer, Ross Jenkins and Terry Dunn - to the fourth running of the Reseller News Hall of Fame lunch, held at the French Cafe in Auckland. The inductees discussed the changing face of the IT channel ecosystem in New Zealand and what it means to be a Reseller News Hall of Fame inductee. Photos by Gino Demeer.

Reseller News welcomes industry figures at 2020 Hall of Fame lunch
Show Comments