Gartner analysts recently spoke in Las Vegas at a conference and made some valid points.
But I think some of the advice/opinions are a bit contradictory. They assert that many users today are looking for a version of Windows that will run on “low priced and low power hardware” but then they predict that the next road Redmond should consider is virtualization. Specifically they recommend that a hypervisor be implemented.
Now I am a fan of virtualization in some markets, but on the home PC, hell no. I have a hard enough time trying to help people understand their computers now. People have been able to dual-boot for 7 years now and it’s still an unnecessary pain for most users. Now, I fully understand that dual-booting isn’t the same things as a hypervisor. Dual-boot is a fork in the logic. You boot and at the point of boot you say, I want to run Ubuntu or I want to run XP. A Hypervisor allows you to possibly run two operating systems at the same time. Wikipedia explains it pretty well here, but basically it’s products like Parallels.
If you’re going to bother using one operating system, why not just learn to use that OS to the best of it’s abilities, accept it’s limitations and move on. There are a few, highly unique positions that are different, like graphic designers who spend all day on OSX but may be forced to do some communication in Microsoft Office. Here’s my thing about that. If hardware is so cheap, why not just buy this guy another low-end system that just does his Office work? You’ve already paid the most expensive part, the licensing of XP, anti-virus stuff, the support staff to make it all work for him. What is $200 more of hardware? Yes, you can’t cut and paste from OSX to XP, but honestly that never really seems to work very well half of the time. To make the argument even sillier, Parallels runs about $80 for each instance. So 40% of that $200 is already defrayed.
Now the Gartner analysts definitely have a point when they criticize the size of Microsoft’s codebase. Vista was supposed to be a huge improvement, but it is a fact that many of those were eventually thrown out because the project was falling years behind schedule. The only way they even launched Vista was to drop back to an earlier codebase, Server 2003, and then attempt to merge their new features into it. But we all know Vista sucks, not a big surprise there.
I actually don’t think they’re giving Windows enough credit for how good Windows Mobile has become for enterprise users. I’ll post more about it in the future. Yes, I think the iPhone is nice, but it’s riding on a slow ass, over-burdened network. And while the tap screen is pretty and dynamically useful for some interfaces, if I just want to tap out a text message or an email to a co-worker I really prefer an actual keypad.
Plus, Windows Mobile’s over the air interface into the calendar, global address book and email is an absolute god-send for IT workers. The only problem with it is that it’s not stupid enough to lure away crackberry users. But crackberry users aren’t lured to the iPhone either. Honestly, the crackberry is essentially mobile email for marketing and HR types who only understand email. “Synchronization of calendars, what is this syncopated god of time you speak of?”
Being business analysts they emplored Microsoft to add MORE modularity to Windows. I think this is an awful idea. XP home and XP pro was enough modularity. Beyond that they’re really confusing the customers and the idiots who do desktop support. The last thing we need is people ordering Windows like they order Coffee at the local starbucks. “Yes, I’d like Vista Basic with Office Lite, Decaf Soy, no Whip”
And finally, they’re really giving no credit whatsoever to the extremely profitable plan that Windows used to acquire a ton of game design companies and having them work on releases for XP, Xbox and Xbox360. Now, it was a really mean acquisition, but it did work.
Anyhow, I for one will probably never run Vista for an extended period. No reason to really. XP suits my business needs and in the meanwhile Ubuntu has finally produced a quite nice linux desktop that is actually useful. I plan on running it on the side for a year or so, learning it’s in and outs and then migrating off of XP and Microsoft desktops for anything but games for good.
On a side note, thanks to Steve White for pointing out the Gartner article.