Practical Technology

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Windows is on its Last Legs!?


Last week, while I was at the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit at the University of Texas Super Computing Center in Austin Texas, I was surprised to find that if I had wanted to cover the week’s most surprising Linux-related news, I should at been at the Gartner Conference in Las Vegas where two Gartner analysts declared, “Windows Is Collapsing.”

It is? Even I wouldn’t go that far and I have little love for Windows.

Never-the-less, that’s what Gartner’s analysts Michael Silver and Neil MacDonald said. Greg Keizer at ComputerWorld quotes them as saying, “”For Microsoft, its ecosystem and its customers, the situation is untenable.”

What’s so different now? Well, according to them, the heart of the matter is Windows is too fat and bloated for Microsoft to change it into the kind of operating system users really want. Well, I can’t disagree with that. I’ve been saying for a while now that Microsoft has already given up on Vista. Heck, I was even nice enough to suggest a way they could actually get a functional Windows 7 out by the end of 2009.

Still, Windows has been a candidate for Weight-Watchers for some time now. I do think that Vista being such a flop is going to give both Macs and Linux-based PCs a real shot at going prime-time. But, what I meant by that is that by 2011, we’d see Macs up to 20% of the market and Linux desktops cracking 10%.

Sound insane to you? I invite you to check Amazon’s Bestsellers: The most popular items in Computers and PC Hardware list. As I write this, on the evening of April 13th, eight of the top 25 sellers are Linux-powered Asus Eee UMPCs (Ultra Mobile PCs) and there’s also the Linux-fueled Nokia N800 tablet for a total of nine Linux systems. There are also seven Mac models on the list, topped by the Apple MacBook MB403LL/A 13.3-inch; Laptop. Finally, beneath almost all the Linux PCs and all of the Macs, you’ll find four, count em four, Vista-powered laptops.

Something’s happening here and it is very clear. Windows is losing its grip on the desktop. It won’t happen overnight. There is, after all, an enormous installed base of Windows PCs out there.

Next year, though, if things continue in the way they have been, I’ll be ready to say Windows is collapsing. I think Microsoft has one more shot to get it right with Windows 7. If by April 2009, Windows 7 isn’t in beta, though, I’ll be ready to start writing Windows’ obituary.


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