Windows optimize

How Microsoft could (but probably won't) take over the world again

Microsoft could be uniquely positioned to take over a number of market segments if they properly leveraged some of their existing product lines.

Once upon a time, it was popular to joke (or rant) about how Microsoft was bent on total world domination. Today, that is not so much the case. To the contrary, as I've noted here before, now it seems to be a popular misconception that Microsoft is a failing company.

Despite that belief, Microsoft could be uniquely positioned to take over a number of market segments -- if they properly leveraged some of their existing product lines and recent acquisitions. Will they do that? Well, I'm not holding my breath, but I do think they might get it right with one or two of those markets. I guess I'm not the only one who thinks so, since many investment advisers are currently saying to buy Microsoft stock.

Microsoft has its fingers in many pies -- some say too many -- so there is potential for big success (or a big flop) on a number of different fronts. Here are some areas where I think the company could come to dominate (or continue to do so), if they play their cards right. I said last week that I don't think Microsoft should try to do this by emulating Apple. This week, I'll talk about what I think they should do to achieve domination in at least some parts of the technology world.

Tablets

Microsoft was pushing tablet PCs way back in the early 2000s, and a portable computer that could be operated easily when you weren't sitting at a desk was one of Bill Gates' dreams. They tried, with heavy, expensive slates and convertible laptops, then later with smaller Ultra Mobile PC (UMPCs), and the devices became quite popular in some vertical markets, but never quite caught on in the broader business world or with the general public.

Apple gets the credit for bringing tablets to the masses (on their third try, after the failure of the Newton and the Modbook). The iPad currently enjoys 73.4 percent of the tablet market share, but there are rumblings. Many users don't like the locked-down nature of Apple products. They want to know why they have to buy a whole new device to increase their storage capacity, instead of just popping in a flash card as they can do with most Android tablets. And they'd like it even better if they could connect their tablets to an external USB hard drive as they can do with their Windows laptops.

In fact, it seems that there are a lot of people out there who really, really want Windows on their tablets. That's the conclusion you have to draw from the result of recent surveys by Boston Consulting Group and Forrester, with percentages of those who prefer Windows ranging from 42 to 46 percent, iOS coming in at 16 to 27 percent, and Android at 9 to 20 percent.

That seems to indicate that, if Microsoft does tablets right with Windows 8, they could climb to the top of that market over the next several years. It won't happen overnight, but in typical Microsoft "slow-and-steady" fashion, they could overtake the mighty iPad. This is particularly true with Steve Jobs no longer there to lead Apple.

Phones

We already know that Gartner thinks Windows Phone has a good chance of overtaking the iPhone by 2015. Microsoft's "do over" of its mobile operating system got off to a slow start -- in part because of bad experiences with Windows Mobile, in part because many consumers are wary of a first-generation anything, and in part because Windows Phone 7 was lacking many essential features, such as tethering and multitasking. These features (although they were also missing in the first versions of other operating systems) were standard on Android and/or iOS at the time WP7 hit the market. There were also rumors that salespeople with the major cellular carriers were actively discouraging customers from buying Windows phones.

But I think another important reason for slow sales among those "in the know" (who are also influential in what technology their less tech-savvy friends and relatives buy) has been the uncertainty surrounding the Windows Phone 7.x operating system.

There has been a general consensus that, with Windows 8, Microsoft's objective is "one operating system to rule them all" (more on that later). Does that mean the next version of Windows Phone will run Windows 8, and will it be backward-compatible with Windows Phone 7.x? Then there was the Nokia partnership. Will the Windows phones that come out of that be far better than the ones that are available today? I think many folks who are interested are taking a "wait-and-see" approach.

With the Mango (WP 7.5) update, though, Microsoft has proven that they're serious about making Windows Phone a contender. With more than 500 improvements, including the longed-for Wi-Fi tethering and multitasking capabilities, it might just be the beginning of the long road to world phone domination.

Gaming

The Xbox 360 has been on the top of the gaming console heap for the past many months, coming in at 42 percent in September, and the gaming business was credited with being an important factor in the record revenues that Microsoft posted for the most recent quarter. Although the total gaming market has been on the decline since 2008, it's still big business -- a $43-billion business in 2010, to be exact. Market forecasts expect it to hold steady and increase slightly over the coming years.

The gaming market is dominated by software sales, and Microsoft is the software company with more experience than almost anyone. A recent trend has been toward games marketed as smartphone and tablet apps (e.g., Angry Birds), an area where Microsoft hasn't had much of a presence.

But with Windows 8 on the horizon and the new push to court Metro developers, that could change. If Microsoft makes Metro a platform that's friendly to game developers, we could see some exciting new low-cost game apps for casual game players, along with the more sophisticated console games that serious gamers prefer.

The integration of Xbox Live on Windows Phone is also a step in the right direction if Microsoft wants to dominate the gaming market. The ability to use your same avatars and play the same games from the phone would certainly attract hard-core gamers. In fact, the idea of using the same "virtual you" (avatar) across all your applications, not just games, is something that might just catch on.

I don't play games, but one of the most interesting and fun things that I did with my Windows Phone was create an avatar that I thought nicely represented my personality and general look. I would love to be able to use it in Internet communications where live video isn't possible or isn't desirable but where some sort of visual presence would add to the interaction.

TV and home entertainment

I've been a big fan of Windows Media Center since the original Windows XP WMC Edition. I was thrilled when Microsoft included it as a standard part of (some editions of) Vista and then Windows 7. I've tried a number of DVRs and PVR software, and I think WMC is the best.

We have a computer with four tuners running WMC on Windows 7 attached to our 65-inch Sharp Aquos in our media room and use it for all our TV recording and a Media Center Extender attached to the bedroom TV so that we can also watch our recorded programs there. We just recently invested in a HD Homerun Prime Ethernet network tuning device so that we can use a CableCARD to view and record premium HD channels on our Windows Media Center PCs.

I've been saddened by rumors that WMC either wouldn't be included in Windows 8 (since dispelled by Steven Sinofsky) or is not the focus of any new development (still up in the air). My hope is that Microsoft is not getting ready to ditch WMC entirely, but perhaps has other plans for it, such as incorporating it more fully into Xbox.

The Xbox can currently function as a Media Center Extender. How about making it a full-fledged Media Center itself that can record programs without being connected to a PC and then stream them (and your music, photos, home videos, Internet TV programs, and movies) to the other TVs in your home via DLNA?

If Microsoft turns the Xbox into much more than just a gaming console (which is certainly the direction they seem to be headed) and makes it a true home entertainment hub that can take the place of your TiVo or cable company-provided DVR, Windows Media Center might finally get the respect it deserves and Microsoft might take over the TV/home entertainment market. Neither Apple TV nor Google TV seems to have made much of a splash in the marketplace, so it's a segment that's there for the taking.

One OS to rule them all?

With the right strategy, Microsoft could pull this off and gain dominance in all these markets, along with the (shrinking but not going away anytime soon) desktop and laptop computing markets. Will Windows 8 be the linchpin that ties it all together? The same Windows that works across all your computing platforms would be a wonderful thing -- if it works well on all of them. Microsoft would be positioned to integrate its products so tightly that it would seem silly to buy anything else.

It would also put Microsoft in a position where perhaps they could consider some really innovative ideas. Here's one that's really "out there": What about a smartphone that doesn't depend on the wireless carriers?

Most of the people I talk to hate their carriers. They feel they're overcharged for basic service and nickeled and dimed to death for extras. They hate the way they're locked into contracts in order to get affordable devices. They hate the way the carriers cripple features that are built in to the devices by the vendors or charge extra for you to use them (e.g., Wi-Fi tethering). They hate the new tiered data plans.

If Microsoft put a fully functional Skype on its Windows Phones and perhaps invested in helping to build out ubiquitous low-cost Wi-Fi coverage in all major cities and sold the devices outside the wireless carrier channels, how many people could and would dump their plans with AT&T or Verizon or Sprint? Sure, there would be some technological and regulatory hurdles to overcome, but if we're dreaming about world domination, what better way than to do an end run around the telcos?

About

Debra Littlejohn Shinder, MCSE, MVP is a technology consultant, trainer, and writer who has authored a number of books on computer operating systems, networking, and security. Deb is a tech editor, developmental editor, and contributor to over 20 add...

51 comments
Bruce Butler
Bruce Butler

Your excellent article inspired me to purchase some Microsoft stock. Even though their stock hasn't appreciated up much, it does pay a decent dividend and will likely continue to do so.

naplesjoe
naplesjoe

Ok, What am I missing? All these posts about touchscreens and how Win 8 will enable this feature, enhance it, or whatever. How Ford is putting Windows systems in their new cars. As I recall, over 15 years ago the airline I worked for ran all it's touch screens on Windows 98 and 2000, the 8 year old Pioneer Navigation system I have in my truck runs on Win 2000 and is easily accessable for anyone to see. The cash registers at most major stores, eg: Home Depot, Sears, etc. operate on Windows XP. All of these with touch screens. I have seen touch screens in Best Buy for years operating on Windows 98 & Win 7. So what's new?

teeeceee
teeeceee

To your last point of building out a WiFI network to rival the big three wireless cariers, MS needs to buy DIDO from Rearden LLC and do just that. A DIDO wireless network would crush what is currently available. Much simpler to set up and run, much cheaper to operate and instantiate. http://www.rearden.com/ I for one would buy it! Teecee

blarman
blarman

One problem with what you are proposing is the basic notion of competition. In a competitive market, no one company "rules the world", because all the different competitors appeal to different market segments and as market providers get larger, they are forced to appeal to a more specific market segment in order to stay competitive. This is marketing 201, I realize, but the concept that -any- single company is going to provide the be-all and end-all is ridiculous. The only reason Microsoft was able to get to where it is now is because those competitive forces for so long were completely ineffective, blocked from the market, or non-existent. Now that competitive forces exist and have successfully installed themselves in market niches, to say that Microsoft can suddenly overtake those niches flies would only happen if those companies ceased to exist. And in a true market, competitors would quickly come in and copy (Android) and provide alternatives. Microsoft isn't declining as much as trudging along. There is no "wow" factor in Windows anymore - partly because there is no "wow" factor and partly because of image and past performance. Apple had a "wow" factor that was unparalleled because they swung for the fences AND had an incredible batting average. Microsoft has a much more pedestrian batting average (with MANY more attempts) tied with some colossal Casey-at-the-bat-type failures (Windows ME, Windows Vista) etc. The real problem I see with Windows is the lack of the user to define their own experience with the device. If a user doesn't want the Metro interface, they should be able to turn it off. If an admin wants to arrange their own control console, they should be able to without having to drill down 4x through layers of obfuscation. If users want to ditch that stupid and screen-wasting ribbon for the standard menus, they should be able to. Once Microsoft goes back to building computers as customizable tools, they will do much better in the marketplace.

Tumbleweed_Biff
Tumbleweed_Biff

I have been greatly dismayed at the quality of publishing these days. "Once upon a time, it was popular to joke (or rant) about how Microsoft was bent on total world domination. *Today, three is not so much.* " I constantly see stuff like this. Do we no longer have editors and such to review articles, to actually read them, and look for typographical and grammatical errors? C'mon folks!

VirtualPro
VirtualPro

Companies spend a lot of time and money on Windows virus protection and monthly security patches for the desktop and server OS. Now do this for my current systems + phone, tablets, media center, etc..? How about a scenario where the kids install new game in my XBox with a security issue that now spreads through the OS to my Media center which I remotely control with my phone which links to my corporate mail... Microsoft needs to make big improvements on the quality of their code before I put it on everything.

sipeki
sipeki

No mention of MS Office 365 cloud solution, competing with Google Apps. The market is wide open with mobile computing. Could go either three ways, iOS, Windows or Andriod. Its all about the hardware. Which is being won by Apple but that can change. Also Google have to improve their support, no one hears you scream in space and when you call on Google to help.

automatix1
automatix1

Unfortunately I don't like too much these long readings. The takeaway section could have at least listed those "some areas".

DOSlover
DOSlover

This is the forward step for windows working from a minimised kernel. With this technology I suspect Micrsoft could dominate not only the conventional digital market as we know it but into those parts of the digital world that tick away in the background using server style technology. Think smart traffic light systems, aviation systems, building management systems, those thing you operate with a single button push and take for granted. A reversal of the Apple ecosystem whereby Microsoft incorporates itself into the real world ecosystem.

naplesjoe
naplesjoe

I too agree with the Apple vs. MS perception issue. However, I would like to know just how many of those hot Ipads are even being used after a few months of ownership. Mine sets in my bedroom where it has been for several weeks untouched. It???s a great device if you want to do what Steve Jobs wants you to do. Play games, look at pictures and perhaps browse the net while lying in bed. Something I find more comfortable with my laptop and I don???t keep my significant other awake with the constant tapping sounds. After all the initial excitement of the tricky finger motions has passed, it???s just a Tindle with an Apple price tag. Hopefully MS comes up with something functional with full external connection capabilities and familiar GUI???s. I???m happy with the start button. Who wants to learn a new interface every two years?

apotheon
apotheon

The problem with the "end run around the telcos" idea is that someone still needs to provide Internet access for Skype to work. If Microsoft provided wireless Internet access for smartphones across the country, it would then effectively become a telco -- and would not be doing an end run around telcos after all. Frankly, I think that Microsoft achieving more perfect market dominance would only end in tears, anyway. If the growing popularity of MacOS X and Ubuntu in the last decade had not occurred, Microsoft would never have put the effort into improving (the impression of) security and stability on MS Windows. If Firefox and Chrome had not challenged IE's dominance, Microsoft would never have put the effort into improving standards compliance and usability for Internet Explorer. Despite these efforts on Microsoft's part, the MS Windows environment is still a distant fifth place at best for the quality of the system for most computing tasks. Giving MS Windows 8 a position of universal dominance would only discourage Microsoft from even achieving these mediocre results for quality system design. I frankly hope that MS Windows 8 fails horribly, not only for our sakes, but for the sake of the quality of MS Windows 9 as well. Then, of course, there's the fact that Microsoft is still trying to do everything according to a business model designed for the '80s. . . .

Paul R.A.
Paul R.A.

actually using win 8 for a few weeks- it will be good for tablets and phones- desktop? laptop and netbook- well anything without a touch screen - not so much. I agree win 8 is a paradigm shift , but it is crippled for anything but a touch screen, and no review really gets into the amount of horizontal scrolling needed on the start menu. - might be ok for those who use tablets and phones but on a desktop horizontal scrolling kills the experience

thehcasboi
thehcasboi

Micro$oft is into vehicle OS's now. Look at all the Ford vehicles that have the Touch installed into them. This equates to millions of vehicles a year. All they have to do is get other manufacturers on the ball and boom on top of this market.

jkameleon
jkameleon

Ergonomical reasons. Handheld computers are used in fundamentally different way than desktop computers. Over the decades, keyboard and mouse had proven to be the most comfortable way of interacting with computers while sitting behind the desk. This arrangement has been around since the time immemorial, and will never change (http://www.officemuseum.com/IMagesWWW/Early_1920s_Veterans_Bureau_Calculating_WWI_Vet_Bonuses_LOC.JPG ) Touchscreens aren't practical on the desktop simply because it's too tiring to keep one's hand in horizontal position in order to touch computer screen. If you are holding your device in one hand, and operating it with the other, it's entirely different matter. Touchscreen is the obvious choice here. UI for keybord/mouse & screen interface is fundamentally different from touchscreen UI. The most practical arrangement for the desktop is multitude of small UI elements at hand. Eventual text entry into UI element can be done in an instant. Touchscreen, on the other hand, requires smaller number of bigger UI elements with separate text entry. Trying to satisfy such incompatible requirements with a single UI would result in something like a combination pliers or a swiss knife: Capable of everything, and good at nothing. Canonical is already working on "One UI to rule them all": Project Unity. Gnome also seems to be moving in this direction. That's why I've switched to KDE. KDE keeps its desktop and notebook versions wisely separated.

Gromanon
Gromanon

Truth is IF Apple decided to 1:1 copy Windows Phone 7 OS and put it in their device right next to Apple logo, it would sell like Hotcakes! Why is that, because it is Apple, so it must be good, where as people begin reading W-I-N-D-O-W-S Phone and turn around immediately! This is a real life example of how powerful brand image is, and that should be Microsoft's #1 priority right now! They sure seem to be working on that issue, at least look at Windows 8, they are trying to make Windows to look and feel different to costumers, they embedded their antivirus, they are trying to fix the issues that plagued Windows for years, they try not to over-promise and underdeliever too, they are generally on the right path, a great company that certainly deserves another shot in consumer market!

wizard57m-cnet
wizard57m-cnet

Microsoft seems to suffer from some sort of public image damage. Whatever field they decide to build upon, first thing to work on is their public image. Hiring a great public relations agency, a great advertising agency and following through on customer expectations would go a long way to improving their image. They have improved their flagship Windows operating systems in regards to stability, performance and security so demonstrate it!

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Last week, after Deb's post about Microsoft not trying to be Apple, I asked you what Microsoft should do. I am asking it again. What business strategy should Microsoft adopt? Deb has outlined the markets and offered some suggestions ??? add to it, take it further, dig deeper.

zmagturf
zmagturf

I think the new, is that these days everyone has access to touchscreen devices. Before it was the company and those who could afford it. I agree, touch as been used for a very long long time. Even multitouch has been around since the early 80s.

adornoe
adornoe

Microsoft is to computers, what Wal-Mart is to retail; Apple is to computers, what Nieman-Marcus is to retail. Which 2 in the analogies is dominant? Which 2 have the most consumers using their products and services? Which 2 stand to make the greater gains if they create a consumer experience which meets the needs of most consumers, or even all consumers? The fact is that, people don't just want computers, and currently it's become a "need" to have computers. If there is one company that can provide the consumer experience to satisfy all the consumers' needs and wants, then that will be the winner. The fact is that, most people don't want to pay more than they have to for a product or a service, and Microsoft is looking to satisfy that majority of the market. Apple can continue catering to the upper echelon, or the uppity sector, but, they won't ever reach the majority of consumers that way. The Linux crowd are the rebels in the consumer sector, and it's also the OS that attracts those that want "free" in their lives, and it's also the OS that attracts the techie who believes that he/she is capable enough to make the OS work, unlike a lot of non-techies who give up after a few tries. The fact is that, there is something out there for everybody, but, when it comes to the bottom line, he who has the greatest number of consumers waiting for the next product or the next release of a current product, will be the winner in the end. Wal-Mart has been the biggest retailer for decades, and Microsoft has been the biggest software company for decades, and Windows 8 is intended to keep Microsoft dominant for at least the next decade.

hippiekarl
hippiekarl

I got to this: >"There is no "wow" factor in Windows anymore - partly because there is no "wow" factor and partly because of image and past performance." (No 'wow factor' in Windows can't really be part of the reason for 'no wow factor' in Windows, can it? 'Image and past performance' sure can; I resumed nodding in agreement there).

adornoe
adornoe

the same as writing. BTW, a lot of bloggers aren't trained writers, and, when it comes to bloggers in the technical field, they're mostly interested in the content and in the attraction of readers or the click-bait effect. A lot of it is sensationalism, and the quality doesn't have to be there to attract the people interested in the subject matter.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Geez, we're sorry complicated issues can't be compressed into a sound bite for the ADHD generation.

adornoe
adornoe

It seems that, no matter what Microsoft does, good, bad, or indifferent, they'll never be able to please you. So, why waste your time and ours with posting so much irrelevance?

zmagturf
zmagturf

If you've been using Windows 8 for a few weeks now, you should have noticed the desktop mode which gives you a desktop that is identical to Win7. Also remember that the current version that is out is the Developer Preview and there are a lot of features that are turned off. Some of the touch features themselve are not available yet. I have Win 8 Developer Preview installed on a touchscreen computer and still have to use the mouse to scroll side to side. Again this is a PREVIEW and not beta. Beta is still forth coming and will have many more features enabled. With the new processors coming out from Nvidia which, from what I've been seeing are geared towards Windows 8 tablets, we should expect to see a table that when docked will switch to the desktop view we are use to and then back to the WP7 interface once undocked. These tablets will be just a powerful as a laptop and able to run full versions of Photoshop, CAD and other highend applications.

bboyd
bboyd

Robots, Automation, Software. They like to take sides and stick it out, also they are one of the worst low margin markets for a vendor. I know that from personal experience with Ford you will be squeezed for cost reductions until your wringing out rocks for blood.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

And certainly not GUI. Linux has been "one OS to rule them all" for a long time (except that there are a thousand linuxes), each one could in theory be fitted to perfectly suit any number of devices (one device per OS configuration). Same can work for Windows. Of course, maybe a microkernel OS would make the most sense, since it's easier to scale from small to large, than from large to small.

hippiekarl
hippiekarl

You're right about that; I have a rather full-functioned one but the 'lighter' won't work on a cloudy day, I can't put any torque to speak of on the common-tip screwdrivers, and the roachclip ('tweezers'; whatever! ;) ) is poorly-calibrated.... The can opener and small blade, however, are state-of-the-art.

adornoe
adornoe

One OS to rule them all, does not mean that they all perform the same or that they're all interacted with in the same manner. The phone version of Windows 8 will not have the same capabilities as Windows 8 on a desktop, and a desktop won't necessarily be used with touch, if that desktop is not equipped/designed for it, but, if a desktop does have a touch screen attached to it, then the OS will recognize that fact, and enable that capability for use by the user, if the user so desires. But, the user with the touch screen doesn't have to touch the screen and could go about using the PC in standard fashion, via the keyboard and mouse. There won't be a mouse on a smartphone, and there won't be a standard keyboard, but Windows 8 will recognize the form-factor involved and optimize itself for the features available within that smartphone. In fact, the Windows 8 will come in several versions, for diffeent form factors, but the same look. Windows in all form-factors will "seem" to work exactly the same, although, operationally, they're doing things slightly differently.

KBabcock75
KBabcock75

You must ask yourself why is this? For the same reason Toyota and Honda sell so well, value for the money. While MS has some good products out there, it has built a reputation of buggy, insecure, mediocre products that survive on being a standard rather than being superior. This is why people don't jump at Windows products, they are viewed as good enough to get the job done but there will be pain with using them. Apple has its own issues but has built a product base on quality simple to use products that will be copied poorly by MS in the future. MS's dogma that Windows 8 must run all is a strategy which will most likely fail just because hardware capabilities differ so much between devices. Apple gets this and tailors to it while starting to integrate the cloud to provide resource sharing among them. MS is taking the old school approach of all things are Window 8 and shoe horning this OS into whatever they put out. I may be wrong but this does not look like the future to me, just a retread of a failed pad strategy.

dave the IT guy
dave the IT guy

The truth is that Steve Jobs was arguably the greatest pitchman on the planet. He could sell anything to anyone as long as it looked like it came from outer space and could be operated simply. The problem with MS doing the same is that they don't control the hardware. They can't decide what a device will look and feel like. And look and feel is what Apple sells. People can relate to look and feel. They can't always relate to "feature rich" applications which is what MS sells. This, as I see it, is the fundamental difference between Apple and MS. People buy Apple products because they are marketed as cool and sexy. The only thing that MS has made that is remotely close is the wildly successful XBox 360.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

I don't know what they have in place, what they've invested, where they want to go, where the skeletons are. And on top of that, I really couldn't care less. Technical strategy, now that I might have some ideas...

naplesjoe
naplesjoe

So, it's something new? Big deal! Apparently All the hype and concern is for something we have lived with for 20 years in one way or another. When will people learn computers are best used as tools. Not the latest showoff gimmick to flash in front of your girlfreind. Buyers today are suckers for a gimmick. Many can't afford their car payment but if Apple puts a "S" behind an otherwise outdated model, everyone including Ruch Limbaugh rant and rave about it. I've been yelling at my Pioneer car radio for 8 years and still haven't seen the need to run out and buy the new super toy Iphone 4S. Man, have we become suckers!

apotheon
apotheon

> no matter what Microsoft does, good, bad, or indifferent I've been pleased by the good things Microsoft has done. They are simply so rare and so minor as to not occur often enough for you to have noticed me commenting, and do not typically warrant more than a passing mention. > why waste your time and ours with posting so much irrelevance? How is a direct response to comments made in the article "irrelevance"? I wonder why you even bother posting when your commentary is nothing but a personal attack on me that actually does not reflect my position or pertain particularly to what I said.

apotheon
apotheon

You make a good point. I think, however, that this is a problem of terminology rather than of technical accuracy. I would not classify all Linux distributions as being essentially the same OS. There are cases where I would not consider the same distribution-branding of Linux on two devices the same OS, either -- as in the case that two different installers are used because one of them provides a different default configuration and targets a very different hardware platform than the other, but both come from the same distribution project. When looked at that way, it's a terrible idea to use one OS on all devices, regardless of whether the recognizable name for the "OS" is MS Windows or Debian GNU/Linux (or PC-BSD or MacOS X or whatever). It is only when we use the term "Linux" to refer to the hundreds of Linux distributions out there that "one OS" starts to make much sense. I certainly wouldn't consider Android to be the same OS as Debian, after all, even though both of them have roughly equal claim to the name "Linux" (because they both use a customized Linux kernel).

adornoe
adornoe

the OS had better have good performance. People don't really understand or care about how the OS does things. People do care about simplicity and looks and functionality. It's the OS's function to facilitate the interaction between the user and the computer and the applications. Without a simple and functional interface, a computing paradigm might easily fail, and that's why, no matter how wonderful Linux or any other OS might be internally, if they don't perform in the "KISS" method, while executing and performing to the expectations of the user, it will fail every time.

jkameleon
jkameleon

In case of Linux, there is kernel, there is window manager, a couple desktop managers, apps, and so on. User, however, doesn't know these details, and he doesn't need to know them in order to use the device. He sees OS, its UI, and apps as a whole. User is the one who ultimately makes the decision about which OS is going to prevail. Trying to see things from the user's perspective therefore makes sense.

jkameleon
jkameleon

MS usually deploys new UI in the Media Player first. Well, I don't like it a bit. Looks pretty useful on a touchscreen, but on desktop... no way!

abc123a
abc123a

True, Steve Jobs was a great marketing genius - but so was Bill Gates. Remember he made people pay $29.99 to beta test Windows. That was when there was no real alternative to Windows. Now there is - Linux and Mac OS. And the big advantage Linux and MacOS ave over Windows is that they are far less complicated, significantly more user friendly, eons ahead in security and they JUSt work. Windows on the other hand is the same crap with a different frame. Microsoft needs to make its products safer, easier to use, and far more reliable. Otherwise they are going to go the way of the dodo. Disclaimer: I own shares in Apple and Microsoft. I have in my house all three Linux, Apple and MS operating systems. Only, I have never called Apple for support. My Windows box is pure crap.

adornoe
adornoe

think. Perhaps you were looking at yourself in the mirror when you wrote that last post? ;)

apotheon
apotheon

I can only assume you do not actually read, or think about, your own comments.

adornoe
adornoe

Most times, saying nothing can be done by not even posting.

apotheon
apotheon

Duplicating my approach to pointing out the deficiencies of your argument without actually applying that approach to something that really exists does not change the facts. It's just argument by wishful thinking.

adornoe
adornoe

to disregard them. Should I have to restate what I said, and ask the same questions again?

apotheon
apotheon

You've missed my point -- probably intentionally -- and your bias is more obvious than you seem to think.

adornoe
adornoe

That you may have, on occasion, found some good things to say, doesn't change the fact that you still seem to be a big Microsoft detractor. I don't care about Microsoft, nor Apple, nor Google, nor any other company. But, I'm not going to pretend that Microsoft or Apple or Google, or any other company, hasn't had some or many products and services which make them very useful giants in the technology sector, and in our everyday lives. So, here goes again: It seems that, no matter what Microsoft does, good, bad, or indifferent, they'll never be able to please you. So, why waste your time and ours with posting so much irrelevance?

apotheon
apotheon

> I actually use Linux on one of my computers, but mostly as a test machine and to check out what the penguin-ites are up to. I evidently use MS Windows at least twice as much as you use Linux -- and, while I've been "forced" to use Linux more often this year, for the five years preceding I only used it about as much as MS Windows anyway, so I hope you don't group me with "penguin-ites" in your biased categorization of enemy ideologies. If my statement is "misplaced" because you have a Linux-based test system, I guess that means yours is even more "misplaced" because I have an MS Windows based test system, client support platform, and occasional development target. Saying you have a black friend doesn't make you less racist, y'know. > if they don't perform in the "KISS" method, while executing and performing to the expectations of the user, it will fail every time. You say that as if the extent to which this is a problem is greater than for MS Windows -- which it isn't. In fact, apart from recent aberrations from past history on Linux-based systems, MS Windows has been far worse about this. > Linux for PCs has been at it for more than 20 years, and they still haven't reached a user base higher than 1%. Why do you think that is? I could list dozens of contributing factors, including MS Windows' market domination tactics, the lack of effective end-user marketing until fairly recently (which may be too little, too late), and the fact that MS Windows had the benefit of a natural upgrade path over a thirty year period -- more than half again as long as the continuous existence of a practical x86 Unix-like system. This might be obvious to you if your confirmation bias did not prompt you to attribute everything to the mythic superiority of a button that says Start on it (and doesn't even exist any longer).

adornoe
adornoe

misplaced. I actually use Linux on one of my computers, but mostly as a test machine and to check out what the penguin-ites are up to. And, about 1/3 of the software that I use, is of the "free" kind, and so, I have nothing against "free" or open source. It it is good and performs useful functions, I'm all for it. But, instead of turning yourself into a nuisance, why not comment on the statement that I did make: if they don't perform in the "KISS" method, while executing and performing to the expectations of the user, it will fail every time. Linux for PCs has been at it for more than 20 years, and they still haven't reached a user base higher than 1%. Why do you think that is?

apotheon
apotheon

It seems that no matter what open source developers do -- good, bad, or indifferent -- they'll never be able to please you. Why waste your time and ours with posting so much irrelevance?

apotheon
apotheon

I have a triple-boot laptop running two flavors of Linux and one of Win7. I also have a laptop running FreeBSD (only) and a small handful of servers running FreeBSD. As much as I have found Ubuntu to be a bucket of swill (essentially trying to emulate everything that makes MS Windows painful), Win7 still lands in last place for me in terms of security and stability. The fact is that Win7 still requires reboots to make trivial changes occasionally, still employs the superficial stupidities of half-baked security "features" that do not fix the underlying architectural problems of the OS itself, and is still built like an acre-size sodden mess of wet papier mache and caltrops where Unix-like systems are (at least based on) a design of Frank Lloyd Wright caliber. Yes, Win7 is "very stable" and slightly more secure than most of what came before in Microsoft's operating system offerings, but that's a bit like saying that a suit of armor made with modern steel instead of bronze like the Greeks used to use is better protection, ignoring the fact that it won't even appreciably slow a bullet down and still costs more than a kevlar vest. . . . and, of course, any of the major BSD Unix offerings is a better bet for security and stability these days than any Linux-based OS or any MS Windows version at all.

ejobrien
ejobrien

If you think that Windows is somehow lacking in security and is difficult to use, then I'm guessing you're still using XP. Windows 7 is rock-solid, and very secure. I'm actually a bit unsure how they could make Windows more reliable. It simply never crashes, period.