Early in 2010, I implemented a new Friday strategy for the Microsoft Windows Blog on TechRepublic. Using the poll feature, I began asking TechRepublic members and readers of the Windows Blog provocative questions about technology, particularly Microsoft technology. The idea was to get members to participate in thoughtful discussions on topics that needed to be contemplated and then sorted out.
In general, I think the polls went over very well and generated some excellent debates and, in doing so, imparted some useful information to readers.
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- The question that drew the most discussion comments was inspired by the previous week's poll question. In Is stealing from Microsoft OK because they have lots of money? I was addressing what I believe to be a disturbing defense for those few users who choose to use non-paid-for Windows. I cannot emphasize this enough: if you want to use Windows as your operating system, pay for it like a professional.
- The next most popular poll question was, If you were building a PC for yourself today, what operating system would you install? Despite a very vocal minority of Linux and Mac OS evangelists, Windows was the overwhelming choice, with 72% answering Windows XP, Vista, or 7.
- According to Microsoft's record keeping, Windows XP is slowly but surely being phased out of the enterprise in favor of the newest version of the operating system, Windows 7. In Are you looking forward to the day Windows 7 overtakes XP? I was wondering aloud whether IT professionals saw that as a good thing. At the time, many were not looking forward to the transition.
- The next most popular poll question is probably also the most fluid one when it comes to the results. When I asked on June 4, 2010, Is the PC on the way out or is the tablet revolution a crock? the overwhelming majority of respondents were not impressed with the Tablet PC concept. With all the new tablet PCs predicted to come to market in 2011, it will be interesting to see if this attitude changes.
- The last of the popular discussions, all stemming from Windows Blog poll questions, was a bit of a surprise to me: Will you shop at a Microsoft Store? The majority of respondents said yes, even if it was just for the novelty. But the real fireworks were in the ensuing discussion, which focused on the question of whether Microsoft was exercising good marketing strategy or merely copying Apple and its successful Apple Store concept.
One of the best things about hosting the Microsoft Windows Blog on TechRepublic is getting timely feedback from the members and readers regarding the current state of the IT professional who works with these applications and users every day. That kind of firsthand information is invaluable to so many people working in this industry.
I want to thank you all for your participation, and I look forward to more thought-provoking poll questions and in-depth discussions in 2011.
Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.