I talked with some friends recently who work on in-house IT development, and they were sure MS was not going to drop the desktop model for a long time. They knew about W8. They said they still use XP. Though what I've heard from Justin James is that XP users have been a minority in the market for a few years now. So it's conceivable MS could force an upgrade in the near future.
Another wrinkle is the video games situation on Windows. I talked to another friend earlier this year who is a professional video game developer. He said something about how all of Microsoft's own video games for the PC only work on XP. I think he even said most of the PC games that are out now, from other vendors, still only work on XP. As an example, he brought up "Tron Evolution," a game that was released just a couple years ago, on XP. I brought up that I'd heard several years ago about how MS tried to incentivize people to upgrade by releasing some games that only worked on Vista. He said he knew about that, but it turned out most of the features of the games worked on XP. There were just a few small things they added, barely noticeable, that only worked on the newer version of Direct X. Once hackers patched the games, they worked on XP just fine, and there was no real noticeable difference. He said it was a sham. This made me wonder WTF is going on with MS. They've gone from XP, to Vista, to W7, and now to W8, while their video game division is now 2 versions, and soon might be 3 versions behind! If they're going to ditch XP, they're going to have to either get their games division to upgrade their skills to the newer API, or they're going to have to kill it.
Just a thought, but if the argument were made now that MS should be broken up into separate companies, I think there would be more acceptance of that idea among MS developers than there was 11-12 years ago, when that was an issue on the table. Maybe that was what you were alluding to when you talked about an alternative business model that MS wouldn't consider?
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