Why Would We Need a New Desktop OS?

I’m glad to see ZDNet agrees with me. David Berlin poses the question: By 2010, will Windows ‘Seven’ (or any desktop OS) really matter? My question a few days ago was: Windows Seven in 2010. Does Anyone Still Care?

David goes on to explain how almost everything he does nowadays is done in the browser – that is online. His experience with installed software is painful – like the recent Vista upgrade. As for myself, I still have to cool off before I can tell you how badly a forced Microsoft Money update scr***d me and all online banking users. Arrogant ignorance by Microsoft, as usual.

On the other hand, are these new Windows versions getting any better? We can read stories of high-profile bloggers switching back to XP, analyst firms advising their CIO clients NOT to upgrade to Vista, but today is the first time we here a major PC manufacturer (Acer’s President) clearly labeling Windows Vista a flop. Technically as well as commercially.

“The whole industry is disappointed with Windows Vista”

“Users are voting with their feet …. Many business customers have specifically asked for Windows XP to be installed on their new machines”

It’s great that he can now openly say this – a few years ago Microsoft would have penalized Acer.
Analysts think the problem is that consumers prefer lower-cost machines that might not work well with Vista.

“Most of the machines I see pitched in catalogs are in the $700 range, certainly under $1,000,”
“Computers with that amount of hardware are a better fit for XP. With Vista’s requirements, people may be thinking about sticking with XP, and putting less money into the hardware.”

Exactly. But this is a chicken-end-egg issue: why would anyone want to buy stronger hardware just to run a new Operating System? It only makes sense for tangible benefits, i.e. gaming, video editing..etc. Otherwise, buying more powerful machines only so they can be bogged down by Vista (or Windows Seven for that matter) is meaningless arms race. For productivity / business use, the trend is just the opposite: with the move to Web Applications, wee need less CPU, storage, memory (well, maybe not that, with zillions of FireFox tabs open…). Since I switched to Web Apps, I barely ever hear the fan come up in my trusted old laptopsmile_wink

I’m confused though:

“Microsoft reports Microsoft itself says Vista has been a smashing success, saying it had already sold 20 million Vista licences by March.”

With consumers not buying, corporate CIO’s not upgrading, manufacturers being disappointed … where did those 20 million customers come from?

Update (7/23): It’s really amazing how Donna Bogatin does not get it. She writes off David Berlind’s article as simply based on the author’s personal computing habits… Web Worker Daily, can you hear this? Microsoft OS extinction case? What are you talking about, Donna? I re-read and re-read the Berlind piece and don’t see it. That’s not what he (and I) are talking about. But here’s another ZDNet-er, Ryan Stewart coming to our rescue: in case it’s not clear, what we’re saying is The desktop OS will still matter, just not which one.

P.S. Donna’s blog does not allow commenting. What a surprise…

Related posts: /Message, Dvorak Uncensored, ParisLemon, Wired,

Update (8/9):  a very good analysis by eWeek: Broken Windows

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  1. The web’s been “it” for the last 7 years, and it still has not downgraded the importance of an OS. And you’d be hard pressed to find large organizations trusting their mission critical documents and stuff to a web-based app.

    So what are you making the case for, more healthy OS competition agsinst Windows (which would need better competitors), or the “Web OS”?

    Because, as has already been argued endlessly, you’ll always need an operating system for your computer, no matter how much crap you put on the web. You’ll always need software to manage the hardware, and that will never go away.

  2. Stephane Rodriguez says

    I don’t find Ryan Stewart much of help when all he does in fact is self-promoting RIAs, and Adobe AIR in particular. Hmmm, remind me where he works?

    As for RobertMcLaws above, this was expected. You’ll need an OS to run a web browser. That’s for sure. But what this means is that an Ubuntu appliance is all you need. This comes completely free of Microsoft crapware, and is the most efficient way to use a low-cost PC.

  3. Stephane Rodriguez says

    As for reconciling the 20 million license sales, and actual use, I have two things to say :

    – a license sold to an OEM does not mean a license used by an actual customer.

    – Microsoft knows exactly how many Vista licenses were activated, since their WGA abomination is forced upon users now. If that company were the transparent company they pretend to be, sure enough that would be a number to make public…


  4. Actually, Stephane… it’s 40 million now. And for all the people that complain about WGA, why don’t they complain about activation from Adobe and everyone else? The fact is that practically any commercial application uses activation to protect their investment. So maybe what you’re railing against is capitalism?

  5. Vista is a big dissapointment. Lots of 3rd party stuff dosent work which was to be expected but I dont like the layout at all. For some stupid resaon the start button was removed. The desktop is futuristic and when I first installed it I said wow looks cool untill I got to the starup tray to select a program. It looks very mickey mouse like it was rushed to be finsihed. Aero is a dissapointment. I thought you could scroll with the mouse and different desktops would appear and instead of having to cascade pages the Aero would bring them up. This is what was rumored several years ago. Very dissapointed so try again Microsoft

  6. hmm I think Windows XP is good. I don’t know, why I must change my operating-system to Windows Vista.
    I’ve heard, the battery from notebooks is faster empty. I need a notebook and don’t have a workstation.

    For my situation is that not good…


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