Every now again I find James Gardner's blog posts insightful and provocative. The recent post The last Windows ever is the latest in a running line of doom mongering for Windows.
Since I’ve been working now with Windows Azure, some say is a new Windows Operating System in the cloud, the brand Windows has become more diverse and dare I say stronger. It’s exciting the changing pace of this cloud-scape and arguably Azure, as a Platform as a Service, delivers more features and more guarantees that the alternatives.
So, in context, is the last (desktop) Windows ever to be largely deployed going to be Windows 7?
I’d reason a case for No. Here’s why….
There are certainly more devices now than there ever has been. When I started using early version of Windows, most would agree it wasn't until 3.11 that the average person began to see that standardisation was a good thing. DOS had witnessed this standardisation process and so too did the GUI. It wasn’t about code purity, it was about ease of use, despite hardware differences. This version of Windows commoditised, what was at the time, difficult tasks (such as networking), multi-tasking and later in Windows 95 plug and play.
Its standardisation that's meant that people can get on with this jobs without being hindered with unnecessary road blocks. The likes of shims and workarounds are limited. But I’ve observed that its also competition that drives openness, feature parity and innovation.
These big platforms as James mentions are 10 years shifts, one technology pushing out the other. I don't know if this trend will continue, maybe this period will get shorter with new Cloud supporting services, but I do hope we don’t move back to a world where have to learn the interface for every device we interact with.
If you were to ask if IPhone 4 is to be the last iPhone OS ever widely deployed I would suspect the answer could be the same. No. Its effectiveness as a Phone relies on the ability to widely deploy new software to the device.
My points are therefore three fold, Windows will be even more pervasive through Azure, it will continue to standardise otherwise complicated technology, and device software depends on wide distribution, deployment and use.
Another article sums it up - the desktop in general needs to be compelling again. The encouraging news, and I have this on good authority, Windows 8 will be quite different….