Gartner States the Obvious

Gartner recently released a report that centered around the many challenges facing Microsoft Windows. Their conclusion will not surprise anyone who runs the bloated Vista: Windows is collapsing under it’s own weight and is need of drastic change.

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Only Captain Obvious himself, Ric Romero, could be proud of this conclusion. The report chides Microsoft for trying to be everything to everyone and makes some suggestions for fixing the problem before Microsoft ceases to be relevant. Here are a few of their suggestions:

  1. Windows should be able to be tailored to specific applications
  2. Better security
  3. Make migration to new versions easier
  4. Simplify licensing to focus on specific devices

None of those suggestions tackle my primary gripe with Windows: Performance and stability degrade the longer one runs it. Some people call this “Windows rot”. I shouldn’t have to run a toolbox full of utilities to fix problems Windows causes. I’ve been running a fresh install of Windows XP on my current dual core machine for about 6 months. It started out running quite well, but each week, it takes longer to boot, applications take longer to load and the general experience deteriorates into a routine of frustration. Why should anyone have to spend a day rebuilding his or her machine just to get it back in working order?

When Gates announced the plan to get Windows 7 out the door by next year that effectively froze many corporate IT departments and their decision to upgrade to Vista. Why spend a year upgrading hardware and testing Vista when the next version is only a year away?

My suggestion to Microsoft would be to start from scratch and build a very scaled down OS that works well with the web. Make it modular so I can select or remove any applications. I never use Windows Media Player or Internet Explorer so why should I be forced to install either? Make it fast and stable and fire whoever decided UAC was a good idea. Stop gouging people $250 for the best version. Take a page from Apple’s book and make one version. Make it self healing. When a problem occurs, don’t make me Google for the solution. Don’t tie it to your other properties like Live Search, Spaces or Passport. Windows should be a Gateway to everything else but not get in the way when I want to use non Microsoft product. The web gives me this agnostic experience.

Then again, does it really matter what the next version of Windows looks like? If I’m able to run the majority of my applications from the web then a browser running on top of a small, fast, scaled down OS is all one really needs.

This is how things will work. Microsoft can either adapt to these changes or fade away into oblivion.

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