It Will Be Running Windows - Maybe

By Debra Donston  |  Posted 2008-05-29 Print this article Print

4. It will be running Windows-maybe

Microsoft operating systems have pretty much had a lock on the desktop since the dawn of the PC. Organizations ran Windows on the desktop and upgraded whenever a new version of the OS came along.

Until Vista.

Earlier this year, Ziff Davis Enterprise Research conducted a survey of eWEEK readers about their organizations' client OS plans. When asked what was the primary reason for not moving to Windows Vista, 37 percent of respondents selected "Other Windows platforms are meeting our needs," and 31 percent selected "Too many flaws with Vista so far; we're waiting for a service pack or the next generation of desktop Windows."

That next generation is Windows 7, which Microsoft showed a glimpse of at the D6: All Things Digital Conference in May.

Windows 7 is supposed to be lighter and faster than Vista, with a completely new user interface. Maybe Windows 7 really will be everything that Vista wasn't, but it's also two years away.

In the meantime, Apple's OS X is gaining steam in the enterprise, and desktop Linux is catching up to its server counterpart in terms of functionality and performance. In fact, in its review of Ubuntu 8.04, eWEEK Labs said, "Canonical  has marshaled the best of what the open-source world has to offer in a Linux-based operating system that's capable of mounting a serious challenge to Microsoft Windows on mainstream desktops and notebooks."

Windows is still unrivaled when it comes to hardware and software certifications. However, OEMs such as Dell are loading desktop Linux on mainstream PCs, and the Windows-Office nut is getting easier to crack with the growing use (and usability) of online options such as Google Apps.

Indeed, within the next few years, many of your core applications will be delivered over the Web in a SAAS (software as a service) model. As such, the applications will be accessed via a Web browser that is basically acting as the operating system.

In an April special report, eWEEK Chief Technology Analyst Jim Rapoza said this new paradigm will require that businesses "take a much closer look at the Web browsers on which they standardize, especially in the areas of compatibility, adaptability and security."

Windows isn't going away, but while Microsoft gets its client OS house in order and figures out what it wants to be online, the end-user desktop will evolve to accommodate the apps and operating systems that are right for the user-rather than the apps and operating system Microsoft wants you to use.


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