Opinion: Windows' key IT role, for better or worse, over the past 20 years merits chronicling.With more than 20 pages of this issue devoted to Windows 20th anniversary, there might not be much left to say, so I will try to explain how this issue was put together and what you can expect from it. We did not set out to use the occasion as an opportunity to sing hosannas to Microsoft. With much anger and resentment still left over from the antitrust period, and with too many flaws still remaining in Windows itself, it would be absurd to even consider calling this a great moment in history. Instead, we sought to acknowledge that Windows, for better or worse, has been an integral part of our IT infrastructure for the past 15 years (for the first five, it was still learning how to walk) and to use our position as the IT industrys publication of record to chronicle the history of Windows growth in the enterprise. As our editorial inside points out, eWEEK (as well as PC Week before it) and Windows are inexorably linked, so the history of Windows is also the history of this magazine. To that end, we excerpted original review articles and invited several former eWEEK Labs analysts to recall the first time they tested the platform. Labs Director Jim Rapoza reminds us how limited the early versions really were, asking us, "How in the world did I ever get anything done using these total pieces of garbage?" Nevertheless, hes got a Windows 98 machine at home, and its still running quite well, thank you. Technology Editor Peter Coffee asks what the world might have been like if Windows, like George Bailey, had never existed. Its more different than you might think.
No Windows retrospective would be complete without talking to the people who have created, bought and used the product. Longtime Windows product manager Jim Allchin, who is nearing the end of his tenure at Microsoft, sat down with Senior Editor Peter Galli to talk about the labor pains and joys of bringing Windows to market, while our news reporters talked with OEMs and IT users to share their fond and not-so-fond memories of using Windows. The history of Windows is still being written. Just last week came the story of how Microsoft is undergoing major internal changes to keep its software relevant in the so-called world of Web 2.0. How successful the company is at that will be the story of the next 20 years.