Windows at 20

Twenty years is a human generation: enough time for a baby to be born and go off to college; enough time to get married and have children.

Twenty years is a human generation: enough time for a baby to be born and go off to college; enough time to get married and have children. At 20, Windows has been through several generations and is no longer young; indeed, it seems as if we have lived with Windows forever.

At this milestone, its worth contemplating Windows as the subject of eWEEKs news, Labs analysis and Opinion coverage. eWEEK began life as PC Week, publishing its first issue in 1984 as the "national newspaper of IBM-standard microcomputing." IBM-standard meant Intel- and Microsoft-compatible. Thus, our very existence is historically linked to Microsoft operating systems: first MS-DOS and then the Windows family of client and server platforms. Consistent with that connection, we have always led the industry in Windows coverage.

As Windows became a linchpin of both personal and corporate computing, Microsoft became more powerful and aroused passions as never before. Anti-Microsoft zealots thought the very fact that we were covering Microsoft prominently indicated bias in favor of Microsoft. Conversely, close coverage of Microsoft, including its foibles and mistakes, was often construed as evidence of anti-Microsoft bias. The fact that we have been accused of bias by both sides is a good indicator that our coverage has been where it should be: right down the middle.

What the era of Windows has proved above all is the need for an industry-standard platform. Windows was and is a proprietary platform and a de facto standard, but that has served the purpose, even if Microsofts monolithic approach at times has created problems. Microsoft has fought off rival standards in the past, such as OS/2, but just because it has done so previously is no sure indicator that it will in the future against the formidable challenge of open standards.

Indeed, the emergence of Linux has been keeping Microsoft executives up at night for several years now. And because many of our readers have an interest in Linux, our coverage of Linux has increased. Note to readers: Covering Linux does not indicate anti-Microsoft bias, nor does our belief that competition is preferable to monopoly.

/zimages/6/28571.gifWill Mondays official launch of SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio 2005 and BizTalk Server 2005 be one of Microsofts last big launches? Click here to read more.

Microsofts antitrust ordeal, although intensely painful for the company, did succeed in blunting some of its predatory tendencies—to the benefit of both the company and the industry, in our view. As Google emerges to offer valuable services, Microsoft faces further competition but isnt likely to respond in the same manner as it did to Netscape in former times.

Customer needs are always changing, and, in response, Microsoft must also change. Were glad to see that the company is doing that, with such services as the recently unveiled Live service—extensions to Windows and Office that will be delivered over the Internet.

As Microsofts strategies unfold against challenges from new quarters, the future is filled with uncertainty. You can be certain, however, that eWEEK will provide you with the best coverage in the industry.

Tell us what you think at

/zimages/6/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.