Windows Long-Term Vision

By Ericka Chickowski  |  Posted 2008-10-28 Print this article Print

How will Microsoft adjust its operating system software strategies with Windows 7, cloud computing, software as a service and beyond? Baseline digs in to the Windows operating system now and in the future. Will Microsoft continue to dominate the market or will a shakeup of traditional enterprise software practices force Microsoft out of its dominant position?

Windows Long-Term Vision
Similarly, Microsoft must also tread a careful line when it comes to how it ties Windows into all of its other products. As cloud computing becomes a big part of the enterprise IT strategy, Microsoft customers are clamoring for the same flexibility and interoperability with Web applications and applications in the cloud as they get from products such as Microsoft Office. Didio believes that this is going to be a big factor in determining the long-term vision for Windows. “That’s the big question, because everybody wants to see what Microsoft is going to do to decouple Windows from the traditional constraints of an operating system tied to a server or a desktop platform,” Didio says.
Thurrott agrees, saying that Microsoft is still not quite adjusting its Windows strategy to the world around it. “I think desktop operating systems will always be important to some extent, but basically everything else around it is changing dramatically,” he says. “They  have to be working toward this cloud computing-type thing, which they are to some extent. [But,] you know, they’re introducing a small business computer server this year, a new version of their small business server, and it’s a very complex product. When you think about small businesses, wouldn’t these companies be better served using Web-based e-mail instead of installing an e-mail server on their premises and managing it? I mean it just doesn’t really address  the way things are changing.”

In addition to the cloud computing question, Thurrott believes that in the long term, Microsoft is also going to need to adjust its mobile strategy to better position Windows on that all-important “third screen.” “The world is moving on. We’re going to hit the point sooner or later where desktop computing is not the majority of the computing market in general,” he says. “And I think that the mobile side is where Microsoft is making some strategic mistakes.”

As he puts it, BlackBerry is “eating Microsoft’s lunch” and iPhone, Google Android-equipped phones and other hot devices not based on a Windows Mobile platform are the only devices garnering all of the user interest these days. “I don’t feel as if they have evolved that operating system enough over the years. I think that Microsoft has moved just too slowly and they’ve kept this thing too static.”

Turrott has heard from certain close sources that Microsoft is currently struggling internally with the debate over whether to start from scratch on Windows mobile or to continue adjusting the current platform.
“But I think Windows Mobile is stuck,” he says.

As Didio puts it, Microsoft has a real challenge ahead of it with Windows—balancing competition with partnerships, offering enough features while maintaining interoperability and simplicity, all the while keeping ahead of regulatory bodies such as the European Union.

“Microsoft has a real challenge: It’s got to be able to give corporations and consumers what they want,” she says. “It has to be very usable; it’s got to have a  high degree of reliability—there’s no margin for error—and if you’re using all of your vast R&D resources to build a much better mousetrap, you have to figure out a way of staying out of the crosshairs of regulatory bodies and commissions. Oh, and by the way, you have to be really secure; you have to work with everything; and you’ve got to have a smaller footprint.”


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