Microsoft’s next version of windows has every reason to have much expectations weighing on it. Its massive clout in the business space means that there is a lot of anticipation on the release. But with the recent news on Vista and some industry reports pointing to the bloat in successive releases, the next version of Windows – Windows 7 gets a lot more significant.
Microsoft’s Windows juggernaut is collapsing as it tries to support 20 years of applications and becomes more complicated by the minute. Meanwhile, Windows has outgrown hardware and customers are pondering skipping Vista to wait for Windows 7. If Windows is going to remain relevant it will need radical changes.
That sobering outlook comes courtesy of Gartner analysts Michael Silver and Neil MacDonald. Half of a full room of IT managers and executives raised their hands when asked whether Microsoft needed to radically change its approach to Windows. “Windows is too monolithic,” says Silver.
The sober analysis from Gartner got the blogosphere buzzing with news of Microsoft’s Windows being in trouble. The truth cannot be much more farther. As Ina Fried at News.com notes:
Microsoft still holds a huge share of mind among developers, meaning that there will likely to continue to be a whole host of applications that come out first or only on Windows. That, in turn, will make it different for mainstream businesses to shift to an alternative to Windows.
There is no doubting that Vista has been a major debacle for Microsoft. There has been a reluctance among customers to shift to Vista from Windows XP and Microsoft had to acknowledge the reluctance by extending the date for shipping XP with new PCs.
The main problems that Microsoft faces and it is seeking to address:
- Reducing the product release cycle for Windows.
- Making the next version of Windows much lighter on the hardware.
Being a mainstream OS, Microsoft cannot be blamed to have been in the business of shipping bloated versions one after another. After all it works well in the larger picture of software driving hardware requirements (the vicious cycle that drives innovation).
But the issues facing Microsoft are the things happening in the “cloud”. As more applications go online, in the long run it matters little what runs on the PC. There is no immediate threat to Microsoft. But that said, the gradual changes are already taking place. We have companies with serious and established data infrastructures such as Amazon and Google offering web services. Enterprises are getting options to run their apps off the web via SalesForce and Zoho. So its time that Microsoft took stock of the scenario.
The expectations are for a modular light weight version of windows that will integrate well with Microsoft’s online services. Having a staggering lead in the OS space means that Microsoft is most ideally placed to provide the most compelling of online-offline applications.
This is a time when enterprises are grappling with the prospect of online applications delivering on their business needs. Microsoft could make a winning move with Windows 7 to provide enterprises with integrations they can trust.