Microsoft - the future
Saturday, May 12, 2012 10:02:32 AM
Windows XP remained so popular because Microsoft released Windows Vista with a huge delay; the operating system which was to be released in sometime around late 2004 - early 2005 arrived on retail in early 2007.
Windows Vista was criticized heavily for it's annoying User Account Control feature, incompatibility with software, for being slow and so on. The cause for the software incompatibility was that some software vendors had not updated their programs to work with Windows Vista and the big software vendors, had added Windows Vista support very recently at that time - so users were required to update to newer versions. These complaints were resolved to a good enough extent by 2008 with most software vendors offering updates/service packs for previous versions of their software - allowing them to run on Windows Vista.
But all this was a huge loss for Microsoft. Microsoft had to extend Windows XP Mainstream support because of it's popularity - allowing Windows XP users to have Internet Explorer 8, Visual Studio 2010 (Visual Studio 2010 alone means a lot), Microsoft Office 2010, Microsoft Security Essentials, Windows Live Essentials 2009 and other improvements like Windows Installer 4.5, exFAT file system support (via update), Silverlight 5 and some more of them.
In 2009, Microsoft released Windows 7. At the time of Windows 7's release, the conditions were better - processors were faster so performance was fine even on low-end systems; almost all software vendors had updated their software to run on Windows Vista (Windows 7 is compatible with most software that are compatible with Windows Vista). Also Microsoft removed Windows Mail, Windows Movie Maker and such programs making it less bloated. Windows 7 was considered to be well enough to upgrade from Windows XP. Windows 7 started to gain popularity among users.
Okay, the post's title is about future and I am talking about past. No, the discussion is really about future of Microsoft products.
Today, Windows XP is losing popularity to Windows 7.
Microsoft has dropped support for Windows XP from it's upcoming and current products - Visual Studio 11/2012 (including .NET Framework 4.5), SQL Server 2012, Internet Explorer 9 and above, Windows Live Essentials 2011 and above. More products to drop support very soon.
Out of the above, Microsoft has restricted some products like Visual Studio 11/2012 and Internet Explorer 10 to Windows 7 and above alone. What does this mean?
This is a clear indication that if users want the latest and greatest software from Microsoft, they will need to upgrade to newer versions of Windows every 5-6 years.
Visual Studio 2010 is the last version for Windows Vista. Internet Explorer 9 is the last version for Windows Vista. SQL Server 2012 is the last version for Windows Vista.
For Windows 7, things can vary, for example, if Windows 8 just experiences a terrible fail on the desktop. If that happens, it will be like Windows 7 saying will be the second XP for which the support will be extended and Windows 8 will be the second Vista whose customers will be angry. So I won't make any definite statement for what products are going to support Windows 7.
Now let's discuss about Windows itself in the future - rather than support for Windows in Microsoft products.
Windows 8 is going to be the next version of Windows, and the first version of Windows to bring a new application framework other than the desktop applications, Metro apps handled by WinRT (Windows Runtime). The geeks and developers will ofcourse know how to disable it, or find a use for it. This is not the big change - the big change is that Start menu is being removed. Again, geeks will know some software can bring back the Start menu.
However, the average user would probably be puzzled figuring out how to access the Start menu (and will be disappointed - there is no Start menu!). Not everybody is a computer geek. Unless, Microsoft adds some guide thoroughly introducing these changes in Windows 8, users are going to be puzzled up.
If Windows 8 RTM will be identical to the Windows 8 Consumer Preview (except for a few bugfixes, performance improvements and shipping with IE 10 RTM instead of IE 10 Consumer Preview), then it's just unknown what will happen to Windows 8.