Gartner: Windows is "Collapsing"

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Next revelation from Gartner: "Sun to Rise in East Tomorrow."

At Gartner's all-singing, all-dancing IT/Expo conference, two analysts pronounced (see coverage in Computerworld and here on CIO.com) that Microsoft Windows is collapsing under its own weight: bloated, overly complex, and delivering so little new functionality that those users not forced to adopt Vista by OEM bundling have decided to stick with XP.

Of course, you could have learned all that 16 months ago from yours truly.

For all that Gartner has said, Microsoft's biggest problem is that the nature of hardware is changing, and its model of a heavyweight client residing on an expensive general-purpose computing device is the answer to yesterday's computing problems.

Thanks to Gordon Moore, hardware has gotten so cheap that it makes sense to have multiple, even numerous computing devices around, much as many people own a number of wristwatches, each worn at appropriate times. And when you own a bunch of computing devices, it makes sense to have the data reside in a central location so that all the devices have to access to it and to ensure none of them face data concurrency issues.

Furthermore, when you start buying computing devices for $25 to $200, Microsoft's licensing fee starts to represent a significant proportion of the price, which calls into question its overall contribution to the value of the device.

I think Microsoft is mired in the challenge of "The Innovator's Dilemma," where companies continue to focus on products well past their sell-by date. And in considering the Vista debacle, I'm reminded of a friend's comment about things at his company: "We've improved the product to the point where no one can use it."


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