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Vista the End of An Era?

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the dinosaurs-die-out dept.

Microsoft 446

mikesd81 writes "The Times Online has an article about the uncertain future of Windows. Even Microsoft, it seems is admitting that Vista will be the last OS of its kind. With the push towards a constant presence on the internet, and the churn that entails, the company has admitted that even with a two year delay 'it is not really ready'." From the article: "Security experts are acknowledging that Vista is the most secure of Windows to date. However, 'The bad guys will always target the most popular systems,' Mikko Hypponen, of F-Secure, the security group, said. 'Vista's vulnerability to phishing attacks, hackers, viruses and other malicious software will increase quickly.' But the current fear is that the Internet will kill Windows, with Google being Public Enemy No. 1: 'Microsoft is way behind Google when it comes to the internet,' Rupert Godwins, the technology editor at ZDNet, the industry website, said. 'Building Vista, Microsoft is still doing things the old way at the same time as it undergoes a big shift to catch up.'"

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446 comments

FIRST POST (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17188024)

And end of an era

Not gonna happen (5, Insightful)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188044)

All of this "The Net IS the OS" stuff is just ridiculous. This kind of thing doesn't even have a chance until broadband is as ubiquitous and as reliable as electricity. I think that we're still a good 10 years out from this even beginning to happen.

Re:Not gonna happen (5, Insightful)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188104)

This ignores the reality that old OSes never die and go away. As long as older computers continue to exist, the older OSes will continue to be used. The open-source community is also proof that the traditional OS will never die.

Re:Not gonna happen (2, Insightful)

Chess_the_cat (653159) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188386)

Never is a long time. Or do you belive that in 100 years when we're all wired with processors in our heads there'll still be point and clickers? No? Well, 100 years isn't anywhere NEAR never.

Re:Not gonna happen (4, Funny)

evilad (87480) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188610)

Maybe not, but you can rest assured that somewhere in my head I'll be running DOS to play Full Throttle just one more time.

Re:Not gonna happen (4, Insightful)

perlchild (582235) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188648)

For microsoft, a company that makes no money on support, but on initial licenses, those older OSes haven't just ceased to exist, they are a threat to their business model.

oh no, not again (4, Insightful)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188172)

Vista cannot be the last major OS of its type from microsoft. While it is likely that they might want to produce something significantly different, a major shift would take years to produce. A company that needs such a large team just to work on the shutdown menu isn't ready to innovate in the way they claim. Innovation is nothing more then a word they use to sound cool, they haven't managed it for years, all they do is patent minutiae

Sure, microsoft *say* it would take les time to make the next windows iteration, the plain fact is that they are no longer working from the position of having no competition. Therefore they have to do a whole lot better then just improve security, they've got to move a long way forward beyond the competition, improving everything and introducing things people can't get elsewhere. Right now Gnome is catching up with the XP interface, I think it's better in fact, and that's free. KDE I don't know about, I barely use it.

GNU/Linux, good though it is, is nowhere near ready to take on microsoft for home users. The simple reason being that in spite of its wealth of applications, it has shitbar games when compared to windows. Game producers aren't building their products in linux for a first iteration. That will be the big problem for linux for a fair few years.

Once games creators switch, or rather, produce for linux too, hardware manufacturers will start working in linux more, and mmicrosoft will see a real challenge.

Then there's Office. OpenOffice is good, but not as good as MsOffice. Well it does compare in many ways, but OpenOffice doesn't have salesmen ready to cajole existing customers and offer vast discounts. We're still at the stage were companies will mention thinking about switching just to get those discounts.

Games are the only thing that keeps windows installed on my machine, I use linux for all serious stuff, but I won't give up my games, and I'm not alone. I gave up Office a long time ago. For simple docs I use Vim, and for complex docs I use Tex.

Re:oh no, not again (5, Interesting)

Ajehals (947354) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188276)

If we start seeing companies go down the software as a service model, we may well see vista as a cut down but free product, with Microsoft's revenue coming from on-line productivity services. Games will be relegated to the console (where they can also be locked to the hardware or only available on-line).

This would be good for the companies that are currently seeing losses due to copyright infringement, just imagine if all your media was only available on-line - you could only rent it, it would be playable on your PC but only if the platform had sufficient technical measures in place to prevent you from copying it. You couldn't copy Office or Photoshop because its run directly from someone else's server. This would be a dream for software providers as they could charge you on a per use basis, and lock your data into their services. No more trying to sell upgrades as you wouldn't have a choice.

The only thing that stands in the way of that is a decent and mostly feature complete open code base, something that would allow you to do what you want with your computer, your "Intellectual Property" and the media you buy, or already own. We are seeing the end of the huge revenue streams for those people who provide a product that is easily reproduced. Those providers are looking for ways to re-generate those revenue streams, and I dont think the scenario I have outlined above is too outlandish for them to consider.

Re:oh no, not again (4, Insightful)

Captain Jack Taylor (976465) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188348)

That would be fine, the open-source community would immediately boom again like it did a couple of years ago, and very quickly overtake the market, because the vast majory of people quite literally can't afford that type of computing environment unless the cost of everything drops considerably. This is, of course, what most companies attribute to "losses due to copyright infringement".

Re:oh no, not again (3, Insightful)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188600)

When Microsoft got started, two guys wiht a Basic were pedalling wears to hobbyists. Two other guys ina guarage we building a computer to runt h 1st two guys basic. None of these guys had an R&D budget. Today, Microsotft like most companies, feel that a huge R&D budget will inovate them out of their self dug hole. Look how well PARC servered Xerox after all....

Re:oh no, not again (2, Insightful)

chromatic (9471) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188618)

GNU/Linux, good though it is, is nowhere near ready to take on microsoft for home users. The simple reason being that... I won't give up my games, and I'm not alone.

Hey, look--a hasty generalization!

Count the number of home desktops last year. Count the highest-selling PC game last year (sold-through, not sold-in). Compare. I bet the second number is at least an order of magnitude less.

Re:oh no, not again (1)

JFMulder (59706) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188662)

You are right. The problem is the other order of magnitude is pirating the games. Those are gamers too. And they love their Windows for that.

Re:oh no, not again (1)

foamrotreturns (977576) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188640)

Ummm... OO.o doesn't need salesmen offering discounts - It's free.

Re:Not gonna happen (2, Informative)

grcumb (781340) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188260)

All of this "The Net IS the OS" stuff is just ridiculous. This kind of thing doesn't even have a chance until broadband is as ubiquitous and as reliable as electricity.

Agreed. But consider that this is a failed conclusion from an observation which is emphatically true, and whose weight increases with every passing day: Microsoft Windows, as it is currently constructed, cannot compete in the long run with low- or no-cost software that is platform-neutral. The realisation that Microsoft is facing is this: The core of their entire business model will inevitably fail. Not today, not tomorrow, but sometime in the foreseeable future.

Everybody, Microsoft included, knows this is true. But the pundits seem to be extrapolating too far into the future, and they don't realise just how silly a thing this is to do, especially in the eyes of those of us who know a thing or two about computers and the Internet.

So let's just file this story in the same folder with our nuclear-powered flying car promises, and get back to the real question: How is Microsoft going to follow Vista?

Re:Not gonna happen (4, Insightful)

0racle (667029) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188424)

So let's just file this story in the same folder with our nuclear-powered flying car promises, and get back to the real question: How is Microsoft going to follow Vista?
Simple, complete and ship everything that slipped from Vistas release.

Re:Not gonna happen (2, Informative)

Merusdraconis (730732) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188444)

"Microsoft Windows, as it is currently constructed, cannot compete in the long run with low- or no-cost software that is platform-neutral."

The fact that it's not doesn't mean it can't. The Internet as a platform is mostly successful because of its killer apps (Youtube, blogs, Wikipedia et al.) Consumers don't care about platforms nearly as much as IT professionals think they do or should.

This doesn't change the fact that Microsoft is boned because it's losing to the Internet, and it doesn't change any of the arguments based on that premise. But it just wanted to make clear that it's not the inherent nature of the platforms but the apps for them that usually decide how the consumer responds.

Re:Not gonna happen (1)

grcumb (781340) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188598)

"Microsoft Windows, as it is currently constructed, cannot compete in the long run with low- or no-cost software that is platform-neutral."
The fact that it's not doesn't mean it can't.

Uhmmm, I think we're in screaming agreement here. That's the 'as it is currently constructed' part. 8^)

But again, the question isn't 'Can Microsoft do anything?' That's silly. The question is 'What then, will Microsoft do, faced with a business model that is doomed to fail?' This story paints a picture of Internet pie in the sky, which, as the GP pointed out, is not going to be complete any time soon. You're asserting that Microsoft is not without options in the application space. So my question to you then, is 'what can MS do in the application space that will save it from itself?'

Re:Not gonna happen (1)

supremebob (574732) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188268)

Exactly. Companies like Sun and Oracle have been preaching the gospel of the "Network Computer" since 1996. Ten years later, very few people are using smart terminal environments at work, and even fewer people are using them at home. The cost advantage over cheap PC's still isn't there yet, and there are still network reliability issues.

Re:Not gonna happen (2, Interesting)

zeromorph (1009305) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188304)

I agree it won't happen - and in my opinion GoogleOS won't happen either. But the article focuses more on MS's business strategies after Vista because producing OSes is getting less manageable, less profitable, not on the scenario of vanishing OSes as such.

But what I would think is more interesting:

How is the free software/open source community dealing with the changing landscape?
(Is e.g. Linux heading into the same problems as Windows?)

What is the future of free/open source software in a world with more and more advertisement financed, huge server based services?

Don't you think that the fact that all search engines are proprietary and closed source is as bad as the situation in the OS-sector before Linux?

To sum it up:
MS is searching new ways, but what are the visions of the FOSS community?

Re:Not gonna happen (3, Interesting)

Ajehals (947354) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188428)

How is the free software/open source community dealing with the changing landscape?

Sorry I'm only going to respond to this small part of your post :) . The open source community has the advantage that at present everything is much much more modular than in the world of windows. there is no requirement for any of the disto's to maintain the entire code base that their distro relies upon. Further more the producers and providers Open Source code are generally not looking at their product in terms of monetary value. Debian don't have to include features to entice SUSE or Red Hat users over to their distro, nor do they have to worry about Ubuntu using their code base and passing it off as something else entirely.

In my opinion the open source landscape is so different from that which Microsoft inhabits that the issues facing Microsoft will simply not figure on the OSS radar. There will certainly be other issues to contend with (such as driver support, copyright and patents) but most of these are also issues for Microsoft. So in short, how is the FOSS community dealing with the changing landscape? well it deals with it in an asymetric way, it is made up of a huge number of small cells, each one more able to adapt to change than the monolith that is Microsoft. (Just realised that that makes the FOSS community sound like an insurgent / Terrorist group, but that may infact be more accurate than I would have thought.)

Re:Not gonna happen (1)

slimey_limey (655670) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188306)

Don't forget that there's always going to be a need for hardware abstraction and a network protocol stack. Judging from the way things are going, it's not likely that we're going to be using net-booted machines with small firmware kernels anytime soon.

Re:Not gonna happen (5, Insightful)

LionKimbro (200000) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188334)

I think what you, and the others who are saying things like you, are missing, is what the conversation is all about.

Nobodies seriously arguing that "OS'es don't matter," or that OS'es will somehow magically, poof, up and disappear, somehow. If you think that's what the message is, you're almost certainly misinterpreting.

There will always be stuff that people will only entrust to their own computer, and run on an OS, and so on. Like the fellow who replied to you first said: "I don't want to authenticate, just to edit a word document." Quite right.

What they're saying, or one of the things they're saying, (since "they" are quite large and nebulous,) is that the era of the super-important dominance of the OS is at an end.

That is, that software developers, around the world, are never going to go back to the heady days of 1995, where every new platform change to Windows or Apple was the compelling subject of the magazines.

It's sort of like in Linux. Who cares what happens to the kernel anymore? It's all about the desktop efforts.

Sure, the old stuff never went away: There are still innovations in the Linux Kernel, and, there are communities of people who keep up with what's happening in kernels and so on, and the myriad activities and so on. Even exciting things still happening there. But it isn't the focus of the discussion.

The primary discussion, the things businesses and users and developers and so on are concerned about, is something different.

So, this is the context in which you interpret: "The net is the OS."

They mean something very big and complex, but when you put a message into the political sphere, it's gotta be short. You have to apply the context to decipher the message.

Re:Not gonna happen (1)

Loco Moped (996883) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188420)

No, it's not gonna happen.

The computer manufacturers won't let it happen. They depend heavily on Windows bloat to sell new high-end computers. And if they aren't selling new computers with Windows pre-installed, Microsoft isn't going to be selling many copies of Windows.

One hand washes the other.

Re:Not gonna happen (1)

True ChAoS (157946) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188426)

Which should give MS just enough time to complete their offering!

...

I'll get my coat...

Re:Not gonna happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17188492)

>All of this "The Net IS the OS" stuff is just ridiculous.

Shhhhh! Let Microsoft flail and fail.

Re:Not gonna happen (1)

Jessta (666101) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188552)

I agree. Also, 'The NET IS the OS" fails to take in to account that you need an OS to run your web browser, provide the base system libraries for your applications that you don't wish to write in javascript. Web applications are still way behind desktop applications in terms of portability and interoperation.

Re:Not gonna happen (1)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188634)

This kind of thing doesn't even have a chance until broadband is as ubiquitous and as reliable as electricity.

Power has been out 6 times in the last 12 months, twice for over 20 minutes. Broadband has been out for a total of about 15 minutes in the same period. Major US metropolis. Draw your own conclusions.

Attack most popular (1)

EraserMouseMan (847479) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188670)

So if the shift occurs does that mean that hackers will prefer to target Google?

Re:Not gonna happen (2, Insightful)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188690)

More importantly, people (and especially businesses) don't want their private data to be on "the internet." Ford doesn't want its latest CAD design on the net, Becky doesn't want her "Lilac Tears" on the net (ok, maybe she does, but she's too ashamed to put it there on purpose), Bob doesn't want his finances online (the fact that it's already there and his computer has been r00ted already aside), and GAMERS don't want their refresh rate to be a factor of their ping time. It may be in an intangible form, but having data on one's own system just feels more secure, and it's hard to change the way people feel, and keeping data offline IS important to many business and government entities. The current concept of the OS will only go away if desktop computing goes away, which is not bloody likely unless/until regulation requires it.

Although I hear California is already proposing a 5 day waiting period for computer purchases.

"Last of its kind"? Fooey (5, Insightful)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188046)

If by that they mean software-as-a-service, well, good luck to them. I have no desire whatsoever to be forced into downloading their product whenever I need it, or authenticating myself to Redmond when I want to open a spreadsheet.

"Last of its kind"? Fooey-Ironing Boards. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17188134)

"If by that they mean software-as-a-service, well, good luck to them. I have no desire whatsoever to be forced into downloading their product whenever I need it, or authenticating myself to Redmond when I want to open a spreadsheet."

Steam.

---
"Slashdot requires you to wait between each successful posting of a comment to allow everyone a fair chance at posting a comment."

Which logged in people don't have to observe, so who are you fooling Taco?

Re:"Last of its kind"? Fooey-Ironing Boards. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17188184)

There's a difference. Steam is designed for *games*. If I can't authenticate to steam for some reason I lose almost nothing.

However, if I can't authenticate to a server that holds my accounts (or some other critical process), I am losing money.

Re:"Last of its kind"? Fooey-Ironing Boards. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17188308)

Sure. Good example.

It is the sole reason I haven't bought Half Life 2.

I'd rather keep playing the original Half Life or other games that don't shackle me to the vagaries of my network connection and fallible license validation.

And that's just for a game -- non-critical stuff. For an OS to run the system at all? No @!$@# way. I'm not handing a company the software ability to remotely and temporarily turn my hardware into a useless brick, no matter how supposedly infallible the technique is. I'll buy a more reliable product without such a "feature".

Wrong Interpretation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17188216)

If by that they mean software-as-a-service, well, good luck to them.

Vista IS the last great Windows release, but it's not because of Google or software-as-a-service. It's about getting rid of that idiot Alchin. Alchin didn't understand how to keep a project under control and ship what customers actually want/need. Going forward, the core OS division will be more about delivering what customers want/need in the next ~2 years. Releases will be more predictable from a feature and timeline standpoint. You won't see the type of delays that have plagued Windows for years.

Or at least that's the plan. It seems like a good idea from a businees perspective, but I think it will keep us from delivering the "next big thing".

Re:Wrong Interpretation (1)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188656)

Interesting. From the sound of your description (and assuming you really work for MS), it sounds like Microsoft is trying to implement Apple's OS X release strategy. They put up a fairly significant effort to get the first OS X release, but ended up with a highly modular, easily maintained codebase. Now they work on implementing the "next big thing" and release just about every 18 months. Any idea if significant amounts of BSD code are going to make it into the next Windows?

deja vu? (0, Troll)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188054)

wasn't a story by that exact title and pretty much identical posted a couple months ago? Anyway, all they have to do is design good security then design fancy features around it instead of the other way around where their marketing or possibly just "the dumbass department" desides to add in a features and just tells the security people to make it work. Either that or just stick with Vista and patch it until it works even if it takes a decade.

Re:deja vu? (2, Informative)

alphasubzero949 (945598) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188116)

wasn't a story by that exact title and pretty much identical posted a couple months ago?

Yup. [slashdot.org]

Microsoft suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17188072)

Their profitable OS and office software is now replacable with zero price commodity product. What else is there?

If the DOJ had split the company in 2001, they wouldn't have a warchest of billions to continue damaging the industry as they fight their way into irrelevance. Now that the Democrats have the house, they should be asking why MS was let off so lightly by the Bush regime.

Re:Microsoft suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17188224)

If Microsoft had been split by the DOJ, it actually seems more likely to me that they'd have even more money. Sustaining big money losers like xbox and msn would not longer be possible. We'd probably be left with an Office company and a Windows company both with huge profits.

Re:Microsoft suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17188522)

Sustaining big money losers like xbox and msn would not longer be possible.

Exactly.


We'd probably be left with an Office company and a Windows company both with huge profits.

What's wrong with huge profits?



Microsoft knows it can't retreat to focus on it's core products, they're desperate to expand into other markets. We all know how MS do business and we all know how it's going to play out. I'd rather see 2 companies compete in the changing marketplace than witness one panicked, destructive monopoly.

I have a hard time believing claims like this (2, Insightful)

porkThreeWays (895269) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188074)

I have a really hard time believing any claims like this. As far as I can remember everyone (on both sides) has claimed that this one will be different. That it will either be the greatest windows release ever or the worst. And everytime it's somewhere in the middle. Every release of windows since windows 95 has been marginally better. Tack on service packs and updates. Release next version that's marginally better and different than the last service pack of the previous release. The next version of windows probably will be more modular, but I don't think it will be radically different than the final service pack of Vista.

Re:I have a hard time believing claims like this (5, Insightful)

theLOUDroom (556455) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188574)

Every release of windows since windows 95 has been marginally better.

What about Windows ME?

I think you'd find a lot of people disagreeing with you on that one.

Re:I have a hard time believing claims like this (2, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188616)

You're right. Microsoft has been talking about taking a radical new approach ever since Windows 95, which actually was a radical change from Windows 3.1. I remember when Windows 2000 was going to have a totally different interface, filesystem, etc. Little by little, news came out that the more radical changes were going to be pushed out until the next version, and Windows 2000 would focus on transitioning to the NT kernel. Same with XP, and same with Vista.

You want to know, what? I don't think it's the worst thing. Really, I love it when someone comes up with something incredible and revolutionary and new, but incremental improvements are good too. Just so long as the improvements are real and helpful. It helps is the cost of upgrade is proportionate to the usefulness of the improvements.

I love my desktop (1, Interesting)

jfclavette (961511) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188080)

Yeah, the internet is cool. Yadda Yadda. Standalone computers/OSes are a thing of the past and dumb-terminals/browsers/web services are going to kill them. I've heard that back in '95. At the end of the day I still prefer desktop apps for anything I do even remotely often. Graphics intensive games will always run on the desktop. If PC games get killed in favour of game consoles, then we've just switched to a different kind of desktop. Wake me up when it happens; I suspect I'll be long dead.

Its only the begining (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17188092)

its the begining of the end

millions of lines of code? (4, Insightful)

erbbysam (964606) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188094)

Vista's 50 million lines of code have cost an estimated $7.5 billion to assemble. I think that this is getting to a point where as the number of lines grow, there's a limit to the manpower that can be applied to make it secure, or even write it in the first place that is still profitable to the company.

Re:millions of lines of code? (2, Interesting)

thc69 (98798) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188148)

Uh-oh...time to change my machine to run VMS, then. Linux is catching up to Windows, according to http://www.dwheeler.com/sloc/ [dwheeler.com] which says of RedHat 7.1: "It includes over 30 million physical source lines of code (SLOC)."

It also says: "They found that Debian 2.2 includes more than 55 million physical SLOC", and "Debian 3.1 ("Sarge") had grown to about 230 million source lines of code".

And for other Windows versions: "Windows NT 5.0 (in 2000) was 20M SLOC, Windows 2000 (in 2001) was 35M SLOC, and Windows XP (in 2002) was 40M SLOC".

Finally, it links to a Dilbert strip that describes other types of security vulnerabilities: http://www.unitedmedia.com/comics/dilbert/ [unitedmedia.com]

Re:millions of lines of code? (1)

thc69 (98798) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188162)

Finally, it links to a Dilbert strip that describes other types of security vulnerabilities: http://www.unitedmedia.com/comics/dilbert/ [unitedmedia.com]
Er, well, actually, that link was to today's strip. I don't know why the link was described on the page as the August 26, 2003 strip. Today's strip is coincidentally relevant, though.

Re:millions of lines of code? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188288)

Netcraft confirms it - the OS is dead.

Not very likely in general. Hell, my apps would work better with faster FSB and memory, Internet bandwith isn't even close. That said, there is probably some business case for a Joe Sixpack Internet Machine (JSIM) that boots something little and safe (obviously some form of linux....), Does email, browsing, games, wordprocessing, etc on the net and has some form of secure, encrypted net storage. The Googlebox.

Not everybody spends their entire life doing email and web browsing. 3D graphics apps are not running on broadband in our lifetime.

And I will keep my data to myself, thank you very much.

I don't see an internet OS as the future (4, Insightful)

maetenloch (181291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188114)

There's a lot that Microsoft can learn from Google, but I just don't see Google competing with Microsoft at the OS level, especially with an OS based off the internet. Ulimately you need code executing on a local processor and here there are already several established competitors. Even if most applications are pulled from the network, there still are issues of performance, latency, and security. Plus not every system is always connected to a network. I can see Google possibly competing sucessfully with MS Office products, but not as an OS.

Internet = OS? I think not (2, Insightful)

Rah'Dick (976472) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188118)

Ok, they're pushing "software as a service" now everywhere. They already call upon the "end of operating systems", but I'm asking myself: if they say, the internet IS the OS, what will the internet run on? I don't think Microsoft will switch over to Linux. Or they could build an "OS" that is solely a web browser. IE-OS, anyone?

If this software-as-a-service thing is going to be big in the future, what would they say if anyone would dig up an old machine from this era and find out, that it runs all of it's software without a net connection... Hell, it even BOOTS UP without internet! Awesome stuff, not?

Internet = OS? Missing the point? (1)

thehustle (1038186) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188490)

I don't see this as a debate over whether we will have local operating systems, or will we have an 'internet operating system', but more a question of how important local operating systems will be compared to the user applications sprouting up all over the internet. And by importance, I mean money making potential. If new applications and developments arrive continuously by way of URL, why go to the bother of (waiting years and years before) rebuilding your operating system to get transparent windows and other *major innovations*? Even if you like trouble, do you like paying for it too? Don't all of the new and hip websites work the same on Windows 2000 (or a Mac)?

After Vista, Windows will die (2, Insightful)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188136)

Not even Microsoft has the resources to continue the desktop Windows line. The costs are ballooning.

Re:After Vista, Windows will die (3, Insightful)

N7DR (536428) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188292)

Maybe I'm simple-minded.

1. Compare XP and KDE on Linux circa 2001.
2. Compare XP and KDE on Linux in 2006.
3. Compare expectations for Vista and KDE 4 on Linux in late 2007.
4. Extrapolate the relative improvements in Windows and KDE and Linux to 2010.

I don't care what resources Redmond has. They simply cannot compete with a bunch of determined individuals. No one can. It's just a matter of time.

KDE 4 running on Windows will probably speed things up, but even without it, Windows' days are truly numbered. The people at MS aren't stupid. They know this, which is why they've started fighting Linux more coherently this past year. They must be very, very worried about what Microsoft is going to look like 10 years from now. Any sensible person in their position would be.

Re:After Vista, Windows will die (1)

CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188322)

Not even Microsoft has the resources to continue the desktop Windows line. The costs are ballooning.

Yet it does still generate billions of profit every year. Higher costs certainly are the goal but even if a product costs 10 trillion to produce, as long revenue from the product exceeds that amount the company will be happy to continue it until they can find another method which will promise even more profit.

Re:After Vista, Windows will die (2, Interesting)

kmkz (1022021) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188372)

Well Vista took $7.5 Billion to make. Windows XP made over $10 Billion last year ALONE. I can assure you that if Vista sells anywhere near the number of units that XP sold then Microsoft will still be rolling in cash. Everyone needs an OS, and if they supply it people will buy it.

Nonsense (0, Flamebait)

JFMulder (59706) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188152)

And if the Net is the platform of the future for applications (and that's a very big IF I wouldn't put my money on, but hey, for the sake of the discussion, let's assume that what Google is offering is going to replace Office and whatever), you'll still need something to run your browser on. And your games. And store you stuff. Linux? Yeah right, I think I've read that Linux has been ready for primetime (meaning the desktop) like 5 years in a row now on Slashdot and it still isn't. Windows is going to be here for a while.

Re:Nonsense (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17188166)

Fag.

Here we go again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17188156)

The same was said about Windows XP. And Windows 2000. And Windows 98.

We're also hearing the same tired old crap about users not having a compelling reason to upgrade to Vista, and that nobody will. Just as we heard the same about all previous MS OS.

I predict that within a couple of months of its release, Vista will become the new OS standard. Just as the previous versions did the same.

Its only an end of and era... (4, Funny)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188178)

when we use somebody else's face for the BillyBorg Slashdot Icon.

Netcraft confirms it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17188186)

Windows is dying.

Round and round we go (4, Insightful)

Ajehals (947354) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188188)

So the future is the web, we will in the future all pay a monthly fee and access our documents and media on-line (where consequently it easier to control what we have access to). Then 10-20 years down the line the on-line model will be seen as legacy and we will all jump out and buy a new fangled computer that lets you keep your content locally again, without paying an access fee, all by just buying a software license of an OS and some applications...

Or we could just not bother going with the latest fad designed to keep us spending, and preventing us from actually owning anything. As long as the good folks at Debian continue to produce a great distribution, and as long as people are willing to write software, I think I'll stick to what I know (and what I don't have to pay through the nose for.)

Re:Round and round we go (1)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188354)

So the future is the web, we will in the future all pay a monthly fee and access our documents and media on-line (where consequently it easier to control what we have access to).


That's an interesting point I never thought of. On top of that...who would get the money? The ISP? Google? MS? Imagine that cash flow. Or maybe all of them. We pay the ISP.....but to use Office now you pay MS too. And then to get your e-mail you pay Google? So your statement of paying through the nose (which I didn't paste here) brings on a whole new meaning?

"Way behind"? (4, Insightful)

Durandal64 (658649) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188206)

"'Microsoft is way behind Google when it comes to the internet."

What does this even mean?

Re:"Way behind"? (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188242)

I assume "Google's web services are way beyond Microsoft's".

Re:"Way behind"? (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188466)

Google Earth Is lot better then live local 3D and It works on Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux

Re:"Way behind"? (1)

Cosmic Debris (650504) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188286)

Several billion in market cap and a way bigger corporate jet.

Re:"Way behind"? (1)

davecarlotub (835831) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188346)

It means that Microsoft hasn't embraced, extended and exteriminated Google yet.

Re:"Way behind"? (1)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188376)

So this is what it will boil down to in the end? The "Do All Evil" against the "Do No Evil"? Picture the end of the Matrix 3 as they SMith and Neo fly at each other. What an image this would be!

Re:"Way behind"? (2, Insightful)

AVonGauss (1001486) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188402)

IMO, it means industry analysts just like most users don't really have a good concept of what the future will be for computers and communications in general. Personally, I would describe the article as possible FUD with taking things out of context and presenting it in a hype fashion so that it generates ad revenue. The IT industry has been changing quite a bit this decade, some of it deals with the Internet but a lot more of it deals with the incorporation of the technology in to practical uses.

Re:"Way behind"? (1)

failedlogic (627314) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188520)

The "way behind" statement is very vague.

The way I read it, they expecting MS to integrate more Internet technologies - or create new Internet technologies- and integrate it into Vista. If so MS is already underfire for security problems in Vista. Adding more Internet related programs/code help into Vista would only hinder the security. IMO, I wouldn't want more Internet bells and whistles integrated into any OS. And besides, more integration means more scrutiny under the EU and DOJ.

From the article"Once installed in the post, Mr Ozzie wrote an internal company memo that mapped out the challenges that face Microsoft. The message was clear: get Google, get with the internet and wean Microsoft off Windows as we know it".

Equally, you could also read this article to mean.... MS has been too dependent on Windows and Office for its business model. Duh! So now they're doing Zune, Xbox, Media Center, Windows Live and a whole bunch of other stuff. I don't see Windows dying anytime soon though. Its a money maker and its impossible to replace all the business/desktop apps running on it in less than 10 years.

Re:"Way behind"? (3, Insightful)

Virgil Tibbs (999791) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188536)

one of the only things google is better at that M$ is not screwing around with what the customer wants...

Re:"Way behind"? (1)

Bardez (915334) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188542)

c'mon Sorresso... you know MS aren't t3h cool as Google. Google is the good guy, and MS is the bad guy, so it's obvious that MS is behind...

Wait, what's the word for that thinking... "fallacy?"

In all seriousness, I think plenty of people just get the feeling that Google is ahead of MS, if nothing other than the fact that plenty of IE users change their default searches away from MSN (either by typing in google or actually changing it, if they are tech-literate enough).

Re:"Way behind"? (1)

HerrEkberg (971000) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188650)

It means that they have fewer tubes.

No one is going to store their porn remotely. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17188208)

The hard drive is not the expensive part of a computer. They don't even use much power nowadays. The operating system, or at least the one I'm typing this on, is free. Moving from fat to thin clients doesn't make economic sense, even if many apps can be more conveniently delivered as web pages.

Different business model, that's all. (1)

glas_gow (961896) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188236)

I think the point of TFA is that a complete rollout of a new version of Vista will be unlikely in the future, simply because there is a limited desire by consumers to re-familiarise themselves with a new OS every couple of years, not to mention the prohibitive costs involved. As far as heralding in a new era, companies like Microsoft are likely, in future, to copy the update process of Linux vendors, opting to offer a more modular update process for specific functionality than the current wholesale update procedure being witnessed with Vista. As such MS will not be able to rely on the same quadrannual windfall to support their business.

Re:Different business model, that's all. (1)

zeromorph (1009305) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188454)

Yeah, thanks.

I think that is really the most likely scenario, but it will bring other, new problems.

How to convince someone to buy a modular update? Most users won't even understand what this partial update will be.

Can they combine their current business modell with a different production/release policy or have to change more?

An Enquiring Mind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17188238)

How come Microsoft is trying to reinvent the wheel? Why doesn't Microsoft do what Apple did and just retool some free/GNU operating system? I mean the GNU license does allow commerce and profit!
Is this a matter of pride? Does Microsoft believe they are truly producing something new and innovative rather than something crufty that does the job 1/3 as well as existing apps?

Ummm... WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17188250)

WTF are these people smoking? Google? I can't get Google... OR anything on the internet... without a computer attached to the internet. So how exactly is Google a threat... to Windows? Google is NOT an operating system, last I checked.

Oh wait... I'm forgetting where I'm at. Slashdot has been predicting the demise of Windows and the rise of Lunix on the desktop for what, over ten years already? News flash: Lunix is no closer to being "ready for the desktop" than it was ten years ago. Even less, if you take modern expectations of what an OS can do into account. How many years did it take for Lunix to even get USB capability?

Windows will continue to be the #1 operating system for at LEAST 20 more years. First, they have no competition: no OS can do what Windows can do. OSX is a joke, especially regarding it's so-called security. If OSX were the primary desktop... the world would be one or two well-made viruses away from total meltdown.

And second... MS is just too good a company, especially compared to their "competition".

Have fun getting to Google without an operating system.

When You are King of the Mountain... (1, Insightful)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188256)

The only way is down.

The only way to stay on top is to defend all of the mountain. That is incredibly time consuming, maintaining and upgrading the fortifications.

Warren Buffet said he would not invest in Microsoft, because he couldn't understand the long term future.

Prediction: Microsoft will break itself up.

Re:When You are King of the Mountain... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17188546)

Prediction: Microsoft will break itself up.

Prediction: Meaningless guesses will keep cracking us up!

Chestnut squashing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17188264)

bad guys will always target the most popular systems

I understand that it is customary, when someone claims that popularity breeds insecurity, to respond, "right - that's why apache is such a broken piece of crap"

Glad we got that over with.

God dammit it's true - I saw it on the Internet ! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17188266)


God dammit it's true - I saw it on the Internet !

(just something to keep in mind)

Microsoft and it's own history (5, Insightful)

salesgeek (263995) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188284)

Back in the '80s MS built it's success by making computers accessible and usable by the masses. Prior to the 80s useful computers were usually leased mini or mainframes. Often they were timeshared services that were paid by monthly subscription. They were pushed aside by a model led by Microsoft: I own my computer and can use it how I see fit. Recently, they seem to feel because others build web service driven models, that they should too.

Microsoft is now vulnerable because they believe things have went full circle. They see people building new ideas and new markets that don't include them - or need their software. What MS misses is that people don't want their software when it doesn't do something of great value. The days of people marveling at the convenience of a multitasking GUI or amazing their boss with a pivot table are over. Problem is that Microsoft's current innovation isn't being driven by customers or users, but by a bad combination of developer arrogance and greed. The result: you get products that people just don't want like Zune. You get a company selling out it's users for a buck they may never get from the music business. You get ideas like Live Update and Genuine Advantage that hurt legitimate users because your bean counters want to squeeze every dime out of their market. You get ideas like threatening patent litigation for ideas that are almost as old as most college grads instead of inventing something worth patenting.

For MS to come back all they have to do is recognize reality: people actually do like and use their software. Focus on what you can add (or remove) that will make it better. And remember that USERS not the music, movie, media or any other industry makes the buying decision. When you add a feature to the OS, make it a benefit to the USER. Everyone is in love with the idea of being a landlord. MS would be wise to remember that they made their way to success by putting the landlords out of business.

Mod parent insightful! (1)

jleq (766550) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188480)

If I had mod points, i'd certainly give you a +1 insightful for that comment. That's a very valid and interesting way to look at the situation.

That's a silly statement (3, Interesting)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188364)

"Security experts are acknowledging that Vista is the most secure of Windows to date."

I realize this isn't a thought original to me, but - this would appear to be a ridiculous statement on its face. Only time will determine whether Vista is "the most secure Windows". We heard these sorts of statements at the release of XP as well; those were obviously incorrect until SP2 came around (after how many years?).

Steve Gibson (I know, I know, right there people turn off) pointed out the problems Vista's rewritten stack encountered during Vista's beta testing. We really have no idea how good of a job Microsoft did right there - again, only time will tell. But the initial experiences don't appear to be encouraging.

Re:That's a silly statement (1)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188442)

You may be interested in How Much WIll Windows Security Matter [excite.com] which I posted as well, and is still pending as of this post. It sort of goes over the security fixes that MS has does for Vista and what not but it seems to stress on internet security...

$150 per line of code? (5, Funny)

SurturZ (54334) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188374)

From TFA:
Vista's 50 million lines of code have cost an estimated $7.5 billion to assemble.


That's $150 per line of code! I reckon the Microsoft devs have been playing WoW on company time :-)

Windows is dying (4, Funny)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188394)

Even Microsoft, it seems is admitting that Vista will be the last OS of its kind.
It is official; Microsoft now confirms: Windows is dying One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered Windows community when Steve Ballmer confirmed that Windows' market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 100 percent of all servers. Coming close on the heels of a recent Microsoft survey which plainly states that Windows has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. Windows is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test. You don't need to be a Kreskin to predict Windows' future. The hand writing is on the wall: Windows faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for Windows because Windows is dying. Things are looking very bad for Windows. As many of us are already aware, Windows continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood. Windows Vista is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time Windows developer Bill Gates only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: Windows is dying.

Migrate to GNU/Linux, not Vista (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17188460)

Our company did last year, cities of Vienna and Munich did, it should work out very nicely for you too. Our former XP users love KDE.

No need to put yourself through pains when you can improve security, save money and achieve a good deal of vendor independence all at the same time. Why support the Microsoft monopoly by paying ridiculous prices for bug ridden software with DRM restrictions, when you can run Free software on the industry standard (and thus inexpensive) hardware?

Knowing everything I know now, I only regret that we did not migrate to GNU/Linux sooner.

Summary misleading (5, Insightful)

proxima (165692) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188496)

From the summary:

[...]the company has admitted that even with a two year delay 'it is not really ready'.

where "the company" is implied to be Microsoft. However, from the article:

[...]but even after a two-year delay it is not really ready, Michael Silver, an analyst at Gartner, said.

I think that's a rather important distinction.

Most secure windows to date (4, Funny)

MrCreosote (34188) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188518)

Whenever I hear or read someone saying that the latest version of Windows is 'the most secure to date' I am reminded of the Groucho Marx line from 'Animal Crackers' - "Why, you're one of the most beautiful women I've ever seen, and that's not saying much for you".

Heard it before... (4, Insightful)

GeorgeMcBay (106610) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188524)

Anyone who has been paying attention to the tech industry has heard this same argument in different forms since just about forever. Larry Ellison was going to sell us all network computers to replace our Windows 95 boxes, because Windows was obsolete. Sun seems to pull out this idea once a year to spit polish it, toss it out there, and hope somebody will pay some attention to them, etc. Even if there may be some truth to the argument behind this, after hearing it for so long and having all previous claims be proven completely wrong, you just can't help but filter it out, ala the boy crying wolf story... I look forward to reading about how Windows Vista 2010 Special Edition will be the last version of Windows when the time comes.

Mark Andreessen was right (1)

meburke (736645) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188554)

I'm not convinced that the article was right, but things are rapidly moving toward Mark Andreessen's prediction that the browser will be the desktop. As I look at the wealth of Internet apps, and envision the possibility of httpd being built into every NIC, with kernel functionality (microcode, anyone?) in every motherboard, and I see the traditional OS as being irrelevant. Y'know, LEGO could make a number of computer components about the size of a Linksys 5-port switch, and we could just stack our computers together at the corner of our desk...

The present business model is certainly toast (1)

Orange Crush (934731) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188564)

I agree with the sentiment here--OSes will never be completely irrelevant. However, the profitability of making them soon will. It's only a matter of time until a Dell or an HP starts selling Linux boxes, fully supported, because they're sick of paying the MS Tax. Once MS is in an environment where it actually has to compete for its OS sales, they'll no longer have the luxury of blowing $7.5 billion over 5 years for their next version. The average consumer doesn't believe in paying for an OS. It came "free" with their computer.

No, this is correct, it's about lifcycle time (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188572)

You simply cannot spend 2 years cranking out a dot level upgrade to an OS and expect thundering success. Because in the final analysis there isn't much new to Vista

The browser is the network is the computer (1)

Caesar Tjalbo (1010523) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188596)

And as long as MS dominates in the browser field with their products, the web isn't anything serious yet. Perhaps with web 7.0 or something.

no... (4, Interesting)

Bluesman (104513) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188630)

Google doesn't make Windows irrelevant. Windows is here to stay.

It's here to stay because no matter how little their operating system changes or improves, it will always be at least a little bit better than the previous version, and as such it will always be the default on new machines.

Microsoft is saved by the fact that PC's are now a commodity, and people don't mind throwing old ones away every couple of years for minor performance improvements. The newest version of Windows will always succeed, because it's the default. All Microsoft has to do is maintain backward compatibility.

The only way Windows will ever be displaced is if another competitor offers something significantly better, which is unlikely. Operating systems are now a commodity, so the possibility that one could be significantly better than another on the same hardware is remote.

Another possibility is that a new hardware platform could displace Intel, but that is so unlikely because the economies of scale almost guarantee that the Intel architecture will always dominate desktop computing.

That is, until we hit a threshold where the hardware can't be made much faster. Then we might see some real innovation in hardware and software.

But until then, learn to love Windows.

I honestly think... (2, Insightful)

Monoliath (738369) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188642)

...the beast is too big, heavy and slow for keeping up with this lightspeed innovation, due to what has become reliant upon it. They are the "IBM" of operating system software, AND THEIR GIANT ROBOT HEART BEATS TO SLOWLY!!!

Microsoft(r) has been on fire for a while, I don't think they're going to crash but I do think that some reorganization needs to take place or these swift, small and much more elite groups of talented individuals such as it was with Google(tm), will continue to stay focused and move products through the market much more efficiently, with respect to their development process and organizational structure while their products expand and user base grows along with that.

I think the last rock solid thing to come from Microsoft(r) was Server 2003.

Not that I'm ANY kind of business tycoon to say the least, I just use their products and I can tell when their attitude began to affect their product quality directly. They lost focus on what makes a good piece of software, and much like AOL, it plagues them with every release of software they produce.

Vista has been nothing but a corporate sponsored spawn of monopolistic evil with a ridiculous amount of YOUR system resources being used to keep ridiculously idiotic counter-piracy measures. Microsoft is dancing to the tune of the media giants and the OWNERS OF THE COOKIE JARS they have their hands in, they're using their user base as advertising 'meat'.

I think most of us can admit that the windows 2000 line was an amazing upshot in stability as far as a Microsoft product was concerned, yes previous NT was solid as well. Some will say that windows 98 was an incredible upshot, and yes it was, but perhaps we can consider the spot-light of this to be on networking configuration and accessibility.

The Microsoft(r) today, doesn't innovate; it regurgitates.

I am not a Nazi! (2, Funny)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#17188668)

No. 1: 'Microsoft is way behind Google when it comes to the internet,' Rupert Godwins, the technology editor at ZDNet,

Godwinized before it even began. When God wins, humans lose.

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