Friday, 6 November 2009

Different strokes

Its hard to believe that about 3.5 years ago Microsoft was pushing so hard for Vista, a little less hard on Office 2007 and not that hard at all on SharePoint 2007. The the outcome has been precisely the opposite of what SharePoint was marketing.

Sometimes it seems as though Microsoft achieves in spite of it self, or at the very least not "because of itself." If you look at how Microsoft viewed the computers market for years ago you can not escape they got it wrong. Essentially they were looking a bigger more feature rich client machines. The market has moved to smaller notebooks (that can't run Vista or Office 2007)

And yet despite a massive failure to understand the market place compared to say Linux fans for the Eee PC, Windows XP remains the primary OS even for Notebooks pushing out efforts to promote a public take up of Linux.

The Eee PC running Linux is sweet, and I was pretty confident that if anything could get the public to take up Linux it was a small light cheap machine that connected them to all their favorite web applications (Google), and yet it seems people love all this as long as Windows XP creates the boxes in which Firefox will take them to Google, GMail, and Facebook.

Why? I have no idea. I have been training people in blogging on Linux laptops and most I find don't even notice they are not on a Windows machine. And yet ever effort of hardware producers to cute Microsoft out of the profit loop and ship with free OS ends up turning in to another Windows XP or even (God help us) Windows Mobile project.

Why? Why also are people happy to use Google, Adobe, Apple, and Open Source software but only on a Windows machine? I have set up several people on machines with GIMP, Open Office or Star Office, Firefox, etc and yet they want to remain on Windows. Even when the apps they use run better on Linux they almost need to stay on Windows.

Why? What is it about Windows, which is only been around a bit over a decade, that it is so burned in to the imagination of the vast majority of computer users? Linux distros have been around for about as long, with RedHat making big news over 10 years ago. And yet the public remains to define a computer as an XP computer.

So much so that even Microsoft was harmed by it. When Vista wavered too far from the structures established by Windows 2000 and Windows XP it was turned against. It seems that XP is even bigger than Microsoft itself. This goes beyond the simple ideas of a company and monopoly power and says something more about how groups collaborate and take up technology.

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