Microsoft Death Watch Continued – Windows As An Orphan Product

Late last night I noticed that Good Bye Microsoft blog had picked up on my original Microsoft Death Watch article, and wrote up his own take on the situation. I went to reply to him, to give him some more information, but he doesn’t allow comments. So I’m going to answer him here. Specifically I want to address these words:

No, I’m not suggesting this as investment advice. It could be way off base, and I’m not qualified to evaluate it. Instead, I’m offering this as technical advice: how will it affect you personally, or your business, if Microsoft were to fail? No more Windows updates. No more Office updates. No more support. No more monthly security patches.

You need a plan B. Sure, your existing software will continue to run for months or years without updates, barring any major security breach. But instead of being tied by the gonads to one vendor, and hoping for the best, perhaps you should figure out now how to move away from reliance on Microsoft.

Well Brad, if you’d have taken a look, you would have noticed that I covered this in an article titled What would you do if Microsoft went bankrupt, and Windows became an orphan product? which was published on November 30,  2009.

In other words, I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. And since that article was published, I’ve gained a lot more information, which I hadn’t published yet, but it looks like now is the time.

In simple terms we can break down computer users into several groups.

1) BSD/Linux/Open Solaris user (and other Free Software OS). No impact on them if Microsoft dies.

2) Mac user (and other Proprietary Software OS), again no impact.

3) BSD/Linux/Open Solaris Server user (and other Free Software OS). Things may get easier on the support end.

4) AIX/HP-UX/Tru64 Server user (and other Proprietary Software OS). Things may get easier on the support end.

5) Windows desktop users – the vast majority surveyed said that even if Windows was off the market, THEY WOULD NOT SWITCH. Instead they’d pirate it, arguing that since it wouldn’t hurt Microsoft, as Microsoft would be bankrupt, that piracy would be OK. A very tiny minority said that they’d try a Free OS like Ubuntu. Less than 5%. Over 95% would stick to Windows come hell or high water, even with no patches available for security issues. None would even consider switching to a Mac.

6) Windows Server admins – Much to my surprise, most Windows server admins are already working on an exit strategy. While Windows desktop users think that Windows is free, Server admins know that it isn’t, and see what the costs are to add an extra 100 seats to their Exchange server. Also most server admins almost always have some experience with other operating systems. The usual vector for another OS to enter a corporate data center is a print and file server, usually an older machine with a low work load, for which corporate won’t supply the money to buy the number of seats needed on Windows Server. Since Linux/BSD/Open Solaris are free downloads, and allow unlimited seats, the economic argument is compelling. And of course once it’s set up and running, Linux, BSD, and Open Solaris are all extremely stable. They’ll run for years without crashing, unlike Windows. So Server admins are already making plans, after all, in a recession keeping costs down is important.

So in effect, no one really cares if Microsoft goes bankrupt. Oh, Group 5 will hold onto Windows for as long as they can. Group 5 users can be generalized as the lowest common denominator in Information Technology. They know nothing, and they don’t want to know anyhing. Many of them seem to think that Microsoft invented the GUI (it was invented by Xerox), and for that matter that Microsoft invented the operating system. The Rednecks of the computer world, they’ll happily put up with virii, bad drivers, spam, just as long as they can hold onto their wonderful Windows for as long as possible. They are also the least honest. Everyone else was either willing to pay for their OS, or willing to search for a free one. Windows Desktop users would rather hunt for a crack, so that they can keep using their drug.

Which is ridiculous in my opinion. But there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon. I’ve seen a lot more Windows users looking at alternatives recently. The Apple IPod/IPhone/IPad line has changed things. The Android phones/tablets are also changing things. Microsoft is displaying total incompetence in those markets. Microsoft’s phone operating system market share is shrinking. Microsoft never really had any market share for music players. And while Microsoft controlled the tablet computing market for a long time, Apple has sold more tablets in six months than Microsoft did in ten years.

Even the most die hard Windows user is starting to open his or her eyes to the wider world.


Wayne Borean

Wednesday September 29, 2010


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