It’s a strange one – Windows are launching their new operating system, Windows 7, in just under a month. And yet statistics show that over half of new PC sales are shipping with XP loaded. This being the operating system that preceded Windows Vista. So we are in the odd position of Microsoft launching an operating system when over half of their users are still not at all convinced about the current model, and would rather run unsupported software than become an ‘early adopter’ In the browser ‘wars’ many businesses still use Internet Explorer 6 instead of the latest version (8) as serious doubts abound as to the stability of the product. Compare this with the fervor surrounding the updates to so-called ‘progressive’ browsers such as Safari, Firefox and Opera which are updated regularly due to the faith the public have that they are going to support modern coding methods, and that they are tried and tested before release due to the cod being ‘open source’
There’s no denying that the crown has slipped from Microsoft and that they have taken some of their most serious blows in recent years. They lost market share on Office by insisting on charging extortionate license fees when Google produce Docs for nothing. They insist on not sharing the source code for their browser Internet Explorer, to the eternal fury of the web community who always have to ‘hack’ sites to make them work in IE. Now Google are developing an operating system extension to their browser Chrome, which in time will mean that owners of NetBooks will soon be able to purchase a PC without an operating system and download just enough (Google’s OS) to run their browser. Writing out the need Windows altogether,
So it was with some surprise to learn that this week Microsoft are extending an olive branch to the web community by offering their suite of web tools (Visual Studio, Expression) for free, for three years, to certain businesses and schools. Price has always been an enormous turn off for Microsoft products, as there are so many free tools that can do just the same job.
Only tie will tell how Microsoft’s fortunes will go, but if they fail to see the threat of software as a service and open source, then they will stagnate and become a shadow of their former self.
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