Rethinking the End of Windows

Dennis Faas's picture

Recently, we reported on speculation that the much-anticipated Vista would be the last operating system based on Windows. The rumor -- which is still much supported -- was based on a prediction by tech forecasters Gartner, who believe that Microsoft will instead opt for incremental updates to their OS in the future.

That may not be so true, however, as an equally aggressive amount of press is now lashing out against last week's predictions.

Gartner's belief in the non-future of Windows stems from the immense cost and risk associated with a release like Vista. Microsoft has been working on the new operating system for about half a decade, employing 10,000 or so employees and laying a staggering amount of cash on the line.

It's a major risk, especially as competition from Linux and Apple threaten to go mainstream. Constant updates are often also necessary, making the entire process a major pain in the butt. Although all of this may not be something to worry about now, it could be in a few years' time. (Source:

And yet, insiders believe Gartner is, how shall we say, full of bologna. Microsoft's recent appointee to the senior vice president of Windows post, Steven Sinofsky, is almost surely hesitant to cut out a major revenue stream (and one he runs).

Despite the risk MS takes with every Windows-based operating system launch, it may be equally hazardous to completely change the way the company administers software of this kind. (Source:

The greatest problem may simply be security, both yours and Microsoft's. For one, the company is only now starting to offer the kind of comprehensive protection a home and business user demands. Completely changing the framework of an operating system could threaten that. In addition, Microsoft, which is currently a bit obsessed with piracy, would have to develop a whole other protocol for defending its products.

Regardless, it's pretty early to make such predictions. Let's all just enjoy the triumphs (and tragedies) of Vista as it launches.

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