Pondering a world of way too many Windows

Summary:Microsoft is taking Windows way vertical--so vertical that it's targeting specific rooms in your home. This strategy could snowball quickly.

Microsoft is taking Windows way vertical--so vertical that it's targeting specific rooms in your home. This strategy could snowball quickly.

Mary Jo Foley reports that Microsoft is cooking up a Kitchen Client that will extend Windows and integrate it with Windows Live Services.

Now let's project the future a bit (see Techmeme). Microsoft has already begun tinkering with different flavors and price points for Windows with Vista. You have Vista Premium and Basic on the bookends with a few SKUs in between. There are already media and mobile versions of Windows.

In many respects the precedent for the more-Windows-the-merrier plan has been set. Soon you'll have Kitchen Windows, living room Windows, car Windows and perhaps even garage Windows. Each version will take the core Windows and tailor it to specific devices and applications. For instance, Mary Jo notes that the Kitchen Client will have a family calendar, recipe center and shared bulletin board. Just imagine what Bathroom Windows will have (soap dispensers anyone?).

In the enterprise this vertical strategy also works. Windows could be tailored to financial firms and include special Office features. Manufacturing companies would get another version. Microsoft could take the same approach as Oracle and SAP with customized Windows functions and modules.

The game plan: Microsoft can milk more revenue out of one OS. For instance, who wants to buy Vista Basic when you can have Vista Premium for just a little more. Microsoft's plan is the equivalent of selling a car with different options. The big difference between car features and Windows: The tailored flavors of Windows are nearly endless. You can expect a lot more Windows in the future--especially as big bang OS releases become a thing of the past.

Topics: Windows


Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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