Pondering a world of way too many Windows

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.

TOPICS: Windows

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.

Topic: Windows

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  • Big bang Windows releases...

    ... are a thing of the past, present, future. Hard to market a weekly download. Hard to make major changes through a single update, as shown by the SP 2 CDs.

    Asserting that the major changes in Windows versions are over reflects more an attitude than a business plan, I think.
    Anton Philidor
    • Monthly, not weekly

      MS Updates are the 2nd Tuesday of the month, not every week. They just keep bugging you for weeks til it seems like that if you don't do the update immediately.
  • This strategy seems to make sense

    We've seen for years that Linux has followed the same basic methodology in a very different way, with programmers cooking up their own specific versions for whatever they need to do with it.

    Microsoft is getting smarter, I think, and beginning to really focus their attitude. They're going to have to make changes like this to stay on top of an industry that is increasingly giving software services away via the internet, and using a completely different revenue model.

  • Too many flavors

    Commodities diversify. That's how it works. If Microsoft wants to continue to be the be-all and end-all platform supplier, they [u]must[/u] diversify to offer variety comparable to what the rest of the world (yes, including Linux, but not [i]only[/i] Linux) has to offer.

    I'll be interested to see how the MS Collective spins "non-MS diversity=BAD, MS diversity=GOOD," though.
    Yagotta B. Kidding
  • Real scarey thought...

    Microsoft knowing every aspect of your life. Imagine, if you will, one company having
    a list of what's in you refrigerator, where you drive to, what books you read, movies
    you watch, etc. Sound like Orwell's 1984. Now imagine these being hooked to
    Software as a Service (monthly fee) and imagine someone that is late on a payment.
    Will your refrigerator stop working? Will you suddenly not be able to make dinner?
    where does it logically lead?
    • I would be more scared of Federalies than MS

      I would be more scared of the goverment bills coming out than MS.
      • MS more trustworthy than government?

        Where's the difference between the government and MS? If the government wants information about you, you can be sure MS will provide it. And not only to the government; recordcompanies who want adresses of people with illegal downloads. Farfetched? In the Netherlands there are similar plans.
  • The only good Windows is a....

    deleted one. If you care anything about security, that is. Still, no worries, mate! I think that OSS is much more poised for pervasive use than the slow moving dinosaur in Redmond.

    Greetz, Pjotr.
    • OSS?

      Vista - No issues after 6 months - yep No Worries Mate
    • You are joking, aren't you?

      Sorry bud but if you planned on saying Linux is more secure than Windows don't waste the Keystrokes.

      Nobody can say Vista is good for security as its still a new OS but I'd love to see you prove to me that Windows-based servers get successfully attacked more than *nix ones do.
  • Windows distros?

    It sounds sort of like Microsoft is going to distros, the way GNU/Linux has been for well...almost ever. They can have the same complaint we do then: too many options.

    There was a recent discussion (informal, on messageboard) about having Ubuntu editions for all these kinds of uses, but most people disagreed and said KISS. I don't know about Red-Hat-based distros, but for Debian-based ones, apt has meta-packages that will pull in a ton of other packages. In Ubuntu this has been used to have "ubuntu-studio" which pulls in a bunch of music- and video-editing software. Most people seemed to agree that having a meta-package like that is the way to go. In the Microsoft world, that would mean just have "Windows" and then the way you can buy Microsoft Office if you need a set of office apps (and there's different versions for what you need) and install them on top of Windows, have different boxed-sets for other uses. There could be Microsoft Kitchen which users would buy separately from Windows but would have everything a home kitchen needs. There could also be Microsoft Kitchen Pro which would include inventory for restaurant kitchens on top of the home version's features. I can't think of any special-use rooms they'd need besides kitchen. Living Room would probably just be Media Center. Family Room could include Media Center and kids' games and a content filter. There's no reason to have a different version of Windows though. Just have sets for on top of it.
  • Say...

    Isn't MS the same company who in the pre-VISTA days used to tell everyone they needed a monolithic OS to save them from the horrible problems of fragmentation you'd find in *N*X?

    Yeah, I thought so...
    • Different type of fragmentation

      With the various flavors of Windows, an app that runs on one flavor will run on any flavor of the same version. I.e. all flavors of XP are NT 5.1, all flavors of Vista/Server08 are NT 6.0, etc. There will be some runtime differences, for example a function might return a different value or fail, but you should be degrading gracefully to begin with. The core of the OSes are the same across all flavors.

      (In other words, any apps you can run on regular Vista, you can run on Vista Kitchen Edition.)

      With *N*X fragmentation, it is different. In addition to runtime differences, you usually need to at least recompile the source code, if not make larger changes to it.

      Windows got rid of the fragmentation when they finally killed off Win9x and got everyone onto XP. Since that point, consumers, business desktops, and servers have been united on the NT architecture. (A notable remaining fragment is Windows CE/Mobile, which is not compatible with NT.)
      • OK...

        So it's just more distributions of Windows with some applications tossed in that do things that other applications sold by other companies do and then the OS is renamed. And do you expect people to pay extra by purchasing another copy of the OS, and perhaps some sort of special hardware, to do this?

        I kind of liked it when vendors dropped support of older versions of Windows myself. I was given a really nice laser printer because the vendor didn't provide XP drivers. Didn't folks rake Apple over the coals for it's refusal to provide backwards compatibility? Now that MS is doing it, I guess it's OK.

        Gonna be interesting at the local BestBuy when they go looking to hire a "Geek Squad" person that understands all the various flavors of XP and VISTA, along with any specialized hardware required.
        • When are you applying?

          ...when are you applying for the job..just kidding. From what I read in the blogs, MS has gotten it's own trashing for removing backward capatability...so I don't think it's OK as you state. My perspective it's great. They should cut the cords and move forward - how's that Model T in the driveway.
      • "Different type of fragmentation"

        You got that right!

        A big chunk of money up front, a little
        bit here, a little bit there, and a
        whole bunch more everywhere.
        Yeah, "fragmented", that's it!

        "degrading gracefully"? Could be, I
        Ole Man
      • Killed off Windows 9x?

        There are people still running 9x... I'm one of them. Just don't have support, but who needs it. That update stuff is a bunch of crap. Third party programs take care of me just fine. If I want to do something that only XP will do I use my XP. If I want to use Pro Presenter or Keynote I use my Mac. If I want to use the software that I have always used to manage my Music lead sheets, Attendance database, spreadsheets, excel, word, etc... I use Windows ME... yeah that's right! ME And occasionally I use 98 SE. (my daughters email machine) They ain't killing off nuttin', they just think they are. (by the way, I run Linux from live cd)
  • OS versus "system" ?

    Vertically differentiating Windows loses the idea of "operating system", which used to be some core software that let applications, devices, and other computers coexist and maybe work together.

    Tightly integrating applications, like a word processor, calendar, or email client, with the operating system used to be considered bad programming practice. Cohesion referred to an individual program, not a computing appliance.

    Things change.
    • And another theory just to throw out

      Hardcoding all of the applications doesn't leave much room for 3rd party development. Didn't we see something vaguely similar with Internet Explorer in Windows 9x?

      Thats just another angle to look at, all the coders out there who would rather develop their own software but might not be able to, could also find Microsoft in another big bowl of trouble...
  • specific room

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

    Are we ready for WindowsBB for the Bathroon? What services will be provided? Film @ 11.