Arrrghhhh! Windows is collapsing! Run! ... but where to?

If Gartner (and most of blogosphere) is to be believed, Windows is collapsing under the weight of legacy support and bad coding. Quick! Run! But where is there to run to?
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

If Gartner(and most of blogosphere) is to be believed, Windows is collapsing under the weight of legacy support and bad coding. Quick! Run! 

But where is there to run to?

My take on the whole discussion is that it's nothing more than overblown nonsense.  If Windows ME couldn't harm Microsoft, Vista won't. 

But let's assume for a moment that Windows has come to the end of the line and the whole deck of cards is collapsing.  Where are users (both consumer and enterprise) going to go?

The alternatives are pretty obvious.  There's Mac and there's Linux.  Looking at various market share data outlets it seems that Mac is gaining some traction, but even Apple isn't able to really dent Microsoft's dominant position.  One factoid that may or may not be relevant to the Vista issue is that about half of all new Macs are going to Mac newbies.  As for Linux, well, there are a few distros that are showing promise, but speaking honestly we're a long way off before we see a Linux distro become a real contender to Windows.  Why?  Well, because it's not just about the OS, but instead about the ecosystem that forms around it.  Mac has quite a decent ecosystem but it's far from being as mature as the Windows ecosystem (also, again the single source for Macs is a problem - Can you really see every OEM packing up shop?  Can you see all the Windows desktop sales all going through Apple?  I sure can't!).  If you don't believe me, take a look at the Mac hardware range and tell me how many graphics cards you have to choose from?  Even the top-of-the-range 2.8GHz iMac is only equipped with an ATI Radeon HD 2600.

Windows is monolithic, and there's little doubt that legacy support is something that Microsoft needs to address this or suffer problems in the future, but trying to pretend that these problems are in the here and now is little more than sensationalism.

Thoughts?  If Windows is collapsing, which direction should people run in?  Why?

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