“When Microsoft chairman Bill Gates touts his company’s next Windows operating system, code named “Longhorn,” he can barely contain his enthusiasm, adding “it will be super to get that out in the hands of our customers.” The big question is whether customers will share Gates’ enthusiasm more than a year from now,” CIO.com reports. “While enabling the next generation is one thing, getting corporate customers and consumers on the Longhorn bandwagon may take some doing, say professors at Wharton. Is enhanced security going to spark the upgrades to grow Microsoft’s revenue? Will consumers be lured by visual effects? Is Longhorn enough to touch off a buying frenzy for related technology such as semiconductors, personal computers and networking equipment?”

CIO.com reports, “…Many users probably won’t try Longhorn until they buy a new PC. ‘I would bet a lot of people just wait,’ says Kendall Whitehouse, senior director of information technology at Wharton. ‘It’s easier.’ Another issue will be Microsoft’s sales pitch for Longhorn, which largely rests on enhanced security. ‘Let’s face it,’ adds Hunter. ‘Security isn’t sexy.’

CIO.com reports, “According to Thomas Y. Lee, a professor in Wharton’s department of operations and information management, one factor that could drive sales of Longhorn is search, a tool that is understated. Gates has said that search will be a critical component of Longhorn. Depending on how well Microsoft integrates searching capability, Lee estimates that Longhorn could change the way people interact with their computers… Meanwhile, Apple Computer’s ‘Tiger’ operating system, released on April 29, contains a feature called ‘Spotlight,’ which can search every piece of data on an Apple and organize content in “Smart Folders” that update themselves based on search criteria you set.”

“Given the head start of Apple’s operating system and Google’s desktop search, Microsoft has to embed search to remain competitive. ‘Microsoft has always been good at identifying the demands of the marketplace,’ says Lee. ‘But you could argue that enabling smart search in Longhorn is defensive.’ Werbach says Microsoft is somewhat hamstrung when it comes to keeping up with rivals such as Apple. Indeed, Microsoft has to keep its new operating system compatible with its older software because of its large base of customers, he notes,” CIO.com reports. “‘It has to create something new while keeping some of the old. Aside from the Apollo mission to the moon, Microsoft is facing the greatest software engineering feat in history.'”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Why wait for Microsoft to release a stripped-down Windows Longhorn to buy your next PC? Add a Mac with the world’s most advanced operating system, Mac OS X Tiger to your computing arsenal today! Don’t forget that if you’re switching from Windows to Mac or adding a Mac, you can save a good amount by asking to ‘crossgrade’ your software.

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