Gartner: Microsoft’s Windows collapsing under its own weight

“Microsoft’s Windows juggernaut is collapsing as it tries to support 20 years of applications and becomes more complicated by the minute. Meanwhile, Windows has outgrown hardware and customers are pondering skipping Vista to wait for Windows 7. If Windows is going to remain relevant it will need radical changes,” Larry Dignan blogs for ZDNet.

“That sobering outlook comes courtesy of Gartner analysts Michael Silver and Neil MacDonald. Half of a full room of IT managers and executives raised their hands when asked whether Microsoft needed to radically change its approach to Windows,” Dignan reports.

“So what does Microsoft need to do? For starters, Windows should create versions for specific uses. These modules would be able to swapped out depending on the customer,” Dignan reports.

A few key redesign ideas from Silver and MacDonald:
• Windows should be able to be tailored to specific applications
• Better security
• Make migration to new versions easier
• Simplify licensing to focus on specific devices

Dignan reports, “The bottom line for Gartner is that Windows needs to be replaced, lock-in needs to end and product schedules need to be more predictable. Windows should also be more manageable.”

“Will Windows 7 become this adaptive thing that Gartner describes? Probably not. Gartner argues that Microsoft should use virtualization to solve the backward compatibility issue plaguing Windows,” Dignan writes. “Will Windows 7 jettison its current kernel for multiple versions? Not likely.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Brawndo Drinker” for the heads up.]


  1. It’s all that legacy support going all the way back to DOS and Windows 3. Microsoft really should have done what Apple did with the transition to OS X: Make an entirely modern Operating System, with legacy support as an optional feature that can eventually be chopped off.

    I really wish Windows was better. I would still use Mac, but I can’t help but to feel bad for all those Windows sufferers.

  2. Windows is sold in many confusing versions. All share the same basic faults. So the answer is to sell it in even more confusing versions. Yep that should solve the problem. God forbid the day that IT managers actually run the World rather than just think they do.

  3. The really cool thing about OS X 10.0 etc., was that Apple was able to keep OS 9 for those who needed/wanted it and create a new operating system that we know today. Now OS 9 really isn’t needed anymore.

    Microsoft will need to do the same. In other words create a new operating system (maybe based on Unix:) and have the legacy code added on, (I thought they might have already done this with Virtual PC) for a few years until the new code is widely used. There you go Redmond, start your copy machines.

  4. If anyone really believes that the listed items are going to improve Windows OS then they’re just kidding themselves. The very first thing that Windows needs to actually begin “radically” improving is to not be the default OS for the planet – really. In case anyone has lost track, this is capitalism folks, not technocracy, (well, actually it is, and that’s precisely Window’s problem). It’s just the way that it works, and that’s the primary reason, plain and simple, why Windows doesn’t really work now, nor will it ever, in any variation of its current form factor.

    Window’s missing ingredient is competition – period. Without that nothing is really going to change for Windows users – bottom line. Oddly for Windows, it will first have to become much less ubiquitous before it can really even improve – much less “radically” change. Hidden in the title of this MDN post is the actual key to improving Windows.

    I still dream of living in a world where three or more OSes actually compete, and with a tipable market share between the three of them – You can bet all of our collective behind’s that we’d see technological innovation unlike anything the human race has here-to-fore been accustomed to. But that’s just a dream.

  5. If history is any judge, Microsoft will do exactly what these guys want. Microsoft’s history is to copy whatever Apple did last, so …

    Windows 7 will be a whole new modular OS built on top of an open source BSD kernel. This will help them to work better with all the Open Source guys they have to cosy up to in the near future, and (finally) give them cred in the security arena.

    Then they only have to scrap DirectX and replace it with OpenGL and you have something that might actually work.

  6. @Mr. OS X

    Oops. You’re right of course. Mac OS X and OS X Server, which run on the big hardware, and the other OS X (does it have an official name) which runs on the small hardware. Desktop/laptop—same version. 32bit/64bit—same version. The big hardware versions and the small hardware version have so much in common they mesh very nicely. Is this what Silver and MacDonald mean? Windows already has more versions than this to much less effect.

  7. I can’t help but to feel bad for all those Windows sufferers. —UltraVisitor

    That’s very charitable of you (seriously). As far as I’m concerned, people who are forced to use Windows at their jobs have a good excuse. Everybody else is basically getting what they deserve for being ignorant consumers. It’s not like there’s an out-and-out conspiracy to conceal the fact that the Macintosh is a better computer.

  8. I still use Photoshop running on OS 9 classic because I didn’t want to cut off an arm and a leg to pay Adobe again for the OS X version. Really, OS 9 had issues, but was lightning fast considering the hardware that it was running on.

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