Joe Wilcox: ‘The Windows era is over, a new era dawns’

“About five years ago, when blogging as an analyst, I asserted that computing and informational relevance had started shifting from the Windows desktop to cloud services delivered anytime, anywhere and on anything,” Joe Wilcox wtites for Betanews. “The day of Windows’ reckoning is come: 2010 will mark dramatic shifts away from Microsoft’s monopoly to something else. Change is inevitable, and like IBM in the 1980s, Microsoft can’t hold back its destiny during this decade. The Windows era is over.”

“What’s surprising: New competition encroaching on Microsoft’s Windows territory. Mobile device-to-cloud competition’s shifting relevance bears striking similarities to the move from mainframes to PCs, and it is a long, ongoing trend. Microsoft’s newer problem is sudden and unexpected: Competing operating systems moving up from smartphones to PCs or PC-like device,” Wilcox writes. “Apple’s iPhone OS on iPad is one example.”

Sure, “Windows is a cash machine. But so was the IBM mainframe monopoly before the dawn of the PC era and for many years afterwards. The DOS/Windows PC didn’t destroy IBM or its mainframe monopoly, but simply diminish its computing and informational relevance. Windows is on the same track,” Wilcox writes. “The mobile device-to-cloud applications stack will merely displace Windows’ relevance. It’s inevitable.”

Wilcox writes, “Still, it might not be obvious to many people that the Windows cash machine could run out. That’s because change can be dramatic and sudden, although the causes and progression tend to be long-time coming. The Berlin Wall fell suddenly in 1989, but not without Perestroika and a warming of the Cold War preceding it. Similarly, Windows’ dominance will seemingly change suddenly and, I predict, during the first half of this decade. A new era dawns.”

“Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer should have listened to me. In December, I gave 10 reasons why Microsoft should buy Palm. Had he bought Palm, Microsoft’s future phone strategy would be stronger and Windows wouldn’t be weakened by a major partner adopting an alternative-OS strategy,” Wilcox writes. “HP already has announced a WebOS-based tablet. HP’s next, logical step is to release a laptop running WebOS. Losing HP is bad, but there may be more trouble coming. Sony is yet another traitor in the making.”

Full article, in which Wilcox mistakenly thinks far too highly of Google’s derivative Android’s future, here.

51 Comments

  1. Take Joe Wilcox with a grain of salt. As @Anonymous© said so well, Wilcox is a Windows apologist, an Android fanboy and an Apple hater. He is also a failed IT analyst, and BetaNews has historically been a vehemently anti-Apple publication. They stand for the status quo, for protecting the hegemony of corporate IT Nazis. Apple threatens that order. So to Wilcox, Apple must be destroyed.

    The good news is that Wilcox is often dramatically wrong, like so many analysts. While I agree with his belief that cloud-based computing services will grow (and I would not be surprised to see Steve Jobs detail what Apple has been building in North Carolina in his address at WWDC), getting the broader public to embrace and trust all their data to cloud-based systems will take a long time. A cloud is only as good as having access to clean Internet access. And that means the cloud server is a potential single point of failure.

    What Wilcox does not mention is that Microsoft has, to its credit, invested a tremendous amount to develop cloud-based systems of its own. Google has certainly sunk a tremendous amount of investment and time in this, as has Amazon. Apple might be further behind at this point, but is likely concentrating its resources and focus on what the company does best. I don’t think that Microsoft will want to be left behind – too much is at stake for the company, love them or hate them (I’m in the latter camp most of the time).

    Google’s aggressive expansion of Android, Chrome, search and cloud-based computing is somewhat worrisome. And as much as we collectively hate Microsoft, I am beginning to wonder if lines are not being drawn, and alliances formed. Given the growing acrimony between Google and Apple, would it surprise you if we saw Apple throwing its weight behind Bing? Or greater cooperation with Microsoft’s programming tools, as was rumored today about a possible seven-minute presentation by Steve Ballmer during the upcoming Stevenote?

    Obviously, Google, with its vast data centers, several years of work on cloud-based apps and nascent but increasingly aggressive attempts to market mobile and desktop operating systems, would be cause for concern by Apple, Microsoft and Amazon.We could see the day in the not too distant future of a couple of camps: A Google/Adobe alliance versus Apple, Microsoft and for cloud-based storage only, Amazon. The coming years might see an entirely new war.

    Time to hunker down. Lock and load. This could get ugly.

    Mind you, I am not saying that Apple will join itself at the hip with Microsoft. But I would not be surprised if the two companies cooperate more.

    The enemy of the enemy is my friend.

    But don’t waste your time about that egotistical pipsqueak Wilcox. When he said, “Microsoft should have listened to me…” you know that Wilcox suffers from delusions of mediocrity.

  2. @Big Als MBP
    “Apple doesn’t offer an open platform like Microsoft does.”

    Yeah, I saw that ludicrous comment too.
    What I love is the insane assumption that M$ is open.

    What a bunch of maroons.

  3. @not a windows lover
    “…While I agree with his belief that cloud-based computing services will grow (and I would not be surprised to see Steve Jobs detail what Apple has been building in North Carolina in his address at WWDC), getting the broader public to embrace and trust all their data to cloud-based systems will take a long time. A cloud is only as good as having access to clean Internet access. And that means the cloud server is a potential single point of failure.

    What Wilcox does not mention is that Microsoft has, to its credit, invested a tremendous amount to develop cloud-based systems of its own. Google has certainly sunk a tremendous amount of investment and time in this, as has Amazon. Apple might be further behind at this point, but is likely concentrating its resources and focus on what the company does best. I don’t think that Microsoft will want to be left behind – too much is at stake for the company, love them or hate them (I’m in the latter camp most of the time).”

    It clearly wasn’t difficult to get the public to embrace the iPad, despite everyone wondering what it could possibly be used for, and who would use it. The iPad is already set up for cloud computing.

    This stuff is only accelerating. Apple further behind? Yes, that’s the perception. And that is exactly where Apple likes to be. They haven’t been doing nothing while Google have been “working on” this beta-quality Google docs. Apple is getting its duck in a row and laying foundations. People don’t know it yet, but they have been waiting for Apple’s next revelation.

    I personally don’t use Google Docs and stuff because the UI and user experience is just too painful. I do sync my stuff using Mobile Me, and I like iTunes and iWork (Beta) for its polish. Then there is Time Machine, and apparently iTunes Media that we will soon be able to stream from any internet connection (because it will be in the cloud). Don’t worry, Apple has it in hand.

    Why do other’s use Google Docs and stuff — because it is mobile and convenient, but maybe also because the desktop experience on Windows, and having to trust their stuff to Entourage and a rogue desktop Windows System that needs re-installing every few months is just not what the general public really finds palatable.

    Why would it be a problem for the general public to trust to Cloud Computing done right? They have to put up with Google taking stuff from their home networks as Google moves down the street. They have to put up with losing stuff in Windows every other day. They have to put up with whole corporations and hospitals and schools being shut down for days on end with every new Windows virus.

    Right now the Cloud might not be perceived as any better, but that’s because of the level of expectation everyone already has about the crappy computing experience they have to put up with every day. And that dog of a program IE with its complete security failure and lack of support for modern internet standards has not helped. No wonder pundits say no-one wants to trust to Cloud computing — it’s only one more vector to go wrong, it’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

    The iPad is already turning heads everywhere people see one. And it will show Cloud Computing in action, a technology and market it will be seen that Apple will very quickly show a solid presence in. Everyone will again wonder how it wasn’t just so obvious just a few months before it happens big.

  4. His reasoning for Microsoft buying Palm is amazing in its ignorance. The only reason to buy palm was for patents and WebOS. I assume Microsoft isn’t worried about patents, and they have a rival phone OS. He says they could be hurt by a handset maker switching to another platform, but Microsoft could have Foxconn whip them up a phone anytime they want. I am surprised anyone covering the tech industry would think this would be a good combination.

  5. ebbs and flows…virtually all industries have shown that over a long enough term, every market leader eventually falls. Apple will have its day in the sun and it too will fall again. It’s the nature of the beast. Nobody has worked out how to remain the long term market leader. Sooner or later a bunch of smart asses in their garage come along and knock you off. And for us consumers that is a very good thing because we are the winners in a competitive business environment.

  6. wow – windows fans has some pretty ignorant comments. It’s easy to see why they adore Ballmer and Steve has such an easy time whipping them – they lack taste and vision.
    Literally every mac user has used windows, made a comparative analysis and bought a mac – while the microsofties continue to live in a vacuum filled with idealisms when they refuse to try anything else — how sad they are!

  7. the point is MS is not going anywhere immediately but as of now it is on decline.
    1. losing the casual home user
    2. losing in new consumer device segments (failing to gain market share)
    3. Losing some gamers to dedicated consoles (ok Xbox 360 is MS) but probably make less on that then Window OS sells)

    yes looking around now it seems insane to say the MS era is over – they own over 90% of desktop market and most business still run XP and IE6.

    …But who would have thought GM and Chrysler would both go bankrupt in the same year 15 years ago…

  8. Windows is a monopoly because no one sells a great OS that can be loaded onto any Cheap Beige Box. That’s MS’s bread and butter. That won’t change..

    But the PC Era… while not dying, is just not where all the money is anymore. People love PCs, they love Netbooks (vomit), they love big keyboards… but the margins on these are just nowhere (except in Cupertino)…

    Guys like HP make a ton of money off the printer cartridges, NOT netbooks with cheapo WinXp on there. As people see diminishing returns in upgrading to a new PC every 2 years… Yeah, Microsoft has a problem.

    And suddenly, the text based Winphone7 is the Savior.

    And no, that does not look good on a tablet… that, is a Finder window in Column view… not a tablet OS.

  9. “Windows 7 has already become the 2nd most widely used O/S in the world behind XP”

    Really? Windows 7 has become the second most widely used OS in the alternate universe you live? Interesting.

    Here in this universe, generally known as the real world, Windows 7 has only managed to capture a marketshare somewhere around 8 to 11%. That puts it way, way, way behind XP. Which is embarassing enough since Win7 is supposed to replace it, but what’s even more embarassing is that it’s also lagging behind Vista.

    It’s kind of heartwarming to know that at least in your universe Windows 7 isn’t a debacle, like it is in this one.

    The sun has definitely set on the real world version of Microsoft, though it will continue to shine forever in the minds of its enthusiast cult.

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