Cringely: Six years from now Microsoft’s Windows will be dead or free

“Windows 8 shipped last week to mixed reviews. Ballmer himself called it ‘a bold re-imagining’ of Windows. It’s bold alright, but not bold enough. Windows is doomed,” Bob Cringely writes for I, Cringley.

“We can argue all day about whether Windows 8 is better or worse than Windows 7 or even Windows 9, but the real issue here isn’t the software at all but the platform, by which I mean the desktop PC. Companies, governments, families, schools, and individuals are all buying fewer desktop PCs than they used to. Desktop growth has reversed and international desktop expansion is slowing as even that market matures,” Cringely writes. “This year will probably mark Microsoft’s highest desktop sales ever in dollar volume, which sounds good, except that next year sales will be less as they will again the year after and every year past that.”

“Six years from now (four hardware generations) Windows will be dead. Or free,” Cringely writes. “And for all his bold re-imagining in New York last week, Steve Ballmer knows this, and that’s his dilemma.”

Cringely writes, “Having not invented any of the products it is known for, why should we expect Microsoft to invent its way out of declining markets? We shouldn’t.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Windows has always been dead to us, but from your lips to God’s ears, Bob.

When we wrote the following nearly eight years ago, many laughed:

As we have always said, even as many short-sightedly waved (and continue to wave) the white flag, the war is not over. And, yes, we shall prevail… No company is invincible. Not even Microsoft.MacDailyNews Take, January 10, 2005

Who’s laughing now?

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

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65 Comments

    1. About 2005, I started saying to anyone who would listen that my prediction was that by 2020, Microsoft would be like IBM was then. Still around and important to enterprise customers in a back office sort of way, but not a brand that average users would directly see in their daily computing lives. Windows will live on in the desktops of corporate and government office drones and the laptops of those organizations road warriors. andin the server rooms.

      For the rest of us, Windows will just fade away.

  1. I remember reading MDN circa 2005 when one of the site’s takes was that the war with Microsoft wasn’t over and Apple could still win (or something to that effect).

    Even as a huge Apple fan at a time when OS X was really very little known to average consumers and the iPhone was far from announced, I thought that was a pretty bold, off the mark statement. Wishful thinking borderline insane. It was simply hard to imagine ANY platform waking up the billions of Windows sufferers in the world.

    But it is happening. It won’t be quick, but it really seems inevitable now. I love the technology from Apple and all the great things it’s done for me and my business over the years . . . but the side sport of watching a company like Microsoft with its ill-earned spot as reigning king fall from grace has been a really nice bonus.

    1. That could be true except the fact that Job himself did not believe that Macs will be dominant in the market and so he did not target market share on this desktop/laptop arena. 20%-25% world market share would be very hard to maintain to the current level of product and service quality.
      What can be expected to take on MS is other desktop OS to gett in the arena too. But to the current situation Linux is not so outstanding and google does not seem to care about this. Google had tried this market by declaring Chrome OS (remember that?) and it’s terrible market failure will not make this company retry the effort.
      If the competition stays with current players, I expect less than 25% world market share for Mac, keeps it’s brand great and maintain product and service quality.

        1. I was an amiga man myself, the Atari ST Vs. Amiga battles sure were epic for their time!

          Ah the memories! Back when more than just apple saw the value in vertical integration!

          1. Ah, another Amiga fan. 🙂

            I switched from an A1200 over to Mac in ’94 once it was obvious that Commodore and the Amiga were dead.

            I was always an Apple fan, but switched over from apple][ to the Amiga back when the A500 came out because the Lisa (and the original Mac) were too expensive and out of reach at the time.

            My best friend was an Atari ST guy, and yes those battles were epic. 🙂

            Good memories.

            1. Wow. My first ‘Mac’ was an Atari 1040 ST with Spectre GCR and original Apple ROMs that allowed Mac emulation. Ran System 4.1 Finder 5.5 and could even read/write Mac disks. Ironic how Atari thought it could make it big in business computing, so abandoned the gaming side.

      1. I had one that was maxed to the hilt with C-Lab Notator and MIDI expansion plus huge outboard expander – ran everything from my massive synth rig to MIDI R8 reel-to-reel. Huge deal. But then the Mac LC came out and I switched. It was a major leap forward.

    1. I had an Atari 1200 with two floppy drives, one was a happy drive. I now have a 27″ mid 2011 3.4 ghz, 12 gig of ram, both 256 ssd and 2 tb hd and a 2 gb vram. How far we have come in just one generation.

      1. I think it fits like a charm, monkeyboy seems to NOT tire of putting on his little show, and the collapse of PinDoze is certainly tirelessly marching, as fast as monkeyboy can run it, into oblivion

  2. Unless MSFT’s corporate culture take a major overhaul, it’s chance of surviving the Post-PC era is pretty low.

    Compounding the problem is that Steve Ballmer and his “storm-troopers” still in power, this sure will accelerate its demise .

  3. If I recall correctly, MDN’s take was about the Mac winning the war, but it’ll actually be the iPad. Steve got started on “the next big thing”.

    The sad part for Microsoft is, it saw the potential for tablets before Apple. It just didn’t execute right (surprise, surprise).

    And MDN: No “as long as it takes” reference?

    1. Actually MS has their eyes over both tablets and touch screens. Their issue was they concentrate too much for corporate customers. That’s why they implement both in a “cute” way, a tablet with PC OS and a new OS for bulky giant table (or wall) for touch screen computer. Who would buy a giant table with touch surface anyway? M16?

      1. Another big part of Windows failure and slow demise is their inability to cut loose old technologies. But that makes sense, MS is a marketshare company, NOT a technology company.

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t Windows still support ports such as VGA, Parallel, Serial and who knows what else? How long did it take them to ditch floppy disks? Did they?

        Doesn’t Windows still have separate 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Mac System 7 has been full 32-bit since the early 90’s and 64-bit capable since 2003 (Mac OS X 10.3 Panther)… without having to purchase a separate OS and applications!

        1. Yes. I work with windows and it’s a real issue. 3rd party guys won’t upgrade drivers to 64 bit and pc manufacturers will only ship 64 bit windows oem. They should have engineered it better and let both 32 and 64 bit apps run on a 64 bit operating system.

          Windows is a hodge podge almost good enough for most uses tool.

          It’s wearing thin.

          I wonder if Tim will be pressured to license OS X?

  4. The company will survive until government, state institutions and businesses have an economic case to break the stranglehold MS have on Office products – particularly Word. The cost of changing networks, servers, training etc. are all large and until there is an overwhelming financial case to break from MS they effectively have a licence to print money – for doing no more than keep products as old as Office 2003 relatively free from hacks and malware.

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