Microsoft Windows at 25
Recently (November 20th to be exact) marked the 25th anniversary of the official release of Windows 1.0. If you’re in the mood for a laugh, check out this image (courtesy of Wikipedia) of what it looked like – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Windows1.0.png. And to think people actually thought that system improved productivity! Fortunately it has improved a little over the years.
When Windows first launched, it wasn’t the operating system. Rather it was a GUI (graphical user interface) that was designed to make the computer more user friendly for the average user. In a lot of ways, it was Microsoft’s answer for the Apple Macintosh which was released in 1984 – remember the “big brother” ad that ran during the Super Bowl? Some would say Microsoft is still playing catch up to Apple, and in some ways they are, but I don’t think the operating system is one of them.
When Microsoft first launched Windows, Bill Gates (the Microsoft Chairman at the time) said that Windows 1.0, which carried a suggested retail price of $99 in 1985, was “unique software” that would provide “unprecedented power to users today and a foundation for hardware and software advancements of the next few years.”
He was certainly right about that. Windows has become the dominant operating system and is clearly the foundation of personal computing. But as it turns 25, it’s a good time to think a little bit about the future. Will that trend possibly continue?
The first obstacle Windows faces is the rise of the mobile device. Whether it’s Smart Phones and PDAs, or tablets, people are starting to compute on much different platforms than they have over the last 25 years. Again, Microsoft seems to have fallen behind in this space. Apple is the current leader with the iPhone and iPad, but even Google has become a strong competitor with their Android operating platform. Microsoft just launched their most recent phone platform – phone 7 – but will it be good enough to overtake the leaders again? And the next wave of Microsoft tablets are poised to be announced at the Consumer Electronics Show next month – putting them close to 2 years behind Apple.
The other variable we have to consider is The Cloud. For all its mystery and ambiguity, The Cloud is about moving power away from the desktop computer and putting it into the data center. To the user this means using applications that are hosted on the internet and run from any device anywhere. The operating system is not the best vehicle for enabling this – the web browser is. So really, as we talk about the power of computing going forward, we’re more likely to be talking about Internet Explorer 9, or Chrome 2.0 instead of Windows 8 or Mac OS 11. Again, Microsoft finds themselves in a position of playing catch up.
So there is no doubt Windows has changed and shaped our world. But, like any 25 year old, it finds itself at a bit of a cross road. The fun and good times of youth are slowly moving behind it, and right now it’s being smacked in the face with the responsibility of becoming an adult. I can’t believe how fast our little boy is growing up!
Bryan Antepara: IT Specialist
Bryan Antepara is a leader in Cloud engagements with a demonstrated history of digital transformation of business processes with the user of Microsoft Technologies powered by the team of eMazzanti Technologies engineers.
Bryan has a strong experience working with Office 365 cloud solutions, Business Process, Internet Information Services (IIS), Microsoft Office Suite, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Customer Service.
He has the ability to handle the complexity of moving data in and out of containers and cloud sessions, makes him the perfect candidate to help organizations large and small migrate to new and more efficient platforms. Bryan is a graduate of the University of South Florida and is Microsoft Certification holder.