Microsoft Promises a So-So Future

    May 2, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

After years of resting on the “you-gotta-upgrade-soon” throne, Microsoft’s latest software and OS offerings may be flooded with the echo of “upgrade when I get around to it.”

When Bill Gates first introduced a string of cutting edge home computer innovations from DOS to Windows XP, the world went into a frenzied bandwagon hopping state.

Not only was it the subsequent OS pieces de resistance, released in 2 to 3 year increments, that seemingly drove entire economies, but the need to rapidly upgrade hardware, too.

Windows 3.1 ran just fine on a 386. Windows 95 was okay with a 486, but better with Pentium I. For Windows XP, a third generation Pentium was the apple of the consumer’s eye.

And thenwell, Windows peaked.

When the millennium clock turned over, and all Y2K jitters were fettered, people looked at their systems and found them to be adequate.

A complacent consumer can prove to be a money saving consumer, and that, in short, is bad for business.

This may shed a little light on why Longhorn, the hotly anticipated and possibly, um, entirely unimpressive next release of Windows has taken twice as long to come to a useable reality.

Microsoft has to give the consumer a good reason to buy it. That reason, apparently, takes twice as long to develop.

Intel and AMD’s recent release of dual-core processors may help the push to upgrade, but XP will run just fine on a single or multiple core processor. And why spend thousands to upgrade your system, when the old one ain’t broke?

Microsoft (and, for fun, you can make this into a sinister planned obsolescence conspiracy theory) has headed off a bit of this impending dilemma with the well-received improvements in security that will come with Longhorn. The release of “Ready PC’s” required to run it has already begun.

But it will still beg some questions as to the absolute need to upgrade. More specifically, the questions are:

As long as I have no true problem with security right now, why do I need Longhorn?

As long as I don’t need two processors for the type of work that I do, why do I need dual-core?

As long as Windows XP runs all the applications I’ll ever really need, what’s the point of upgrading?

Microsoft, unless they offer revolutionary new products, may have to settle for being an industry standard, vending slightly improved versions of older software.