Windows Vienna: The Future of Client OSs

With the release of Windows Vista and a recent presentation by Ben Fathi, there have been a number of articles and posts related to Windows Vienna, the client OS successor to Vista.

There are certain to be verrry interesting discussions at Microsoft and at other tech companies now and over the next three to five years about where client OSs are headed. Between Linux, virtualization, online applications such as Zoho or the growing GoogleSuite led by Google Docs, and who knows what else, Windows is unlikely to be the overwhelmingly predominant "OS" on desktop and laptop computers (ok, also on tablets, UMPCs and other x86 OS devices). Not to mention the increasing amount of "computing" time that is moving to cell phones and other highly-mobile devices.

Some people feel Vista is Microsoft's last hurrah in terms of a full-blown personal computer OS. However, based on trends of the past 20 years in personal computing, it's likely a large number of mainstream pc users will still want a client OS five years from now. They will buy their "pc" from Office Depot or Best Buy. And Vienna (or whatever the official MS release name is at that point) will be the OS installed on the pc they buy. Because a Window client OS is what they have now and is the computing platform with which they're comfortable.

This isn't to say there won't be many "personal computing" models and choices other than a client device with a Windows OS. I fully expect there to be two or more robust options for primary computing platforms five years from now. Just as some college students and others have been using OpenOffice since 2000 or earlier as a replacement for MS Office, in 2012 there will definitely be college students and others exclusively using online apps which have no need for a full-blown client app, such as Windows Vista or Vienna. There will also be other "personal computing" platform options which most of us would have difficulty getting our heads around today.

If you're an early adopter or like to play with bleeding-edge personal computing, give no further thought to Vienna. But if you are a traditionalist who used Win98 for six years and are happy with the your client OS, have no fear -- Microsoft will be there for you!


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