Friday 20 July 2012

Traditional Developers Hate Windows 8

A friend and colleague of mine, Mark Breen, posted the following question on a newsgroup for software developers:

I know that I am not alone, but does anyone here think that the market are
not going to want to switch to Win8 / Off 13?
I mean, could this release be the worst every for MS?
It is the first ever OS and Off release that I dread.
Finally, did you all see the financial results for MS today?, Imagine what
we will be reading in a years time.
Or am I being too pessimistic?
My answer is this:

Your question reminds me of the old joke about the optimist and the pessimist. The optimist greets the sunrise with a smile and says, "This is the best of all possible worlds."
The pessimist smiles and agrees.

I think that what you and I (and possibly others here) are feeling is our collective obsolescence. I began to learn programming on a shared computer somewhere around 1979. The first program I wrote was a simulation of the casino game craps. I wrote it in BASIC on a Commodore with cassette drives. I bought my first computer on March 15, 1983, an Apple II clone with a CP/M card. It came with WordStar, SuperCalc and dBASE II. I learned WordStar in and SuperCalc in a couple of days each, and dBASE II in about a month. 

Since then, I've spent my entire career in a world where PC applications for business dominated the computing landscape. You could throw a stick and it would hit nine new clients. 

That world is gone -- or rather, like Santa Claus, dying a little more each year but  never quite dead. The computing world has moved on: business apps are no longer the epicentre of computing, just as the internet ate the world of newspapers, just as physical books and the brick-and-mortar bookstores are no longer the epicentre of book publishing, just as the gaming world has far outstripped the Movie industry in terms of revenues. And currently, just as smart phones, tablets and smart TVs now occupy centre stage.

Microsoft is very aware of this, and that is the whole point behind Windows 8, which is targeted much more at tablets and smart phones than it is at the (yawn) business world. There will always be a requirement for traditional, dare I say tired, old, and unexciting, PC apps. But they're not where the action is, and I think we all know it.
Most of all, I think Microsoft knows it, too. Windows and Office have always been the twin pillars of MS's dominance of the PC world. One never shoots a cash cow, and one's nostalgic fondness for her never quite goes away. But her welfare becomes secondary to that of the young, healthy cows in the pasture.

Look around this group. How many young Turks are here, as compared with old farts (like me)? This is not likely to change -- not unless we morphed our site into a centre for developers of phone apps, games, and so on.

That's how I see it, anyway. But why listen to just another old fart? 

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