Friday, December 02, 2005

More computer predictions . . . Microsoft going down?

Back to the Windows versus Mac debate. Some people have commented that the strength of Microsoft Windows is with the applications it runs. And Apple Mac is not the preferred platform because it cannot match Microsoft in terms of applications.

Presently this is true. But consider this . . .

For those who use Yahoo mail, notice that there are now formatting tool bars when you compose mail.

For those who rely on Encarta, do you also realize that there is an online encyclopedia called wiki? And that this is updated real time?

There is a coming paradigm shift on what we call a "PC workstation." Now we have applications running on the device. Soon we will have applications running through a site and accessed through the internet. The PC will cease to become a processor and will now shift to a presentation and user interface device. In fact, this is the advantage that Google and Yahoo have, and this is why Microsoft is playing "catch-up" with a new web platform called Microsoft Live. Very soon we don't need to have applications on the PC; we can run it off the web.

Furthermore, there is the open source applications. People who equate Microsoft with stability should look at the open source community. For every Microsoft application, there is an open source application. I have already ditched Microsoft Office for Openoffice. I don't use IE; I use a far-superior Firefox. My email application is not Outlook but Thunderbird. I use Skype and GAIM for instant messaging. I will admit that the only open source application that SUCKS big-time is GIMP. Until they figure out a platform for photo manipulation, I will stick with Photoshop.

Lets take another look at how the PC is evolving. Many of us use the PC to play music. Some of us even play DVDs. While I am typing this blog, internet radio is streaming jazz music. The consumer PC is now moving away from the typical home computing applications to become a media center, where people can listen to music, watch movies, record from TV, play radio, and view a slide show of pictures taken from digital cameras. The PC is no longer a geek techie device, but will soon become a true consumer device like a DVD player or a toaster.

What does this all mean? It means that a PC has to be user-friendly, stable, easy to use, intuitive in such a way that a non-techie should be able to operate. Does this sound like Microsoft Windows? Let me put it this way---ever try to explain to a non-techie user (like your grandmother) how to use Windows (like when to click, double-click, or right click)?

And what about the applications? Who cares---I can run it off the web.

My feeling is that this is where Microsoft is worried about. They need to provide a stable intuitive environment, and this is where Apple has the advantage. The fact that Microsoft is the perennial target of hackers and malware does not help their case either, and hence alternative OSs (Mac OS and Linux) are on the rise. Now to run office applications over the web, all you need is the browser . . . and that Firefox is eroding on IE's market share is not helping Microsoft's position.


Anonymous Marc said...

Sorry OT, happy blog anniversary :) the other one's a year old already? BTW, thanks for the link.

11:19 AM  

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