Gartner: Windows is collapsing

Written by Tim Smalley

April 14, 2008 | 16:52

Tags: #analysis #operating #os #problems #system #windows

Companies: #gartner #microsoft

Two analysts from Gartner have said that Microsoft's Windows operating system will collapse under its own weight if something drastic isn't done to save the world's most pervasive software platform.

During one part of the analysis carried out by Michael Silver and Neil MacDonald, a room full of IT managers and executives was asked whether Microsoft needed to radically change its approach to Windows if it is to stay viable in the future. Half of the attendees agreed and raised their hands.

"Windows is too monolithic," claims Silver.

According to the pair, the problems stem from Windows' legacy support and the increasing complexity of the operating system. It's basically too bulky and complex for its own good according to MacDonald.

And what's worse: MacDonald believes that adding more complexity will lead to the eventual downfall of the OS.

The demands for Windows as an operating system have changed and they're evolving in different directions – MacDonald believes that making multiple kernels is one way forwards for Microsoft. Another option is for Microsoft to offering different levels of functionality tailored to specific applications.

This is something that Microsoft is already doing to some extent as it offers multiple Windows SKUs, but Gartner believes the software giant would need to go at least one step further than it has so far. MacDonald believes that these different versions should be virtualised, but he said Microsoft won't like that option. "Microsoft doesn't like anything in between Windows and the hardware," he said. "Ninety-five percent of its revenue comes from OEMs."

Gartner's analysts say that Microsoft must also reduce development times, offer better security, make migration to new versions much easier and to simplify licensing. "Something as common sense as 'I'd like Office to go with me' doesn't work under current licensing," said MacDonald.

The report is bound to cause controversy in the industry, but Windows does need to change. The question is not whether change will happen, it's more a question of how long it'll take for Microsoft to implement any changes in strategy because Windows 7 is already said to be more modular than any previous version.

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