The Inquirer reports that Gartner believes that the days of “Windows” are numbered.
Did they mean Linux would take over? Nooooo. Did they mean MS would somehow slip out of the OS business? Nooooo.
The key phrase is, “The era of monolithic deployments of software releases is nearing an end.” In English, one size will no longer fit all.
When you think about it, that makes a lot of sense. The PC world is evolving into a number of different species, and getting more and more dissimiliar.
An OS that tries to be all things to all people isn’t terribly good for two reasons:
First, being all things to all people bloats the OS. As tweakers well know, all sorts of things you don’t necessarily want or need end up in not only the OS installation, but in memory. This needlessly slows down performance.
Second, being all things to all people slows down innovation. Bloated as Windows is, not everything desirable to at least some end up in it.
Let’s take DX to illustrate this. Vista is supposed to introduce DX10. DX11 isn’t supposed to show up until the Vista followup. First, for most PCs, DX10 is simply a burden, Grandma hardly needs it.
However, Grandma’s grandson is going to be stuck with DX10 for five years. If people were willing to pay for DX11, I bet we’d see one in a lot less time than five years.
Do you see where this is going?
How To Make More Money
We can already see with Vista that MS is already coming out with more than a few variations on a theme, and charging different prices for them.
I think it’s very likely that we will see this trend continue to evolve, with a “core” Windows, with additional code added demanding on the needs of the niche. For instance, if this trend continues, we’re almost certain to see a “Gamer Windows” (hint, hint to Linux people).
That’s one way to charge more money for something. In many cases, it could well be a matter of charging more for less, a gamer Windows might well be stripped of “one size fits all” code that gamers don’t (at least usually) need.
Another likely development is accelerated development of areas of interests to niches, but that’s likely to become an additional revenue stream, too.
For instance, you might get a DX11 and other video enhancements for the gamer edition in two years rather than five, but you’ll also probably get a bill for it, too. This could be a way MS could earn extra money for what might be called extended service packs.
Do I know this for sure? No, but it sure seems like a very appealing way to go for a company that otherwise isn’t going to growing too terribly fast (at least in revenues).