My views on software, programming, Linux, the Internet, government, taxation, working, and life.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Predictions About Microsoft's Next OS After Vista

A recent insider told me that Vista is going to be the last OS of its kind once it is released. And that's if it's released, of course. It might, once again, have to go back to the drawing board to have more stuff ripped out that's unpopular, and more goodies added in, in order to lure people in. This process is going to be expensive for Microsoft. Meanwhile, Microsoft may do what they did when Windows 98'ers started to mention that they would not upgrade to Windows 2000 when it was planned to be released -- Microsoft introduced Windows ME and stalled W2K's release a few months. I think the same thing will happen to Vista. Therefore, before Vista ships, imagine a "Windows XP Service Pack 3" with a kind of "Windows XP Plus Pack", call it something completely different like "XP Vista", and imagine you having to pay for it and not get it for free. That's probably what will happen before Vista ships. And I imagine that Vista might ship without DRM and some of the other unpopular features inside, and it might not ship until late 2007 or early 2008.

So what comes after Vista? Well, you may see the pieces falling into place:

  • Microsoft was secretly backing SCO's lawsuit through a third-party in an effort to thwart Linux. (We all know that backfired.) It shows Microsoft's continual alliance with SCO. We also can recall the early SCO (before it went bankrupt and reformed as Caldera and was renamed as SCO again) and that this SCO was a spinoff from Microsoft when Microsoft came up with a fork of BSD Unix called Xenix. So Microsoft has always kept its hand in the cookie jar of another Unix-based company.

  • SCO is a company in dire straits ever since losing the cases against IBM and Novell. They could use a big injection of cash, sort of like when Microsoft injected a bunch of cash into Apple.

  • Microsoft has always been a big fan of Apple. It owes much of its success to Apple. Much of Vista's new features look like almost complete ripoffs of Apple once again, just like the similarities with Windows 95 and an earlier Mac OS. Apple taught Microsoft a lesson when it switched its underlying OS into BSD Unix and bolted the Mac OS on top of that to form Mac OS X. Apple basically acquired NeXT Corp and the NeXT OS, which was BSD Unix based, and bolted on the Mac OS GUI on top of that, forming Mac OS X.

  • Microsoft has been taking it on the nose when it comes to security. They need to get acceptance as having a secure OS.

  • Microsoft has been trying to bolster its open source connections in order to gain market acceptance with the industry analysts.

Therefore, can you figure the picture out yet? It's simple! Microsoft will acquire SCO and then build the next version of OS after Vista as a GUI and extra services on top of SCO's Unix. Microsoft certainly won't build it from scratch because Microsoft lacks the capacity for serious innovation -- they simply acquire companies instead.

However, I have bad news for Microsoft. This will backfire. First, the open source community will be very vocal against this. Second, the industry analysts have been trained to have a keen eye for Microsoft's arrogance and its evil strategies of FUD, Vaporware, and Embrace, Extend, and Extinguish -- they won't talk nicely about this new alliance at all.

If I were a CIO or CEO of a large, major company right now, I'd be rethinking my options or getting on a plane to meet the big wigs at Microsoft. Microsoft's mis-steps are going to be costly for corporations around the world. They'll have to go back to actually listening to their customers again -- go figure. If I were major CEO right now, I would seriously be considering moving all my users rapidly in the company to OpenOffice, Firefox, and make everything else in the company run as a web app on Firefox. Then, if the OS market becomes unstable, I could at least switch my employees to Mac OS X, Ubuntu Linux, or anything but Microsoft.

Also, with all the talks of a re-emergence of antitrust litigation added into this mix, Microsoft's future looks extremely uncertain.

So that's what I predict for Microsoft's future.