I have been working in IT for almost 15 years and throughout the time, Microsoft has helped me grow a career but over the last few years we have seen possibly the most significant transition since the advent of the personal computer. What should not be surprising is that Apple has been the catalyst for change. Many people in Generation X and Y and every other name you would like to give those born after 1970, first learned how to use a computer in school, working on early Apple and Macintosh systems. This led this same kids to expect the ability to so word processing without a typewriter, followed by sending messages to each other without paying for a stamp, and now the earliest advocates of computers along with the youngest generations entering the workforce have demanded another change. No longer will these users accept whatever computer and system is thrown in front of them.
I place the blame on Apple with the release of the iphone and the App Store. The idea of presenting a single application to a group of users is not something new,in all reality Citrix has been presenting applications to business users since the days of Metaframe and the original Web Interface, but the ability for Apple to change a global mindset is something Citrix has never been able todo. Users now expect that you can access a single application regardless of what device I am using. Google continued to reinforce the attitude with the release of Android. Android is the largest deployed mobile platform in the world, and along with it comes multiple app stores.
The next question is how would applications being presented to a phone or tablet kill an operating system. The answer is rather easy on this one. Users want to bring a Macbook or a ipad or a Android tablet and get all the same applications that you used to only be able to get with Windows. VMware, Citrix, and Microsoft will all present a full windows desktop to a user, but why would I want a full desktop when all I need is an email client and a word processor or an internet browser. The added overhead on a device that I bought because it was optimized seems pointless. The same generations that grew up on Apple II Plus computers and a green screen now have 10x the power in their pocket with smartphones and even more with the ipad and newer tablets. Microsoft has even realized that application based computing is the wave of the future, with the release of Office Live, Microsoft is allowing users to get to their largest consumer product through the web without ever installing a product. When you combine that with the likes o Dropbox and SugarSync you can have all your data and all your applications sitting in a datacenter that you could care less where it is as long as you can access it from your optimized device. A device that is optimized to just run what others create and give you the best connection possible to the internet and the plethora of cloud products.
Windows may not die in the next year or two but with the speed of computing today it is very possible that the life of what has at this point been the most common base for personal computing is very short. Over the next week Citrix will make multiple releases allowing the user to get closer to the application centric computing model during their major conference, you can expect the same style releases from VMware in the end of August at their conference. Microsoft itself has been focusing on the other product lines with added push to use Unified Communications and Collaboration tools along with their own virtualization products. Windows has been around longer than many people imagined and has ridden the wave but it may have been its own biggest enemy by not staying with the times and just becoming a delivery system like iOS.
It has finally come time to close the Windows.
Sent from my iPad 🙂