The OS Really Doesn’t Matter

kinnon —  September 14, 2005 — 2 Comments

A while back I posted “Does the OS Really Matter?” Daily, the answer becomes more clear – NO!

In spite of the hype around Microsoft’s PDC and the manufactured excitement about Office 12 et al, its desktop dominating days are over. Open Source is bringing a lot of exciting software to our screens – whether we use OS X, a Windows variation or Linux. Just check out the power of these four alone:

  • Writely – a killer web based Word Processing program that combines Word functionality with the collaboration mindset of a Wiki.
  • Gmail – Google’s great email client with over two gigs of storage (check out how Michael Hyatt is using it as a follow up tool in line with David Allen’s “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity” – which I need to finish!) And now there’s Google Talk!
  • Zimbra – a web based email/calendar client that blows the doors off Outlook or it’s Mac cousin, Entourage
  • Flock – the newest buzz generator from some of the folks who brought us Firefox – a browser for Web 2.0. “A social browsing experience for the two-way web.”

Check out Steve Gillmor’s comments here regarding Microsoft. And Phil Wainwright’s comments here regarding the difference between Google and MS:

Microsoft’s focus on desktop capability is the crux of why it can’t possibly succeed against Google (or any future Google equivalent). It’s focusing on yesterday’s market. Microsoft’s dominance of the desktop is as relevant to the future of computing as Union Pacific’s dominance of the railroads was to the future of transportation in the twentieth century.

No wonder Steve Ballmer is freaking out when people are leaving the company for Google.

I’ve been a Microsoft user since 1984 when I bought a PC XT with a huge 10mb hard drive. The first word processing program I used was Word 2.0 (when everyone else was using Word Perfect). We still own three PCs running XP and 2000 – along with our four Macs. Other than a personal preference for the Mac interface, my user experience is no longer dictated by the OS developer.

Perhaps the real question is “Has Microsoft jumped the shark?”

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A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

2 responses to The OS Really Doesn’t Matter

  1. Hi,

    I’m one of the Writely folks.

    This is exactly right. People have asked us if we’re going to fight a feature war with MS, and if that doesn’t worry us. And we say “nope, because they’ve been fighting the wrong feature war with Office for the last 10 years”.

    I posted some of this on the writely blog today – how we see ourselves relative to word. .

    Thanks for the nice review!


  2. If you assume that Microsoft is static, then your desktop argument holds true, but it is more dynamic than I think most of the world realizes. There are more smart minds thinking about how to transition from the desktop than ever were on any previous version of software or other phenomenon.


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