The IT news today is full of reports that most purchasers of Windows PCs will from now be able to upgrade their system from Windows Vista to Windows 7, for little or no money, when it becomes available in October. This – along with Windows 7’s ‘XP simulation’ mode – is indeed probably the death knell of Windows Vista. Which will probably be unlamented by many.
That was such an appalling vista that every sensible person would say, ‘It cannot be right that these actions should go any further.’
That’s not about Windows, it’s actually Lord Denning’s fatuous reasoning for dismissing the Birmingham Six’s application for leave to appeal in 1980, on the startling grounds that if they succeeded in overturning their conviction for pub bombings, it’d make it clear to everyone that there had been the most shocking and extensive fit-up. Which, of course, there had been. ‘Appalling vista’ became a bit of a buzzphrase among people campaigning for the Birmingham Six’s eventual release. The phrase has been coming to mind again recently.
It remains to be seen, though, whether the loss of traction by Microsoft with Vista – coupled with the explosion of platforms that aren’t conventional desktop PCs – is a recoverable blip like with Windows ME, or a clear turning point in the history of IT.
I wouldn’t bet against Microsoft’s ability to sell software at scale – they are very good at it. Writing off a company that huge with that large a cash pile and that many smart people would be daft.
But I am sure, as I said in my Babel post, that multiple platforms are here to stay, and the times when you could assume that nearly everyone using a computer had Microsoft Windows are long gone.
(Though as people have pointed out in comments and directly to me, they never really existed anyway.)