As we watch the difficult pivot away from older and outdated operating systems, we sit in amazement at the resiliency of Windows XP. What does the stickiness of Windows XP mean? In our view, it means that most people are comfortable with how they are using their computers and either don’t know about, or are not interested in, new features as they once were.
Are operating systems too expensive in people’s minds or is it something else?
Why does the cloud not take over more quickly?
Apple offered Mavericks OSX for free this time around. And it’s fascinating to watch both Apple and Microsoft reorienting their OSs towards the cloud. There is, in our view, more that is analogically similar in their respective approaches than different.
- have clouds that they have invested heavily in and they want users to use them.
- are making it more ‘difficult’ to keep user settings and data out of the cloud in their default settings.
- organize their installations to make it easy for users to “trip into” the cloud.
Apple has even gone so far as to make it nearly impossible to keep iTunes iPhone backups on the local PC in their most recent releases. But while Apple has begun an aggressive process to hand user preferences and settings into the cloud from a user perspective, Microsoft has been much more aggressive in creating cloud technology to represent virtual enterprise, policy-driven environments. And it should.
This is an historic trend happening before our very eyes. That said, there is much more to be done to make system administrators comfortable with seeing user content hosted and – to some extent controlled – by tech companies. Custody of data and functionality is important to IT. (There is a raging battle in physics right now about whether reality is determined more by material existence or variations in an “information field.” If the information theorists are correct, then controlling data (information) could be materially more important than it’s usually perceived.)
Back to basics; IT business managers want to see the expense side of IT focused on ways to earn more and spend less on commoditized functions. Those responsible for IT line management, security, storage, databases and other sub professions are far less sanguine about the direction to outsource the data center. They wrestle with recent security breaches that have underscored how challenging it is to keep environments secure. At the same time, putting everyone’s data in the same cloud has also been shown to make “everyone” vulnerable at the same time. Perhaps it will be the outsourcing of risk itself that will determine the outcome. Maybe indemnity, insurance, and the ability to blame someone else; in other words, “it wasn’t me!” will drive IT across the cloud finish line.
Let’s face it, most users just want to get their “stuff” done. If it’s cloud or local, it matters not much. So much computing happens in the browser these days that perhaps Google’s ChromeOS engineers will be proven mostly right in the end.
In the end, power users with multiple devices have the most to gain with the new OSs and persona in the cloud. Those people are not using Windows XP, we surmise. The real challenge for stragglers on XP is that a number of applications have to be repurchased to work on later version of Windows, if they are available at all.
Additionally, in a “down” economy, people want to keep the old car a few years longer, and they see no good reason to toss a perfectly good PC just to enable more memory and performance. At the same time, those that do are immediately rewarded with a more modern computing experience.
There’s no question that upgrading from XP is worth it. Will MS have to play hardball to make it happen? We think so…