But, the traditional Windows Desktop isn’t dead yet – not by a long shot!
While there is no doubt that touch screen technology, smart phones, fast, almost-always-available Internet access and the widespread adoption of Social Media is rapidly driving us towards a brave new computing world on the move, I write this article in the staunch defence of the traditional Windows desktop. Not because I am resistant to the inevitable change that is already upon us, but because, like all change, there are a number of early adopters, then a larger number of those who will get there in time but only when they begin to sense they’re missing something and then, an even larger number who really want to stay where they are forever – if they possibly can! It is this last group that is often side-lined by commentators. But they are a very significant group and should never be underestimated.
It was in October 2007 – that is nearly 5 years ago – that Microsoft brought out the long-awaited replacement for Windows XP and introduced it to the world as Windows Vista. Now, with the benefit of hindsight, we all know that Vista had its fair share of problems and certainly did not receive the rapturous reception that Microsoft might have been expecting. But, to be fair, they worked hard to rectify these issues and effectively relaunched it within 18 months – this time called Windows 7 and this time, the world largely accepted it.
By ‘largely’, I mean the Industry broadly accepted it. PC manufacturers eventually stopped producing PCs with XP pre-installed and Windows 7, of some kind, became the only choice available unless you like Apples ( – or Unix). Over the last two years, Windows 7 (or Vista) has finally overtaken XP as the most common desktop operating system – although it has been a struggle. And that, really, is my point. We are 5 years down the track and still nearly 50% of the world’s desktops are running the previous operating system . Is Windows XP really that great? Well, in a word, no. But there is that very large and significant number of people who are really not interested in what they see as change for change’s sake. So long as they can continue to do what they’ve learned to do and it continues to work, why would they want to learn something new? It’s not better, it’s just different!
And despite all the hype and Microsoft’s best efforts to launch Windows 8 in a smooth non-Vista-like, glitch-free fashion and all the strong technological reasons for early adoption, the same thing will happen again. The vast majority of computer users couldn’t care less. They won’t change until what they currently do every day actually stops working and so, four or five years from now the Windows 7-like traditional desktop will still be on the majority of PCs around the world. The sleek new Windows 8 Metro interface will be in use by less than a third of PC users – and about 10% will still be running Windows XP.
An earlier version of this post was made available on Si29 Computer Services website.
Based in Camberley, Surrey, UK, Si29 Computer Services is a small independent IT service company and consultancy. They provide IT services and technical support to a number of private individuals and small businesses in the SE of England
Member since: 25th June 2012
I am a Partner in the Social Media Bureau where I work with four others to deliver social media marketing, advice and deliver seminars to a wide range of clients.