: I firmly believe that WinFS and the applications it supports will be one of the driving features that pushes people in their droves to upgrade to Windows Longhorn.
11/11/2003 9:54 AM
# re: Droves to Upgrade
Longhorn won't run on the three-year-old machine I have now - well, it might *run*, but it certainly won't run well.
If I buy a new computer next year, or in 2005, will Longhorn run *well* on it? If not, it doesn't matter how compelling WinFS et al. might be - I won't upgrade.
11/11/2003 10:37 AM
# re: Droves to Upgrade
Before I start I am going to classify Windows user into subcategories. These categories are totally arbitrary and are examples of the type of people that I encounter everyday that use Windows.
Lower-Middle class Home Users
Upperclass Home Users
Developer Business Users
Non-techie Business Users
Ok. Now I am going to analyse each set of users based on my experiences. First let's start with the Lower-Middle class users. These users basically need a good reason to spend their money. From the reactions I get, these users always need an answer to the question "Do I need this?" before purchasing something that is more than $50 CDN ($38 US). When it comes to an operating system, the answer to the question is usually "no". But there are always people who will want to play with the newest and greatest thing. So we get some people who will buy the upgrade, because the budgeted or made some money on the side or something. Then there are the people in that category who will just pirate it. I can say for certain that every copy of Windows XP that my friends have had (they all fit into this category) is a pirate copy. I on the other hand got a MSDN version from my company, because I do development at home. I don't know how many people fit into the purchasing bracket, and I am not going to speculate, the MS market researchers can do that for me.
The Upperclass home users will be divided into whether they care or not to upgrade for the most part. The barriers of price aren't all that important.
Now the Developer Business Users. Some of them will upgrade using MSDN (like me). And then some of them will upgrade just because the company moves the OS up. Now I know that MS is a firm believer in eating their own dogfood, so once a new OS comes out everyone in the company has it (at least that is how they make it seem in the press releases). But at every other company I have been at, rolling out a new OS to every client machine has been a pretty slow process and usually is met with a lot of resistence from the IT department. That was even when I worked at both large and small development firms. In the large one we were using Windows NT on all the machines and I had to fight to get Windows 2000 put on so I wouldn't blue screen every 10 minutes. At the small firm there was a mix of NT and 2000. Only 1 or 2 people have XP right now. At my current employer we exclusively use 2000 and XP is only for testing. So even in the tech savvy environment it will be a tough sell on the upgrade front.
Next is the regular business users. Now unless they get some consultant in the office who says "Upgrade everything to <insert OS here> and we will build you that app of all apps that will save you millions of dollars" there is little chance they are even going to notice that a new OS has been developed.
What I am getting at is that OS upgrades are something that are rarely felt as necessary. A lot of people believe if it ain't broke don't fix it. That doesn't mean you shouldn't make something better, it just means that not everyone will be using it right away. I mean it was only until recently that I stopped seeing Windows 95 on people's home machines (I still see it from time to time on business machines), and that OS is 8 years old now.
A new OS is a great way to make your old computer feel like a new toy. But without any new killer applications that everyone absolutely NEEDS, then I think the entire industry is chasing the Windows 95 dragon.
11/12/2003 3:02 PM
# re: Droves to Upgrade
One of the reasons that I believe people will be driven to Longhorn is thinking back to the Windows 95 launch. Yes, there were plenty of supposedly technical reasons to upgrade, 32-bit applications, pre-emptive multi-tasking, etc. etc. These weren't the reasons people queued up to buy their copy at midnight. They did that because Windows 95 was cool. It had this fancy new interface that allowed you to interact in a new and simpler way (and a marketing campaign that whipped people up into a frenzy of course).
It is difficult to believe how different an interface it was then that we now take for granted now more than 8 years later. Longhorn will have the same 'cool'. WinFS supports a new interaction with your computer - Longhorn will obviously be much more than a pretty front end. People will want to ride the wave. This is going to be a consumer product as much as a business one. Workers are going to be looking for reasons to justify to their boss why they need Longhorn. Same as they did 8 years ago. Yes, migration will take time as it always does, but the consumer market can shift pretty quickly given sufficient incentive.