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back to article Death to Office or to Windows - choose wisely, Microsoft

Windows is dead, and Microsoft Office has killed it. Or will, once the rumours about Microsoft porting its wildly popular Office product to the iPad become reality. For just as porting Office to Mac OS X back in 2001 sowed the seeds of Apple's relevance as a credible desktop alternative to Windows, so too will Microsoft's …

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FAIL

"Windows is dead."

Really?

With 83.62% market share world wide...and Apple at 5.80%...me thinks that reports of Windows' demise are just a bit premature.

http://marketshare.hitslink.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=8

And yes children... I do know their share HAS declined...but dead? Hardly.

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Re: "Windows is dead."

> With 83.62% market share world wide

That is the installed base. Note that ~half of those have Windows XP and some still have Vista. That means that they probably haven't given money to Microsoft for several years.

If they decide that their current systems are good enough when supplemented by an iPad or Android and/or decide that it would be wise to wait for W8 SP2 (just as Vista buyers should have waited for Vista SP2 otherwise known as Windows 7) then that 83% won't count for much at all.

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Re: "Windows is dead."

The real problem comes from the fact that Microsoft now realizes that changing technology might make the desktop or laptop obsolete. When Ipad or Android tablets have the same power as a pc and docking stations are used which allow the tablet to use a regular keyboard and monitor and provide USB and other services, pc's will be history. So will mainline windows. Yes, X86 pc like units will exist for server farms and large enterprise solutions, the pc will be dead. When you can plug your portable IPAD or android into a docking station and it functions as a pc, why buy a large pc? In essence, the tablet will be the new pc of the future.

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Re: "Windows is dead."

Exactly. People who use office are not going to abandon keyboards and big screens and do all their work on an iPad. And it's not a zero sum game, people own multiple devices. Microsoft is just going to sell more software and add value to the iPad.

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Stop

Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

Yes, that is, assuming all those users decide to either:

1. Accept 10-12 inch screens on their tablets.

2. Accept 10-12 kg tablets with 27 inch screens.

Everybody seems to be under the impression that screen size no longer matters. And if you add in a keyboard, mouse, external screen and a power brick to an otherwise svelte slate, the sum becomes vastly more cumbersome than a desktop, vastly more expensive, and vastly less capable.

Or has everybody forgotten that tablets cost twice the amount of a more capable desktop PC?

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Facepalm

erm, docking stations??

I reckon 13-15" actually hits the sweet-spot. I reckon tablets will also disappear in the future and slim laptops with fold-away keyboards will take their place.

Then there is that thing used in almost every office laptop user's desk called... a docking station!

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Re: "Windows is dead."

83.62%? Really? I wonder how those figures were arrived at, because I don't know a single person with a computer who does not also have a copy of Windows.

Even the Mac-heads, with Bootcamp.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Windows is dead."

Remember the perils of listening to journalists.. 90% of real work doesn't need portability, journalists form the tiny minority where portability overrides everything else.

Hence you get articles like this - where office is the only reason to use a PC (laptop pfft!) and a Mac is a viable 'PC'.

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(Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

Good point, well made. But in this case Matt Asay is not a journalist.

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Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

"I don't know a single person with a computer who does not also have a copy of Windows"

Allow me to introduce myself - I've been completely Windows free for 5 years - Linux only here, 4 desktops and server machines self-built, 1 laptop recycled to me after a Windows update failed disastrously , 1 net book always Linux .

I'm a retired scientist and even when I worked it was mostly on a twin Xeon Linux workstation using programs that were mostly VERY expensive and only available on Unix/Linux.

I don't need Windows - I can do everything I need on Linux. Apart from the scientific stuff that includes, browsing, e-mail, using Google Earth, processing RAW photo files, editing & viewing 1080/50p video, laying out pcbs, writing software and lots more. Libre Office is fine for my needs. A 3G dongle also works fine when traveling.

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Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

I too would like to introduce myself.... I don't personally use Windows anywhere. I have a number of Macs as does my better half. Slowly but surely the company I work for is moving to Mac also.

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Re: Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

Or C) plug their tablet into a dock and/or bluetooth keyboard and monitor

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Re: Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

It is amazing that a viable Linux desktop OS (Red Hat desktop, for instance) has not taken hold in the enterprise. How in the world do these CIOs justify paying seven figures in annual Microsoft support for software which 1) Hasn't changed *meaningfully* in 10 years 2) Isn't really that important as everything other than Office, and the occasional high-end graphics app, runs on the server side anyway.

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Re: Re: Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

"It is amazing that a viable Linux desktop OS (Red Hat desktop, for instance) has not taken hold in the enterprise. How in the world do these CIOs justify paying seven figures in annual Microsoft support for software "

Very simple my friend - all the software that you actually need to use to run an enterprise (ERP, payroll, manufacturing etc) does not exist on Linux or Apple.

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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

"Very simple my friend - all the software that you actually need to use to run an enterprise (ERP, payroll, manufacturing etc) does not exist on Linux or Apple."

That might have been true 5 years ago, but nowadays a lot of this software is now web-based and can be run on any platform as long as it has a browser. Sure, maybe the back-end servers still have to be windows servers, but for most users the front-end can be simply a browser. I think the one enterprise application that still keeps users tied to Windows is Outlook / exchange. (although I see no reason why corporate mail couldn't all be converted to web-based, as long as they keep the servers in-house)

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Thumb Up

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

I have been saying the same all my life, people do not choose to run windows because they like it, they choose to run windows because they need the programs that run on windows.

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Re: Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

Why do you bother with Matt Asay writing, all his articles sum up to 'apple is great, everybody else sucks'. It's getting real tedious.

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Re: Re: Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

You (mostly) answered your own question:

"1) Hasn't changed *meaningfully* in 10 years"

Back-compatibility and stability is king in the corporate world. Then again, how that's supposed to be a downside when considered against a recent clone of a 1970s vintage CLI O/S with a GUI tacked onto it is beyond me.

The "killer app" you've overlooked is central control / lockdown via simple tools that trained monkeys can handle.

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Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

Windows isn't dead, but the problem is XP is the zombie that refuses to die. I saw one company just last week who'd bought new PC's and whacked XP onto them. God knows why, they only have 20 or so PC's and use nothing more complicated than Access!

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Re: erm, docking stations??

A valid point once docking stations are commonplace in/on:

- trains

- cafes

- hotel rooms

- meeting rooms (both your business' and their clients')

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

"God knows why, they only have 20 or so PC's and use nothing more complicated than Access!"

Access in only available on vanilla PC's, so its about as complicated as you can get. I don't see it being ported to the MAc, never mind any tablet OS.

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Happy

"Windows is dead."

You said it yourself - "I'm a retired scientist" - the vast majority (from my experience in IT, I'd say way in excess of 90%) of Windows users are incapable of using Linux. Any flavour, any shape, any desktop. Blame that on Windows if you like, but it's fact. You are an anomaly, not the rule; I deal with computer users all day, every day, and even those who are diehard (blowhard, if the truth be told) Apple converts or Linux afficionados have at least one Windows machine somewhere that they are ashamed of and don't always admit to... but it's there. :-)

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Re: "Windows is dead."

the idea that the ipad is the future is a joke believed only by people that use computers for trivial tasks like browsing the internet and checking the weather and their email. Office for ipad is only going to appeal to people who don't really use office hard.

Serious users, of office and other apps, ie people that have to sit down and work with the machine for hours on end will want a docking station, a monitor or two *facing* them not in their lap, and an actual keyboard rather than some junk onscreen fiddly crap. And unless you are going to have all your external monitors touchscreen and flush against your face you are going to want perhaps a USB mouse too.

This balls talk about tablets is just facebook/twitter faddish shit.

/rant face

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Linux

Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

Your desktop will be dead when you don't need it to produce code for the ipad or you don't need to do real work. iPads/Android/fondle-slab-of-your-choice are media consumption devices. I still write web services and other goodies. a tablet won't cut it for that kind of work. If you're doing publishing projects, working with graphics or actually producing content instead of consuming it, your PC will be around for quite a while.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Windows is dead."

83%? Go to netmarketshare ( http://www.netmarketshare.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=8&qpcustomd=0 ) and you'll see that it's more like 92%.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

Microsoft has sold over 500 million licenses for Windows 7. That means that a very large number of people have given money to Microsoft for the Windows operating system recently.

If you read the web http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2012/jan12/01-19fy12Q2earnings.mspx you'd see that it was $4.74 billion dollars.

Most people call this "a lot of money".

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@ChrisBedford

Welcome to The Register !

Although I've had an interest in computing that goes back a long way ( I was taught physics by a guy who had worked on the Manchester 'baby' as a post grad) I can only say that the credit in using Linux for everything goes to the countless people who have worked on the kernel, written the GNU tools and assembled the distros.

Installing a modern distro ( I use OpenSuse ) is simple - FAR easier than Windows - but of course not many users do that do they ?.

If 90% of Windows users are incapable of using Linux I'd say they were also incapable of using Windows - I don't see the difference in easy of use. OpenSuse installs with no fuss, a good selection of user programs and no user involvement other than ticking boxes, accepting defaults and choosing language.

I simply can't believe that people who otherwise wouldn't dream of having their choice restricted to one car, one supermarket, one smartphone or whatever will blindly accept 1 OS.

Back in the eighties all sorts and manner of people got involved with a wide, wide range of micros, wrote software, built hardware, became professionals and yet now 90% of Windows users can't cope with anything else - rubbish - and IF that's true then it's the monopoly of MS that has brought it about.

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Re: @ChrisBedford

ps

I DON'T have any copies of WIndows - I will admit I threw away 5 DOS 5.0 disks last time I had a good clear-out

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Anonymous Coward

Re:why corporate mail couldn't all be converted to web-based

Because web based email sucks for most corporate applications.

We just completed a major conversion to Google Mail for a large government agency. Mail usability on the web is 'meh" - For average use it's as good as Thunderbird or Outlook. For non-db-oriented power users, Thunderbird and Outlook are better for searches. For db-oriented power users, the web is better than Thunderbird or Outlook.

But it's not mail that kills it for corporate: it's the calendar. Like it or not, Exchange has one of the best mid-range calendar solutions on the market. It's easy to quickly see the calendar schedule for other attendees, including resources like rooms, projectors, and laptops. The calendars have fine grain control over what other users can see from your calendar. And an auto-acceptance system for booking rooms that works but allows a small number of managers who can override the auto-accept, or in the case of the vaunted Executive Suite Conference Room, allows the Executive Secretary exclusive control of the meetings for that room. This feature fails miserably with the Google Cloud solution, or at least the implementation of it at our agency. Rooms are constantly getting double-booked and there is no clear indicator to either users or Helpdesk techs as to who booked the room first.

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WTF?

@Alan Bourke

"Very simple my friend - all the software that you actually need to use to run an enterprise (ERP, payroll, manufacturing etc) does not exist on Linux or Apple."

Really? Oh , thats odd. I'm pretty sure all those financial institutions I worked for had their main core apps either running on a flavour of unix (solaris or linux mainly with the occasional AIX) or a mainframe. Windows Server might be alright to sling a few emails around a company but when you need a 24/7/365 system that can process hundreds or even thousands of trades a second then you won't be giving the microsoft salesman a call.

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Re: @boltar

Big iron companies, yes that's true. Small to mid-sized, not so much. Ages ago when I worked for a screwdriver shop, we supported two bank chains with multiple offices. None of them had a unix/linux server in any of their offices. Big iron companies may drop big wads of cash in one shot, but the simple fact of the matter is it's the Smalls and the Middies that drop most of the cash in the market.

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Re: Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

I figured I'd get one or two penguins telling me that they've never touched a Windows install. THis is The Register after all, however when I say "people I know", I mean people I actually know, and I don't know many computer scientists.

Allow me to introduce myself. I'm a far-from-retired mature student, studying a BSc(hons) in Computer Games Technology. As much as I might like to use Eclipse/GCC for everything, and indeed have so far, there is only so far you can go without a Windows installation available. I'm not sure what programming in C#, XNA and .NET are like under Linux, but at some stage I'm going to have to use them (at arms length, with surgical gloves, we have an OO Design prof who adores Microsoft) and I don't want to jeopardise my chances of a 70%+ score on spending all my time trying to hammer a Microsoft technology into a platform that Microsoft hates with a vengeance.

But hey, give it a few years. If Ubuntu Software Cent(re|er) is as easy to make paid apps for as the other app stores, you'll more than likely see my stuff on it. Linux is a lot less of a headache to develop for than the same stuff on Windows, at least on the scale I'm working at.

(but I still have a Windows 7 partition, mostly for playing games)

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Re: Re: Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

I think the problem is the assumption that Linux isn't used much or that users "must still have Windows to be able to survive". You may not know many scientist but of course I do and even in my last company ~200 computational chemists had Unix or Linux workstations without Windows. To get the corporate crap we also had Windows machines.

I also know Linux is heavily used by scientific academics. Good luck with the course !

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Re: Re: Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

Dismissing out-of-hand "one or two penguins" is a little limiting, don't you think? At that rate, we could simply ignore the Apple "fanboys" and those weirdos who use less than 2% of the OS share, and say that Windows actually owns 100% of the desktop market!

And as for others using Linux... I've been doing an experiment. I've been giving away Linux. If someone brings me a computer to fix, or asks if I could help them build a computer, I suggest installing Linux; Kubuntu, usually. I'll even show them the basics before I do so. About half will say, sure, why not, can't beat free right? And there's another Linux user. I've been keeping tabs on them; of the (thus far) six people I've given Linux, only one no longer uses it, and that's because she got an off-brand laptop that came with Windows. Everyone else has stuck with it. Well, I take that back; one uses Windows occasionally, for playing a game. Windows is only in use because most users get it "free." It comes on their work computers, it comes on their home desktops and laptops. If, suddenly, Microsoft was no longer able to be installed at the OEM, and Linux (Or Apple, or or... ok, people would complain about OS/2) filled the gap, people would complain for a year or two, then settle down as if nothing happened. Won't happen, of course, but my point is, Windows is only on top because Windows is on top.

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Re: Re: Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

"Access in only available on vanilla PC's, so its about as complicated as you can get. I don't see it being ported to the MAc, never mind any tablet OS."

I wasn't implying they should be using Linux or Macs. I was saying that in 2012 it is odd that a small company using nothing more complicated than Access are taking delivery of new PC's and sticking XP on them

Ergo why I said that part of Microsofts problem is that XP just refuses to die. I could understand if you had proprietary software why you might avoid an OS upgrade. It's very odd and presumably is a problem Microsoft need to solve.

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Re: Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

Fair enough, Drew. Actually, it looks to me as if Asay is rather less in touch with the way PCs are used than the average journalist writing on iT topics is.

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Re: Re: Re: "Windows is dead."

> Matt Asay is not a journalist

No, just Yet Another Pundit claiming that popular (in the sense of "widely used', not necessarily "widely loved") technology X will soon be disappearing. His type have been making such predictions for decades, and they're nearly always wrong.

The death of Windows will probably follow shortly after the deaths of the mainframe, COBOL, the command line, batch-mode processing, etc.

In this case the argument (that only Office keeps Windows alive) is particularly asinine, but that's really beside the point. Some tech observers - often those who have largely lost touch with the industry (the actual industry, where real work is done) - think IT changes much, much faster than it does. In reality it does a pretty good job of sustaining the same evolutionary pace that's characterized business information-handling technology since at least the mid 19th century. (Joanne Yates, /Control Through Communication/, is a good history.)

Powerpoint is over 20 years old. That's typical for a business end-user technology. And Windows on the desktop is a business end-user technology.

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Re: erm, docking stations??

What's interesting is that pundits have been predicting the end of the desktop. I think there's a chance the desktop could still remain important (albeit polarised into high end workstations and possibly lower end "all in one" machines) and the laptop could be the device most under threat from a more capable tablet.

A good office product (whoever makes it!) on your tablet might not stop you needing a desktop machine (or 17" semi-portable "lap"top) at home for some specialised tasks or other but it might very well stop you carrying a laptop around with you.

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Linux

Re: "Windows is dead."

I don't know anyone of any significance and an ounce of brains that runs Windows. They all run Linux.

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WTF?

huh?

Office on an iPad is surely pretty much of an irrelevance. Doing heavy work with office-type documents is not what tablet computing is about. At most the iPad might benefit from a Word/Excel viewer.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: huh?

Small correction here : is not what tablet computing was supposed to be about. Sounds way much better isn't it ?

I'm working now for a banking institution and while people are still prevented from bringing their own Windows laptop at the office, iPads keep popping everywhere and IT architects are busily working to make room for them in the IT infrastructure.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: huh?

Watch what happens when docking stations for Ipad come into popularity.

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Re: huh?

And iPads come with the ability to read Word/Excel already (although the Excel reader isn't useful for multiple tabs, pivot tables or much else)

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Re: Re: huh?

Ditto the iPad in work comment. Half the management have their personal iPads in use for work, the company is currently trialling Good on them.

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WTF?

Re: Re: Re: huh?

Aside from being a shiny toy, what can a tablet do that a PC cannot at half the price?

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Trollface

Re: huh?

@ Mr B - You'd be surprised; give the average corporate drone excel / word / PP / Loutlook on their shiny crypads & said devices will suddenly become very, very sticky.

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Re: Re: Re: Re: huh?

Err, you don't get much PC for £200 these days.... given that an iPad starts at £399 and can do an awful lot!

Does depend on what you need a machine for, but for me the amazing battery life, ability to do huge amounts of stuff out and about - manage servers, check email, manage VMWare environments, access Sharepoint.... means the iPad is an integral part of my life.

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