Editorial

A world without Windows

“A world without walls” is a statement used in numerous campaigns and marketing pushes by organisations and companies across the globe. But what if we lived in a world without Windows? There are numerous postings and blogs about how ‘Linux owns’ (old site), or detailing the apocalyptic vision of computing if Microsoft ceased to exist, but I want to focus on the market and how ‘the big three’ offer consumers the best choice of hardware and software in decades!

It is the recent Patent Wars between Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Google, HTC and maybe even Nokia that prompted me to think about how ‘the big three’ - Microsoft, Apple and Google - operate and survive. Yes, the current legal battles are based in and around the mobile device market, but it got me thinking more about the services and solutions that all three provide. Something has to give, and eventually it will, but what that is or who it most affects is yet to be seen.

The main thing or at least one of the main things, that all three offers is an OS. The OS may only paint part of the picture for each, with other software and hardware produced, but would they design and develop that hardware or software without the OS?

A World without Windows

So, what about the OS market at the moment? Windows controls over 90% of the desktop market share. But what if Microsoft hadn’t moved in the OS world and released Windows? What would we be using now? The answer to this one could be complicated, and everyone will have their own opinion. My personal opinion is that Apple’s OS would have been the consumer operating system of the current age. Whether or not we would have OS X in its Mountain Lion colours is something that can only be speculated, but at least there’s a good chance that Apple might have been the Microsoft of today, with 90%+ of the world’s desktop operating systems to call their own.


Steve Jobs (L) and Bill Gates (R). They knew they needed each other deep down

But why Apple? Well, they beat Microsoft to the graphical user interface (GUI) with their System OS in 1984 and Linus Torvolds didn’t start Linux development until the very early 90’s. It’s no secret that Apple legally challenged Microsoft once Windows 2.03 and later 3.0 started to take inspiration from their OS. Microsoft did the right thing in licensing patents from Apple for Windows 1.0, but when they started to progress towards Apple’s desktop ‘look and feel’ they went to court. Microsoft won, with 179 patents being already licensed by Microsoft and a further 10 deemed not copyrightable. Either way, this was a turning point for Microsoft. Once appeals and formalities had been completed in 1997, Microsoft and Apple entered into a patent cross-licensing agreement that still stands to this day.

The Alternatives

I don’t want to spend too long talking about Windows and its history, but let me just say a number; 86. That is the minimum number of editions of Windows, from 1.0 right up to Server 2012 that Microsoft have released since 1985. And that doesn’t count SP releases, the Server R2 editions, CE, Mobile or Phone OS’. So in fact, that 86 could easily pass the 100, 110 or even 120 figures with ease.

With the introduction of Windows 8, Microsoft is moving into old, familiar territory. When Windows 95 was released, the interface changed how computing was perceived. Steve Ballmer himself said in his keynote speech at BUILD on Tuesday that the release of Windows 95 “which was really the thing that brought computing into the mainstream.” I couldn’t agree more. Microsoft even got two of the biggest celebrities at the time, Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry, in on the promo material and market push. Now, 17 years later, Microsoft has radically changed the interface that’s been established since Windows 95 and making it more relevant for today’s hardware and interface capabilities. Windows 95, helped make computers cool (or maybe I should say relevant) for the average consumer, but the interface has only been evolving over the past 17 years. So to be truly revolutionary, Microsoft is changing the game again with Windows 8’s ‘Marmite’ UI.

So, you don’t like Windows 8, but what is out there that could (and for some users already has) replace Windows? Well, it all depends on what you do with your current Windows PC. Are you a gamer, developer, casual internet surfer, system admin, edit audio or video?

Let’s start with the blazingly obvious, Apple’s OS X

OS X

In 1984, Apple beat Microsoft to the GUI with the release of System 1.0.They successfully made the GUI and the desktop metaphor popular. The initial 1.0 release was limited to only running one application at a time (although special application shell workarounds were available and worked to a certain degree) and used the flat Macintosh File System (MFS).

1991’s release of System 7 was a major release for Apple. A revamped UI, new software and the eventual transition to the PowerPC platform brought Mac OS right in line with Windows 3.x, in terms of functionality. Microsoft Office applications had been available for Mac OS as early as System 1.0, but the Office suite became available in 1989. Office 98 arrived on the Mac in 1998 and Apple and Microsoft entered into a five year agreement to bundle Internet Explorer as the Internet browser for the OS. Was System 7 the first true alternative to the Windows OS?

Following a quick name change to Mac OS for versions 7.6, 8 and 9, OS X arrived in the form of 10.0 (or Cheetah) in 2001. Now up to 10.8 (or Mountain Lion) with the PowerPC architecture traded for Intel hardware, There aren’t many tasks that a Windows based PC can do over a Mac.


Word on OS X

Applications such as Word, Excel, Firefox, Photoshop and iTunes are available for both Windows and OS X. Applications such as Outlook, Access and Windows Media Center have Apple equivalents in Entourage, Filemaker Pro and EyeTV. Gamers have access to Steam, which they are able to play Games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Diablo III and World of Warcraft are also available for the OS.


OS X running on a Dell netbook, a prime example of a Hackintosh

The only problem OS X has over a Windows based PC is that you pretty much need to own a Mac, or Mac hardware to be able to install and run the OS. And buying any Apple hardware isn’t light on the wallet, in comparison to Windows based PCs. If you want, you could go down the route of OSx86, a version of OS X that has been modified to run on more than just Mac hardware. In theory, you could build a ‘Hackintosh’ and install one of the many builds of OS X that have been tweaked, but the legalities of this are obvious, unless you buy the OS media and work out how to force it onto your hardware.

Linux

Linux was born out of the UNIX operating system by Linus Torvolds, who started development on the kernel in 1991. The open source OS is developed by thousands of developers all over the world. Because it’s free, there are many different versions (or derivatives) of the operating system falling under the main Debian, Gentoo, Ubuntu and RPM (among others) OS banner. Even Neowin has had its own version of the OS, based on Debian and Ubuntu, called Shift Linux. While our forum section for the OS hasn’t been updated in over 3 years and DistroWatch.com lists the OS as discontinued, it shows how accessible Linux has become.


Shift Linux from Neowin

So how do you decide what version or build to choose? At the moment, Ubuntu seems to be the most accessible for consumers. There are different derivatives, both official and 3rd party, but again, it depends what you want to do that will dictate whether or not you could or should switch from Windows to Linux. The standard, official, desktop version should be more than enough for the majority of users.


An Ubuntu desktop

But what holds Linux back? I remember a time, where each year was going to be “Linux’s year”, but it never came to pass and each year will always be Linux’s year. The real division between what Windows is and what any of the Linux derivatives is the lack of commercial applications and games. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be productive, it’s all a matter of choice. Microsoft Office has its equivalent in Open Office, Firefox comes bundled with the majority of distros, GIMP is a worthy equivalent to Photoshop and Thunderbird is to Linux as what Outlook is to Windows. And the real beauty about the OS and the software I’ve mentioned? It won’t cost you a penny.


Open Office on Ubuntu

Gaming is hit and miss. Doom 3, Prey and Serious Sam II are some of the more notable games that can be played on the OS. You’ll not find your Half-Life’s or Counter-Strike’s available just yet, although a Steam Linux client is in the pipeline.

Mobile: iOS, Android, Blackberry OS, Windows Phone and Windows RT

Don’t laugh, but the advances in mobile hardware and software could make an iPad, a Samsung Galaxy Tab or even a Windows Phone a serious contender for a PC replacement. Again, it all depends on what you’re using a PC for. Internet, email, downloading and streaming music and video, social networking, light gaming and office applications are all available thanks to each platform having thousands of native and third party apps available through their stores.

 

iOS

Android

Blackberry OS

Windows Phone

Windows RT

Productivity

iWork, Microsoft Office 2013*, Microsoft Office Web Apps, Office2HD

Google Docs, Documents 2 Go, Office Suite Pro, Microsoft Office 2013*, Microsoft Office Web Apps,

Documents 2 Go, Nice Office, GDocs, Smart Office 2, Microsoft Office Web Apps

Microsoft Office 2010 (WP7) & 2013 (WP8)

Microsoft Office RT 2013

Audio/Video

iTunes + 3rd Party Apps

Google Play + 3rd Party Apps

Native media players + 3rd Party Apps

Xbox Music & Videos + 3rd Party Apps

Xbox Music & Videos + 3rd Party Apps

Games

3rd Party Titles

3rd Party Titles

3rd Party Titles

Xbox Live + 3rd Party Titles

Xbox Live + 3rd Party Titles

Internet

Safari, Chrome, Opera Mini, Dolphin, Atomic

Chrome, Opera Mini, Firefox, Dolphin Browser HD/Mini, Boat Browser

Browser, Opera Mini, Bolt

IE9 (WP7), IE10 (WP8), UC Browser, Surfcude 3D Browser

IE10

Social

Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Flickr, Instagram

Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Flickr, Instagram

Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin

Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Flickr

Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Flickr

* Microsoft Office 2013 has reportedly been confirmed for a release in March 2013

It might not be the best representation or comparison for each platform, and with Windows RT still being a newish OS, it’s still a long way from being a comprehensive one. But what it does do, is show just how diverse and well established iOS and Android are. Windows Phone is close, but still needs the time to match the sheer number of apps that iOS and Android can provide.


Google Docs on Android

I also didn’t want to highlight any one type of app. Yes, the productivity section lists office apps for word processing, spread sheets, etc and not much else. But that’s what the average would use as a productive application. While it is possible to get Photoshop on iOS and Android, serious post processing junkies are not going to replace a desktop or laptop for a tablet. The same can be said for gamers. They won’t be able to enjoy the same experience playing the few games that are available between the PC and the mobile device, so won’t even consider trading the desktop for a mobile device.


Photoshop on iOS

The main draw for mobile devices is mobile internet, audio and video on the go, access to the social networks from anywhere you can get an internet connection (Wi-Fi or carrier internet) and light, casual gaming. This is why tablets and smartphones are selling well, but users are more likely to purchase one to compliment the desktop or laptop they have, rather than replace it.

Interoperability is key

I guess the big draw for anyone wishing to switch to a new platform is the possibility that a file (or folder) or application can be accessed or run across any platform. OS X, Linux, Android, iOS, Blackberry, Windows Phone and Windows RT all provide a web browser, the one basic piece of software required to access the one universal resource we have – the internet. From here you have access to software and services that most of us probably take for granted.

Cloud computing (a fun term, believe me), in its simplest form, means you’re using a computing device to access another remote computing device (server/storage) via a common interface, probably a web interface. From there, your applications, desktops or files will be accessible where you have internet connectivity. It’s nothing new either, with webmail being the main form of utilising the cloud that users might not immediately identify with. So from using Hotmail or Gmail, saving files to SkyDrive or iCloud, using Office 365 or Google Docs, and accessing applications or desktops via Citrix or Terminal Services we live in a world where it’s possible to have access to what you need whenever you need it. Hell, you don’t even need to own the software or the computer that it runs on!

And what of the desktop software available to us? Software houses build support for a number of non-proprietary file formats into their software, giving the end user the choice on what software they wish to use. So for people that can’t afford Photoshop, they might download and use GIMP. Not everyone can afford Microsoft Office suites, so they could turn to Open Office. Each piece of software will have its pros and cons; but ultimately if as a user, you are confident that you can leverage whatever piece of software you choose and make it fit your purposes, it shouldn’t matter what that product is. And the fact that the proprietary file formats will, in most cases, open in any non-native application is a massive plus for everyone.

Apple and Google already do it and Microsoft has said they see themselves becoming more of a service and hardware provider; although they’ve been providing Hotmail (now Outlook.com) and Live services for years. Rather than buying into a product that you own, you’re subscribing to an idea and a methodology that will allow you to do the same thing, without worrying about patches or updates, bugs or errors, installing software - everything should just work. Well, that’s the idea anyway.

But what about familiarity

As I’ve already mentioned, Windows 8 is the OS that changes the game again for Microsoft, much like how Windows 95 moved away from the Windows 3.11 interface. I first used Windows 8 at the Developer Preview Stage; to be honest, I didn’t like it. I thought the UI was gorgeous, and familiar, as I’d been using Windows Phone 7 from November 2010. But I used it on a laptop and the touchpad just wasn’t practical for navigating the interface. On the release of the RC, I decided to try it again, this time on an old desktop PC. My experience was nothing but positive. Now, I’m now using it as my primary OS on my main PC at home and I dual boot my work laptop with Windows 7 and 8. With my work laptop due to be replaced, I am thinking of asking for a Surface Pro.

It’s a fair point that businesses are reportedly going to skip Windows 8. They’ve maybe only just migrated to Windows 7 from XP and can’t afford the costs associated with another migration in such a short space of time. I’ve got to see many businesses across a number of industries and they all use a mixture of Windows XP and Windows 7. With the major change in UI for Windows 8, most of these businesses won’t see the benefit of the Start Screen or the touch-centric design as they are happy with what Windows 7 brings. In addition, few users will have a tablet to see how good Windows 8 can be. Desktop users will most likely need training or guidance in navigating the UI to open files, applications or change settings; it will be a culture shock for a lot of people.


The unification of Microsoft's Modern UI

But Microsoft is doing this in an effort to unify their main product lines; Windows, Windows Phone and the Xbox. The idea here is the interface is common between them all and you will eventually be able to switch between devices to perform (nearly) all the same tasks. Apple is now doing the same, introducing Launchpad in Lion to give the OS a very iOS look and feel. For Google, there is still a division in the look and feel of Android and Chrome OS, but I’m sure it’ll only be a matter of time before both OSes start to share a more common interface.


Launchpad on OS X Lion

At least with cloud services, you can to a point still enjoy the familiar desktop or application experience you’ve become accustomed to.

Where do we go from here

I’m going to borrow a diagram from health and safety, the fire triangle. The fire triangle represents the three elements (heat, fuel and oxygen) you need to start a fire. Take one away, the fire will go out. For the triangle to survive, all three elements must be present and available.

I want to apply this to Apple, Google and Microsoft. They are the elements and the fire is the users. Yes, the fire could easily be the product catalogue, but that’s not what is important to these companies. A huge catalogue of products is nice, but ultimately the users are the people that have to be fired up by the company or the services it provides. People love Microsoft for their software solutions and for their hardware (Surface, keyboard, mice, and webcams). People love Google for its online services and Android OS. People love Apple for their hardware aesthetics, their OS’ and their mobile devices. There will be certain consumers that mix and match products, while others will stay exclusive to a company. Either way there is an incredible following for each company.

But take one of them out of the picture, what happens? The users suffer. Okay, we won’t die like a fire would, but our choices would suffer. There are benefits to a smaller product catalogue; higher quality hardware and software for a start. Less choice, but with similar or equal products from each side of the triangle, the consumer still has the same level of choice across a range of budgets for the same quality of product. Just look at the Nexus 7 from Google and the iPad Mini from Apple; or the “New iPad” and Microsoft’s Surface. Comparisons will always be made, but with the consumer having the final say, giving the consumer a headache when it comes to product selection, between high quality products, can only be a positive thing.

If something catastrophic happened and one of Apple, Google or Microsoft disappeared, what would happen to the other two? Would they be redundant without the third side of the triangle? Of course not, it would be ridiculous to think they would. Can you imagine the bidding war(s) that would begin over any of their intellectual properties (IPs) alone?!

I think when it comes down to it, for all the legal shenanigans, Apple, Google and Microsoft all need each other to survive. They push each other technically, bringing innovation to the forefront to better their products; all in an effort to compete with each other. But as we’ve seen, they each license certain IPs from each other for their own products; taking one of them away would simply be an inconvenience. So maybe they all have a bond, a mutual respect, and that no matter what is sounded out from each camp they continue to help each other help the consumer.

In reality though, it’s not about an alternative to Windows or Microsoft, but alternatives and choice in general. While there will be users who stick to one platform (for familiarity, out of fear of change or they’re fans), there will be users who are prepared to experiment and try new ways of getting things done. There will also be the user who moves between multiple platforms at work and at home because they either have to or want to.

Whichever category you fall into, once in a while, just take stock of the alternatives around you as no matter how good you think something is, there will always be something that claims to be better. And sometimes is.

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We know Linux is pretty powerful. But look at the downside. Most of the place where you work would require you to have Windows Server 2008 skills. When I was trained in school, they always talks about Server 2008. Cuz is GUi, no need to command or use a whole new different language.

Does Mac even do this kind of thing? What could Mac do on a workstation?

i would love to get away from windows, i use windows on my desktop and mint Linux on my laptop. the only reason I have to stay with windows is because there is no decent video editing software on Linux.

Microsoft aint going anywhere. look at the numbers. Windows server are rising rapidly in licence numbers. XBOX is the ultimate entertainment machine and is consistently no. 1 most selling gaming console. businesses invested and are investing millions and millions of dollors on the software around MS platform. Azure and cloud services are the no. 1 in the world. they are investing more than any IT company (twice as more as Apple) on research and development. And by the way, why do think they are pushing the most controversial OS than their entire history at this time? I think because they are trying to open the new era and gate of products and services. they are healthy financially. Windows has always been known for security issues and flaws. look at it right now. they are ranked amongst very secure software makers for their new products. For those who think MS is going away I could only say: dream on.

It's nearly impossible to say what what the computer landscape would be like today without Windows, who knows Apple might have gone bust because they didn't have the help of MS money, OS2 might have taken over the world, xerox might be a major player.

Who knows what it would be like, but going by today's usage, if every computer in the world running a version of windows magically stopped tomorrow, the business world would come to a halt. Compare that to apple (or Linux) if you stopped all their devices it would hardly make an impact to the running it world. Might **** off a few consumers but the business world would continue.

Greetings from China. Here we manage to exist without Google or many of the other staples you have in the West - Facebook, Twitter, et al. Life without Google goes on. In fact since they spat the dummy and ran away like a spoiled brat, life on the net in China has improved.

And life without the "standard" social media components hasn't impacted productivity. On the contrary. While Americans and Europeans spend half their lives tweeting their Facebook our people are getting in with the job. So well in fact, they may well be getting on with your job soon.

Outside the three megacities you never see an Apple product and Baidu's search was always better tuned to the Chinese language than Google. Android's made a dent but you can be assured that will be temporary. The government and many of the Chinese people want to see the back of Google and several new, indigenous Chinese mobile operating systsms are already in development. An interesting symantic search engine tuned for China is also now being shown aroung Beijing.

China is not only the world's biggest market, it's also a purely Microsoft world.

Major Plonquer said,
Greetings from China. Here we manage to exist without Google or many of the other staples you have in the West - Facebook, Twitter, et al..........
..........China is not only the world's biggest market, it's also a purely Microsoft world.

Thanks for the input. I'll be honest, I didn't really think about it that way. I guess it was the whole "tarred with the same brush" attitude I took, so rather than go into more detail and break the techs down by region, I just took it that each would be used, if only a little, everywhere.

Major Plonquer said,
Greetings from China. Here we manage to exist without Google or many of the other staples you have in the West - Facebook, Twitter, et al. Life without Google goes on. In fact since they spat the dummy and ran away like a spoiled brat, life on the net in China has improved.

And life without the "standard" social media components hasn't impacted productivity. On the contrary. While Americans and Europeans spend half their lives tweeting their Facebook our people are getting in with the job. So well in fact, they may well be getting on with your job soon.

Outside the three megacities you never see an Apple product and Baidu's search was always better tuned to the Chinese language than Google. Android's made a dent but you can be assured that will be temporary. The government and many of the Chinese people want to see the back of Google and several new, indigenous Chinese mobile operating systsms are already in development. An interesting symantic search engine tuned for China is also now being shown aroung Beijing.

China is not only the world's biggest market, it's also a purely Microsoft world.

no it's not it's mostly a pirated world in china you even had fake apple stores (how sad is that) so don't come in here making out your part of the world is all that and more because the only thing china is good at is stealing other people ideas and totally ignoring IP in favor of the fast buck so you just keep on believing what your corrupt govt tells you to believe or god forbid you get a real idea instead of propaganda fed to you morning noon and night

@Major Plonquer

I also think facebook and twitter are a waste of time and brain cells and that google services aren't really necessary, but the difference is that my government didn't decide it FOR me.

If one day the communist party decides that they don't like MS, they'll ban them too.

P.S. No, I don't live in a western country.

"I don't want to spend too long talking about Windows and its history, but let me just say a number; 86. That is the minimum number of editions of Windows, from 1.0 right up to Server 2012 that Microsoft have released since 1985."

Huh? How on earth did you come up with 86 versions of Windows?

TRC said,
"I don't want to spend too long talking about Windows and its history, but let me just say a number; 86. That is the minimum number of editions of Windows, from 1.0 right up to Server 2012 that Microsoft have released since 1985."
Huh? How on earth did you come up with 86 versions of Windows?

Just did a count of Windows OS' from 1.0 up. Now we're talking releases, as in editions as well. So Vista had Basic, Home, Home Premium, Business, Enterprise and Ultimate. All editions, but all releases. XP had Home and Pro. Server 2008 had Web, Standard and Enterprise, and the R2 release that hit with Windows 7 (or close to it). see how easy the numbers add up? It's insane isn't it!

Windows' history is so thoroughly entwined in consumer PC history, estimating what today would be like had Windows never existed is just too difficult.

You'd have to make much more sweeping assumptions. Google simply may not have come to exist. Countless programmers who got their first computer with the popularity wave of Windows 3.1/95 may never have gone into the field. The dot com boom may never have happened, and the web as we know it would be completely different.

Windows wasn't just about the products and the technology. It put PCs into homes at a breakneck pace, and the industry formed around the markets that resulted.

What would Cutler have done if he wasn't brought in for NT? Where would all of those Microsoft-employed developers have gone and what would they have done instead? There are thousands of people who played roles in the evolution of personal computing, and every single one of their roles would've been redefined.

Causality is a bytch to wrap the mind around, and almost every single product referenced in the above article would have been at risk of never existing in the first place had Windows never been.

The Alternatives paragraph start screen picture has the xp pictures wrong. It shows what appears to be a picture of the control panel and not the start menu.

Could easily happen, especially if Microsoft continues to abandon its business-based (read productivity) customers, in favor of cutesy toys oriented to content consumption. Will Apple expand into that arena? It is there for the taking.

redvamp128 said,
How soon do people forget that before Windows and Apple for a GUI there was only XEROX Star (1980-1986) and prior to that the ALTO (1977-1980).

http://pcmuseum.tripod.com/xeroxstarscr.jpg

Exactly! In the early 70's to late 80's, I witnessed the Xerox GUI at their offices who used their program for communications throughout their worldwide offices. I always marveled at accomplishment. Xerox made a huge error in not commercializing the product they could have made billions. It is also said that Jobs once visited Xerox and saw their system in operation and basically copied that system for the first Apple graphical o/s.

IBM was certainly in the picture at the time with their GUI, which was also quite good, but none of them other than Microsoft really did well because MS added much more functionality.

Never the less, had Xerox marketed their system or even IBM, I think Apple would be a little dot.

There were others as well, and one which was promising was BeOS unfortunately never took off.

What fun!


http://www.aresluna.org/attach...urkonaekranie/xerox.big.png

Good Article, a couple of things to note...

1) It wasn't the GUI that made Windows a success. GUIs were always going to the dominate UI.

2) Windows integration of non-OS functionality into an OS is a key reason behind its success. Unified driver model for printers, video, sound, imaging and OS level support for Fonts, and other features that were normally the responsibility of Applications and developers.

Easier for developers, easier for users, easier for hardware makers, with Windows as the broker that made it work. It is why companies like Gateway and Dell 'wanted' to use Windows, and developer were building for Windows, and development tools like VB worked so well on Windows because of the unified frameworks and drivers Windows provided that were rather consistent in contrast to the *nix or even Apple System OS world.

3) Apple might be the main OS if it wasn't for Windows/Microsoft. There is a good argument that IBM would have developed their own OS/2 earlier, and possibly hit market success in the mid 90s.

4) Apple didn't get all of #2 right, as they didn't move these items into the OS until after Windows. Printing required the applications to support the Apple standards like Postscript, and sound drivers were unified only because Apple was the sole maker of the hardware and supplied System integration.

4) "There aren't many tasks that a Windows based PC can do over a Mac" This is not completely true. As an average user, most people would agree with you. However, from a technical standpoint there are a lot of key features and technologies that are unavailable on OS X. (This would be a rather long list and are things that cannot be compensated for on OS X, like greater than 8bpp output, OS X just cannot offer this or things like this that are hardwired limits.)

Anything can be replaced. If need be a Mac could replace a PC. If need be Nokia Maps could replace Google Maps. Etc. But luckily we don't have to.

But if Windows would stop to exist starting tomorrow then it would be a huge problem. People might hate Windows for its bugs and virusses but if its competitors had to fill its shoes then it would be an even bigger disaster. Windows is under constant assault from hackers and has seen demands from both the consumer and business markers. It has been developered under these forces.

In comparison Mac has had it easy, if it suddenly got the same attention from hackers that Windows has had the past decades, I doubt it would be up for the challenge. Especially if you consider that both Windows and hackers have grown up together, Mac would face hackers way out of its league. And then there is Android, it doesn't just lack the security that would be demanded of it, it also lacks features.

A world without Windows is possible, I just rather not live in one.

Enron said,
We'd be using OS/2, not Mac OS. Apple would have priced itself out of mainstream computing.

Yes, and I really doubt that IBM would have saved them, as Microsoft did with $150M. lol App₤€ is living thx to MS

I don't agree that Apple and Microsoft "need" Google to keep them going. Google is really a nothing company, sure they run the largest search engine and have an over-inflated stock market but how is this in anyway influence Microsoft or Apple? What do Google have? Google.com, a few services like gmail and google plus...., Android, a browser, a few failed hardware projects and of course CHROME OS. Really? They have never actually contributed to the tech world, companies like Oracle, Intel, Microsoft, Nokia and even Apple are the ones who have pioneered the way, if Google completely died out tomorrow I don't think either Microsoft or Apple would take a hit.

ingramator said,
...companies like Oracle, Intel, Microsoft, Nokia and even Apple are the ones who have pioneered the way...

well, google is pioneer and lead innovator in spyware and tracking technologies... they will be remembered in the future as the AdWhore company that is.

WinRT said,

well, google is pioneer and lead innovator in spyware and tracking technologies... they will be remembered in the future as the AdWhore company that is.

dam! forgot to mention their recent developments in data stealing and spyware systems!

Luc2k said,
Cars that can drive themselves, just saying..

yeah, big deal... put a truck load of sensor in any car and it will drive itself too, with little programming, and of course! without spywares. Ford has PRODUCTION cars that can park by themselves, just saying...

They'll only disappear if businesses and consumers stop licensing their products which would mean they've moved somewhere else (or possibly the apocalypse . . .). At that point businesses will depend on those other vendors. It will be decades before Microsoft ever loses the business market though - the installed base of dependents (clients who use Windows-specific software) is too great. Look how long it is taking for IE6 to die.

I've been living Windows free for years now. I've only used Windows Phone for a few months to see what it's like. I expected to need Windows on a frequent basis, but it rarely happens in practise. That said I weigh my options every time I get a new computer or phone, so I have no real issue with switching back to Windows.

Should be interesting to see where Apple takes OS X and iOS now John Ive (or whatever his name is) has taken over. Apparently it's going to spell the end for skudomorphic interface design. Thank God.

.Neo said,
I've been living Windows free for years now. I've only used Windows Phone for a few months to see what it's like. I expected to need Windows on a frequent basis, but it rarely happens in practise. That said I weigh my options every time I get a new computer or phone, so I have no real issue with switching back to Windows.

Should be interesting to see where Apple takes OS X and iOS now John Ive (or whatever his name is) has taken over. Apparently it's going to spell the end for skudomorphic interface design. Thank God.


I'm curious what exactly you do with your computer. Not trolling at all. I've found Mac's to be just fine when it comes to every day computing and even some productivity. My #1 complaint about a Mac is price and selection. Outside of that software titles are lacking when you start getting away from the simple stuff.

The reverse has been true for me in the graphics worlds. We've moved a few designers from Mac to Windows. Primary problems have been relearning keyboard shortcuts and, funny enough, coloring folders in Windows Explorer. The main difference is we built a PC for the user for $1200 that wouldn't have been possible buying a Mac, closest thing we could do was almost $8k retail.

MrHumpty said,

I'm curious what exactly you do with your computer. Not trolling at all. I've found Mac's to be just fine when it comes to every day computing and even some productivity. My #1 complaint about a Mac is price and selection. Outside of that software titles are lacking when you start getting away from the simple stuff.

The reverse has been true for me in the graphics worlds. We've moved a few designers from Mac to Windows. Primary problems have been relearning keyboard shortcuts and, funny enough, coloring folders in Windows Explorer. The main difference is we built a PC for the user for $1200 that wouldn't have been possible buying a Mac, closest thing we could do was almost $8k retail.

I call bs. Share the specs of the 1200 desktop you built versus this "8k machine" that was the closest from apple.

The author forget some alternatives that are not available any longer. If I compare OS since "the beginning", I remember OS/2, and other Computers like Atari ST or Amiga too.

Lastwebpage said,
The author forget some alternatives that are not available any longer. If I compare OS since "the beginning", I remember OS/2, and other Computers like Atari ST or Amiga too.

I agree, but I think I would have ended up with a dissertation size article if I'd gone down that route, lol

yeoo_andy_ni said,

I agree, but I think I would have ended up with a dissertation size article if I'd gone down that route, lol

Maybe, but if Windows didn't exist, probably OS/2 would have replaced it. And we would be discussing whether IBM or Apple had the best products.

sviola said,

boy os/2 was created by Microsoft....... & if windows was not exist...

there will b another os with another name which was eventually created by microsoft

Uhm, under iOS in the table, you need to remove every other browser than Safari, since another browser is inpossible and only a shell.

really really like the article!! but i dont believe that the world needs Apple. because Apple feeds off of Microsoft. without it no iCloud, and they would not be here. I do agree though that we need Google because I have: gmail, youtube, google drive, and plenty more google services

Ezekiel Carsella said,
I do agree though that we need Google because I have: gmail, youtube, google drive, and plenty more google services

"I use, therefore WE need."

Ezekiel Carsella said,
really really like the article!! but i dont believe that the world needs Apple. because Apple feeds off of Microsoft. without it no iCloud, and they would not be here. I do agree though that we need Google because I have: gmail, youtube, google drive, and plenty more google services

Every one of those services have alternatives, usually spyware free SIDENOTE: google did not create youtube, it bought it.

I think we need all three elements. I've used to use all three of them in the past, but now I settled own to 80% Google and 15% Microsoft and 5% Apple. It's the choice that makes all three services so major. I hope all three parts of the triangle will be successful. Great article.

Ezekiel Carsella said,
really really like the article!! but i dont believe that the world needs Apple. because Apple feeds off of Microsoft. without it no iCloud, and they would not be here. I do agree though that we need Google because I have: gmail, youtube, google drive, and plenty more google services

ingramator said,

Every one of those services have alternatives, usually spyware free SIDENOTE: google did not create youtube, it bought it.

like microsoft bought skype i knows. but it feels like a google product