Will we be Saying Goodbye to Windows any Time Soon?

Many people feel that Windows is coming to an end, and that any new operating system from Microsoft will be radically different. Still others vehemently deny this, and claim that it’s a “bunch of hooey”. I threw this question out to people on FriendFeed to see what they have to say.

Sounds like MS is going for cloud computing. – Tim via twhirl

This is all bullshit. Anyone who knows Windows and Microsoft well is laughing their asses off at these kinds of headlines. Just isn’t going to happen. At least not anytime in forseable future. – Robert Scoble

i like this nonsense, it’s like thinking of bread without flour – marcantonio severgnini

+1 @Scoble – sebmos

Windows has been closely associated and branded as THE operating system for all needs by MS. It has also become the main cash cow and generator of its revenues during the entire period of its existence. I don’t see how can MS shed off the Windows skin all that easily or in such a short time, especially considering that Vista is just out and it has "Windows" in front of its name. – Hayk Hakobyan

Any future successor "non-Windows" operating system will still be branded as Windows. Precedent is Windows NT. The Windows brand is too important to sideline. – Ian Fogg

These same speculations have been going on for years. Just because Microsoft is branching into developing another breed of OS doesn’t mean they are going to abandon Windows. – Amit Morson

@Ian – More your area than mine, but Windows is many things including a brand, a product, a paradigm, an architecture and a platform. MS might keep any combo of those five things, but you’re right – the brand is the appealing part. – Rob Sterling

"The Cloud" is simply a word for remote services – not a magical mystery future. The reality is that the personal workstation will in some form always be with us. There will always be advantages to having a local (non bandwidth limited) source of computing cycles to enhance the manipulation or presentation of data in a lot of tasks. That workstation will ALWAYS need an OS of some form. – Soulhuntre

Microsoft is aggressively evolving Windows so that it will be capable of supplying that part of the computing chain. Research projects are playgrounds for that. Those folks who claim that the "operating system is dead" are simply not looking at what they are saying from a systems point of view. They are using the term "Operating System" and "PC" to refer to a type of workstation use case… not a technology. – Soulhuntre

Didn’t it already "die" and "everything move online"…like…6 or 7 times already? Each time, people realize that there are places where the internet isn’t accessible, isn’t fast (relative to the desktop), and isn’t private enough. Not to say there isn’t a place for web services (obviously — we’re on one), but this whole "The desktop is dead! Dumb terminals for everyone!" hype is just pendulum swing nonsense. – Robert Fischer

Weather it happens or not is irrelevant Robert. It’s a plan B and a pretty good one imo 🙂 – DC Crowley

You guys are missing the point here. It’s about virtualization. Right now with free OSes like Linux you can bascially run as many computers as your hardware has memory to support on a single physical machine. There are lots of benefits to this. One being you can literally take your desktop from one computer to another. Window’s licensing won’t allow that. They need to come up with this lightweight OS with flexible licensing to compete. – Lindsay Donaghe

Will it get rid of Windows for most consumers and as the host OS for your machine? Probably not. But it will enable you to use Windows anywhere you want to as long as there’s a virtualization product installed that can run your VM. Ultimately they might end up getting more exposure through that since people will stop caring which OS runs on the hardware… just which OS runs on their personal VMs. – Lindsay Donaghe

Whatever apps don’t end up in the cloud in a few years will end up on your personal VMs. And you’ll be able to take those with you wherever you go (we’ve already got USB drives that are cheap and hold upwards of 16GB). It’s the future. – Lindsay Donaghe

I talked to Microsoft PR yesterday about this. This is an incubation project and will NOT replace Windows. Anyone remember Netdocs? That was supposed to replace Office, too, remember? – Robert Scoble

Just another roll of the dice in Redmond’s labs. – Bill Sodeman

Ina got it right. http://tinyurl.com/6xgqjnjeff

I don’t think it’s dice. It’s generally a good practice to build something from the ground up to learn what’s possible and then take those possibilities into an existing project. If you tried it against an existing codebase you get more "can’t do that" then "How can we make this work." I do it all the time, probably more then I should. – shawn

When PC’s started to become available we [old geeks] flocked away from the dumb terminal en masse. I don’t envision us going back there anytime soon. – Jody Carbone

Over the top headlines definitely get attention. Take note: anyone looking for hits might want to post an article called "Apple sees end of OS X era." There are sure to be some patents or dubious screenshots that you could use. – Loren Heiny

What do you think? Will (or should) Microsoft get completely away from Windows as we know it? Or should they stay with what they have in place, and improve upon it? What does the future of any operating system have in store, and what should we look for?