I'm finally beginning to describe myself as being OS agnostic. Some of my colleagues may scoff at that listening to the way I've gone on about Windows vs. Linux, but I really don't "hate" Windows or Microsoft. I've used their products for many years and admit that they have some without an equally good (or better) alternative. I just choose to use Ubuntu instead in most instances.

Ok, so now that that has been established, I believe that the world is going to be moving in the "OS agnostic" direction over the next few years. What I find it interesting is the need for companies to reposition themselves over the next few years in order to remain current. One of the "hallmarks" of the 70's computing era was that most computers were "dumb terminals"; all the processing happened server-side. And today, we are slowly moving back to that in certain instances. For many people, much of their computer-based work happens through the browser and they don't really need that many client-side applications. Even the office suite which has been the staple of most computer needs over the past two decades has started moving online. There are a number of options available including Feng Office, Google docs and even Microsoft is half way there with Office-live. With regards to Microsoft, They've got a distinct advantage in that they are so dominant in the "Office market" that all other "Office" applications have to pretty much conform to their standards or they wouldn't easily be even considered. And that includes me! I hate receiving an emailed document from someone (or sending one), only to find out that the formatting looks weird or has some compatibility issues. Therefore, I've ended up installing Microsoft Office on my Ubuntu. OK, I digress... For many people this is the killer, but as standards are being defined for most areas of I.T., including the open document standard and Office Open XML standard, it will matter less and less in terms of what you use to get the job done.

The adoption of cloud computing/ "Software as a Service"/web applications is going to reduce the importance of which OS you use over the next few years. So where is MS going? They're going to have to focus their attention on applications instead. I don't think that they can really avoid reduced importance in terms of OS choice if most apps are online. They're going to have to come up with some pretty inventive strategies in order to keep their users "locked" to Windows.


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