by Shane O'Neill

Oh Windows, What Will Become of You?

Mar 08, 2010
Data Center

How does Windows need to evolve to stay relevant? A recent blog post collected answers from 28 distinguished Windows watchers.

Windows, that little OS familiar to millions, has been running on computers since the mid-80s. Obviously the landscape has changed many times since then and Windows has both broken ground (Windows 95 and Windows XP) and broken hearts (Vista).

But over the past few years, the evolution of computing and communication has accelerated at nearly light speed. The rapid rise of mobile operating systems in smartphones, small and speedy netbooks, and Web-based apps and cloud services has Microsoft limping a bit.

[ For complete coverage on Microsoft’s new Windows 7 operating system — including hands-on reviews, video tutorials and advice on enterprise rollouts — see’s Windows 7 Bible. ]

Yet the software wizards in Redmond may be down but they’re not out. Steve Ballmer and company have committed to competing in all these markets. Windows, no matter what flavor it comes in (Windows 7 for PCs, Windows Mobile for phones, Windows Azure for the cloud), is still the biggest weapon in Microsoft’s arsenal. But Windows needs to keep metamorphizing to stay relevant as the standard client OS becomes a thing of the past.

Slideshow: Seven Features in Windows 7 You Probably Don’t Know About

Slideshow: Windows 7 in Pictures: The Coolest New Hardware

Slideshow: Seven Tools to Ease Your Windows 7 Rollout

Popular tech blog Technologizer explored this issue by posing the question “What must Microsoft do to keep Windows relevant?” to dozens of well-known journalists, industry analysts and even a few former Microsoft employees.

Everyone from PC Magazine editor Lance Ulanoff to veteran tech analyst Rob Enderle to Gizmodo reporter Matt Buchanan, among many others, had a take on the future of Windows.

The opinions run the gamut, but if there’s a general consensus it’s that Windows needs to stay lean and flexible and integrate more online features into the OS via the cloud.

Here’s the full Technologizer blog post.

What do you think? How does Windows need to change?

Shane O’Neill is a senior writer at Follow him on Twitter at Follow everything from on Twitter at