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Analysis: What would happen if Microsoft died?

Take a walk in a world without Windows


Ever wondered about what PCs and technology as a whole would be like if Microsoft's Windows didn't exist? We have. Here's our vision of a life without Windows.

Abandon all hope?

The picture I've painted here is indeed grim: Chaos. Confusion. A descent into the very ugliness that defined personal computing before Microsoft's ascendancy.

However, there may still be hope on the horizon. Google may prove to be a better steward of the post-Microsoft leadership mantle than I'm predicting here (though its handling of the recent China debacle doesn't instill confidence).

Perhaps Google will help to establish standards for the presentation of application content and data through web-centric user interfaces.
Even the move to a non-Windows-centric hardware ecosystem may prove less disruptive than I'm imagining - provided the current trend toward integrated, all-in-one devices (netbooks, tablet PCs) continues.

Maybe things will work out for the best. Or maybe - and this is the scenario I consider most likely - Microsoft will continue to co-opt each emerging, paradigm-shifting technology and leverage its billion-strong Windows installed base to keep software and hardware vendor communities focused squarely on that shiny, four-coloured logo.

As a person who favours stability over chaotic, disruptive change, I know which future I'm rooting for.

See also: How to use Windows 7 HomeGroups

  1. We look at what'll happen to tech if Microsoft dies
  2. Client applications: kiss consistency good-bye
  3. Developer tools: Bloody purges and API turf wars will shape the new standards
  4. Hardware ecosystem: Chaos until a new overlord rises
  5. Abandon all hope?

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