I wrote an earlier comment about Microsoft and the Daily Show and how Bill Gates seems to have changed. David commented and I read his story about what he believes will happen regarding Vista.
Many people think it is about Google and Apple. I completely disagree! Google will be Google, but this is as good as it is going to get for Google, likewise for Apple, and for many other software companies. Though I do think Microsoft will surge in this market, which of course may seem counter-intuitive.
People are always interested in the next 10 bagger. I think the next 10 bagger will not be a You-Tube, MySpace or Google type company. The next 10 bagger is going to be a company that has a hardware and software play. For example, look at the Wii. It is taking the market by storm because it is new, refreshing and a hardware / software play. When I saw the Wii for the first time I thought, yupe this thing is going sky high!
When I saw the Apple iPhone I did not see a Wii. When I see Google I see rehashed ideas. For example I love news.google.com, but that idea is getting old. When I see Microsoft I see a utility company, but a company that will be here for decades to come.
I just received my latest Conrad catalog. Conrad is a store for electronic gadget makers. If you can think of an electronic toy they have the parts. My brother who is a gadget person loves Conrad. His latest creation was the integration of a computer into his car. The obvious reasons are MP3’s and music, but he has other automation things he wants to do. I asked him what operating system runs on the computer. He told me Windows. I asked why Windows and why not Linux? His answer is that he had better things to do with his time than fart around with drivers. He likes Linux, but his hacking time is precious and he would rather fork over the money for embedded Windows and focus on his real goal of automating his car.
Take a look at the hardware to software tools in the Conrad catalog as they are about 99% Windows only. Or how about iRobot, or lego mindstorms. Another example that is becoming very popular is to become your own weather forcaster. One weather website is integrating their weather service with the services of the little people to create a matrix of weather forcasting. Imagine if the weather website uses the data to make their own predictions? Neat, no? Lets see what the software runs on. This software runs mainly on WINDOWS! Yes there is an OSX version, but it has limitations:
Unlike the Windows versions, the Mac version does not log data from leaf wetness, soil moisture, or UV sensors. Also does not include Citizen Weather Observer or GLOBE Program capabilities, and may not be used with E-Mail/Phone Alert or Agricultural/Turf Management Modules.
In other words the Mac version is a version for those “10” users that were crying madly for a Mac version. If your goal is to be your own weather forcaster then you will use Windows as means to an end.
My point is that to use all of these toys to the fullest extent you need Microsoft Windows. Many of you will say that this is the core problem of our computing landscape in that we rely too much on Windows. Sure no disagreement about that from me, but I also see the writing on the wall. The mainstream people don’t care anymore! They have other goals. The blogs that talk about how old Vista is and how Microsoft is a has been company going downhill are assuming that the battle is about the operating system and software. These people remind of friends from high school that to this day still listen mostly to 80’s music. It is as if they graduated from high school and then stopped listening to new forms of music. The blog and column authors are doing the exact same thing, they are getting stuck in a time warp of “hmm does it have office, mail, etc.” That battle is over, get over it people! I even find it funny that people will buy an OSX or Linux box and have VMWare or parallels running so that they can run that “one” task they have on Windows.
As I see it in the future there is going to be a CPU core race, and that means we need to write software that will make use of these cores. We need to waste the CPU cycles with software doing something. And that something will not be a word processor, nor will it be a database or some game (well maybe it might be a game). That CPU is going to be running algorithms that in the past were too prohibitive due to CPU cost.
Here are some things I could see happening:
- Wii like games where developers make use of web cams and other hardware to detect the presence and actions of a human.
- Artitifical intelligence algorithms that are used to solve common automation problems.
- Games that combine AI, networking, and lifestyle (yes there are some games like that already, but this market will progress and progress and progress.)
- Home automation where your computer will act as a central server, with an example being the weather forcasting.
- Car automation where your computer will do neat and buzzy things.
- Robotic automation.
What do all of these things have in common? The operating system is a means to an end, and thus Microsoft will be used in most cases because the operating system has become a utility.