WinFS on XP, a VERY big deal!

WinfsIt’s been widely reported (see this article for example) that Microsoft are back porting WinFS to XP.  This is a very intelligent strategy on Microsoft’s part.  A few months ago I wrote about strategies that Microsoft could adopt to compete with Linux, well I missed the most important strategy, which goes like this:

  • Back port the pillars of Longhorn to Windows XP
  • Wow 3rd party software developers with the new platform capabilities (PDC Tech-ED)
  • Convince their bosses that a new version of their applications – that takes advantage of these capabilities – will allow them to sell more copies, or convince people to upgrade
  • Establish Longhorn’s credibility as a stable and secure platform (because of the Longhorn Fundamentals)
  • Fix the problems that prevent applications running without admin priv and make installation with admin priv easier.
  • Demonstrate that Longhorn and XP can provide both Rich and Reach capabilities, via Terminal Services,  an upgraded Web browser and Smart Client support in the form of Java and Click Once .NET applications (in .NET Whidbey)
  • Convince the hardware vendors that Longhorn will help them sell more hardware
  • Provide time for the new third party applications to arrive that take advantage of Avalon, WinFS and Indigo and the Whidbey release of the .NET Framework.  During this same time build customer confidence that Longhorn has great compatibility with existing Windows XP applications.
  • Provide a compelling home user value proposition to get end users familiar with the environment and its advantages, build their confidence and get them to start to push their employers to upgrade
  • Provide an amazing version of Office (after office 12) that truly provides a new value proposition by:
    • being collaboration centric
    • being a better development platform for web services
    • exploiting WinFS (and the other Pillars)
    • supporting peer to peer team working (like Groove done right – as a platform) and security scenarios
    • by tighter integration with an offline enabled and greatly enhanced version of Windows SharePoint Services
  • Convince corporates that Longhorns cost of ownership benefits, through improved security, stability and manageability and then sprinkle a bit of value on top.
  • Make deployment and management very easy especially for SME’s through either an upgrade route or a clean install with improved free migration, deployment and maintenance tools.

A shorter version of the above

  • Think Applications, Applications, Applications, Applications
  • ie get the new Longhorn friendly applications on XP, prove existing applications work on Longhorn, win over the home user with new applications (games, productivity, entertainment and home user security, backup and management); then ship your own killer application Office System 13 and wow them.
  • Security, TCO and all that is then just icing on the cake.
  • I repeat again Microsoft has figured it out its the Applications that are their key value proposition over Linux

What’s the evidence:

  • All of the key APIs will be available on XP and Longhorn
  • Most of not all of the APIs will be available on Windows 2003
  • The new version of Office is going to be collaboration centric
  • Microsoft are giving Unix Services for Windows away for free and will probably build it into longhorn, providing Posix API support
  • Longhorn server is going to include many many improvements to Terminal Services which will be exploited by the Longhorn client (my guess from these clues)
  • The next version, which will be Longhorn optimised will have all of the best ideas from Groove integrated, (peer to peer, leverages AD where it can, collaboration works over HTTPS)
  • They have made a good start with an enterprise and inter-enterprise collaboration product (not quite as well integrated with the directory as SameTime yet) with Office Communicator, LCS and Live Meeting.  In 2 to 3 years these are going to be excellent products.
  • Application development on Windows is still popular, there is not a wholesale switch to the web, and of course in the Games and entertainment dominated home market this is even more the case.

A survey to be released Tuesday by Evans Data Corp., Santa Cruz, Calif., shows that 43 percent of developers surveyed who said they are Visual Basic developers, plan to cut back on their use of the popular Microsoft development platform.

Of those saying they plan to reduce their use of Visual Basic, 37 percent said they plan to migrate to Visual Basic .Net.—largely from Visual Basic 6.0, the last non-.Net version of the product. Yet, 31 percent said they plan to move to Java and 39 percent said they will be migrating to C#, Microsoft’s Java-like language for building Internet applications and Web services.

Although, Visual Basic is used by 52 percent of all software developers, this survey—which Evans Data completed in April—indicates that not only is the Visual Basic follow-on language popular amongst VB developers, but so is Java and C#.

Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

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