Few people can have missed all the issues currently surrounding the foreboding release of Microsofts Windows Vista, but they are probably mostly nonesense, there will be some remaining issues, but most will not affect the average user.
That is however, untill the infamous TCO (total cost of ownership) becomes so high that the average joe will not be able to turn on their computer.
Why? well, windows, currently, is far cheaper than linux (even though it is 'free' to install). Due, to the cheap and widely available support that can obtained from the plethora of sites, and 'friends' such as this set of forums, and the people who run them.
But things are changing. Fedora Core 6 will be my first (realistic) upgrade of linux from linux, I doubt, to be honest I will even touch windows vista unless there is a significant amount of money involved, I expect the same will increasingly be true of many other computer 'geeks' who currently make the TCO of windows so cheap. As schools, colleges and govenment organisations switch to linux for its learning cost and productivity incentives, the next breed of computer 'geeks' will see Microsoft as an iteresting historical organisation, that made all the wrong chioces, justified choices, but wrong none-the-less.
I suspected the same would be true for windows XP, but the truth is, there was no competitor, linux was not ready.
Linux works now, and in a far superiour way than a monopoly organisation can ever hope to mimic, even if Windows Vista has the shiniest, most user friendly user interface (which if internet explorer 7 is anything to go by, will not be the case), the fact that there is collapsing support from the current and forthcoming generations of people who actually make the machines work will mean windows vista will be condemned to a life in large organisations, who are too entrenched in their ways to adapt to the changing landscape. The same thing happened with unix, and to a degree the Macintosh, Microsoft prospered, because it won a large base of high talent. With that talent dwindling, we can expect to see a rise to the same 300GBP per hour for the later versions of windows vista and its successors that unix support staff were charging in the late 90's.
when will this happen? well, not by the end of next year, or even the year after that, but, if the take up of windows vista and the new office is as limited as it potentially could be (microsoft itself admits, convincing users to switch to the new office is their biggest challenge), the potential collapse of profits at microsoft that this could bring, will quickly lead to companies and individuals to diversify. When this happens, the change will be rapid, and not very pretty.
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