The Windows XP/8.1 debacle calls to mind the Wordstar/Wordstar 2000 debacle of the mid-eighties.

Unfamiliar with Wordstar? Exactly my point.

Wordstar ruled the word processor market in the early personal computer market. They weren't just the leader, they were everywhere. The UI was stupid and clunky, but people got used to it. When people in a business setting got a new personal computer, the package they got was: IBM PC (or equivalent); DOS (from IBM, Microsoft or Digital Research), Lotus 1-2-3, a Herculese graphics card, an Epson printer, and Wordstar. Interesting list. How many of those companies are still relevant in the personal computer market?

Wordstar decided to dump their product and move on to new technology: Wordstar 2000. This was not an evolution. New UI. New, incompatible file formats. And get this -- it's really better if you just get a whole new, more powerful computer to run this software.

Microsoft, unlike Wordstar, will survive, but they have thoroughly fucked themselves. Windows 8.1 is the Wordstar 2000 of the twenty-teens.

Adding: "Well, if I got to switch to something unfamiliar and incompatible anyway, what are the other alternatives?" That's the essense of the self-destruction of this sort of move.

- mark 3-03-2014 8:21 pm

I just bought an audio PC and the seller is sticking with W7. I guess for stability, etc. At w*rk we moved to 7 fairly recently. I don't have to face the "what comes after 7" problem for 3 years at least. Am hoping MS will go back to the boring but stable OS for various professionals who need it and just let the kids have their play tablets.
- tom moody 3-04-2014 4:03 am

With Mark Penn as Microsoft's new Chief Strategy Officer I'm sure they'll make the smart choices.
- jim 3-04-2014 1:11 pm

I saw that - kind of a weird jump from giving bad political advice to giving bad business advice - but I guess it's increasingly the same arena.
- tom moody 3-04-2014 1:59 pm

Fast forward to late 2015. Windows doubled down on their crappy Apple imitation with Windows 10, which in addition to being a tablet interface is even more integrated with "the cloud," which means they want you to login to your home PC on Microsoft servers and start transmitting all your data back to the mothership as you type. They are so aggressive about promoting this garbage they begin sneaking Windows 10-promoting nagware popups onto (perfectly functional) Windows 7 PCs, under the guise of an "important" Windows update. Goodbye, Bill Gates, Hello, Linux Mint.

- tom moody 12-19-2015 7:14 am

I haven't seen the nagware yet. When the OS becomes a virus, FUBAR has been achieved.
- mark 12-25-2015 9:01 pm

Agreed. What happens is a popup appears on your taskbar that says "Windows 10 is ready to load on your system. Click here to begin installing Windows 10." Nothing about "oh and by the way, when you click this all the programs you spent years painstakingly installing on 7 are going to be erased from your drive, and half of them (such as all that proprietary music software) probably won't work on 10 even if you do still have the discs." I immediately started searching for websites that had a list of the Windows Updates that put this horror on my music PC, so I could uninstall them. I did get rid of the nagware and it hasn't returned, but now I have to monitor updates closely and avoid numbers that try to reinstall it. MS doesn't tell you what's in the updates so you have to go to anti-W10 sites to get a list.
- tom moody 12-26-2015 5:18 am

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