Windows turns 25 this year. I’ve been working on a project to ask some of the industry’s biggest brains what they think Microsoft should do to keep it relevant into the future. While there was no shortage of ideas, a consensus did emerge: simplify, simplify, simplify!
Apple is onto something with the iPad. Most people do not need everything that Windows offers them; they only use their PCs for a few tasks. Windows 7 is simpler and easier to use than Windows Vista, but it’s still far too complicated. Microsoft has added touch-screen capabilities, but the OS is still built for a person who is sitting at a desk using a mouse and keyboard.
Microsoft needs to think differently, because people are no longer anchored to a desktop PC. Smartphones have ushered in an era of light computing. Netbooks are another example of how people can get what they want accomplished on less powerful, more portable hardware. I hope that the next version of Windows takes some cues from Windows Phone 7. — David Worthington
I got a chance to stop in at the Game Developers Conference. It’s naturally a fun show, but every year I see more and more that this industry is starting to mirror the enterprise software world.
For software developers, a source-code repository is a source-code repository is a source-code repository. The same is true for many other development tools, including those from IBM, Versant and others at this show to sell development tools to game makers.
A few years ago, Grady Booch told me that the biggest thing enterprises can learn from the gaming world is how to deal with non-software assets. I think he’s absolutely right. Enterprise guys are increasingly required to gather up non-code items, like Web graphics and buttons, then to keep track of those things going into production. There’s a lot of interesting back-and-forth possible between these two worlds, because in the end, it’s all just software. Games just happen to be prettier than ERPs. — Alex Handy
Boomers still behind
A recent report on mobile Web adoption found that baby boomers, who were defined as people 45 or older, are slow to adopt mobile Internet technology. It’s not to say they aren’t getting on board; they just need a little more time than other demographic groups to embrace it.
The report, by analyst firm eMarketer, found that 55% of boomers consider their phone a necessity, while people in my generation (80s baby here) can’t live without their phones an arm’s length away. The conclusion of the slow adoption by boomers for mobile technology: Boomers need to see the benefits of new technology before jumping on the bandwagon, the Boomers and Mobile Usage report said.
Other key findings from the report said that 85% of baby boomers own a mobile phone, but not smartphones or what eMarketer called “feature phones.” Boomers also only make up 19.6% of touch-screen users.
While these results may be true for some baby boomers, it’s hard for me to fathom either of my parents using a touch-screen phone. My mom still has yet to conquer the concept of a text message, and my dad’s only purpose for his cell phone is to “pick up and call someone.” — Katie Serignese