Should Microsoft Continue Making Operating Systems?

Posted on January 9, 2010

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I am a long time Windows user. From Windows 98 to the new Windows 7, I’ve been there. But after the release of Windows 7 I started wondering: “Should Microsoft even make operating systems any more?”

Now when I thought this, I didn’t quite mean it in a bad way. In fact, that’s quite the opposite! You see, after looking around and exploring with Windows 7 a bit, I realized that Windows 7 was really just a large service pack for Windows Vista; it still had basically the same graphical interface, similar feel, and just a few tweaks (mostly under the hood). But somehow, just these minor tweaks made the operating system so much better. So the question was: Why did we have to wait four years for this?. The answer was that it took that long for Microsoft to address the issues in Vista and create a new operating system to fix those issues. Of course, Microsoft did fix minor issues and make small speed tweaks through service packs– and it kept up with that very quickly and very well. So then I started thinking– Why couldn’t Microsoft to this with major things as well?

If Microsoft could use service packs to implement minor things into an operating system, then theoretically it could be done on a larger scale as well. Of course, that brings up the question: is it worth it to Microsoft? Obviously, Microsoft gets a huge portion of it’s income through OS sales, so in order for them to actually think about halting operating system production and focus on service packs, it would need to be worth it to them cash-wise. They normally charge around $150-300 for an operating system, so how can we make up that money through service packs?

The idea would most likely be to keep critical updates free (like security patches and updates) like always– but then charge for other major updates (like ones that would normally be included in a new operating system). This way, they could offer fixes and build upon their operating system quickly and easily, and still get money from it. Not only would this be easier for Microsoft, but it would also be easier for the user in general. Think of all the hassles that most normal users go through when upgrading. They need to find out what version they want, then buy it, then go through all the trouble of installing it. This is why almost 70% of computer owners are still using Windows XP. If Microsoft offered things through service packs, then it would be simple for users to keep up to date. Just click a button, enter your credit card info, and you’re done. All from the comfort of your own home.

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