2008: the year for Vista?

Since I began writing about operating systems, some 16 years ago, every release of a Microsoft operating system I have witnessed has promised greater productivity.

Productivity…and how exactly do you measure that?

Arguably, the Windows application programming interface has evolved with each iteration of the operating system adding functionality, which could simplify application development, that is, if you can be bothered to learn the new function calls. New operating systems generally improve systems management and are usually more secure, once all the new bugs have been found.

However, end-user productivity is difficult to gauge. How much of a difference can a new GUI actually make?

In my experience people don’t buy the latest Microsoft desktop OS because it makes them more productive. They buy it because they have a business need.

Unfortunately, this business need is driven by Microsoft. April 14 2009 is the day Microsoft stops offering mainstream support for Windows XP Professional. After this date, you will need to purchase an Extended Support contract in order to ensure the OS is supported.

So businesses have a year and four months, which means that for many businesses, 2008 will be the year they begin rolling out Windows Vista.

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