Is time for Microsoft to stop being IBM PC compatible?

thumb_white.gifThere was a time that the only way to sell a PC was to have the label ‘IBM PC compatible‘ on the box (Vista ready was not even a twinkle in Bill’s eye). 

Apple with its East German approach to the control of Hardware, Software and Channel was relegated to a niche player along with mutterings of what have ‘might of been’. 
Compatibility (to the best of my memory) mostly meant running DOS, 1-2-3 and MS Flight Simulator and over the years evolved to Wintel compatibility of various sorts.
In the meantime Apple ploughed its pseudo-Stalinist furrow and in recent years the control freakery has paid dividends. The Apple user experience in all forms – shops, hardware design, application design and OS has combined into a compelling package. Apple (as befits their strict approach) has been ruthless in dumping legacy hardware technology (without dumping users) and old operating systems when they have seen fit allowing them to respond to emerging technology trends coming from all directions.
Steve Ballmer’s recent communication with his internal audience indicates that Microsoft has learnt from Apple success and understands that a more reliable end to end experience has to be a key aspiration and delivery. The days of anyone creating a hardware or software component for Windows that brings down the entire system could be numbered.
In view of the above, recent  discussions centred around Midori (a potential new MS OS) which could depart completely from the current Windows heritage (UI, api, etc) with maybe only virtualization to enable access to legacy software, makes interesting reading.
It would be a bold move from Microsoft but sometimes you have to cut down the big trees in order to let new growth flourish – it would be seismic but maybe that it was our industry needs right now – a semi-forced renewal?

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