Yesterday, Mary-Jo Foley, from ZDNet, began the cycle of FUD that will not stop for at least another two years, probably three. With the title ” Windows 8 Starts to Come Into Focus” she begins laying out the idea that Microsoft will be concentrating on the server side of the operating system, and makes little reference to what desktop users will see.

Point? You had better upgrade to Windows 7, because the next desktop upgrade might not be appearing for awhile. At least I’m sure that is what Microsoft wants to project.

Microsoft certainly wants to sell as many copies of Windows 7 as it can. The company can not be unaware of the large number of people who plan on staying with Windows XP until 2014, or when drivers for hardware aren’t available, whichever comes first. (As a concurrent measure, look for rumors of Microsoft promising dollars to companies that don’t release drivers for anything other than Vista or Windows 7.)

From Mary-Jo’s post –

“For the upcoming version of Windows, new critical features are being worked on including cluster support and support for one way replication. The core engine is also being reworked to provide dramatic performance improvements. We will also soon be starting major improvements for Windows 8 where we will be including innovative features which will revolutionize file access in branch offices.”

That certainly doesn’t sound like desktop oriented to me, and perhaps, if it does, even with 6 to 12 cores available on a desktop, is it going to be needed for Joe Average? Or Joe Average’s small business of less than 20 employees?

“In Windows Server 2008 R2 release, the Server UX Test team (under the File Server Management organization) is finalizing the MMC [Microsoft Management Console] based User eXperience (UX)/Interfaces for the File Server Role. Currently the team owns DFS [Distributed File System] Management, Share and Storage Management, FSRM [File Server Resource Manager] & Classification UI, Disk Management, SMFS. For Windows 8, the SSD organization is working on the next version of the file server.

“As the team moved to Windows 8, you will have 2 main responsibilities – (i) put on the customer/design critique hat as we plan our next version file server management experience (i) participating in the architectural design, and development and driving automated testing for managing the next generation file server. Our current automation does not meet the multi-machine paradigm requirement and so you will contribute significantly in the development of test automation to validate setup/configuration of the new server, managing configuration changes, performing diagnostics and reporting using Power Shell, Command line, Object Model, UI.”

Again, Mary-Jo states that this is directly pointed at server, not desktop. This makes me think that either there are no plans right now, and that the Windows 8 release will be a nebulous goal, never really expected to ship, or the plans are cast in stone right now – Windows 8 for the desktop will be a facelift only, because Microsoft has truly reached the end of ideas for the desktop, other than  fru-fru and marketing.

Microsoft might also be aware of the number of people who, strangely enough, are happy with Vista, and don’t see a reason to spend for an upgrade to Windows 7. These people will be allowed to remain staid for awhile, but soon, the push will continue furthering the idea that Windows 7 will be there, in the mainstream, for awhile (perhaps this is the plan in a nutshell – XP lasted at least 8 years, perhaps Windows 7 can too). That will allow Microsoft to concentrate on the server market for a good long time, and allow the idea of paid Service Packs to congeal.

Yes, I really see this coming. Microsoft will start this, and offer the period-licensing option as an alternative. After all, if Service Packs can create revenue, Microsoft is half-way home to software-as-a-service period-licensing. That makes the shareholders very happy, as they can count their dollars before they are earned – and for most of them, that is the whole idea.





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