PS Consultants - ideas & solutions

XP - better for stock prices than PC users...?

March 2002 

Tom Bowie was one of several folks responding to my XP rant of a couple of issues back, and he seems to be enquiring if anyone else has noticed the Emperor is once again strutting around in the buff, while most of the IT trade admires his fine raiment in that familiar and sycophantic way, whilst hoping that XP will help spur flaccid sales. So, step up to the soap box, Tom…

“ Why did Microsoft bother with XP? It will only slow down all computers more than a year old. And, after reading the extra features list over Win98, I feel that hardly any home users will benefit from the additions over Windows 98se. I have read in reviews that Windows XP ran slowly on a P3-500, and that it would be advisable to double this spec. To my mind, this is worrying: why need all that power JUST to run the OS? 

Why does Microsoft not realise that an OS is only there to enable you to run other applications, by providing features such as a user interface and system tools, as well as enabling people to easily configure their systems. An Operating System should stop at this. What Microsoft has done is created a very unattractive upgrade path for users of older hardware.

I am outraged by Microsoft’s opinion that everyone should have to either spend a fortune on system upgrades or buy a new computer every 18 months just to keep up with the current OS. Why should people do this, when older kit is up to the task of doing whatever the user wants to do anyway?

As an example, this old Aptiva is now over 4 years old. But I have upgraded the memory and added an extra hard drive, put in a CD-burner, and it will play MP3s, run Office 2000, new-ish games (Quake 3, Half-life, Unreal etc.) and all the other modern, or modern-ish, software that I have. But the minimum specs for WinXP is a P2-300, faster than this machine, which is a P2-266. 

Why do Microsoft not realise that most people cannot afford a new system every 2 years, as buying one is a big expense. I certainly cannot afford a replacement for this old Aptiva. 

People will become so disappointed that Linux will take over as the OS of choice. And software companies will then cotton onto this fact, start making decent commercial apps for Linux. In a few years, children will be saying 'Windows? What was that all about?' ”

Tom, Tom. You are missing the point, and the implant clearly got rejected. 

XP is designed to boost revenues, to meet shareholders’ expectations. Who said anything about running software and benefits to the punters..? If you can’t afford a new box every 2 years, then I’m sorry, but you just don’t understand marketing, either.

And fancy suggesting that an OS should mostly be small, tough and reliable – and not get in the way of third party application developers..? Heavens to betsy, where HAVE you been living all this time..? At the technical level, an OS is designed to pinch all the good ideas from 3rd party developers since the last release, wrap them into bloatware and shut out a bit more of the market. In the case of XP, the market that pretty much made audio and video work on the Windows platform gets a great big “thanks for all the fish” from Redmond.

But you are forgiven, since you mention Linux in the last para.

The evening I am writing this piece, I was a seminar where a Dell sales manager was unable to answer the question “what proportion of servers are shipping with XP installed..?” other than with a vague – “not many with XP, most still ship with NT”. No mention of Windows 2000 at all! 

I rest my case.