The History of Operating Systems, Charted

By  |  Sunday, September 18, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Horace Dediu of Asymco has tried to quantify and chart how fast Windows is evolving compared to other operating systems. I could write hundreds of words quibbling with his methodology–for one thing, Windows 3.1 wasn’t the first stand-alone version of Windows and, in fact, required that you buy and install a separate copy of DOS–but his thoughts are interesting and his commenters have lots of smart things to say.

The contrast is then striking: Consumerized devices with over-the-air updates on a 12 month cycle are five times more agile than a traditional corporate Windows desktop. Another way to look at this is that for every change in a corporate desktop environment, the average user will change their device experience five times. Although Microsoft might find comfort in Enterprises’ leisurely pace of change[2], those are the wrong customers to keep happy going forward.

Dediu says he’s glad that Windows 8 is named Windows 8. It’s worth reminding ourselves that it’s only a code name at this point–and that “Windows 8” is the first version of Windows in Windows history that might plausibly be called something other than Windows, since the Metro interface lacks windows as we knew them. (That said, I hope that Microsoft does indeed call it Windows 8.)


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3 Comments For This Post

  1. The_Heraclitus Says:

    Consumer "device" OS vs. desk top OS?

    Apples & rocks.

    'nuff said.

  2. Relwal Says:

    Dediu and his obsession with charts and quantification has met its match when trying to express more than 25 years of microcomputer software engineering practices in a single chart with a single scale — ridiculous.

    It seems unlikely that Windows 8 is susceptible to news cycle disruption about such silliness.

  3. Jeff Thomson Says:

    Thanks for sharing such a useful information, will be checking out more from yours.

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