Beyond Windows 8 – Life After NT/Desktop?

Just yesterday I mentioned that Microsoft is on the verge of evolution thanks to Windows 8, and in the process I asked whether or not a fork in Windows is needed in the near future. For the most part, the comments I’ve received say that others feel that creating a division between the casual and professional side of the business is now starting to become needed and largely inevitable.

Sure, there has always been different versions of Windows, but since Windows XP these versions have pretty much been the same thing except for a few features. The future of Microsoft Windows might start looking more like the past of Windows though.

Back before XP, you had two very different Windows experiences – Windows NT and Windows 9x. These Windows variants were based on DOS at the core, instead of NT (which is what today’s Windows variants base themselves on).

Sure, NT could run some of the 9x programs and visa versa, but they were truly different animals. If Microsoft continues down the Metro path, they could eventually spit out all the NT code and have a brand new Windows experience.

Why is this a good idea? I’m not 100% sure it is, but one reason this might be worth considering is that the Metro language/design could easily be ported into a brand new Windows-replacement. If a new Windows arrives without being based on DOS or NT, or anything legacy related, it could eventually re-design itself to keep out viruses and eliminate some of the issues that come with re-using aging Windows code.

They could slip in METRO into this new OS and people could continue to use the same Metro apps, just no legacy .EXE applications. The downside, is that such a model sounds much more locked down.

I can tell you that I find it hard to believe that Microsoft would completely abandon the old-school Windows code right away for business use, but on the standard consumer level? I wouldn’t be that surprised. What is Microsoft does decide to completely lock down its future and not offer a more open business sided alternative, such as a Professional Metro/Desktop hybrid?

It invites someone else into the picture. For Linux enthusiasts, this probably sounds great – the time for Linux to finally rule the business/PC world- even if, by this point, few users own traditional PCs. It could also open the doors for someone like Google.

The future of Windows isn’t quite decided yet, but 2012 is the turn of change? Microsoft needs to tread carefully here. Going forward we will likely see the PC become less and less significant, and in the process pushing out NT, CE, and other legacy coding will likely prove a smart decision.

The big question, in my opinion, isn’t IF this will happen, it’s a matter of when and what well happen to the programmer/professional side of Windows. Honestly, NT/desktop isn’t needed for this professional version, as long as Microsoft comes up with something flexible and desktop-like that will work from programming. Either way, I do feel that the true purpose of Metro is to move away from aging Windows code- even if it takes a decade or more to do it.

What do you think?

Do I have it right, or is Metro merely a way to take advantage of the tablet market and I’m reading into it too much?

Share your thoughts below.

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