Will Windows 8 "Skip Success" Based on Windows’ History?

Failure is easy to spot

Microsoft’s lineage of operating systems have had a mixed legacy of success.  Some of its OSs have been wildly successful while others have failed to catch on with the buying public.

This has led to a term called the “skipped” O/S, or an O/S that has not matched the success of both its predecessor and successor.  Let’s look at a few generations of Microsoft Windows OSs.

  • Windows 3.0: Enjoyed significant success
  • OS/2: co-developed with IBM. Died an ugly death.  (skipped)
  • Windows 95: was a major success in the marketplace at launch and shortly became the most popular desktop operating system in the world.
  • Windows NT 4.0:  Long since vanished. (skipped)
  • Windows 98:  A huge success and one that many users clung onto for years (like XP)
  • Windows ME:  Often referred to as “Mistake Edition”  (skipped)
  • Windows XP: Huge success, number of users has just been overtaken by Windows 7.
  • Windows Vista:  Dramatic failure  (skipped)
  • Windows 7: Again, a massive success for Redmond.
  • Windows 8: ???

So we can argue here that Micosoft has a habit of shooting a brick every other generation.  If that is the case, we could infer that Windows 8 anecdotally at least, may be headed towards a notable lack of success.

OK that’s it with the “skipped generation” theory.  However, we can equally argue that this is a new day with a paradigm change in the devices and form factors out there.

Windows 8 may fail not because of the every-other-generation lapse that seems to occur, but because it is starting from a very weak point in smartphones and tablets, which are the future of computing.

Similarly, it may buck the generational trend because of the brave new world and a desire by the enterprise to entrust Microsoft to bridge the gap between legacy computing and BYOD-type computing.

The exciting thing is… we’ll find out soon enough.  What are your thought on Microsoft’s “skip-a-generation” success record?  Real or made-up? Relevant or irrelevant?

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