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?