Recently, it’s been happening over and over: the phone rings after dinner and a call-center pickup system switches in a person with a heavy South-Asian accent who tells us that there is a problem with our Windows system, and offers help.
Dear cold-caller; Yes, there is a Windows problem: Windows is boring. It’s entirely peripheral to anything in my profession that’s interesting; has been for a decade. It adds no energy to the ecosystem, and traps millions of Enterprise workers in an environment that while visually appealing (Win7 at least) is pointing away from where the action is.
But hey, Win 8 looks great, they say, and Metro is bold and different and may even partake of cool. Plus there’s cross-platform synergy with WinPhone7, which with Nokia’s help will snatch back a huge chunk of the mobile market.
I actually hope that at least some of those things are true. Win 8 may be lots of things, but one thing it’ll be for sure is backward-compatible, and work just fine with the substrate of Access and Silverlight and Exchange and WinForms and SharePoint and VBA and XAML and ASP and Visual Studio and .NET and so on and on and on and on, which has accreted too thickly and deeply and firmly in the Enterprise context to be going away any time soon. The people who are stuck there deserve better and I really sincerely hope they get it.
I’m no longer worried in the slightest about any existential threat to what I care about, because the Web and open source and open data formats and open APIs and open networks have all won and the victories can’t be reversed. Least of all by Microsoft.
So nope, there really isn’t anything that my cold-caller from so far away can help with. But good luck to Microsoft, and even though I blow off the calls, good luck to the call-center minions too, and I hope their next job is better.