Do We Really Care?

So, I have told you that I will be upgrading to Windows 8 upon arrival. But I forgot to mention that this time, I am not really looking forward to it. That has nothing to do with the whole Metro inclusion; I like change. But, I personally think the time for Operating Systems as being marketing identities are over.

It doesn’t mean anything anymore these days if you are running a Windows computer or a Mac. Or an Android phone, Windows Phone or an iOS device. It doesn’t excite me anymore. I will upgrade because I read from numerous reviews that Windows 8 technically is again a little bit better, and faster. Good for me. For the $60 that is a good investment. Knowing that a Windows version will stick for about 3 years, that is $20 a year, $1.66 a month, a lousy 5 cents a day. Sign me up!

But it all is not exciting anymore. It is a freakin’ Operating System. It makes my computer work and my programs run. That is all it needs to do. The time that I would be waiting in line early in the morning of August 24th of 1995 to get a first copy of Windows 95 is long, long over.

The good part is, about lacking this bit of enthusiasm, is that deciding to upgrade or choosing a computer platform just is very easy: Windows works, Windows runs all the tools I use daily, Windows is cheap. I like the OS-X look and feel, OS-X runs also all the tools I use daily, a Mac is expensive. Choice made. Windows it is.

It is weird though, that we accept it completely that we pay for the operating system on a computer. We do that with no single other product. When you buy a camera, you do not pay for the firmware. When you buy a Blu-Ray player or a game console, you do not pay for the software that makes it work. You pay for content, but you expect the operating system to be included in the price.

Not so much so with computers – or is it?

Actually, it is. There is no out-of-the-box computer system that you can buy that comes without an operating system. It is there, and just as with any device, you will receive updates on that OS until an expected end-of-life of the product itself. Microsoft is not demanding anyone to upgrade. They never did. You always have the choice to keep using Windows XP, even long after the end-of-life date of the system. Sure, you will not be able to run new software on it anymore at one moment, but that is to be expected. Windows XP will – however – not stop working. It might just not be made anymore for the computer you are working on.

If I want an upgrade on the firmware for my D-SLR camera, I can only do that with a version that actually is made for that camera, not for a newer one. My Android Phone, a Galaxy-S, will not run Android Jellybean. I run an old 2.3 version that I cannot upgrade.

Microsoft simply says, that for new computers with current hardware and software possibilities and requirement, a new version is advised, and that version is now  Windows 8.

Don’t treat an OS any different. It is only the IT-savvy geeks like us that are actually talking about upgrading, customizing, and how Metro (sorry, I know we cannot use that name anymore) will alter our Windows experience. But believe me, the rest of the world? They could not care less.

And you know what? They shouldn’t. Contrary to popular belief, people don’t care so much about their OS. This is why most people still think that their browser is ‘The Internet’, and that a lot of people just keep browsing with the browser that comes pre-installed, unless a family member or a friend tell them to use another one.

If someone buys a new computer, and it comes with Windows 8, they will be using Windows 8. If not, then not. It is us, the IT-crowd, who ‘likes’ to upgrade everything. Believe it or not, but we are the ones just like the grease-monkeys tinkering with your car telling you that you have to upgrade your tires with the new so-and-so because they are a lot better. Sure. Why not. How much are they? Nah… I’ll stick with the old ones.



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