As would have been expected with a post with the words Microsoft and fear in the title, there was a huge discussion that followed both on Mikes own blog and on Slashdot. There were about 700+ comments. I have compiled some of the interesting ones below.
Note: I have corrected some of the typos in the original comments.
osoman: it sounds more like going back to dumb terminals and mainframes for example, the cable company will have the server computer and connected in every house are the dumb terminals which are more powerful than todays computers, but 0 maintenance!
tehf0x: this is really the mainframe concept, but the reason mainframes died is because home users came along, and with the bandwidth and latency available, a mainframe for home users wouldnt be possible. Now this is a possibility and I dont see why for 80% of users who check mail and browse websites this wouldnt be a logical solution, plus a dumb terminal could easily cost around $100, which would only encourage more people to get computers at home.
jon: The only problem with this article is that it missing the massive advances in Microsofts Windows Terminal Services computing environment, and their new extended relationship with Citrix and their MetaFrame suite of remote access products.
Eric: Dont count Microsoft out. MS is way more focused on systems management and large scale computing than any of the current open source offerings. Microsofts acquisition of Connectix and their virtual PC technology was a huge boost to their server virtualization efforts. Combine that with the technology they acquired from Citrix, and they are well poised to work in the environment you describe. Why? Because exactly of your main point – its not about the OS, stupid! Its all about the apps. And here is where the MS/Windows camp stomps the heck out of everyone else. All the applications that people want are already there, with a familiar interface in the MS Space”.
Jonathan: What about the confidentiality and integrity of my data? I wouldnt want to have my personal data financial files, MP3s, whatever on somebody elses server. If my data is on a central store then someone else, or any number of unknown and unknowable someone elses, could access itWith physical control, I have at least some expectation of privacy. With a terminal I simply do not.
Scott: If you take a look at recent history, you will see that the price of the MS OS has not risen as dramatically as its apps, especially MS Office. Microsoft knows this is its cash cow and will exploit it to the fullest extent. Just as was the case with hardware, the OS is becoming more and more of a commodity every day. You can thank Linux in part for that Microsoft would love nothing more than to move to an ASP model as it provides a regular revenue stream by charging say, a monthly fee for the life of the product vs. the current one time flat fee This model is ideal as it provides MS the ability to patch / upgrade the application(s) in real-time vs. relying on its massive user base to do it.
mhack: The kinds of applications that the average user will have will also change dramatically in the future. They wont just be running MS Word or checking the odd stock quote. Videoconferencing, virtual reality gaming, and home automation will all be a part of the future consumers life. Their home system will consist of a number of separate computer hosts linked together by local area networks. Centralized network administration will seek to find a useful niche for some segments of consumers, but the need for a variety of capable and sophisticated operating systems for local host machines isnt going to go away, its going to increase.
Tomorrow: Comments (continued)
TECH TALK Microsoft, Bandwidth and Centralised Computing+T