July 28, 2015 Last Updated 2:24 pm

Some thoughts on Microsoft’s release of Windows 10 tomorrow

Tomorrow will see the release by Microsoft of Windows 10, and by all reports it will be a vast improvement over the company’s previous effort to marry desktop and mobile platforms. Its release got me thinking, however, just how far Windows has fallen from my view.

Despite efforts to stay pretty much on the Mac side of things over the years, there have been times when I have Win10-400been forced to use a company computer – invariably a Windows driven PC. I found it… amusing. Amusing because at home I still used a Mac, and with my PC pretty much stuck to spreadsheets and web browsing. I found using Excel superior on my PC – by a wide margin – but all other experiences lacked. My biggest problem with Windows was always how much work it made you do to do the simplest things. Printer drivers, what can I say?

But Macs were always dogs when it came to performance, something that didn’t really change until Steve Jobs did the deal with the devil and moved to Intel chips. Now things got interesting, and when PC Magazine did a story on the best Windows laptops, sacrilege, they ranked the MacBook Pro at the top. Well that got people’s attention. (The Mac still comes out on top in some surveys, but it really doesn’t matter – I know people perfectly happy with their PCs just as I know dissatisfied Mac users.)

I applaud Microsoft for changing direction, and though they will likely struggle to build back profits, at least they are moving in new directions. But Microsoft is as relevant to digital publishing as is… Dell, and I find it hard to find proof Dell is still in business – it is, right? Actually, I know it is, just as know Microsoft is, but in my world Microsoft has become so utterly irrelevant I find it scary. We need someone to push Apple back into caring as much about publishing as it does fashion, we need a tech company to lead the charge for better cross-platform digital publishing. Someone has to do it, why not Microsoft?

Window-crashI’m not optimistic. Microsoft has a slogan for Windows 10: It’s the Windows you know, only better. That feels defensive to me, an acknowledgement that past versions were weak, but that they remain too scared about making current customers too frightened to upgrade. Windows 10 is a free upgrade, so there is no reason to market this way. It is as if the marketing team still is in the old mind set of knowing they will have millions of customers reluctant to spend money on an uncertain update.

But early reviews of Windows 10 – see this one from The Verge – so maybe Windows users will be happy with the release. I hope so, I always found PC users a bit more nervous than Mac owners.

In years past I used to make fun of Windows users as conformists, and IT pros who only knew Windows as narrow minded and conservative. That may or may not have been unfair then, but it certainly is not fair now. With the popularity of the iPhone, the Apple universe is just as populated with fanboys as is the PC world, maybe more so. In some ways, the platforms have become as partisan as politics: Windows v. OS X; Android v. iOS; Amazon v. everyone else. It’s not helping publishing, that’s for sure.

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