Lots of people are focused on the retirement of Microsoft Founder Bill Gates this weekend. I mean, yes, the man that created the world's most popular computing platform had his "final day" on Friday, June 27. But, are we forgetting that Microsoft is also saying goodbye to one of its all time favorite operating systems next week and replacing it with Vista, one of the most criticized tech products in its history? Is it a coincidence that Gates retires the Friday before Windows XP gets put on life support?
Press ploy or not, Monday, June 30 marks the end of an era as Windows XP heads for the sunset. It is the last day that Microsoft will be selling the software and sending it to computer manufacturers and stores, though the deadline has been extended in certain select cases. For instance, computer manufacturers like Dell and HP will continue to allow individuals buying computers with Vista Business or Ultimate to "downgrade" to Windows XP at least until January 2009. Also, small laptops -- like the ASUS Eee PC -- can still be sold with Windows XP.
Why the slow and painful death of Windows XP? Well, because Microsoft Vista is just too bulky for some including Intel, who revealed this week that the corporation will not roll out the Vista operating system to its employees. In fact, Microsoft extended the deadline to halt the sales by six months because its initial XP death sentence was not well-received.
That is not to say that Vista is all bad. In fact, I am a Vista user; I am writing this post, listening to my Slacker Internet Radio station and checking my Facebook profile all on a Lenovo x300 laptop running Vista. So why don't I think Vista is that bad? Because the operating system I run doesn't mean all that much to me.
Call me a child of the future, but I can do virtually anything online and in my browser these days -- edit pictures using Picnik, listen to music, write long documents and create spreadsheets in Google Docs. Few people will argue with me when I say that the future of personal computing isn't in the OS; it is in the browser or Cloud. And Microsoft will learn that heavy operating systems, which its next 2010 to-be-released Windows 7 also looks to be, are irrelevant and why many are holding on to Windows XP. The future is where Google and Yahoo are - in the Cloud.
So is it a coincidence that Gates and XP are exiting in chorus? Probably not. Both represent an earlier era in computing, a time when the desktop was in total control. I think we will see both their legacies resting in the Clouds.