Operating Systems are becoming less important to Consumers

Even a few years ago when buying a computer I was only concerned that it would run a Microsoft OS and that I could put a small Linux partition on it too. The thought of buying an Apple Mac never even crossed by mind.

A key consideration used to always be that there were lots of applications I wanted to run and that in general they were only built to run on the Microsoft OS. In today's world however I no longer think this is the case. Sure there are some apps that are only built to run on one Operating System, but with more and more services moving into the cloud, the Web browser is increasingly becoming the key application many people use.

For servers the Operating System has a larger role to play, but for standard consumer computing it is less important.

Platforms such as Adobe AIR and JRE are also aiding this shift away from the Operating System being so important. These platforms are enabling the ability for applications to be written once and run easily on multiple Operating Systems (or in some cases with a little bit of tweaking but not much).

The role of the consumer computer is changing, in many cases it is only to put "stuff" in the cloud and get "stuff" out of the cloud. With Platforms evolving that can reside on multiple Operating Systems, applications are truely becoming portable.

Familiarity, Marketing & Cost are also key factors that affect Consumer choice. It will be interesting to watch this space.


  1. Simon - less important or irrelevant. Your post (and mine previously http://diversity.net.nz/windows-collapsing-but-is-it-even-relevant/2008/04/11/ ) begs the question as to why we actually need an operating system at all

  2. Aloha Simon, my apologies for the irrelevant post but I couldn't find another means to contact you. Saw your tweet re:Twitterfone. I've been working with Pat Phelan to test it in NZ and it finally works. Add me on twitter (keoladonaghy) and I'll DM you an invite code. I have a few so if you know anyone else interested in trying let me know.



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