Microsoft appears to have every intention of sacrificing the browser to do what they want to do. And we’re quick to assume that consumers are sheep, and will buy into whatever Microsoft foists on them.
I don’t need a new OS. Do you? 2000 and XP still work fine after the past few years, and will continue to work. This is bad news to Microsoft. Longhorn is a desperate move, because we genuinely don’t care anymore. I don’t care about the next version of Windows anymore than I care about the latest .2Ghz speed upgrade from Intel. I am a consumer, I speak with my wallet, and I say it simply isn’t something I need to spend money on.
So if we’re stuck waiting for a browser upgrade in an operating system nobody is going to buy, then we aren’t going to get it. Don Park points out that the simple most effective way to deploy a new browser is bundling. That’s how Microsoft has won, sure, but what if Longhorn flops?
The consumer may not care about the browser, but they will continue to use the web. Consumers like it. And if they don’t upgrade to Longhorn, the web stands still. I deal with clients that run Netscape 4 because they’ve never bothered to upgrade. Because no one told them they should.
What if they start seeing messages on every third site they visit, telling them they should? The messages are coming from an authoritative voice. Maybe they won’t upgrade the first hundred or thousand times they see the message, but eventually they can’t help but think it’s something they need to do.
And forget the web developer for a moment, the problem goes well beyond those who code front-end only. Web services need that front end. The browser that wins dictactes who can display what. If Microsoft controls this space, Google dies on their whim. See the potential?
Maybe Google should bankroll Mozilla. Maybe everyone working with the web in one capacity or another should think long and hard about how easily Microsoft will crush them and their respective companies with any further monopoly. R.I.P. Netscape. Maybe it’s time for us all to band together.
Maybe the Luxury Web was premature, maybe it’s the wrong approach. But now that our suspicions have played out to the letter and worse in the past two months, maybe it’s time to quit watching what happens, and start doing.
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