Microsoft … making Windows irrelevant?

Sometimes I think that “old people” really don’t get it. When I say “old people” I’m pointing at the twenty-somethings and up. Yeah … once you get into your college years, you begin to formulate a lot of perspectives and hold onto them. You hold onto a “religion” about things … even technology.

I have long listened to all of the complaining and whining about Microsoft. Frankly, I’m tired of it. Most people simply want to blame their problems on others, and attack the current king of the hill. It’s a human disease. The worst part of it is that I believe it causes people to loose sight of what is going on around them, and to fall victim to changing markets.

On Tuesday when I was at the LearnKey Challenge at UVSC, I got to listen to a presentation by Ivan Lumala called XNA Xbox 360 Development Framework. If you click the link, you can see his presentation. I have to admit that I was blown away. I had no idea what Microsoft was doing in this space … and the potential impact on the future. Most people … caught up in their whining about Microsoft and Windows are completely missing what is coming at them.

XNA is the development environment for the Xbox 360. Actually … it’s much more than this. XNA Game Studio Express is a – completely free – development environment for creating cross-platform applications that can run on the Windows, or the Xbox 360. Microsoft is quickly pushing to allow any software developer to create their own games and applications … and to build out the community of Xbox 360 developers and users. They are providing the source code for some amazing applications and games as the foundation for anyone that wants to create “your world. your game.” These sample applications are written in C# and can be compiled to run on Windows and the Xbox 360. If you want to learn more … read here!

So what is it that the old folks are missing? It’s that the younger generations are now seeing a much different Microsoft. They aren’t hanging on to their long-term “make wrong” and complaints about Microsoft. It was amazing to see … when Ivan walked in, and started to get set-up, there were the typical jeers and comments about Windows. But when Ivan asked how many students (all high-school) had an Xbox or Xbox 360 almost all of the hands went up. He asked about the games they play and they all started to shout out the names of the big classic Xbox games. He asked them who might want to write their own games that they could give away or sell for the Xbox 360 … the level of excitment continued to grow.

Now let me throw out some possible scenarios. What if Microsoft produced a “portable Xbox 360” that has a screen? Sort of a UMPC based on the Xbox 360 hardware? What if they created a laptop based on this Xbox 360 hardware? What occurs in 3 or 5 years as the younger generations have no qualms with the “Xbox 360” … a word that now represents a hardware platform, coupled with a form of operating system, and an open development environment? What occurs when these – now college – students might be able to run other productivity applications on this platform?

I wonder how this might compare to the current craze around the proprietary Apple MacBooks? (There are lots of numbers out there about Xbox 360 sales, and Apple MacBook sales. ) Could this be a way that Microsoft themselves actually makes “Windows” irrelevant, and has the next generations of college graduates and business workers continue to embrace Microsoft products?

I have to admit that coupled with Silverlight, I believe that Microsoft is making some strong moves to secure its future … even with all of the complaining and whining by old people!

P.S. Get over it … Microsoft has helped to create everything that we have to date! They will always have their place … and if you underestimate them, they might even end up with more!

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