30 October 2003 Software giant Microsoft will use its forthcoming Windows operating system, codenamed Longhorn, to re-assert its control of the PC desktop and lock out competitors.
That is the conclusion of Gartner analyst Michael Silver.
“Microsoft has reached its dominant position in the operating system and productivity software markets by controlling application programming interfaces (APIs) and file formats. In the past five years, Microsoft has lost some of the control as browser applications and Java have become popular,” he says.
“Many of the features Microsoft is adding in Longhorn will result in increased lock-in to Windows,” he claims. Longhorn is provisionally slated for an early 2005 release, although there have been some indications that it may not appear before 2006.
Silver warns that Microsoft is encouraging developers to write browser-based applications that take advantage of Longhorn specific APIs. That will mean that users will not be able to use such applications with non-Microsoft software.
The company is already encouraging developers to start building applications around Longhorn as soon as the beta version is released, which is expected in the second half of 2004.
But Silver suggests that the underlying code of the operating system is likely to change dramatically between the beta and the finished product. He therefore says that organisations should not consider developing and deploying applications on Longhorn until after the final version has been released.
That makes it until 2007 or 2008 until Longhorn applications start appearing in number.