In this post, Robert Scoble talks a bit about why scrum won’t work as a development/release strategy for OS’s… (also read Yo! Listen Up! by Rod Boothby) I believe that the scrum model could fit nicely with the software-subscription model; Microsoft is at a great point with Windows Vista in which they could target Windows Vista R2 as the base for all future scrum OS development.  This would mean that it would be the last “shipping” traditional base OS, all new/enhanced bits would come over the wire from a customization panel at Windows Live.  In fact, Vista R2 could be shipped as “Windows Live”, with ongoing bi-monthly updates, enhancements, patches, and new features shipped via Windows Live following the scrum methodology.

To get end users in line with this, Microsoft will need to promote the virtues of never needing to “upgrade” the OS in the traditional manner.  That for an annual subscription price (call it $20 a PC for example), you get the base OS and all the fixing’s, add $10/yr for Media Center Edition, add $10/yr for the “Ultimate” version, whatever…  Many Microsoft Windows users get tired of having to purchase, install, and troubleshoot new OS versions when they get little perceived new value from it.
Also, invest is answering the worries of non-broadband users – figure out how to get them on broadband to make the updating process work faster and easier.  Sell the idea of never needing to upgrade in the traditional sense, but build the OS to accomplish that goal – you’re close, finish it in the next rev of Windows.

Windows Live and Office Live are, obviously, the method to deliver ‘Web 2.0’ based solutions, making Word, Excel & PowerPoint on line like ZoHo Office, or Writely.  Yes, strip out the extra fancy stuff that only 1% of the user base needs.  Get back to the simple word processing that 80-90% use and make it available on line.  Outlook is already modeled on line in the form of Windows Live Mail – just add Windows Live Word, Windows Live Excel, etc…

Also, beat Google to the punch and get the “M Drive” or Windows Live Drive or whatever you call it out there asap.  Set it up so it’s a drive letter from Windows boxes, set it up so its a folder on the desktop next to My Documents – don’t abandon the existing easy-to-understand methodology for the desktop that MILLIONS are using.  Make it simple – “My Documents”, “My LiveDrive”, etc… the simpler you make it the more people will use it, the more people will tell their friends how easy it was to use.  KISS applied to all aspects.

Completely erase the boundaries between local and remote, OS and Web.  Change Windows so that ANY browser can snapped into the OS in place of IE.  Follow every standard, adapt your plans and ideas to utilize standards, don’t try to make a standard out of Microsoft proprietary items for this.  Use standardized AJAX methods on line and publish the APIs, .NET is great, others are porting it to Linux, help that effort where you can.

Embrace Linux & Mac, every computer user in the world should be able to have the same experience using any on line Microsoft property.  Anything less is unacceptable.  Of course owning a Windows License brings more features to the users of Windows Live, but make the basic experience of Windows Live identical for every OS and every browser – there should be no compromise on this, how else can you convince anyone that your world view computing is better if all they see is a flaky on line experience?

So, is Microsoft listening…

OK, guess I went quite a bit off the original topic, but I believe that it all ties together.  That it all is part of a whole.  It really does boil down to whether we’ll see the next real breakthrough in OS design come from Microsoft or Linux.  It could happen if Microsoft listens to customers, critics, and the like.  I’ll get down off the soap box for a few minutes.

Thanks for stopping by!

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