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Microsoft is heading for extinction, says CES

According to the organisers and exhibitors of the Consumer Electronics Show in Lost Wages, Nevada, Microsoft is the past and – it would seem – that Google is very definitely the future. KitGuru battles insomnia/Jet Lag to check the facts.

We all think of the world as windows-based, multi-tasking, interwibble enabled and relatively easy for kiddies and fogies to use. But it wasn’t always that way. The first Disk Based Operating System (DOS) was basic, text based, monochrome, and the only advanced connections it understood were the keyboard and printer. Microsoft borrowed ideas from Xerox/Apple – and so Windows was born. In ‘Living Planet’ terms, this was the time when the first creatures would have crawled from the oceans and began to motor across the ground.

Well, at this year’s CES, the folks that claim to know say that the ‘meteor has struck, and no creature with an operating system cost of more than £25 will survive’.

Innocent young Apple users would find a move to Android quite shocking. More shocking than Amsterdam, in fact.

Jason Oxman, senior vice president of Industry Affairs at the Consumer Electronics Association, says that the choice of keynote speaker for CES is based on the strongest themes present at the event. We know already that Microsoft will not be invited back to speak with the crowds next year, which is a big bucket of iced water on Windows 8.

Google’s Android operating system had been as sh*t as early versions of Windows. It had caused companies like Samsung to spend millions and millions of dollars to try and make it work. It’s only recently managed to integrate Flash (a powerful Apple differentiator) and the standards have been as varied as World Heavyweight Championship belts.

But, 2012 is likely to be Google’s 1995. The launch of Windows 95 was a turning point for Microsoft’s Windows operating system (although it took 7 more years and Windows XP to really become crowned as the people’s champion of the desktop). Overall, Android has been going for just under 5 years, but its impact has been significant. In terms of versions, we have just nudged past version 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich – which combines the biscuity goodness of Gingerbread and a true love of the modern-day smartphone interface.

At the time of writing, this Android stuff is being used by around 130 million people – and more than 10 billion apps had been downloaded from the Android App Store. So how popular is it now?  Well the ‘Opinions for Hire’ specialists at Gartner say that more than half the smartphones shipping in 2012 will have some form of Android installed. The guy who runs Android/mobile for Google, Andy Rubin, reckons that almost three quarters of a million Android installations are being activated every day (although it’s not clear how many of those will be ‘multiple installs on the same device’, either as upgrades or because the previous version failed to work.

Android through the ages - from the initial development kit to a modern Samsung interface. Not so different, eh?

KitGuru says: So it seems that Microsoft is heading the way of Compaq, Novell and 3Dfx – to become a footnote in the history of computing. While the brand is certain to continue for sometime, its new acquisitions like Skype (and, rumour has it, Blackberry) are much more likely to be ‘all-pervasive’ than a complete operating system that demands almost 100 of your hard earned pounds.

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