I have to admit that this story had me confused, but I confuse easily. Microsoft stopped selling XP on June 30th, most people that I know, and are in the know, seem to think this is a last ditch attempt to drag people ‘kicking and screaming’ into the world of Windows Vista. Vista has been about as well accepted as the dreadful world of Windows ME, and DOS 4. In other words “it’s a dog”. You know it must be bad when manufacturers are offing ‘down grade’ options.

Microsoft ‘crows’ about the number of copies of Vista it has out in the wild. But not too many people are lauding it. Even their loose partner in crime Intel, have made it fairly clear that there is no Vista in their future.

The corporate world seems to be rumbling and grumbling about skipping Vista and waiting for the next re-invention, currently called Windows 7, and rumored to be annoying you, and a computer near you in 2009.

So whats so great about Windows 3.11? Well it was a turning point for Microsoft. They had been touting Windows for years. If my memory serves me right, Bill decided to leap into the world of GUI (Graphical User Interface) in 1982, he also claimed that he would have a product on the shelf within 6 months. Those 6 months passed, and it 18 months later, and grossly over budget that the world met Windows version 1, and the world laughed. It was a huge failure.

The big turn around came with Windows 3.11, suddenly Windows was not just a joke, it could talk to other computers. This revolutionized the way companies worked. Suddenly computers became a whole lot more useful than being glorified word processors.

Even more importantly was the world of embedded systems. For more years than I can remember, the world had relied on some pretty simplistic logic chips for controlling automation. Embedded windows suddenly opened up new vistas, Windows 3.11 with its networking ability was the boon that manufacturers needed. Cheap, cheerful, and relatively stable, this was a Wintel (Windows/Intel) solution that offered a much more flexible platform than previous.

So, 15 years after the launch, Microsoft is finally calling it day with Windows 3.11, as of December 8, you will not be able to pick up this little gem. XP on the other hand managed only a 7 year life span. It makes you wonder.

Simon Barrett


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