Why fix what isn't broken?

Over the years, I’ve become a believer in Why fix what isn’t broken? – especially when it comes to my Operating System. Scoble speaks of thousands of new managed APIs that will be Longhorn only as an incentive. But how many of those APIs will any normal consumer care about? How much value will that subset provide? And most importantly, how much value will the consumer perceive?.

Between increasing OS hardware requirements and decreasing hardware costs, I suspect that most consumers run the OS originally installed on their computer. They’ve never really shopped for an OS, they don’t understand their relative values and they’re not receptive to direct appeals for an OS upgrade.

Historically, the developer community has been responsible for justifying OS upgrades – by requiring the hardware of a new computer and/or the software of a new OS. I think that Longhorn is going to pose an interesting question to the developers: move to Longhorn APIs and concede the common framework market, stay on a common framework and concede part of the Longhorn market, or actively develop in both markets.

It’s a momentum play. If you think the market will embrace Longhorn, then you can concede the rest of the market. But if Longhorn adoption drags out, then you need to hedge your bet. Given the current rate of XP adoption, I think that staying on a common framework is going to look very attractive.