Why Microsoft doesn’t need Windows anymore

It was a crazy idea, really: one operating system that would run on a zillion different hardware combinations. Yet Windows turned out to be the foundation of Microsoft’s incredibly dominant empire.

But there were problems with Windows from the beginning. It was mainly the responsibility of the hardware vendor to build a system that was Windows-compatible, but then there were updates, drivers, service packs, new versions … and decades later we’re still dealing with the compatibility mess InfoWorld’s Woody Leonhard reports on day after day.

I’ve always been amazed at Microsoft’s stamina. As a Microsoft marketing exec once asked me, right before Windows Vista shipped: “Do you have any idea what it looks like to test the compatibility of 600 printers in one big room?”

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