Microsoft’s Jim Allchin is out plugging "Longhorn," even though the OS isn’t expected to be released for more than another year. Apparently, not content to copy features from the Mac OS and Linux, the new MS mantra ("It just works") is also borrowed from Apple’s ad campaigns.
In the Fortune piece, Allchin brags to David Kirkpatrick about Longhorn automatically defragging your hard drive, a practice I’d forgotten about since switching to Linux as my main OS in 1999. He also brags that longhorn will display a preview of a document in the icon, something that already works for many document types in Nautilus (the GNOME file manager) and others. He boasts about new versions of Windows running on 64-bit chips, but Windows is the slow kid in the classroom on that as well — Linux has done 64-bit on x86 chips for years now, and Solaris and Mac OS X (to name just a few) have already beat Windows to the punch there as well.
Charles Cooper points out why Longhorn matters, though not in a good way for Microsoft. Basically, Allchin and company are trying to stall for time. As the world eyes Mac OS X and Linux, Microsoft is trying to keep up the hype until they can push Longhorn out the door. It’s a standard Microsoft tactic — when the competitors are releasing software that does what people want now promise something better later in the hopes of keeping customers onboard. Granted, Microsoft has inertia on its side, so it’s unlikely that Longhorn could be an Itanium-style disaster for Microsoft — but, if Microsoft doesn’t deliver, on time, it will have some negative consequences for the company.
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