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Why Microsoft Windows is still relevant - The Goal of a consumer desktop operating system

Reading time: 3 Minutes


In my opinion, the goal of the Operating System is to be a great environment for apps to be used.

Ways the goal is achieved#

  • Provide as many APIs as possibly to enable apps to perform task needed to solve a user's problem. For example
  • Create a consistent visual design so that app developers are aware of constraints they should apply in their designs.

Windows has many apps partially because it has been around for over 30 years. In that time, APIs for it have been released such as the Win32 APIs among others.

The older APIs such as the Win32 ones have decades of updates added to them and and resources available for them (tutorials, documentation, etc).

The maturity of the older APIs, lead to many apps being released in past and more native Windows apps being released to this day with using these same APIs.

This is because the maturity of the older APIs enable developers to add powerful features in their apps and the resources available make these powerful APIs easy to learn.

Having a large amount of apps created for your operating system, increases the change of an application being available which solves a user's specific problem.


Focus on the apps#

The apps are the main attraction for users to use your operating system.

I believe that if you keep this in mind while developing your operating system(s) you'll naturally create on that will eventually became popular!

Design Plays a Part To An Extent#

Apple being arguably more aesthetically pleasing OS than Windows, which helps them sell premium products. While Apple has ~15% of Desktop Operating System Marketshare (as of 2023) (provide link to statista statstics), when you see from the perspective that only Apple create macOS devices and that those devices are sold at premium prices, 15% is better than it looks, especially for Apple when you consider profits.

However, if when we consider the macro, where design really matters is when it comes to the user experience. One of the biggest reasons for Windows 8 flopping is it having a drastically different experience compared to previous versions of Windows which was considered both clunky to use with a mouse and keyboard, and unintuitive to use with touch screens. As long as you prioritise a consistent user experience over aesthetics, you will avoiding releasing another Windows 8.

This is my opinion.