Microsoft Windows was a fact of life for an entire generation raised on the PC. But we live in a different world now, and perhaps nothing underscores how much that world has changed more than the fact that the version of Windows that Microsoft is getting ready to launch this year is its most important product launch in decades.
It has been 17 years since the general public was genuinely excited by a new version of Windows: people actually lined up to buy Windows 95 like it was the iPhone or something. Years of meandering followed: Windows ME was a joke, Windows XP was an updated but essentially similar experience to Windows 95, Windows Vista was an attempt to correct XP’s security issues but turned into a joke of its own, and Windows 7 was what Vista should have been yet failed to inspire. In the meantime, Apple and Google captured the attention of software developers and the public with mobile computers built around iOS and Android.