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Windows still relevant? Of course it is. Earlier this week I said that even if Windows 8 is a total failure it would still sell hundreds of millions of units (which means expectations on Microsoft are still to sell many hundreds of millions of units if this is a success). That's a long way from not being relevant.

That said, when I visit a place that has concentrated tech passionates together, like at the LIFT conference in Europe, the in Israel, or a hackathon anywhere in the world, you generally see a lot more Macs than Windows.

So, it depends what we say when we say "not relevant."

Look at this node.js hackathon, for instance. Windows was only seen on one laptop:

These are programmers. So, for this group, Windows is largely not relevant.

These folks are the ones who build the future (node.js is being used underneath many of your favorite web apps). So, is Windows relevant for the development of the future of the web? Not really. Is it relevant as a platform for delivery of those apps? Not really either, since those apps run just fine on everything from an Android phone to a Windows desktop.

Talking about relevance gets everyone's emotions rolling. No one wants to be seen as an idiot, so when someone points out that another platform is more relevant it gets everyone's tail feathers all bunched up. Hey, you start saying the Nikon is better than that Canon I just bought I'll do the same, right? Even though the argument really doesn't matter to what makes a great photograph (at one of our photowalks the winner used a cell phone, which schooled us all that it doesn't matter the equipment you use, it matters how you use it).

The same arguments come when you get car enthusiasts together. I've hung out with the auto press more than once and they look down their noses at my Toyota Prius. They'd rather be driving some exotic car, which makes sense.

Same with +Gary Vaynerchuk and the band of wine enthusiasts. I've had wine with Gary and he never reaches for a bottle of Gallo when he has a choice. Why? Even though that's probably what most of us drink at dinner it's not the best if you really care about wine.

So, to wrap it up. Windows IS relevant. It will continue selling hundreds of millions of units, even if it's a "failure." Think about that one for a while.

We'll talk more about this on the Gillmor Gang today at 1 p.m.
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It will be interesting to see how this looks 5 years from now....with Win8 thrown into the mix and rise of mobile computing.
It's absolutely relevant, but it's a lot less relevant than it used to be. Five years ago, 90% of the client devices that accessed the Internet were Windows machines. In 2012 (with the proliferation of smartphones and tablets as Internet devices), that number will be about 50%. That's an unbelievable swing in just half a decade.
"node.js is being used underneath most of your favorite web apps" is absolute rubbish, Mr Scoble.
I definitely think Windows 8 will continue to be relevant. It's just not the only relevant platform anymore. Mobile has taken a fair chunk of relevance away from the desktop, since smartphones do almost everything that normal people wanted to do with their PCs in the first place. But as soon as I get out of my little Seattle high tech bubble, I see a lot fewer smartphones, a lot fewer Macs, and a lot more PCs running Windows.
It would be even better if they sold it around the same pricepoint that Apple does with OS X.
+Kosso K No reason to when you have 77% market share and know people will be buying it at whatever price point.
Great points, here Robert. Ballmer needs to reinvigorate the developer community. He can start by doing the "monkey boy" on stage again. Additionally, they should give away developer tools and even OS licenses to developers. Be aggressive.
Yup. Industry insiders are sometimes out of touch with the outside world. Or have a skewed view of it, ie iPhones are not as densely concentrated outside Silicon Valley.
I don't get excited about Windows anymore because its now a staple.
+Robert Scoble isn't Windows 8 and their phone OS supposed to be very similar look and feel do you think since most companies and such still use Windows that continuity will help bolster WP7 adoption?
" Windows was only seen on one laptop:" Err.... How many photos did you actually look at? There was photo in which quite a few of the computers were Windows based.
+Robert Scoble I think maybe that's the difference between relevance and requirement.

Is it relevant- yeah as you mentioned it's still what a lot of people use. But it's not a requirement so much anymore because apps/programs are starting to become cross platform.
The only thing that can defeat Windows is a Brick. But then you'll have a lot of glass to clean up.
Just because developers don't code on Windows doesn't mean its not relevant to them. When over half of your audience is using Internet Explorer, you better make sure your code works flawlessly on that browser. You could make a strong case that more developers need to keep a Windows box around just to test their code on it.
After checking out win 8 dev and then consumer review, I will be shifting from windows as my base with other OSs in vbs to Linux mint as my base and windows in a vb for special app situations. If adobe would make creative suite programs usable on Linux, windows would be gone from my world.

Seeing ubuntu boot from a phone is what helps me make up my mind.
Currently in our industry (A/E Architecure, Landscape Architecture, Civil Engineering) the capital needed to migrate from Windows to Mac is just not there in light of the present economic climate. Don't see firms outlaying large sums to provide entire offices with new equipment. Another reality factor in the relevance equation...
For business, Windows is still very, very relevent.
Oh, and we just got a Prius ourselves. It may not be the new hotness, but it is a significant improvement over our 1985 Mercedes held together by zip ties, duct tape, and fervent prayer.
I grew up on Windows, finally making the "transition" in 2007 to a Mac. I love Mac, but I also love my now-Windows7 PC. They did a LOT of things right with Windows7, and I've been extremely happy.
I use both Win and OS X. Both great but Win7 on i7 blazes. I'm typing this at LAX. To your point: I look around and see mostly Macs (and iPads) including myself on MBP13. I'm guessing Wintel users don't travel or go to conferences. Mkt share #s still have Apple way under 10%.
1) Most programmers in fact like to use Linux, just because you see someone with a mac, it does not mean that they are running Mac OS. In fact many programmers / developers like to use many operating systems to test their software.
2) Most companies use Windows for day to day operations and this will not change as people especially non-techs are resistant to change.
3) There are still a lot of companies running Windows XP and have not upgraded to Windows 7, so yes Windows is relevant but I guess we will just have to wait and see if Windows 8 will make a decent dent in the market.
Windows may be a bit more relevant to the future of the web than is apparent from today's web, considering its presence in large enterprises like insurance, healthcare and banking. These guys resist platform changes, and are largely treading water at this point, so they're under-represented in the current stats. Most projections call for a large increase in activity in those segments in the next few years.

But if Silicon Valley influencers band together in the interim with the right journalistic bias, we might finally kill off Redmond. Remember, only You can prevent Windows. :)
+Robert Scoble I'll have to take your word for it as it's not possible to see from the photos. Though in my opinion, running Linux or Windows is better than a Mac. There isn't really much different between Linux and Mac when you get down to the basics, they're both based on Unix; I suppose the only major difference is that Mac has a pretty GUI and is closed as opposed to open.

If I remember correctly too, Steve Jobs was the one shouting off about Mac being for the developer but in reality, the developers are the ones getting shoved into a corner and told what they will and won't be getting because Apple always has to have its way in regards to well... everything. At least if you develop something for Linux or Windows, you have some leverage over it. So, Yes, I'd say that Windows is still relevant.

Not that its anything huge, but looking at Windows 8 and the Metro UI, I'm actually considering developing my first "app/program". I love the new Windows 8 interface.
Windows is relevant yes, as they have several products out there that dominate the market share.

Looking at the graph on the site provided it shows a large portion of market share is owned by Windows 7 and Windows XP, looking at Windows Vista though it shows that bringing a poor product to market can really effect it's standings, if they keep producing poor operating systems then in order for them to contain the market they would have to extend the lifetime of both Windows 7 and Windows XP, now this cannot go on forever.

Within 4-6 years if they do not make an Operating System that rivals the success if Windows 7 or or XP then there market share will shrink as people opt-in for an alternative OS that delivers the experience, price tag and demand the consumers want.
+Robert Scoble Mobile is the new front of the same war. I'm not convinced it makes the desktop any less relevant than it has ever been. That being said, Apple has been the only manufacturer throwing up impressive growth figures for PC sales over the past 4 years and is a trend we can expect to continue. If anything, I believe mobile is helping more to blur the lines that distinguish the consumer vs the business. All in all, the reception of Windows 8 is very interesting and highly anticipated over here.
How many of those macs are running windows in a virtual box??

Anyone I know with a Mac uses a windows virtual machine to get actual work done.

Says a lot to me about windows' irrelevance...
A big question is, what's being used on the enterprise desktop? What are governments buying? Answer: Still Windows. (Unfortunately, productivity is hampered in a lot of those places because they won't spend a little to upgrade, and save a lot in the long run.)
+Robert Scoble It would be interesting if you brought up Linux and the recent ubuntu booting on android news of late during today's Gangcast. I think that is news that will heavily effect relevancy of windows. And chrome being used in the state department exposes people to other options outside of the Microsoft realm.
+Robert Scoble Do you have any thoughts on the Consumer Preview itself, and how it works as an OS? I wrote a post about it on my stream that I CC'd you with, though I'm sure you get inundated with mentions.
+Robert Scoble you are right. But I have recently found myself wondering how I can eliminate Windows (and Office) from my life. Seems that I don't want them to be relevant any more! Part of the reason is that even after many years with Microsoft products, I find their offerings are a shambles that is too difficult to understand.
I use both Windows and OS X in a fairly closed environment. Apple's hardware is a lot nicer than almost anything you'll find Windows on, but the operating systems themselves? They're pretty equal in terms of what they can do, what they do, and how they do it.
+Robert Scoble Are we talking about Windows vs. Mac OS, or PC vs. Mac?" Lots of techies like building their own machines, myself included. AFAIK, that's not really possible with Macs?
+Robert Scoble Thanks! The original statement couldn't have been true for any framework, unless one had a very limited and specific set of favourite apps. :)
+Robert Scoble Slight clarification might be needed for "whenever you find a group of tech passionates you find mostly Mac users."

While I think that's sort of true, the clarification needed is "tech passionates with money." In the budget-constrained tech circles I travel, it's more along the lines of "look what I just installed Linux on!"
If you are a programmer you are likely to need a device you can use to develop for as many platforms as possible. If Apple's OS was easy to get on a non Apple laptop you would likely see more laptops from other vendors. The best thing that happened to Apple was a bunch of hackers immediately undermining the companies attempts and core instincts to lock their Intel based PCs and laptops out of dual booting Windows. The moment they conceded and decided to double down on it and make it a promoted feature they unleashed the power of the platform for development. Artificial restrictions of having to have a Mac to develop iOS applications likely also has plenty to do with it.
Add another Prius owner to the list. Love it. Former Audi "Check Engine" Light A6.
I feel this is a turning point for Microsoft... Windows specifically.
Never before has there been so much out there that threatens to make Windows irrelevant. Linux distros, Apple, mobile... everything is converging and progressing faster than ever before and now... we have options.
Either Microsoft will keep ahead, or they'll keep up.... or they'll fall behind.
Windows 8 is what will determine which.
I use a laptop at work, and on the go, but for home, a laptop is simply not an option, nor will it likely be ever again. Retail machines either don't have the power I need, or cost way too much. (Or in the case of Apple, cost ridiculously way too much... people stopped buying $8000 computers twenty years ago, but Apple hasn't figured that out.)
+Mark Holmes Honestly, it doesn't just have plenty to do with it. Mac OS being a requirement of developing for iOS is the only reason Mac was revitalized as a valid OS platform. It's a pretty nasty way to do business, it'd be monopolistic, if Apple wasn't failing at being a monopoly so badly. It's like forcing Internet Explorer with Windows. Forcing people to use a Mac to develop iOS.
+Robert Scoble My oldest son is a PFE for Microsoft. Currently, he works with USCENTCOM at MacDill AFB in Tampa supporting their systems. Occasionally, he goes out of town—all over the country, and even overseas (to London this month) to support other MS clients. Primarily he works with Exchange Server, I believe. Based on the little he's told me (I really haven't asked a lot) about the length of contracts, and the number of them he and other PFEs support, Microsoft doesn't have a lot of reason to be concerned.

"Big Iron" may not mean Crays or IBM 360/90s anymore (IBM 360/90—okay, I'm not a young man!), but for heavy-duty computing, an iPad simply isn't going to do the job. Sure, I can see iPads (or other tablets) replacing a some desktop computers and even more laptops. But for distributed computing? Not for a few years, at least.
Windows is, in fact, still relevant... It's what has all the programs to root Android phones... And at times is first to get iPhone jailbreak hacks as well...
+Robert Scoble desktops, not laptops. When I'm coding, it's on a powerful desktop with 2+ large monitors. If you've got a really powerful laptop, with a nice USB keyboard hooked up to it, together with external monitors, etc., the advantages of it being a laptop disappear too :) I understand using laptops at conferences, get togethers, etc., But not for everyday coding.
+Val Schuman One of the things that scares me, is I think Windows 8 may try to obsolesce support for multiple monitors, with it's focus on apps taking up the entire screen and being the only active function.
+Robert Scoble agree with you on this one. A number of companies (including Microsoft) have spent millions on products that never looked like they gained traction. However, the buzz they created, the brand that moved forward and an interest peaked on the next wave of products (just to see if they could pull something off), has done them tremendous good, if they could afford the losses in between and had other cash cows to cover that.

I still remember everyone saying that 10 million iPhones would not amount to much of a dent in the market place. Well, we see how that played out as Apple rolled out improvements and the iPad.
+Robert Scoble For the cost of your cute little MacBook Air, I have one of the most powerful desktops you'll ever find in a home. In my case, I need processing power, and you can't get that from Apple for less than 4 grand.
Windows is relevant because gamers prefer gaming on Windows and games don't exactly run to well on a Mac and there is tons of software that only runs on windows.
Half of my social circle is programmers, and I don't know a single one who has a linux distro runnin g on his laptop.
Is node.js used by anyone in a real business environment (ie where the apps have to actually work)
I don't know a single trading floor runnning Macs. They all run Windows.
Windows may not be sexy, but it offers a wide suite of solid middleware and most of our users are on windows.
+Jared Naude Most Mac users who are gamers are console gamers, from my understanding. I believe first-person shooters should never be played without a mouse and keyboard though. They weren't designed to be played on controllers, and they don't have the same quality of experience. Valve has been adding Mac support to all their games, but yeah, with games like Call of Duty barely bothering to support PC, they'll never see their way onto a Mac.
+Robert Woodley I think they're working hard on the "not sexy" with Metro. I like it a lot, but I have seen some very mixed opinions about it.

Also, there are many tech circles. I have to brace myself anytime I so much as mention Windows to most of my peers. It's Linux or nothing for that batch.
+Robert Scoble So, you went for the BMW (fancy and pretty). I would choose a Toyota (cheap and extremely reliable) every time, without question. Note that BMW users tend to be the sort to replace their car every year or two, and Toyotas... well, my Camry's 16 years old, and still runs like new. So the analogy fits. :)
+Robert Scoble re your comment, what I really want is for Windows to be a feature that I can use when and if I have to eg for legacy tools that are not on any other platform (yet). Surely someone will make this happen
+Robert Scoble You're wrong about "new workflow" in Windows 8. Otherwise, I can't believe that many programmers are still writing stuff in a text editor. Ofr course, you appear to know plenty of programmers who are so stupid that they program on laptops, so maybe they really are that stupid ;-)
+Jack Schofield Notepad is every programmer's number one app. Or an equivalent, I use Notepad++ myself. But text editors are where real programmers play.
I use a text editor for web development. In fact, I bet Evernote banked on us all still using text editors because they are the ONLY thing that has pulled me away from Notepad.
+Robert Scoble The problem I talked about in my stream though, is that the new workflow isn't intuitive. There's no visual clues where doing something will bring up what. There's no clues that the bottom left is the start menu, the right side is the settings, etc. It took me two minutes to figure out how to start a new game in Solitaire after I finished the one before. There were no visual cues whatsoever where that option was.
Microsoft may start out with a great idea, like the Windows 8 revamp... And then do just enough dumb things to screw it all up... ;-)
ChromeOS would work for about 85% of the people I know...
So +Robert Scoble, Windows relevant? Absolutely. The installed base of just short of a bazillion says that's the case. This is not the old Mac vs Windows argument either. This is not a feature comparison. This is not about what nifty tools are available.

I think the bigger question might be about whether in the Cloud-Based future we're all looking at: "is the Operating System relevant?".

Also, my attention was on the changes in Windows 8 and Metro, I always returned to the idea of how we might be going backwards. No, seriously, let me make the argument:

All good, interesting ideas.
It's not only windows. The real migration is from desktop to mobile devices. I hardly see any interesting apps being built for the desktop. Almost all exciting new products I see are for mobile devices, including tablets (mostly iPad).
+James Pakele Because 85% of the people you know don't use iTunes, don't play games, are never out of Internet range, and don't mind paying a premium for a dog-slow system that can't handle Microsoft Office files properly? Feeling quite glad I don't know you! ;-)
I go to technology conferences all the time and I see mostly Windows machines... not sure I agree with the statements made here. Tech reporters and bloggers all seem to be Mac oriented for some reason. Real techies use Linux.
+Kevin Costain I fully agree with you. I think Metro probably will work okay for most users, once Microsoft fixes aforementioned lack of visual cues, that will cause issues for basic users, like hiding all the buttons, options, and menus, and providing no visual clue where to find them. But I don't think they can ever pack the options people like I need into a Metro UI. I honestly might buy extra copies of Windows 7 before Windows 8 is released, unless they do go the same route they went with Windows Vista, where manufacturers continued to pack Windows XP in the box.
+Jake Weisz OK, real men use Notepad++ ... and at least you run it on a system that's going to cripple you by middle age ;-)

By thye way, re +Val Schuman, why do you think multi-monitor support might go away? You can now extend the task bar and wallpaper across muliple monitors, which is an improvement. I can see you might have problems with the home (Metro) screen as the middle one of three (and I only have two so I've not tried it), but I'd expect Microsoft to improve multimonitor support rather than remove it....
+Robert Scoble , all of the conferences are indeed enterprise oriented though not necessarily development focused. I just don't buy the "people who are into technology are mac users" argument... from my standpoint, macs appear often to be symbols of affluence or conspicuous consumption as much as any technology related reason. There are way more folks that are "into technology" that use Windows than Mac... I'm a Linux user, and as much as I'd love Linux to be more popular and mainstream, it just isn't there yet, but if I go to a security conference there are lots of Linux (and BSD) users... why? Because it's a popular platform in that field. For Creative professions, Macs are very popular, and obviously they are more popular than ever for general use... still a small share of the market and I suspect it will remain that way as long as the equipment costs 5 times more than the competition.
Robert, you say Windows Phone will not succeed because it doesn't have apps and people don't want to feel like idiots. Somehow this logic doesn't apply anymore when you talk about macs and osx as a desktop OS. Windows app selection is huge compared to OSX, hence mac users should feel like idiots quite often. And for the record, I'm a macbook and wp7 user.
+Robert Scoble I think you might be speculating, or doing a little wishful thinking because you are an Apple fan. ;) Seriously though were just going to have to wait and see.

Btw thanks for the feedback!!!
+Robert Scoble If you just loaded Windows 7, which version? If it was created months or years ago then obviously it's going to have a lot of catching up to do. Exactly the same thing happens with Mac OS X, with even bigger multiple megabytes of updates. Either way, auto-update is to protect consumers, and people who know enough to be programmers can easily update Windows manually. Or if not, I'm not sure Microsoft is wholly responsible for their ignorance....
I see one thing that keep popping up in this thread: sampling bias.

"This tech savvy group of people only use _ computers." We can go back and forth with companies and conferences that use Windows/iOS/other all day, but this is not reasonable data to be relied upon.

Furthermore, we should avoid creating false dilemmas. I have devices running software from Microsoft, Google, and Apple. Showing growth in the relatively new tablet market and comparing that growth % to a mature desktop market is interesting, but it doesn't justify the conclusion that the trend is "away from desktops." I've never seen data to indicate that the number of desktop PCs in use is declining, even if the market GROWTH is relatively slower (duh?).

Let's pretend that this discussion is about what's actually happening in the world, and not about which OS you like more.
+Robert Scoble , there is a huge difference in price between typical windows computers and apple computers... this cannot be disputed though the difference varies (5X isn't always true). It's an astounding difference... obviously enough people feel that its justifiable expense and that's ok. My point is that some are purchasing Windows PC's because they are inexpensive (like what the Netbook market has become)... just as many Mac users are buying Macs for style or vanity. So some Mac users like the benefits of owning a Mac, and obviouslty there are some... but there are soooo many Mac fanatics who don't even look at specs or features and just assume anything with an Apple logo is great, and not only that superior (it's just not the case). Personally I think the major appeal with Apple right now is that it is viable and it is different (Windows is boring). There aren't too many "killer" apps exclusive to Apple (Final Cut being the primary example of a good app that is exclusive).
+Jack Schofield iTunes is a wretched beast on Windows and not really necessary... Unless you have an iPhone and even that is waning with iOS 5

People play plenty games, it's just through Facebook or Google+ otherwise it's through console or phone or tablet...

Less and less people, most of those I know, and largely because of me, are ditching Office in favor of Google Docs, consumer and business... The only reason they didn't do it earlier is because they weren't aware of Google Docs...

Also, please see Gmail Offline app in the Chrome App Store to get Gmail, Google Docs and Google Calendar working off line just fine...
+Robert Scoble I update both PCs and Macs and I don't think there's that much difference. Just as long as we agree it's absolutely misleading and wrong to compare updating a now-current Mac with updating a copy of Windows that is more than two years old. If you want to do a fair comparison, you should start with Mac OS X v10.6 (Snow Leopard) and then do the following upgrades;
Mac OS X v10.7 (Lion)
Mac OS X v10.8 (Mountain Lion)
On the good side, at least you won't have to change the processor from PowerPC to Intel ;-)
+Robert Scoble I wouldn't put too much stock in that Chart of the Day as a measurement of the trend. It's analogous to trying to determine the feeder creek's contribution share by taking signature measurements from the lake water. Microsoft is facing 'has been' status. What we in 2012 are watching is the initial shift in populist behavior that may become a sea change. Windows may only be relevant until the next big growth spurt in the economy, and that is getting closer by the day.
+Robert Scoble what is vizio entering the market with? laptops? Vizio is a bottom-feeder... there are plenty of other good laptops with excellent feature sets that support multiple monitors. I think every laptop I have owned in the last 10 years has had that ability... the only caveat being that most needed a docking station to do it. Like I said, equating love of mac to passion for technology the the issue for me... it just doesn't wash for me. I use OS X as well... i know it well including it's limitations, quirks and problems as well as what makes it a good product.
What I'm talking about is that people are willing to tolerate the lack of apps if the device is other ways compelling. That's why windows phone will not fail because of fewer apps than iPhone or Android. I bought macbook knowing that I would miss some applications. The other day I was searching for SopCast or TvAnts to see a live streaming sports event, but found out they are not available for mac. I ended up watching a crappy web stream, but I accepted that. I wanted macbook for it's brilliant hardware and style, but it's not without drawbacks.

And what do you mean by an app making it big time? Which of those is not available for windows? Ok, I don't have Instagram on my WP7 phone or windows desktop, but I can easily live without it. Missing Visio on mac is a far more serious issue for me. And there are thousands of small apps created for windows that you don't miss until you need them.
+Robert Scoble But if Windows 8 succeeds in it's goal, and becomes popular, people would have a good reason to move to Windows Phone in the future.
+Mike Cohen +Robert Scoble It's certainly true that most cool stuff is coming out for phones and tablets. That's because there are millions of new users and most of them are pretty gullible: there's money to be made. Indeed, you can make a fortune out of links to web sites, fart apps, and a game like Angry Birds, which would otherwise be the best part of two decades out of date (I played better games on the Amiga).

Whether that will still be the case in the mobile market in 22 years' time is, of course, another matter. I doubt it.
Regarding your issue with updates to Windows 7, I don't trust an OS that doesn't have monthly updates. My Linux servers and Windows servers meet that bar. And after two years, ... yeah, there's a lot of updates.
+Robert Scoble True, but vertical integration, if Win8 is successful might just make Windows Phone that 10x better for Win8 users.

That being said, I have far more faith in Android's future than any other platform today.
+Robert Scoble (We're carrying on two concurrent conversations, lol) The one thing I'm a big fan of about Linux updates, is how gracefully it handles updates without reboot, and that you can pack in OS updates and software updates into one process. Microsoft seems to be very resistant to building in update capability for third party software, but I don't know if they realize how much people would love if they did.
I really hope Win 8 moves away from the "shut down to finish; now don't touch anything for 20 minutes" approach to system updates. Both Linux and OS X are seamless compared to that.
Why does always people considering that if Microsoft release a desktop Os which is close to their mobile device Os, people will only use that ecosystem ? Did every iPhone buyer switched to a Mac ? Do Windows user refuse to use an iPhone because it interface is too far away from the Windows and that there are no Windows app on iOs ? Doe really people think that because it is close platforms, developers will propose good apps on both ? Android have shown that even if it is based on Java language, JEE developers are not mobile apps developers. For W8/WP7/WP8 to grab market shares, they will not only have to share the same number as the desktop system people are running.
+Darko Stankovski A lot of people DID move to Mac after getting iPhone. That's the only reason Apple desktops/laptops are visible on the chart at all.

If people choose to use Bing (Oh God), SkyDrive (I'm sorry), Xbox Live (Bleh), and Office (Meh), all tools integrated deeply with Windows 8, and they want to use those services on the go... an Android isn't going to offer that quality of experience with those tools. Windows Phone will.
A lot of this comes down to what you mean when you talk about "relevance." Apparently to +Robert Scoble "relevance" is what is getting the most news (tech news of course), or being used by the most developers, or sitting next to him at tech centric events in a tech centric geographic. To me, that's the exact opposite of relevant. That's myopic and insular. Here's someone attending tech events populated with tech people talking about tech things. The "relevance" that spurred my initial post was true encompassing relevance. The kind you talk about with your grandma and the iron range worker, the average Bei Jing resident AND the tech enthusiast. And the fact is when you see numbers like those displayed in the graph I originally linked, the "tech elite" are about as "relevant" as your typical Family Guy interlude.

+Robert Scoble makes my point exactly when he continues to talk about the "room full of developers I'm sitting in," or "the plane ride to SXSW." Are the tech elite, Silicon Valley VCs and the rest (regardless of geography) really so blind to the fact that they are just talking themselves in circles. The image it conjures up is of a gaggle of 10 geese standing in a tiny group squawking at themselves amidst a sea of ducks doing something completely different.
+Robert Scoble +Chris Karson Yeah, all those IBM mainframes are soooooo not relevant to the world They only do dumb things like run banks and insurance companies, deliver food to supermarkets, keep planes in the air and other trivial stuff for 495 of America's top 500 companies. This is so not rrelevant it's pathetic. I mean, who cares, dude?

What's far more important is some cute guy sitting in Starbucks with his very expensive but very shiny new toy (made for peanuts by overworked Chinese peasants). Hey, have you seen the new levels for Angry Birds? Look at this cool new app (that is being used to track me behind my back and sell me things). Happy happy world!
+Robert Scoble Don't think so! It's certainly possible to run mainframe-class systems in clouds but it's not common yet. Not even IBM clouds. Either way, the point remains. If you removed all those IBM-based systems overnight, America would collapse. If you removed every iPhone and iPad, it would make no difference at all. Well, there would be a lot fewer dropped phone calls ;-)
Regarding people's discussions of circles of relevant people... I hear a lot of people saying the tech savvy crowd is this or that, but I don't think that's really true. For example:

Tech bloggers and media, you see a lot of Apple talk. But IT, the backbone of most industries, is usually talking either Windows or Linux. Developers, mostly talk Windows, unless they're open source types, then they usually talk Linux instead.

The tech industry is too big to refer to as a homogeneous group, or a single industry anymore. Our IT and Development folks are two completely different departments at my company, and we barely even interact, despite most non-tech people considering us all one department.
Desktop windows is now more relevant than ever - as a crucial part of the windows ecosystem Microsoft is building. Windows 8 will be the vehicle used to deliver Metro UI, Skydrive, Office Wep apps etc. to huge masses. Failure is not an option for Microsoft as their future depends on this. And windows phone is just starting to pick up. There was virtually no marketing before Nokia launched its devices. Here Lumia 800 is the top selling handset for all top three carriers. iPhone dropped to a second place.
Windows will remain relevant for a few reasons: computer cost, gaming, enterprise, and... Apple.

Cost: Last year I bought a Dell XPS for $900. An equivalently specced Mac Pro would have cost at least $2400. Can't put OS X on a dell, so I'm using Windows.

Gaming: Apple might be turning heads with iOS games, but most of those games are what I consider "short-form". Maybe that's a bad term for it, but there are limits to the depth of gameplay that iOS provides (much like consoles). The more "long-form" PC games might be nearing niche status these days, but it's still out there.

Enterprise: Windows does a much better job of providing for enterprise-level interoperability. This is a result of Apple's approach to controlling the whole ecosystem--business and public sector can't afford that level of lock-in.

Apple: The biggest reason I'm using Windows? I don't trust Apple any more. That I trust Microsoft more than Apple is telling. But I don't trust Apple's business model. I don't trust the lengths they go for planned obsolescence. I am also annoyed that their windowing UI hasn't improved in ten years--personally, I think Windows 7 is a much more functional UI than OS X.

The day Google comes out with a full-fledged desktop operating system, or that one of the Linux distros finally polishes their UIs, Windows' days are numbered on my machine. But not until then, and no thanks to Apple.
+Thom Stricklin Well, I definitely agree with you on distrusting Apple's business model, but look now, Windows 8 is showing Microsoft intends to take up the same business model as soon as possible.
+Jake Weisz That is true, although I don't think it will go as well for Microsoft as it did for Apple, so they won't be able to create that level of lock-in. At any rate, I plan on milking my Windows 7 for as long as I possibly can at this point. I've started looking at Ubuntu Unity, Gnome Shell and other options too.
+Thom Stricklin Well, at current announcement, they'll get their 30% cut off ALL Metro apps, because you can't manually install them. As they push Metro, and cripple/eventually remove Desktop... there's your lock-in.
Oh, I understand their strategy--and don't get me wrong, to say that I trust Apple less than Microsoft is not to say that I trust Microsoft, not at all... But I don't think Metro is going to be as sought-after on the desktop as they think.

Also, if they cripple/remove Desktop, they will cripple/remove Enterprise support. Sure, they may try to, but it will be at their own peril.
+Robert Scoble damnit this post is collecting comments like the underside of a couch collecting dust-bunnies!
Windows is very relevant - yes.
It's not cool. It's not good. People don't EXACTLY know why they don't like Windows... but Apple has certainly put a good picture of what people want inside their people are sorta just drifting towards that good picture. Apple built a better wheel! Microsoft's wheel though comes with electrical sockets and cup-holders.
All I'm trying to say is.. for most people.. the concept of a "Computer" is "Microsoft" or "Windows" computer! Workplaces use windows. People are tied to their workplace-work...and thus use windows. I am one of those..and have dealt with the difficulty of handling 2 machines at the same time just coz I wanted to do MY stuff on linux and my WORK stuff happens on Windows there. Ultimately I just gave up my own system because I HAD to have the work stuff with me ANYWAY! I adapted (yeah..backwards..but it was still easier).
Lets not talk about the US or Europe for a bit...
Asia - Windows. The first computer to reach the shores is usually Windows. Everyone knows what it is. Everyone knows how it works. That's kinda stretching it a bit.. but you know what I mean.

About software. We're just STARTING to move to the cloud in a big way. There are TOO MANY domains which still want machines..hardware.. in-house servers.. native applications.. and so on. A good bunch of them use/run/build them on and for Windows. It's just...everywhere!
Healthcare - Windows! (Well I'm speaking US here..coz this part I know). It'll take a good while before you can even utter the word "Cloud" in a hospital and get away with it! It's probably similar in a lot other domains.
So yes... Windows still has a big leeway. They're not in the clear.. they're not moving at a similar pace as..say...Apple... but they just have a huge margin for error right now. I'd say they may have a bit before their grace period runs out... but hopefully they'll come out with a more compelling "Consumer product" before that. Windows Mobile 7 - very promising!!! I'm guessing an app explosion for the mobile may be expected once the desktop moves to Windows 8 - what with the same touch paradigm and similar window manager etc.
Microsoft makes devs comfortable. It's a strange statement ..but.. Visual Studio!!! I've NOT seen a BETTER IDE! I'd lose an arm before I'd give it up!! WHen I started web development.. it was like dragging my fingernails across a board... Where's the IDE? I mean..something as good as VS!!
My comments may or may not apply to most people.. but those are my observations. Microsoft still has a good chance.
+Robert Scoble Windows is relevant in the same way that COBOL is relevant. Some things are just really hard to get rid of ;)
+Jake Weisz , does people start buying Macs because they wanted a unique ecosystem or did Apple gained visibility because of the iPhone success ? Do you have numbers for any of those assumptions ? I do not, but I'll bet on the later.

The availability of the Office Hub and Sharepoint integration was supposed to be the killer feature for WP7 which would open wide the gates of corporate mobile devices shares. How many companies did invested in WP7 ? Why this should be different with Windows tablets, W8 and WP8 ?
And oh..please folks! Apple is MUCH MORE successful than ANYONE else at making the computer into a Consumer device!
Heck.. they're more successful than anyone else at RECOGNIZING what a Consumer Device IS!!!
I think the question is: Will Microsoft changes the World with the upcoming Windows 8, or will they change the world once again in the near future? NO WAY! But if WE want to change the World, we must learn how to touch the hearts of Windows users.
Where Microsoft really shines is behind the scenes licensing agreements with manufacturers, and they were pulling off some really ingenious things in that area ever since they came into existence. The products it produced just needed to be good enough to license to manufacturers. If you ask me, this is what will determine future of Windows on mobile platforms. Not the product itself.
+Aleksandar Milivojevic But now there's a viable alternative, Android, which already has all manufacturers on-board. Are they going to be able to license Windows as effectively when 'licensing' android is free(or insanely cheap, even paying the patent trolls).

And android provides a biggers advantage to manufacturers, it's open so they can change it and differentiate their products.
+Raphael Miranda It depends. They didn't infuse all that money into Nokia because they felt sorry for them. A good portion of consumers doesn't care what OS runs on their phone. As long as it runs something. Apart from iPhone fans, or Android fans, or tech-savvy users. Which, while very loud part of population, is only a small percentage of the market.

The only good argument I see is that this time around Microsoft is entering into arena after the competition already built large ecosystems. Microsoft had a mobile platform out for so many years (like for last 10 years or so, long before there was Android or iOS), but they never really stood behind it back in those days or saw its full potential and mostly ignored it. So, we'll see what will happen.
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Interesting and creative use of the word "relevant." You could have gone to a graphic designer convention in the 90s and declared that Windows was irrelevant... but that didn't make it true.
+Kosso K if Windows updated their OS every year I would agree that they should charge less like OSX. But since Mountain Lion is the 9th version of OSX and Microsoft has had only 4 versions of Windows since 2001, I think it's fair for them to charge more.
I think almost all of your claims regarding relevance centered on Windows' dominance. Of course anything that is dominant is inherently relevant, but if dominance is your only measure for relevance, then I would say OSX is completely irrelevant given that it is still struggling to break 10% market share (depending on whose numbers you use, of course.)

So while the measures you are using for dominance are valid, Mr. Scoble, your definition of relevance seems twisted. Relevance only matters within a community. Almost nothing is equally relevant to everyone. The very unfortunate masses in (name any impoverished area) struggling to meet their basic needs could not care less what operating system Node.js hackers are using.

And I do not care what operating system Node.js hackers are using, because in my community (professional developers) Node.js is perfectly fine for what it is, but it is also effectively irrelevant. Most of us who keep our heads above water believe node is a fad, built around a fundamentally flawed concept, which will mostly pass. In 2-3 years some other flavor of the month will supplant node as the the thing all great hackers should be using. And it too will be perfectly fine, and effectively irrelevant.

Indeed, my blither about node is a tangent - but so was yours. I'm simply pointing out that if you bury your head in a single group of people and try to extrapolate from that small community what is relevant to an entire industry, you do harm to everyone.

P.S. I do web development using Visual Studio in Windows 7 running on a Macbook Pro every day. It's for realz.
To get more developers Microsoft should partner with Lenovo and offer a laptop with ThinkPad quality keyboard, aluminum unibody, and 512 GB SSD with 3 partitions: 1. Windows 7. 2. Ubuntu. 3. A blank partition ready for a Hackintosh install. Also the Windows partition should have Cygwin pre-installed so people can do tri-platform command line fu. :)
The "one graph" or "one %" you see tossed around needs some explanation or at least some more graphs being represented because when you constantly see 60%+ of the people at the airport with their mac out you just can't buy the idea that consumers (not organizations) are that well entrenched with WinXP/Win7.
Dan Gen
For me, Windows is relevant, in that it works well and at a good price. It is too for almost everyone I come across, and hundreds and millions of others also. A few people have fashion computers they want to show off, has some stupid computer logo stickers on their cars, but most people can care less.
Dan Gen
BTW, another Windows related post that blew-up. Put up a Android post, and that'll blow-up too. Shows what most people are into- that's "engagement." Other posts about some other kind of lame computer and phone, meh.. who cares
Windows has a much higher market share than any OS. Selling to 1% of the market will generate much higher profits than selling 1% to non-Windows systems. This is what will keep developers building for Windows first before any other OS.
+Robert Scoble When you are used to the best, it's hard to go back. So I can understand. I'm not a wine expert but I know I like this one :-) [I'm not a member of Gallo family and I haven't any shares or anything].
True, Windows is dominating the PC market, still.
Its true that windows is dominating the market. And will continue to be, even if windows 8 is crap, because many companies give their products preloaded in their systems even if consumers doesn't want it (thus increasing the cost of the laptop by about 40$)!.
+Robert Scoble have you tried using some LINUX destro? LINUX and MAC is almost the same, but seems to be more secure.
I think what Robert meant was that from a modern and innovative point of view Windows is not relevant in a world moving towards mobile. Android and Apple are clearly leading that. Sure windows leads market share, but that doesn't have much impact when those who DO use windows also use Android/iOS.
Dan Gen
I think in a world moving towards mobile, people are still going to have more capable machines in their homes, and companies in their workplaces. Those machines will still be overwhelmingly Windows. I have my Verizon Galaxy Nexus with me when I'm up and about, and also spend alot of time in my favorite chair in front of my big screen Windows XP desktop. My 14-year old son just built a Windows gaming machine, he said his XBox just wasn't good enough. At work, just got XP from 2000, last year. I think Kinect's gesture interface is really modern and innovative, and it's coming in a bigger way to Windows.