Thursday, February 01, 2007

A Nasty Prediction

Vero Beach

This is off topic, but I can't resist it.

This is pure speculation. I notice that experts seem to be increasingly concerned with zombie PCs on the web and all the damage that they can do. There will come a day when an injured party sues the zombie's host ISP (Internet Service Provider) claiming negligence. A natural reaction to that could be for the ISP to insist that its PC customers use the most hacker resistant, yet ubiquitous OS around -- namely Windows Vista.

I can hear the screams of anger now from millions of users who don't want to switch and who think that their existing PCs are fine for many years to come. The reality is that very few of them would stop using the net or even switch ISPs because of their anger. Most would probably grumble, then switch to Vista.

Hardware and third party software vendors and congressmen would back the ISPs because it would trigger the biggest orgy of computer and software upgrades since Y2K. It would create a surge of thousands of jobs.

The security debate to be acted out before congressional committees would be entertaining. We would pit antimonoculturalists on one side versus the ban-those-Win95-skeletons proponents on the other side. Both sides have valid concerns.

Could a major ISP successfully refuse Mac and Linux customers? I see no legal impediment. They can argue security and simplified support as their motives. Once again, most aggrieved Mac and Linux customers would scream, but they would rather switch than go back to dial-up. Therefore, relatively few customers would actually defect.

I hate bringing up such an ugly speculation. I can see the flames coming my way now. But, the simplicity and rationality of a Vista-only future from the point of view of the ISPs and others seems too powerful to ignore. Perhaps the question should be, what would stop it from happening?

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