10 October 2008

Operating systems are merely hygeine factors ...

Many people in the ICT industry don't seem to realise that operating systems are not drivers of customer delight. PC operating systems - like Windows XP or Vista, MacOS, or Linux - are mere hygiene factors.

Management theory tells us that hygiene factors, while important, are not drivers of increased satisfaction. That is, we notice if they are not present but they do not increase our satisfaction when they are there.

Thus while an operating system does a number of important things for the computer user, at its best we don't notice it at all. And we certainly don't want to have to keep upgrading our operating systems for no good reason.

That is why I just don't get vendors trying to sell me an operating system in the 21st century. Yes it enables me to do a bunch of stuff, but it does not actually do any of the stuff itself. Selling an operating system seems a bit like trying to sell a car by selling a chassis & then trying to sell me the rest of the car.

With Linux we see an operating system that is free of up-front costs yet expensive in terms of effort for the average computer user. With Windows we see an operating system that is trying to win our affection & expenditure against Apple which is selling a ease of use.

All this is happening in the context of cloud computing where Larry Ellison's old idea of the network PC is being resurrected especially in relation to mobile phones. With mobile phones most people don't even realise their phone comes with an operating system.

Of these approaches it feels like Apple are taking a more customer satisfaction driven approach. Not sure where this leaves Windows and Linux? Perhaps this video holds some truth?

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire


Anonymous said...

until the OS fails... Which is where z/OS, *NIX, OS/X have an edge of course :-)

Anonymous said...

You're right Kate - but some people take hygeine very seriously, while others are very serious about not taking it seriously.

A non-techie friend recently called me bitching (can I say that on your blog...) about having to switch to a mac in her new job - within about a month (time it takes to figure out where the different icons are) she was a total convert - to the point where she now raves to anyone who'll listen about why macs are better and shoul be adopted by all schools.

And well, we all know what the linux mob are like.

In the cloud of course none of this will matter anymore.

John said...

My linux has 2275 unique nothings.