21 October 2009


Killing upgrades dead

John Gruber points to this article about PC upgrades by Marco Arment:

The upgrade market for average PC owners is dead. We killed it. [...]

In 1998, when everyone was happily using long filenames and browsing the internet and playing their first MP3s and editing their first scanned photos to email to their relatives, a five-year-old computer couldn't easily do any of these things.

But what common tasks in 2009 can't be accomplished by a 2.8 GHz Pentium 4 PC with Windows XP SP2 and a cable internet connection—the average technology of 2004? Not much that regular people actually do.

That reminded me of something Geoff Duncan wrote at least five years ago, which I can no longer find anywhere online:

Your average PC user doesn't update anything. They just throw the computer away when it stops working and buy a new one, then don't change the software on it either for fear of breaking something.

Things haven't changed much, but we'll see if enough people need new computers in the next little while to give Windows 7 a boost. Microsoft's new operating system comes out this week.

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Exactly, Windows 7 isn't a software upgrade - it's a chance for the industry to push through a reliable hardware upgrade, something they couldn't successfully do with Vista.
The last PC upgrade I did was back in 2005 and I've been running perfectly fine since. Sure, the new software for audio recording / editting starts to complain sooner than it used to, but, if I was using it for general-purpose administrative stuff (email, word, excel, etc...), there really isn't any need for me to upgrade at all. I have no issues with XP at all.

Listening to the gaggle of tech "elite" on TWiT leads you to believe that I (and IT shops out there) are lazy idiots for not updating our hardware and software.

I see technology at a point right now, where improvements in hardware and software are garnering diminishing relative returns in performance and productivity. Unless you're a gamer, video editor, serious audio engineer or some other processor-intensive user, than I don't see much reason to jump on the upgrade bandwagon... well, until Microsoft and other vendors decide to cut support for XP...