Windows 8 marks the beginning of the end for WinNT

Windows 8 is making some big changes in the tech world according to Gartner. The analyst house has said that Microsoft’s new baby marks the beginning of the new WinRT -Windows Runtime- computing era and the beginning of the end for WinNT. 

According to Gartner, the combination of the WinRT programming model, a new user interface , and legacy WinNT support will allow users to continue running their Win32 programs alongside new WinRT apps.

WinRT is a new platform designed to keep Microsoft in the money by keeping it relevant in a future that would ultimately be dominated by mobile devices.

It is predicted that Microsoft will position WinRT as its strategic platform for new development.

However, Gartner pointed out that most users will continue to run Win32 applications for 10 or more years.

Michael Silver, vice president and analyst at Gartner said the new OS would respond to market demands and competition as it provided a common interface and programming API set from phones to servers.

He added that it was also the beginning of the end of Win32 applications on the desktop.

“Microsoft will continue to support Win32, but it will encourage developers to write more manageable and engaging applications using WinRT,” he said.

Although Gartner said it expected the Windows Desktop and legacy Windows applications would slowly fall in terms of importance in the future Window client releases, it said that this would be a slow road, with many businesses taking years to move their applications to the new model.

Steve Kleynhans, vice president for client and mobile computing, said: “Windows 8 is more than a major upgrade to Windows – it’s a technology shift.”

He said Gartner did not see technology shifts very often and the only other one Microsoft’s client OS had gone through was the move from DOS technology to Windows NT technology. This began in 1993 and took eight years, ending with the introduction of Windows XP in 2001.

While Microsoft is not forcing anyone to eliminate Win32 applications or preventing developers from writing them, Gartner believes that Win32 and the Windows Desktop will become less strategic over time.

It said most business users who adopt Windows 8 through to 2015 will spend most of their time in the desktop running Win32 applications and the desktop browser.

However, by 2020 there should be a shift with enterprise end users spending less than 10 percent of their time in Win32 applications.

Eventually, most Win32 desktop applications will likely be run using server-based computing (SBC) or from hosted virtual desktops.