I never imagined featuring a Microsoft operating system in this blog as an "alternative OS." However, the company's research arm recently released an academic, proof-of-concept OS on Codeplex. Singularity is a "think piece," says CIO Weblog's Scott Wilson, that "is not intended as a Windows 7 precursor."
He notes that ZDNet's Larry Dignan has called the release "a cry for help" and agrees that Microsoft needs to start anew in the operating system space -- especially given the continuing growth of software-as-a-service and cloud computing. Wilson says:
Microsoft needs something new, dependable, and lightweight to offer the market... In order to continue to sell operating systems, Microsoft needs to both make them more secure and less costly to produce
IT Business Edge blogger Rob Enderle voiced much the same sentiment this week
So, to the question of whether Microsoft can create a new OS: I don't think it can afford not to. This may be a revolutionary thought, but it should make the effort to map the new product(s) to what the market indicates it wants.
He suggests it will take an angel from the heavens with a flaming sword to make the company actually do what it needs to do. Wilson and Dignan seem skeptical of Microsoft's ability to make the change as well, but they don't go quite that far.
Enderle also points out that starting over with Singularity would be better for Microsoft than the ongoing litigation involving Windows -- not to mention the continuing antitrust investigations in the EU.
So maybe Microsoft doesn't need heavenly help. Maybe a shove or two from regulators and the courts will be enough.