Holy cow, I wrote a book!
But that time is not yet here.
You see, folks over in the Setup and Deployment
group have gone and visited companies around the world,
learned how they use Windows in their businesses, and one
thing keeps showing up, as it relates to these compatibility
Companies still rely on them. Heavily.
Every company has its own collection of
Line of Business (LOB) applications.
These are programs that the company uses for its
programs the company simply cannot live without.
For example, at Microsoft two of our critical LOB
applications are our defect tracking system and
our source control system.
And like Microsoft's defect tracking system and
source control system,
many of the LOB applications at major corporations
are not commercial-available software;
they are internally-developed software,
tailored to the way that company works,
and treated as trade secrets.
At a financial services company,
the trend analysis and prediction software
is what makes the company different from all its
The LOB application is the deal-breaker.
If a Windows upgrade breaks a LOB application,
it's game over. No upgrade.
No company is going to lose a program that
is critical to their business.
And it happens that a lot of these LOB applications
are 16-bit programs. Some are DOS.
Some are 16-bit Windows programs written in some
ancient version of Visual Basic.
"Well, tell them to port the programs to Win32."
Easier said than done.
Perhaps with a big enough carrot, these companies could
be convinced to undertake the effort (and risk!) of porting
(or in the case of lost source code and/or expertise,
rewriting from scratch)
their LOB applications.
But it'll have to be a really big carrot.
Real example: Just this past weekend I was visiting a friend who
lived in a very nice, professionally-managed apartment complex.
We had occasion to go to the office,
and I caught a glimpse of their computer screen.
The operating system was Windows XP.
And the program they were running to do their apartment management?
It was running in a DOS box.