or, What I’d do if I were Microsoft.

I was looking at Seagate’s new 4TB drive, which is supported out of the box by OS X and Linux, but to use it with Windows, your version of Windows must:

  1. support the GUID Partition Table.
  2. support EFI.
  3. be a 64-bit version of Windows.
Why does the PC industry complicate things so much? Why should even a geek like me have to learn all this arcana just to use a damn external disk to store their stuff?

Apple, for instance, hasn’t shipped a 32-bit CPU in years (excluding iOS, obviously). Is there anything the PC industry can learn from Apple?

Which doesn’t mean as cutting-edge and expensive as Apple, but not as trailing edge as it is today. We’re not talking about putting Thunderbolt ports in all laptops; just about removing VGA ports. If a newer generation of technology isn’t more expensive than the previous one, or is only more expensive by less than a dollar (excluding economies of scale), get OEMs to adopt it. How? By charging $50 per Windows license on the older generation of hardware.

Give OEMs a couple of years to adopt newer generation technology. Don’t force them to adopt new technology immediately, since it raises costs, but make sure they do so at least after two years. For example, there’s no excuse to use BIOS anymore — Apple has been using EFI for some 5 years now.

So charge OEMs a $50 penalty for using older generation hardware, and pay that money back to them as free Windows licenses for better hardware. Here’s a partial list of technology Microsoft should penalize OEMs for shipping:
  1. A 32-bit version of Windows (offer all 32-bit Windows users a free upgrade to 64-bit Windows).
  2. BIOS rather than EFI.
  3. a VGA port, unless there’s also a DisplayPort (or HDMI or DVI or Thunderbolt) port that supports the same or higher resolution.
  4. a 100mbps or slower Ethernet port
  5. 802.11b/g rather than n
(I’m sure we can come up with other examples.)

Similarly, require that apps distributed using the Windows Store must:
  1. fully support ARM
  2. fully support 64-bit Windows, if they support x86.
It will be interesting if Microsoft uses its power in PC market to simplify and improve things overall for users.