Ever wondered about what PCs and technology as a whole would be like if Microsoft's Windows didn't exist? We have. Here's our vision of a life without Windows.

If you listen to the free open source software crowd, the demise of Windows - and by extension, Microsoft's hegemony over the PC universe - would signal a kind of rebirth for information technology.

Software would finally be free of the corporate shackles that have stifled innovation and dragged down the best and brightest among us.

Such thinking is naïve, at best. Rather than freeing IT, the demise of Microsoft would plunge the industry into an apocalyptic tailspin of biblical proportions - no visions of hippie utopia here.

The withdrawal of the Redmond giant's steady hand would cause today's computing landscape to tear itself apart at the seams, creating application and device incompatibility and interoperability.

And don't believe that the web will somehow mitigate the impact of Windows' demise.

Although Google talks a good story about supplanting traditional compute models with a web-centric paradigm, the truth is that the folks from Mountain View are no less sinister when it comes to grandiose plans for world domination.

If anything, the rise of Google - or any dominant cloud-computing player - should be perceived as a potential threat to IT independence.

As the saying goes, never put all your IT eggs into a single vendor's basket.

But come, let us ponder together the implications of a world without that shiny, four-coloured Windows logo.

A world where standards are fleeting and where creativity and innovation have run amok. Here, I present my vision of life after Windows.

NEXT PAGE: Client applications: kiss consistency good-by

  1. We look at what'll happen to tech if Microsoft dies
  2. Client applications: kiss consistency good-bye
  3. Developer tools: Bloody purges and API turf wars will shape the new standards
  4. Hardware ecosystem: Chaos until a new overlord rises
  5. Abandon all hope?