September 2011
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Day September 20, 2011

The tell-tale signs suggesting a platform's demise

In the post on OS turning circles, I used the concept of a radius of turning as an analogy for agility. One problem with the analogy is that turning in circles implies a return to a starting point or at least a closing of the loop. The idea is that there is lifecycle repetition. However, in reality, this does not apply to the world of operating systems.

An OS, as a platform, usually has a finite life. It is born, grows and usually reaches a point where it is no longer supported. Sometimes, a new platform is born to take its place from the original owner but more often a replacement comes from a new challenger company.

So rather than circles, the analogy of OS lifetimes may be more accurate.

If we do think of platforms as finite, then the natural question is what causes an end? We need to look for patterns which may indicate when a platform is reaching end of life.

The difference in this analysis is that the measure of “age” of a platform I use is not time per se but versioning. The logic is that each major version is a meaningful and significant improvement in a platform which needs to be delineated, marketed and celebrated. It embodies the business logic as well as the engineering logic of the platform custodian.

Taking the data from the last post I added a few more platforms: Symbian[1], PalmOS and Blackberry OS[2] to seek out patterns. I also separated the desktop/portable OS’s from Mobile OS’s and plotted these version-demarcated lifespans.

One thing to observe is