In the mid-90s Microsoft was threatened by the emergence of Netscape.
The Netscape Navigator browser garnered a place on 70% of PCs nearly
overnight. In response Microsoft went for the jugular by giving away
their browser free of cost. This effectively "cut off Netscape's air
supply", while simultaneously strong arming PC manufacturers to stop
preloading the Netscape product. Microsoft denied this but Bill Gates
admitted that Navigator could have turned Microsoft Windows into mere
"plumbing". Microsoft was later found guilty of anti-trust violationsin
their battle with Netscape and settled the dispute for $750 million. I
think Microsoft's concerns about developers building browser
applications instead of desktop applications was valid, but a decade
too early. Only now are browsers getting sophisticated enough that
truly web-based programs can compete from a usability standpoint with
their desktop competitors. One of the key advances to make this
possible is the inclusion of AJAX technology in all major web browsers.
Today I'm launching ajaxWindows
- a complete virtual PC you can experience using only a browser from
any web connected computer. If you would like to see it in action,
check out the online demo
or the video.
Remember that everything you see is happening within a web browser. The
web browser functions as both the operating system and engine for all
of the ajaxWindows applications.
When you set up an ajaxWindows
computer you'll have the ability to sync essential data from your
existing computer to create your virtual PC in itís likeness.
Core information like documents, bookmarks, contacts, wallpaper, and
even your music can be copied to your ajaxWindow's computer. This is a
handy way to backup your files even if you're not interested in a
You will also be able to completely customize ajaxWindows.
For instance you can select the default search engine, homepage, and
webmail you prefer. My goal is to have a desktop experience that lets
you combine the best of all net resources into one seamless experience.
To that end, ajaxWindows uses popular online services to store certain
files. For example music files are stored in your MP3tunes Locker, while
documents and other file types are stored in your Gmail account.
(ajaxWindows automatically creates an MP3tunes account and guides you
through the Gmail set up if you donít have an account
Once your ajaxWindows computer
is setup you can access it from any Macintosh, Microsoft or Linux
computer. It runs best with Firefox, but can also run on Internet
Explorer with the addition of an ActiveX plugin. You will experience a
full functioning desktop operating system with the ability to drag
icons around, navigate through folders, customize your menus, and of
course launch applications.
Included in the default ajaxWindows desktop is a rich library of free
applications. There are office type applications that Ajax13 has
authored to open, edit and save Microsoft Office formatted documents.
These include ajaxWrite for Microsoft Word documents and ajaxPresents
for Powerpoint files. There is also a wide range of best-of-the-web
The real advancement here is reshaping the concept of a desktop
operating system and software simultaneously. For some this will be a
bit scary, but this type of web-based, service-oriented model is the
way of the future. We may wake the giant, but weíre ready.
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