I'm sorry to do this with a letter but I don't think I can handle seeing you in person. We both know that things haven't been quite right between us these last couple of years. I've noticed that we've been drifting apart for a long time. I haven't spoken with anyone in your family -- Internet Explorer, Outlook, Office -- in ages and have been spending more and more time with Firefox, Thunderbird, and OpenOffice. I was hoping we could work out our differences, but we're beyond that. I hate to end things like this; I just don't think we're compatible anymore.
I thought if we took a trip to Vista we might ignite that spark in our relationship again -- you know, a new setting, a new beginning (remember how exciting it was when we first went from MS-DOS 6 to Windows 3.11?) Don't get me wrong, I really appreciate the effort you're making to win me over. Those scrolling 3-D application windows are really, really cool. You look absolutely fantastic and you're showing me a lot of glitz, but deep down, we still have the same old problems. We can't solve them with a simple makeover; this relationship needs to be more than skin deep.
I know that I'm not perfect, and I don't expect you to be perfect either; but I do expect you to be reliable. I want to be able to count on you and to trust you. It's been about five years since you promised me more security and reliability with your Microsoft Trustworthy Computing Initiative, but we're no more secure now than we were then. I also don't appreciate what you're doing when I'm not around ... Do you think I don't know that you're calling your mother with your Windows Genuine Advantage and talking about my PC behind my back? And when you were confronted by this you got defensive and kept denying that WGA is spyware. I'm sorry, if it looks like a chicken, walks like a chicken, and clucks like a chicken ... it's a chicken.
Who owns my computer anyway? You or me? I want you to stop changing things around without telling me. You're supposed to help me get my job done but you seem to be more concerned with licensing issues than security. I was hoping Vista would be a fresh start for us -- but it's ended up being the last straw. Instead of working things out, you just keep demanding more and more from me: graphics card upgrade, hi-def monitor, and all kinds of additional memory. I'm not made of money... Sorry, I just can't give you what you want.
There's no easy way to say this so I'm just going to come right out with it: I met someone else; her name is Mac OS X Tiger.
If it's any consolation this is not something I planned. A friend introduced me to her MacBook and one thing led to another. But this shouldn't come as a surprise to you. I've always been completely honest with you and never tried to hide our relationship. In fact, I even see now that you're trying to emulate her look and behavior; but you're showing me things that Tiger showed me over a year ago. Be true to yourself.
Tiger and I have so much in common and we're totally in synch. We work with, not against, each other. But you, Windows, you've never communicated with me -- and you're so temperamental. Some mornings you boot right up; others I have to try 2 or 3 times before you come on. I don't want to be mean but you're just too high maintenance for me. Every time we have a disagreement, you turn your cold blue screen at me and I'm left sitting there in silence waiting for you to cool down. I finally came to the realization that I've been keeping you around because I needed you, not because I wanted you -- that's not fair to either of us.
I don't hold any ill-will towards you, Windows. We've been together for a long time. You saw me through college, my first IT job, and now and my freelance career -- but it's time we both move on. Before I go, though, can I offer you some friendly advice? It's time you stop imposing yourself on others by sheer strength of market share and start listening -- I mean really listening. You can't win people over simply because there's no viable alternative for them. Perhaps if you spent more time with those who rely on you and less time with your lawyers (I know those Europeans are really on your case, but you brought it on yourself) we wouldn't be in this situation. If you realize this one day, maybe then we can start talking about "us" again.
Your friend always,
Paul Chin (www.paulchinonline.com) is an IT consultant and a freelance writer. Previously, Paul worked as an intranet and content management specialist in the aerospace and competitive intelligence industries.
This article was first published on Intranet Journal.