Bravo Analysis: O.S. Platform Generations by Sam C. Chan

First Published:  September 2009
Last Updated:  July 22, 2015

In micro computing history, there has been 5 Eras, and we're just about to enter the 6th. To be exhausively comprehensive about it, there was actually also "Era 0":

Era 0 (1960~1981):  Pre-IBM-PC, pre-Microsoft... all microcomputers were basically just toys--extremely primitive and experimental. All meaningful computing was done with mainframes and minicomputers.

Era 1 (1981~1995):  DOS days. Birth of networking circa 1984~1987). Novell...

Era 2 (1990~1998 ):  Win3.x days. Emergence of multimedia.

Era 3 (1993~2003):  Win4.x Dawn of modern IT. Split into consumer (9x branding) & business/scientific (NT) lines. SBS!  Commerical Internet & broadband.

Era 4 (2000~2014):  Win5.x, Active Directory, MMC, SBS!!  ... Open Source/GNU

Era 5 (2006~?):  Win6.x, SMB 2.0, UAC, virtualization in earnest...  cloud, tablets

Era 6 (2015~?):   Windows 10 & Server 2016. SMB 3.0, pervasive SaaS & VM, Containers...

NOTE: Each era is subdivided into multiple generations with minor overlaps, whereas the eras themselves have major overlaps.

* until the last version release

** until Extended Support phase expires (officially EOL)

Note: While each color block depicts the chronological period, the individual version names within the blocks are not corresponding to the year of release.

Update   APR 4 2014: Terry Myerson from Microsoft confirmed at Build 2014, that the next "wave" (major release) of Windows, known by the codename Threshold, is slated for April 2015. It is still unclear what the final product name would be (rumored to be Windows 9).

Update   OCT 5 2014: The next release is now officially announced as Windows 10, currently in enterprise tech preview, with public beta slated for mid 2015.

Update   JUL 22 2015: Windows 10 "RTM" frozen at build 10240. Still considered 6.x in the chart above. Same architecture, API (with minor addition) & driver model, etc.


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