<b>Windows 8 and beyond</b>
To succeed another 25 years, Microsoft Windows will have to contend with immediate threats such as Apple's iPad, and long-term trends such as the rise of cloud services that replace some aspects of desktop computing, and virtualization software that could potentially reduce the importance of the operating system. But Microsoft is already planning Windows 8, with a possible release in 2012. Windows 8 will likely be optimized for iPad-like tablets, be portable across devices, include access to an app store, and take advantage of PC advances such as microphones, cameras, GPS, accelerometers, and temperature and magnetic sensors. Facial recognition, anyone? Stay tuned.