In a surprise announcement today, Microsoft President
Steve Ballmer revealed that the Redmond based company
will allow computer resellers and end-users to customize
the appearance of the Blue Screen of Death (abbreviated
BSOD), the screen that displays when the Windows
operating system crashes.
The move comes as the result of numerous focus groups and customer surveys done by Microsoft. Thousands of Microsoft customers were asked, "What do you spend the most time doing on your computer?" A surprising number of respondents said, "Staring at a Blue Screen of Death". At 54 percent, it was the top answer, beating the second place answer "Downloading Pornography" by an easy 12 points.
"We immediately recognized this as a great opportunity for ourselves, our channel partners, and especially our customers." explained the excited Ballmer to a room full of reporters.
Immense video displays were used to show images of the new customizable BSOD screen side-by-side with the older static version. Users can select from a collection of "BSOD Themes", allowing them to instead have a Mauve Screen of Death or even a Paisley Screen of Death. Graphics and multimedia content can now be incorporated into the screen, making the BSOD the perfect conduit for delivering product information and entertainment to Windows users.
The Blue Screen of Death is by far the most recognized feature of the Windows (tm) operating system, and as a result, Microsoft has historically insisted on total control over its look-and-feel. This recent departure from that policy reflects Microsoft's recognition of the Windows desktop itself as the "ultimate information portal." By default, the new BSOD will be configured to show a random selection of Microsoft product information whenever the system crashes. Microsoft channel partners can negotiate with Microsoft for the right to customize the BSOD on systems they ship. Major computer resellers such as Compaq, Gateway, and Dell are already lining up for premier placement on the new and improved BSOD.
Balmer concluded by getting a dig in against the Open Source community. "This just goes to show that Microsoft continues to innovate at a much faster pace than open source. I have yet to see any evidence that Linux or OpenBSD even have a BSOD, let alone a customizable one."