Betting the Company on Windows 8

I'd argue that the last truly revolutionary version of Windows was Windows 95. In the subsequent 17 years, we've seen a stream of mostly minor and often inconsequential design changes in Windows – at its core, you've got the same old stuff: a start menu, a desktop with icons, taskbar at the bottom, overlapping windows, toolbars, and pull-down menus.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at:

Best part of Win8 is that we can deliver line-of-business apps to corporate clients so it will be much, much, much more than just-another-Facebook-machine.

I was successfully running the Consumer Preview on a desktop PC and then upgraded to the Release preview, which completely hosed my machine and caused me to waste a full day messing with it until I went back to Windows 7. YMMV.

All the nice improvements under the hood amount to nothing when the user interface is simply a mess.

Take the Metro IE for example. It has absolutely no intuitive way to figure out how to use tabs, how to split the view to desktop and Metro (which for some reason can’t even be resized to anything but useless 1/4 or 3/4 sizes) etc. You just have to stumble upon the features by accident and even after that they’re not that great to use.

Likewise the “Charms” bar has strange things like redundant features - running in a virtual machine, Brightness wasn’t available. Brightness wouldn’t be available on most desktops either I guess so why does the icon stay there? Likewise it often says you can’t share things from the Desktop and even when sharing is possible, the options aren’t exactly thrilling. Then there’s still like 3 different control panels…Win8 is simply full of amateur hour UI design possibly by a committee.

Basically there is nothing to make the desktop user want to upgrade and for the tablet user Android and iOS provide a better overall experience because they’re designed for touch input from the ground up, not this hybrid. I’m willing to bet Win8 will be a huge flop. Hopefully they’ll listen to their userbase after that because nobody asked for a tablet OS from MS.

The Surface may end up being good hardware, but people will still prefer the software in iOS/Android because it’s more user friendly. Depending on what it runs on, it might end up as a great “root it and cram in your favorite Android version” platform.

I certainly applaud their effort, and would also be cautiously optimistic if it weren’t for the lingering feeling that this is (like Bing, Silverlight, and Windows Phone) another desperate attempt to justify being the last one at the party.

And I think you forgot something … Windows ME. If that’s not innovation, I don’t know what is!!

All right, im sold :slight_smile:
I’ve been postponing my first experience with Windows 8 but I think its about time I tried it out.
Thanks for your insight Jeff.

“Even if only used as a glorified Start Menu, the Metro interface works surprisingly well – just start typing and match what you want to launch.”

When you compare this to the Windows 7 Start Menu, it seems you need some extra clicks to locate what you have found.

I’ve rather enjoyed Windows 8, to the shocked horror of my friends and family. I use the “hit [Win] and start typing” approach to Start Menu usage, so the Metro flow for finding and running an app presented no obstacle for me. Those live tiles keep me quite entertained, as a matter of fact. Once the multi-touch drivers and some third party apps catch up, I could see Windows 8 being a downright pleasant experience!

The reason for “the super hard totally incompatible iOS/OSX divide in Apple land” is that touch interfaces are necessary on portable computers (phones, tablets): no one is going to lug around a keyboard and mouse with them. Touch interfaces are also handy for things like ATM’s and cash register where you use the interface for a couple minutes at a time.

But NO ONE is going to use a touch screen on their desktop if they work on it for hours at a time. NO ONE. I know Tom Cruise wowed us in Minority Report flailing his arms at the big futuristic touch screen, but your arms wouldn’t last 10 minutes if you had to hold them up to touch the screen on your desk all day.

MS is really muddling two completely different computing use cases: portable devices where the only practical input method is touch, seeing as the thing is already in your hands, and computers on your desk that have to be operated with keyboard/mouse.

First positive thing I’ve read about Windows 8, and I’m glad to hear it. I’ll have to give it another shot. I installed the preview edition on a Dell Touchscreen pc, and wasn’t very impressed despite the focus on touch. The Surface tablet, though… I want very much. (But, only the PRO model that can run anything.)

The only thing missing is Chrome for Metro.

Windows 8 is a solution in search of a problem.

The fact that MS is trying to mix desktop and mobile UI’s shows that they do not know what they are doing or why.

Perhaps they are sick of following Apple and KDE but they don’t know what to do so they are throwing as much shit at the wall to see if anything will stick.

8 will go down as a bigger failure than Vista or ME.

The problem is, is it too late? Listen to this interview with AppCentral CEO: We cover the kinds of reactions to Windows 8 that he’s hearing from enterprises (they make a great enterprise app store for all sorts of platforms).

Windows Phone had the same exact kinds of reactions and ended up with 3% market share so far. Why? App developers (the kind that are venture funded, like, which got $200 million in funding and have a billion value) are telling me they are ignoring Windows 8 unless it sells.

We also don’t know the price yet and with a very nice $200 Android tablet out there (the Nexus 7 is pretty freaking awesome for the price) and more coming from Amazon, I think Microsoft really is gonna struggle here and that you might totally change your tune if they don’t get the pricing right.

Also, Windows 8 is so different that many enterprises might totally ignore it for a while, sticking with Windows 7, or “BYOD” (Bring Your Own Device) users will decide to go with the “safer” iOS or Android tablets.

That said, I agree that Microsoft is doing innovative work here, the keyboard is very nice. I just don’t know that’s enough and we don’t know VERY important things, including the price and the initial set of apps.

Gabrielross: I totally disagree with you. I work for hours at a time on my iPad. Even when I have a laptop sitting right next to it. The iPad is far superior for many tasks (like interacting with books, media, typing short emails and Facebook statuses, etc, and even giving presentations with something like Prezi. Use the right tool for the job.

It is funny, you are obviously an MS fanboy, and have proven yourself technically illiterate.

My search for a technically knowledgeable MS fanboy continues.

Does such a creature exist?

Windows 8 works great on my laptop, for me its just a refined windows 7 in that mode.

I think the big change is a few years down the road, I probably won’t own a desktop, laptop and tablet. It will probably just be a tablet that I dock to work in different modes. That is where Windows 8 and onwards will really shine, work at your desk with keyboard and mouse and then just take the tablet with you and carry on with touch.

Amen to the price thing. I’m still on Vista because I absolutely refuse to pay full price on what’s a cosmetic upgrade.

One of the main reasons why I bought iPad was IPS screen. Surface has “ClearType screen”, which in practice I expect to be TN with some cosmetics.

In the keynote, Microsoft said its pricing would be comprable to ultrabooks not tablets, so you would have to imagine it would probably be closer to $1000 than $500 for the iPad or $200 for the nexus7. That price point is not going to help windows8 or the surface tablet.

98 was good, me was bad, xp was good, vista was bad, 7 is good, 8 is …?

I just cannot get to grips with the fact that it’s a PHONE ui intended for use on a desktop. It just won’t work. Also there’s no way it will be picked up in the enterprisey stuff. It doesn’t offer enough new features and all the IT guys think is “more training for the employees…” (yes most of the people who use a computer are utterly stumped if one single thing changes.)

Therefore I think that windows 8 will end up like vista did.