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will windows 8 failMicrosoft is trying to make Windows 8 be all things to all people. Or at least all operating systems to all devices. A risky strategy that has rarely, if ever, worked. This is Microsoft reaching for the future with one hand, while trying to drag the old-school stylings of its Windows operating system from the past along for the ride. Can this possibly work, or will Windows 8 fail?

Love it or hate it, Apple has changed the whole tech industry. The genie cannot ever be put back in the bottle. Is Microsoft doing enough to catch up? Or is it, alternatively, doing too much, trying to change the operating system which remains its main source of revenue when millions of people are happy with their non-touch way of working and non-tiled user interface?

Windows 8

will windows 8 fail

Windows 8 What You Can Expect To See In Windows 8 What You Can Expect To See In Windows 8 No sooner had the dust settled over the bumpy transition from Windows Vista to Windows 7, than Microsoft started fueling interest around its upcoming new operating system, codenamed Windows 8, which is expected to be... Read More is going to arrive some time during 2012. It’s just a matter of which quarter Microsoft decides to launch it. It’ll ship around three years after Windows 7. Three years during which Apple and Google have both affected the way we interact with our devices on a fundamental level.

Consider for a moment the world in 2009, when the iPad was still being forged at Apple under Steve Jobs’ controlling eye and Android 2.0 had just been released. At that time Windows did everything required of it, offering an accessible way of using computers with a keyboard and mouse. The iPad changed that, with its dismissal of all external inputs other than your fingers, and Android then exacerbated the trend. Windows was suddenly looking like a dinosaur waiting for the end of the world to arrive.

Microsoft knew it had to do something radical, and the company’s answer was to port the Metro UI from Windows Phone 7 over to Windows 8.

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Metro UI

Microsoft faced a huge dilemma when it came to developing Windows 8. Windows 7 enjoyed a near-perfect launch, managing to move the operating system on from the Vista debacle in the minds of all but the most vehement Windows haters. Windows was set to carry on unhindered and unchanged for many years to come. And then the iPad arrived, and everything changed.

Microsoft itself was the architect of the push to get us all using tablet devices. But its efforts at the turn of the century (dubbed TabletPC) failed to move from being a niche to a mainstream product. Apple got it right first time, producing a truly great product which has eaten into the PC market ever since, and virtually wiped out netbooks as a form factor.

The Metro UI is Microsoft looking to the future, to the post-PC era that Apple is developing. It’s far from perfect, and it has been argued Microsoft has erred Why Microsoft Should Not Be Pushing Their New Metro UI Onto Their Other Products [Opinion] Why Microsoft Should Not Be Pushing Their New Metro UI Onto Their Other Products [Opinion] With the introduction of the Windows Phone platform in 2010, Microsoft unveiled the Metro user interface, designed to make accessing information quick and easy. Rather than litter their new mobile platform with endless rows of... Read More by trying to mutate it to its main OS. You can see for yourself by trying it in VirtualBox Try Out Windows 8 In VirtualBox Right Now For Free Try Out Windows 8 In VirtualBox Right Now For Free Are you curious about Windows 8, the upcoming operating system from Microsoft? Try it out in a virtual machine, right now, for free. All you need to do is download the free ISO file and... Read More , with Windows 8 Beta Simulator Have A Few Laughs & Try The Metro User Interface With Windows 8 Beta Simulator Have A Few Laughs & Try The Metro User Interface With Windows 8 Beta Simulator Windows 8 is fast approaching, expected to arrive sometime in 2012. Not everyone is going to want to download the developer preview version of Windows 8 currently being hawked by Microsoft. Or the Windows 8... Read More , or with Instant Beautiful Browsing.

Windows 7 With a Glossy New Front-End?

The basic structure of Windows 8 is built on top of the current iteration of Windows, Windows 7. As has been true of all versions of Windows that have gone before. As with most operating systems, Windows is in constant evolutionary flux, with each new version meant to improve the UI while providing the tools needed for the present time.

To be fair to Microsoft, Windows 8 is the biggest evolutionary step up since Windows 95. But at least back then it was a battle being fought in just one, rather than multiple, arena(s).

The problem is that the whole computer industry is now changing at a rate of knots. Not in terms of hardware, as was the case for the whole of the 1990s, but in terms of how we relate to the technology and use it merely to access the Internet and all the services it provides. In some respects then, operating systems are becoming irrelevant. Or at the very least not as necessary to impress as was once the case.

Do People Still Want Windows?

The big question is whether people still want Windows. It has spent decades as the first choice operating system for the majority of people, but times are changing, and fast. As mentioned previously we’re now entering into the post-PC era, where mobile devices are becoming the default choice for most people, and capable of doing everything a notebook or desktop can do.

In this scenario, Windows in its present form looks set to lose much of its appeal. If Microsoft doesn’t alter Windows in a radical way then it risks becoming a niche product used by enterprise customers and professionals, but not by the mainstream. It cannot afford to let this happen or it faces a bleak future. With the exception of Office Use Microsoft Office for Free with Microsoft Web Apps Use Microsoft Office for Free with Microsoft Web Apps Read More and Xbox, Microsoft hasn’t got much else beyond Windows to fall back on. Unless Windows Phone can grow beyond the expectations of most analysts.

The question then is whether Microsoft has done too much, too little, or just about the right amount of tinkering in building Windows 8 to go another round.

Looking To The Future

will windows 8 fail

Will Windows 8 fail or succeed? I think we need a third option of “do mildly well but will hardly set the world alight.” Because that’s my honest assessment of how Windows 8 will perform.

Microsoft has done just about enough to stop Windows from becoming completely irrelevant by trying to please everyone, all of the time, but the two-tier way Windows 8 operates risks pleasing no one, none of the time. To stop the rot Microsoft is going to need to exhibit a willingness to change and be fluid in its approach to developing future versions of its key products. In other words, take a leaf out of Apple’s book.

Do you think Windows 8 will be a huge success? Or a massive failure? Or, like me, do you feel Windows 8 is just about good enough to keep Microsoft in the game while the industry changes around it? Personally I’m already looking towards Windows 9.

Image Credits: mynetx, Ceo1O17, backofthenapkin, Esparta, Titanas

  1. Andro
    July 13, 2012 at 3:14 am

    Personally I think Windows 8 will thrive in the tablet and portable market, or where ever a touchscreen will be. From what I've seen it seem to be targeted to the touch screen format instead of the mouse and keyboard. But as far as a non touchscreen computer and just a regular desktop with an LCD monitor I don't think it will do that well. Just my personal opinion.

  2. Maxi3w
    July 3, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    This isn't an intelligent comment....The Win8 Metro whatever it is, is just so ugly and seriously off-putting. Plus whether it will succeed or fail - part of me thinks it will win out in the end, just a gut feeling.

  3. chichi
    July 3, 2012 at 1:28 am

    Windows XP is still the best, we also still use it in our office. Vista, Seven, and Eight should respect the Big Brother XP. ^_^

  4. Shehan Nirmal
    June 5, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    1 point to Windows 8 fail:
    - Needs good hardware to work effectively

    But I think Windows 8 will succeed...!!!

    • sureshgoud
      June 9, 2012 at 3:33 pm

      yes u r absolutely correct it will be succeed......!

  5. Hamranhansenhansen
    May 15, 2012 at 6:08 am

    When they added the Metro interface to Zune, sales went down. When they added the Metro interface to their phone, sales went down.

    I think iPad is too far ahead. Microsoft has not even shipped an ARM PC yet, and Apple is on the 5th version of OS X on ARM. Apple designs their own SoC's, so they put PC-sized GPU's in iPad, whereas Windows tablets will have generic off-the-shelf phone SoC's with tiny phone GPU's. iPad has 11 points of touch, while Windows 8 has 4. If Windows 8 tablets do really well, maybe in 5 years Microsoft would be where Apple is today as far as maturity of the platform, ease of use, apps, hardware support.

    People don't want Windows. Everyone who bought Windows over the past 5 years bought it because it was half the price of a Mac. Now, there is something better than Windows for half the price of a Mac.

    The "consumerization of I-T" is all about bringing an iPod level of ease of use, functionality, low price, and super low administrative overhead to all computing. Microsoft was not even able to match iPods at playing standard MP3/MP4 files. How is Microsoft going to match iPads at the 100,000 more sophisticated things that they do?

    From my experience, I know a lot of people who had Macs before iPad shipped, and those people now have both iPads and Macs, working together. But the people who had Windows when iPad shipped? So many of them have iPads and that is it, now. Especially the ones who were still on XP. They just walked away from XP and did not look back. For them, it is like time traveling from 2001 to 2010 in an instant and they won't go back.

    The thing is, an iPad can run 10 hours per day on batteries, and is so mobile you carry it with you, and many people can end up using it for a full 10 hours every day. That is so much time, you HAVE to love using iPad to do it. And it replaces so many other items (maps, books, PC's) that you again would have to love using it or it would be a chore to replace these other items. Microsoft has never made anything people low to use. You couldn't pay me to use Microsoft 10 hours per day, let alone get me to pay you, and there is no way I'm giving up my iPad for BSOD and viruses and a EULA that absolves Microsoft of all warranties. (You get warranties with OS X because it is covered by the hardware warranty. When Windows fails, it is YOUR responsibility. When OS X fails, it is Apple's. Why would people go back to the Microsoft way?

    I was not amazed that iPad did well, but I was amazed at how many business users jumped on it. I don't see them going back. Same as nobody wants a landline. For 90% of humanity, a mobile phone and mobile PC is all they need. No need for landlines or notebooks or desktops at all.

    • sixela elad
      May 27, 2012 at 11:24 pm

      What a load of Apple fan boy garbage. I just couldn't let Hamranhansenhansen's post be the last on this page of otherwise interesting comments.

      A desktop or laptop can do anything a tablet can do but better. Tablets are toys and marketing gimmicks. I will not be giving up my desktop any time soon as no mobile platform comes close to its performance, storage capabilities or physical comfort to use. I don't want a touch screen because it is not a comfortable or accurate method of control compared to a mouse.

      I recently tried a desktop touchscreen with Win 8 - my arm started aching after a few minutes from holding it out horizontally to touch the screen. I can use a mouse for hours without experiencing pain. Accuracy was also very poor in comparison.

      Personally if Windows 8 was released in it's current form (Consumer Preview) I would not upgrade from Win 7. I think MS have it all wrong... Tablets will not replace laptops and desktops. I don't want an iPad because it offers me nothing over a laptop. In fact I would lose the keyboard, something which is vital to me if typing more than a few words (this post for example).

      If MS want to try to break into the tablet market then good luck to them! All I ask is that they remember to give the desktop user the option of trying out their new UI, or switching it off completely. If the choice is taken away from the end user then I suspect retail and commercial sales will be low.

  6. Kay
    April 25, 2012 at 10:09 am

    What could affect its success is the interface,when you really think about it. Will people get used to the new look and feel of it as easily as they did with the previous versions of Windows or will they just go back to Windows 7? Besides what's the purpose of this new interface? How does it help me?

    • Dave Parrack
      April 29, 2012 at 8:24 pm

      That's a good question. People will have to adapt to it very quickly or Microsoft risks losing more customers to Apple. The purpose of the new interface is to embrace the tablet market, which many feel will be THE market in the near future, replacing laptops and desktops for mainstream consumers. If you're a laptop or desktop Windows user then I'm not sure it will help you at all. In fact it may make your experience a lot worse.

      • Kay
        April 29, 2012 at 9:02 pm

        And that's where they got it wrong. It's going to be a little while before tablets become a computing norm. But I think the new interface will appeal to those desktop kids who just want their computers to look cool above anything else (most of my friends). But oh well, Ballmer will do anything to get richer while neglecting his consumers' experiences. Also...this whole Apple vs Microsoft thing will come to an end soon enough at the hands of some kid I know if they do not stop competing with each other and instead focus on innovation. That kid is me.

        • Hamranhansenhansen
          May 15, 2012 at 6:19 am

          iPad is the best-selling PC since it shipped. There are quarters, it outsells all of HP. It is very much the norm now.

          Most Wintel systems sell for a lower retail price ($400) than iPad ($600) yet the Wintel system costs more to make and much more to support. Therefore, all Wintel manufacturers are going ARM. They are tired of making $10 per PC sold and want to make $110 per tablet sold. At the same time, 75% of Windows systems are purchased to be Web/Office terminals, something iPad already does better and with less training and much lower TCO. So the companies who have been buying 10,000 Dells at a time are looking at 40,000 iPads for the same TCO. And 90% of the high-end PC customers are on Macs. So the Wintel PC as you know it is already gone. The netbook was the last gasp. Microsoft will either start making a successful ARM PC or they will become an applications-only developer again. There is no way to convince an iPad 3 user they need an Intel chip. iPad 3 feels faster than any Windows ever did. The Intel chips cost 10 times as much and require double the cost in support hardware and there is almost no profit in them. That is why Windows is becoming a tablet OS.

  7. David
    April 16, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    I hope it ends up being a success. I like it a lot, having played around with the Consumer Preview for the past few weeks I have gotten use to the metro interface on a desktop. Though I rather use a more traditional desktop environment, and Microsoft was smart enough to include it. My only wish is that in the final product the user would be able to choose between aero and metro. (If this is currently in the Consumer Preview I have yet to discover it.) Metro looks really nice and dare I say, in many ways it looks better than IOS. Also I like the new windows look in the aero format it looks sharper to me and is more soothing to look at.

    Also this is mostly just me guessing but I think that Microsoft is aiming more towards a device like the Transformer Prime than the iPAD. By that I mean devices that are a tablet or laptop but can quickly become the other if the user pleases. While doing so much more smoothly that the Prime since Aero is made for Desktop uses as opposed to android which isn't. That being said the Transformer Prime thus far as done the best job at doing what I think Microsoft is aiming for since unlike the iPAD which despite having keyboard attachments they don't offer the same functionality as the one the Prime has. The Lenovo Ideapad Yoga is some what evidence for this way of thinking since it quickly changes from an ultra book to a tablet or the reverse.
    If done correctly they would have a mobile OS in Windows 8 Metro that works as well as either IOS or Android 4.0 allowing you to use your divide as a tablet. While having a desktop environment that works like Windows 7 with more optimizations in terms of performance. All on one device that will not conflict with itself like I feel my computer does when I run Windows 8 since it is a laptop (MacBook Pro) which despite having multitouch jesters in its main OS it still feels awkward.

    If I have the funds to buy it I most certainly plan on getting windows 8 I firmly believe that it will be a success. Windows 8 and the Wii U are my two most anticipated products of the year. The first because of how different it is and since I think they know what they are doing and aren't going to force Metro down our throats giving the user the option between Aero and Metro in what is their main form of the OS and pratically avoid the other all together.

  8. anont
    April 2, 2012 at 12:37 am

    Win 8 is Going to fail. Not fail like Vista. Fail like Microsoft BOB. Which is essentially what this is. A polished Microsoft BOB with no way to go back to the old, usable UI.

    • Dave Parrack
      April 12, 2012 at 11:18 am

      Woah, that's harsh! Windows 8 may fail, although I'm obviously on the fence for now, but it's no BOB. Funny comparison though :)

  9. Martin
    March 30, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    if you ask me, windows 8 should ship with the microsoft touch mouse. that way, everything would be a little less awkward. for example, the tile interface would be way easier to use sliding left to right with the touch mouse instead scrolling of up and down with a regular mouse. it would feel more like a tablet. or even a trackpad like the magic trackpad.

    • Dave Parrack
      April 12, 2012 at 11:17 am

      That's a great idea. It's a shame you don't work at Microsoft.

  10. robert
    March 8, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    I will vote with my walet that trying to sell me an OS designed for tablets and phones and trying to make me using it on PC is a big and stupid ideea.

     Another fail like Vista incoming for sure. 

     Personally I will remain with Windows 7 . 

    • Dave Parrack
      April 12, 2012 at 11:16 am

      You're one of many who feel this way. Poor Microsoft!

  11. Misterpickles
    February 18, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    I don't think that alienating the dwindling desktop PC user base will help Microsoft in the long run.  Tablets might be a growing fad, but chasing that is like shooting heroin.  At the end of the day, with everything that needs to be done, the touch screen market will never beat a good ole' tower and keyboard for both speed and functionality.

    • Tina
      February 18, 2012 at 7:20 pm

      The "good ole' tower and keyboard" was beaten by laptops back in 2009 (Reuters). Tablets serve a different purpose than either laptops or desktop PCs and with internet-ready TVs and potentially other cross-breeds, I don't see a mass market future for the latter.

  12. tech_guy
    February 6, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Here's a novel idea (Microsoft are you listening). Let's keep Windows 7 as the preferred laptop / desktop operating system and Microsoft can use Windows 8 as their tablet operating system. Windows 8 trying to fulfill both roles seems destined for failure in my opinion. The old saying "don't fix it unless it is broken" applies in this situation. I'm staying with Windows 7.

    • Dave Parrack
      April 12, 2012 at 11:15 am

      You won't be alone in sticking with Windows 7. Which may be the last Microsoft OS to be built exclusively for the desktop.

  13. Anonymous
    February 3, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    As mentioned previously we’re now entering into the post-PC era, where mobile devices are becoming the default choice for most people, and capable of doing everything a notebook or desktop can do.""

    Dont mind me, but really??? Can an iPad or for that matter any tablet run the games I play on my Windows PC??? Especially with the kind of graphics I get on my PC. And I don't mean mobile optimised versions of the games.
    Battlefield | Assassins Creed | NFS | Bioshock | Crysis | COD | F.E.A.R | 

    Also can any tablet or mobile phone run executable files. I do have a lot of presentations in .exe format which cannot be converted to a mobile format, but instead requires to be made in a specific format that a mobile device would support.

    This one's just for fun. Can a mobile device read a disc???

    • Dave Parrack
      February 4, 2012 at 9:44 am

      Right now, no, but the speed at which smartphones and tablets are evolving I doubt there is much they won't be able to do in 5-10 years. To the point at which laptops, and perhaps desktops as well, will be a dying form factor.

      I don't think physical media such as discs are going to play any role in the future. I hardly ever use the drive on my laptop as it is.

  14. Vamsi
    February 3, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    I expect it to be something like this 

    Desktop/Mainstream PC/Gaming:
     Users can use a snappy WIN 7 in traditional desktop environment or give WIN 8     
     a skip.
     Metro UI is not useful for most users in this category

     1. For Enterprise and Professional users it is same as for desktop users
     2. For content consumers ( Browsing,media,social networking ) see last option
          i.e., (hybrids)

    Improved WP 7 experience in a tablet with expected improvements and good battery life la WP 7 and improved App ecosystem.

    Hybrids ( Like Transformer Prime or Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga ):
    This is really going to hit the sweet-spot for WIN 8.
    One can use Metro UI on a tablet when you like tableting and when you want to do 
    some serious stuff .... Plug it in the dock and Voila!!  you have traditional desktop
    One can avail comfort and productivity at once using only one device and easily switching between best compatible environments.

    Not to forget that there's no hassle of file types while transferring files which is what now Ipad or Android tablet users face .....

    • Dave Parrack
      February 4, 2012 at 9:40 am

      In other words, there's a Windows option for all markets, whether it's Windows 8 or not. That's a positive way of looking at it.

  15. Anonymous
    February 3, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Apple laid down lion and iOS, pundits gushed, fishbowl bloggers bloviated and microsoft blinked. You can't make an OS for all devices without defaulting to the lowest common denominator. That means a mediocre offering for the desktop. Always has, always well. It's not a tablet or a phone. It has power, real estate, ergonomics and accuracy. Metro just slows everything down for a desktop user. For tablets? For phones? Maybe metro is a good idea. I think it shows promise. But it's asking a lot from the planet to hold off from committing to iOS or android. 

    Familiar potshots? Of course Outlook is superior to every web based email out there. Of course Word provides more functionality,more readily available, with more usable flexibility than any online software out there. But as has been raised by others ... isn't okay or good enough ... good enough? Evidently it is. I think Apple's done more than any other company to raise the expectations for hardware and lower the expectations for software ... . And there it is. Be merciful.

    • Dave Parrack
      February 3, 2012 at 2:52 pm

      "You can't make an OS for all devices without defaulting to the lowest common denominator." I wish I'd written that line. Thanks for commenting.

  16. Dave Parrack
    February 3, 2012 at 10:41 am

     You have an offline mail app? Why? Online is the way it's heading though, James, so you'd better get used to it.

    • Andrei
      February 5, 2012 at 7:51 am

      Beautiful integration of 3-4 mail accounts plus feeds, no ads, fast response and decent search. That is why I use an offline client. And mind you, I do not even have a specialised client.

      Did I even mention skinable interface, drag/drop attachments? What about offline availability :)?

      On this one, the future can wait, for all that I care.

  17. Ian H.
    February 3, 2012 at 5:24 am

    If they can nail down Win8 as the go-to OS for tablet users that want to be content creators, I think the desktop version will take care of itself just through compatibility issues.

    I've used both an iPad and an Android tablet for extended periods of time, and as much as Apple has the ecosystem figured out, they really don't have UI nailed down.  Scrolling past pages of icons and having to open apps to get at the information in them is a PITA. Android, starting in 2.3, began to do interesting things with mobile desktops, by allowing widgets.  I see Win8 as the apotheosis of this trend, where almost every kind of information is available in some form on the desktop.

    The real question is: does this mentality translate well onto traditional form factors (desktops and laptops).  In other words, will widgets take off as the way people work with the information in their system (outside of full-screened applications, obviously).  I think this will be a function of market.

    Consumers will love it, as many who have tried Windows Phone 7 have. Being able to interact with micro-sized versions of programs that do the most-used tasks from a minimally-intrusive interface is perfect for what many consumers already do on their machines. 

    Business users are a whole other kettle of fish.  I can't see many businesses being happy with the default Metro UI of Win8, so maybe Win8 Professional (or whatever they're going to call it) ships with Metro off by default.

    As M.S. Smith already mentioned, the "killer app" of Windows8 is going to be interoperability.  I can't begin to describe what a pain it is to try and print something from my wife's Transformer on to our network-shared printer.  If Win8 makes seeing and talking to other devices on the network as easy as Win7 (with the notable exception of trying to see Linux Samba shares from inside Windows), then simplicity of use will win out.

    • Dave Parrack
      February 3, 2012 at 2:50 pm

      You consider Microsoft's strategy to focus on tablets a sound one then? Based on the fact that most desktop users will make do with the compromise because it's Windows anyway?

      • Ian H.
        February 4, 2012 at 1:01 am

        As they did with Win starter on netbooks. Didn't stop millions of people from picking up a gibbled version of Windows over many of the netbooks that offered full versions of alternate operating systems.

        In this instance, I think they already have a winning interface on their hands that they can bring over from WinPho7 and some of the Zune architecture, and they have the fastest growing computer segment with almost no Windows presence (I wonder how many W500s Acer sold compared to the A500?) - it makes sense for them to move it over to that segment.

        Pair that notion with the fact that Metro is, despite all the naysayers, a darn good interface for what 90% of the consumer market does on their machines, and you have a winning strategy.

        Business users can choose the plain old Windows interface if they want, since it's available behind Metro (as DOS was behind Win95).

        • Dave Parrack
          February 4, 2012 at 9:38 am

           I must admit your argument has me thinking more positively about Windows 8's chances of succeeding. Not everyone loves the Metro UI, but it does work. Which is a good start.

  18. Anonymous
    February 3, 2012 at 4:41 am

    They are not 'stupid' (?)  they target a specific niche with this one...   if they want to make all people using windows now to buy new products: think MS  THINK !   ...certainly they are promoting it so they are fine with it not reaching everybody. $ to spare... so... everybody is fine.

  19. Anonymous
    February 3, 2012 at 12:13 am

    It looks too touchscreenish for me.
    Looks like a hassle if i'm going to use a mouse.
    It they get their search based launching right i might pick it up.

    • Dave Parrack
      February 3, 2012 at 2:47 pm

       Once you get past the Metro UI it's mouse-friendly. But as I said in the article that's a compromise that may not work.

  20. Greg
    February 3, 2012 at 12:10 am

    Windows 9? Already they're thinking of a new OS when 8 hasn't even came out yet!? I'll stick with Linux Mint 

    • Dave Parrack
      February 3, 2012 at 12:28 am

      Microsoft isn't, at least not in public. But I am.

  21. Meena Bassem
    February 2, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    well, most of people nowadays use the internet to do almost everything and it can almost replace any app
    there's online file storage, online apps, google docs, online everything else, any OS with a browser will be quite fine.but if it doesn't have much improvement from windows 7 for desktop users, then it's definitely a huge waste of time.

    • Dave Parrack
      February 2, 2012 at 9:46 pm

      You're a fan of Chrome OS then, Meena?

      That's a good point that changing the UI in these days when everything is online and in the cloud is mere window dressing. But try using Windows 7 on a tablet and you'll see why Microsoft is changing things up a little with Windows 8.

      • Meena Bassem
        February 2, 2012 at 9:56 pm

         to be honest, i haven't used a tablet before, or Chrome OS. but i tried many linux versions in virtualbox, and I'm currently using win7 and i have XP in vbox, but when i use it online, ..............
        can somebody tell me what difference is there when you change the OS you're using? get someone who doesn't know much about windows or linux, and let them use linux and tell them it's just a theme for windows, and let them use the internet. tell me if they even had a doubt of a difference.
        that's what i'm talking about......... but for tablet users, i can't say cuz i've never tried it before.
        and the most annoying thing i found in developer preview of windows 8 was the metro UI. Microsoft should add something to windows to use the metro UI only if the hardware can support it. without a touch screen, it gets really annoying

        • Dave Parrack
          February 2, 2012 at 10:19 pm

          There are subtle differences between operating systems, even when online. But it's a very good point.

          Microsoft is hoping the Metro UI will sell Windows 8, so I can't see them making it easy for mainstream users to disable it.

    • James Bruce
      February 3, 2012 at 7:22 am

      Too broad with that generalisation. I still use the internet as something to look at websites. I have an offline mail app, rarely use gdocs, use photoshop on the desktop, and pretty much everything done on the desktop, even if there is an online alternative. Web apps are overrated and simplified junk ;)

  22. Technobabble
    February 2, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    Based on Microsoft's track record, it will fail:
    Microsoft 95 - win
    Microsoft 98 - fail
    Microsoft 98se - win
    Microsoft ME - fail
    Microsoft XP - win (eventually)
    Microsoft Vista - fail
    Microsoft Win7 - win
    Microsoft Win8 - fail

    • Dave Parrack
      February 2, 2012 at 9:20 pm

      Awesome. You could have saved me writing that 1000-word article :)

    • Sunil
      June 29, 2012 at 6:54 am

      finally windows 8 failed

  23. J A
    February 2, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    Title Question: Will Windows 8 Succeed or Fail?
    First Sentence: Microsoft is trying to make Windows 8 be all things to all people.
    Answer: Yes
    Proof: See first sentence.

    • Dave Parrack
      February 2, 2012 at 9:04 pm

      Sorry to be pedantic but, "Yes," is not a suitable answer to the question, Will Windows 8 Succeed or Fail?

      • Sekhat
        March 30, 2012 at 10:00 am

        There was a programmer joke in there.

        It will indeed succeed or fail, if you go by logic comparisions with OR.

        OR means in logic terms, the answer is true if A is true, B is true, or both is true and only false if both A and B is false.

        Since the terms are: A = Succeed OR B = Fail. Regardless of outcome A will be true or B will be true, so A OR B = true (yes).

  24. M.S. Smith
    February 2, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    I think Windows 8 is going to be massively successful if Microsoft can leverage the most important feature it can provide - full, instant compatibility between all of your devices. 

    Worrying about how you're going to move files between different computing devices is one of the biggest PITAs around today. This plays on Windows but does it play on Android? I can save this on my Transformer but will it run on my iPhone? And etc.

    Not to mention having to deal with different file systems and interfaces.

    But if everything ran the same OS, you wouldn't need to worry about that. That's a big advantage Windows 8 (could) offer.

    I actually do have faith in Microsoft. Windows 7 was amazing, the Xbox project has developed into something very nice, and even Windows Phone 7 isn't terrible - it's just not able to provide the app support and PC-like features people expect from their phones today. They're far from an old, rotting company and I think they have the potential to surprise us here.

    • Dave Parrack
      February 2, 2012 at 9:06 pm

      You have no doubts about its ability to succeed, Matt?

      I still think Microsoft is a great company, but it has lost its way a little since Gates handed the reins over to Ballmer. Windows 7, Xbox, Kinect are all successes, but it lacks the cohesive strategy Apple exudes right now.

      Perhaps Windows 8 is the start of a new era for the company.

      • M.S. Smith
        February 2, 2012 at 10:03 pm

        Let me remind you that Microsoft made $23.15 billion dollars of profit in 2011. If they have a tendency to fail, somebody should remind them to stop making so much money.

        • Dave Parrack
          February 2, 2012 at 10:16 pm

          Oh, it's profitable. And as I said I'm a fan and buyer of its products. But if Windows was to fail then how deep does the company's line-up reach and how much ability to adapt and evolve exists?

        • M.S. Smith
          February 2, 2012 at 10:39 pm

          "If Windows was to fail."

          Er...that kind of seems like a silly question to entertain. Microsoft would probably not survive if Windows collapsed overnight, but that will never happen, so it doesn't matter.

          But to entertain the question, they have the Xbox, IT consulting, various enterprise software, some game publishing, and Office, of course. They seem diverse to me. 

        • Dave Parrack
          February 2, 2012 at 10:44 pm

          You don't think Windows could ever fail? Not overnight, granted, but it's entirely possible.

          Isn't the revenue Windows, Office, and then everything else? They'd still exist as a company without those two, but wouldn't be a giant.

        • M.S. Smith
          February 2, 2012 at 11:23 pm

          On a long enough time line, everything ends. The failure of Windows is something that would take about a decade if it began tomorrow. 

          But there's certainly no reason to think Windows will begin to fail tomorrow. The company is strong, Windows is doing well, there's nothing competitive with it.

          And Windows 8 is Microsoft making sure that Windows doesn't fail by attempting to keep it up to date with where computing hardware is going in the future. 

          I don't see anything to worry about here. I fact, Microsoft seems to be in a strong position. 

        • Aibek
          February 3, 2012 at 3:47 am

          very good point! )

        • Dave Parrack
          February 3, 2012 at 2:46 pm

           You're probably right about the length of time it would take for Windows to die.

          I still can't help thinking Windows 8 is a crossbreed that will please neither camp though. Just don't ask me what Microsoft could have done differently.

        • Sekhat
          March 30, 2012 at 10:02 am

          I tend to agree, however, Microsoft will do what they also do when something fails. Rush quickly to fix it and release the next version.

          If windows 8 fails, the year after we'll see windows 9 Desktop and windows 9 Mobile/Tablet. Where the only difference will be without and with Metro respectively.

  25. Anonymous
    February 2, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    I came for the picture of Bill Gates. I wasn't disappointed.

    • Dave Parrack
      February 2, 2012 at 8:35 pm

      Don't worry, that will make an appearance on every Windows opinion piece I write until I die. Unless he poses naked to celebrate his 60th birthday.

  26. RaphaelM
    February 2, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Great post, very good job outling the basic issues MS will face.

    One fundamental issue I don't see very often being raised is the micro-transaction store angle. The iOS strength lies with its ecosystem and its profitability to developers and innovators which keep the platform fresh. Windows has a lot of legacy software but it is now far away from the spotlight, just think when was the last time TNW, Mashable, Giz or Makeuseof featured a windows application that wasn't a game in the front page? have they ever?

    Zune was a flop but Live is a hit albeit its verticality(game oriented). Could Microsoft successfully pivot it into a Windows Appstore or at least use the know-how gathered to bootstrap a Windows Appstore competitor?

    • Dave Parrack
      February 2, 2012 at 8:33 pm

      Thanks for the positive comments, Raphael.

      There is going to be a Windows 8 app store, although your guess is as good as mine how successful it's going to be.

      I agree that Xbox Live provides the template for Microsoft, and if it doesn't utilize it across its platforms then it's missing a trick.

  27. Pete71
    February 2, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    Windows will probably succeed, as it ever does. Don't matter how poor the new features are. Windows still is the more 'open'  commercial operating system. No serious company will ever accept (hopefully) the overhead inherited in the other 2 biggest commercial OS's.
    And in a private basis, windows is just indispensable for anyone doing serious gaming out there.
    So it just don't care, if the user interface get better or worse, people just need it like always! And the other new features like a new file system are just as useless as usual at every new MS Operating system.

    • Dave Parrack
      February 2, 2012 at 7:52 pm

      In other words, Microsoft could release any old crap as its next version of Windows and people whill adopt it in huge numbers? To a degree yes, but Vista was rejected until it was fixed.

      • Pete71
        February 2, 2012 at 8:12 pm

        As long, as company's software still runs on it and it is safe (I know, it's joke), people ewill use it. MS just need to quit support for 7 (the usual way to move their users) and people wil use it.
        As long as the new games run on it, people WILL afoord a copy and use it!

        • Dave Parrack
          February 2, 2012 at 8:29 pm

          Windows 7 will be supported for a good few years yet. And with the number of businesses that have upgraded to it I suspect many will skip Windows 8 altogether.

  28. Madis
    February 2, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    Metro will fail on a desktop, so if user doesn't have disable option on the first use of Win 8, it will fail even more than Vista! Other stuff *might* make it succeed. Also, users should see huge speed change too :D

    • Dave Parrack
      February 2, 2012 at 7:30 pm

      Windows 8 will be quicker, no doubt. But Microsoft will have to push Metro as the default or it may as well not even bother.

      • Madis
        February 2, 2012 at 7:40 pm

        Indeed. But think about it: what kind of desktop user needs a tablet interface? It will just 1) confuse, 2) annoy, 3) push away users!

        • Dave Parrack
          February 2, 2012 at 7:50 pm

          I completely agree. It's going to create a strange two-tier system of desktop users and tablet users. Microsoft must be confident that Windows-powered tablets are the future. Which is one hell of a gamble.

        • Bob Henson
          February 3, 2012 at 9:11 am

           That's why I was saying they needed an enterprise version. They run the risk of losing their commercial business to Linux and/or Apple otherwise. However, I suspect that what will happen, as you said elsewhere, is that commerce will completely ignore Windows 8 and use 7 until something else appears. They did that with XP (still a major commercial player), but this time, since other competitive systems have improved hugely, they run that risk of business sector loss.

        • Dave Parrack
          February 3, 2012 at 10:39 am

          That's an interesting point. If business customers do skip a generation of Windows then it gives others an opportunity. Are Apple and/or Linux capable of stealing enterprise customers away from Microsoft?

        • Anonymous
          February 3, 2012 at 10:23 pm

          Linux companies are and plenty of companies have macs

          The real issue is always retraining people to use the new system

        • KRowe
          July 1, 2012 at 12:09 pm

          I've worked in IT a long time and it's been my experience that server rooms have never been dominated by Windows. Sure, it is used for the Domain, Directory\DNS and sometimes Exchange but most companies will go to great lengths to avoid Windows servers for everything else because they are so expensive to license, harder to maintain, pitiful when it comes to security and severely limit your ability to virtualize your infrastructure. Less is more when it comes to managing dozens of servers.

        • UD98
          June 1, 2012 at 9:51 pm

          there should be a way to default to the desktop

    • UD98
      June 1, 2012 at 9:50 pm
  29. Bob Henson
    February 2, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    I think that there will have to be an "enterprise" version of Windows too - rather like Windows 2000 in its day. I can't see the touchy-feely Windows 8 going down at all in offices (where desktops or laptops will always prevail over the toy "fondleslabs"), so unless there is a separate version, I think 8 will be a commercial disaster for Microsoft.

    • Dave Parrack
      February 2, 2012 at 7:30 pm

      You mean a version of Windows 8 without the Metro UI? That would surely muddy the waters even further and suggest Microsoft really doesn't have a cohesive strategy.

    • John Penland
      February 3, 2012 at 4:46 pm

      Oh, you mean like switching to the normal, desktop version? Included, next? 

  30. Bogdan
    February 2, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    "Do People Still Want Windows?"
    No, we use Linux.

    • Dave Parrack
      February 2, 2012 at 5:44 pm

      When you say, "we," you mean the 1 percent who use Linux, of course.

      • Bogdan
        February 2, 2012 at 7:16 pm

        Well, awesome people are quite rare nowadays...

        • Dave Parrack
          February 2, 2012 at 7:28 pm

          Nice comeback! I've been a Windows man all my life but things are changing... maybe not to Linux, but changing nonetheless.

    • Kulas
      February 9, 2012 at 3:09 am

      oh? how many are you?

      • Bogdan
        February 9, 2012 at 8:19 am

        Saying Windows is better because most of the people use it is like saying Justin Beiber is better because he's got a lot of fans.

        • Burpee
          March 12, 2012 at 9:49 pm

          Except for the fact that the vast majority of $ being spent on computers are being spent on Windows based systems.  $ Talks.

  31. Alexandre
    February 2, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    2 points to Windows 8 succeeds:
    - No performance issue. That means, it must at least fine as Windows 7 (background of XP vs Vista here)
    - Full integration with Kinect. This will open several alternatives to applications and games and can put the windows in the living room

    • Dave Parrack
      February 2, 2012 at 5:46 pm

      If Windows 8 ships broken in the way Vista was then Microsoft deserves to die.

      I didn't touch on Kinect integration but that could indeed have a big impact.

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