Why Can’t Microsoft Afford a Failure with Windows 8?

Okay, that’s enough.

After reading this analysis on InfoWorld (Why Microsoft can afford to lose with Windows 8), I just had to set the record straight. The bottom line? Windows ain’t as important as it used to be, and Microsoft knows it. At least, I hope key people at Microsoft take that into consideration before the Windows brand is further relegated.

Microsoft can’t afford to wait to fix Windows 8’s mistakes in a Windows 9; it needs to address a massive “Consumer Preview” problem before the final version ships.

Contrary with what apologists might suggest, I want Windows 8 to succeed. So, like many consumers, I’ve tried the Windows 8 Consumer Preview – because I’m a consumer, their target market. Microsoft has always been explicit with their naming conventions (to a severe fault). On the desktop, it was a maddening experience. “Metro” just didn’t seem to fit in – at least, in the way it was implemented. Why is a classic desktop experience (formerly known as “Aero”) sandwiched in almost as an afterthought? Why are there two environments? Why are there two experiences? What the hell is Microsoft thinking?

Consider this: Windows 8 with Metro (alone) works very well on a touch-driven computer screen. I’ve always been a Metro fan (albeit, for separate apps). It’s definitely a bit unpolished, but the promise with Metro on a touch screen is absolutely there. If you have a chance to try it for yourself, you’ll see exactly what I mean. I’d actually want to buy a PC with nothing but Windows 8’s Metro on it… but…

The moment the classic Windows desktop rears its ugly head, you’re sent spinning back to another usability paradigm without the proper tools. A finger or stylus doesn’t work well as an input device with the traditional Windows desktop environment – a major reason why Tablet PCs failed to take off (exorbitant prices notwithstanding), and another reason Apple never imagined porting OS X to any one of its iOS devices.

And therein lies the rub.

There is seemingly no perfect UX scenario for the current implementation of Windows 8, since the user cannot truly choose between Metro or Aero. It’s schizophrenic. Metro fails with traditional desktop usability paradigms (keyboard, mouse, no touch), and Aero is a kludge on a touchscreen PC. You get all of it, no matter what kind of PC you’re using. The best option might be to have a slate PC with a docking station, but (even then) the OS doesn’t auto-optimize its UX for the most relevant input methods.

You can’t necessarily control when you’re in Metro or when you’re on the classic desktop. The app decides for you. Either Microsoft needs to use Metro 100% or the classic Windows desktop 100% in any particular Windows deployment. There’s no such thing as being partially pregnant, folks.

After playing with Windows 8 on the desktop for less than an hour, my dad didn’t really understand how this would be any better than Windows XP (his current OS of choice). He tried the same “Consumer Preview” version of Windows on a tablet PC at the local Microsoft Store and was taken aback at how much better it was. Still, feeling Windows 8 on a tablet wasn’t enough to drive him to abandon the traditional PC desktop environment. More importantly, perhaps, was how he explained to me what I’m explaining to you: Windows 8 is trying to be all things to all people in all environments.

Dad, by the way, is a canary in the coal mine.

Every disappointed Windows 8 user will either stick with what they have, or find an alternative to Windows 8. It’s been difficult enough to move people from XP to Windows 7, how do you think they’ll take to a version of Windows that doesn’t know what it wants to be when it grows up?

“Trying to make everybody happy will make nobody happy.”

So, What Should Microsoft Do?

Microsoft needs to move the ball forward – but in order to do so, it needs to either (a) break Windows – a classic version for non-touch computers, and a new version for touch computers; (b) hide Metro on desktop computers, and hide the classic desktop on touch computers; OR (c) surface both classic desktop and Metro experiences only when Windows 8 is running on a touchscreen computer with a keyboard and cursor-driving device present.

“Milestone lets users explore a re-imagined, no-compromises Windows experience.” – so says Microsoft. No compromises? Oh, man… that’s not accurate. The major compromise is usability on just about every PC (save convertible slates / tablets, which are currently a fraction of the PC market).

Sometimes, it’s okay to make compromises. Maybe Microsoft is trying to build The Homer?

Instead of trying to jam unambiguous familiarity down the user’s throat full-bore, Microsoft would be better off using key elements of Metro in the classic Windows desktop experience (on non-touch PCs). It’s possible to maintain a consistent design ethos without sacrificing usability. Well, it’s not just possible – it’s imperative.

Backwards compatibility? That might just be the albatross around Microsoft’s neck that’ll sink the Windows ship. And Microsoft still has time to turn this ship around. We’re not in the days of DOS & Windows 3.1 – where touch wasn’t involved at all, and each PC had a mouse and keyboard. Yes, we had two completely different user experiences (CLI and GUI) on the same computer, but if you didn’t want to boot into Windows, you didn’t.

The company is clearly stuck between a rock and hard place, but they’re handling their situation with the “Consumer Preview” about as poorly as it could be handled. It’s smart to move the ball forward, but you can’t keep your foot behind the line of scrimmage:

The all-too-familiar Start button is missing from an all-too-familiar desktop. Even if Microsoft recanted and added some kind of always-visible button, they would still not have solved the problem of a bifurcated user experience.

“Users will learn to understand.” That suggestion doesn’t come close to an excuse for a poor UX – and a company like Microsoft definitely has the resources to do better (they’ve just never had the culture for “beyond good enough” in place). It’s an engineer’s mentality, and the consumer world is 99% full of non-engineers who have (or SHOULD have) little-to-no patience for sub-standard experiences.

Example? You can run programs on the classic desktop or in Metro. Flash doesn’t work in Metro’s IE (nor do other plugins like Silverlight), but Flash will work fine in the classic desktop IE. Is it the same app or a different one with the same name? That’s sure to throw people for a loop. Something works fine sometimes but not other times? How does Microsoft expect the consumer to understand why, when, where, or how?! There are clearly two separate environments sewn into a single UX.

“But this is beta software! It’s not the final version!” Yeah, that’s what they told me when Windows Vista Beta 2 was released to the masses for testing. We all know how that played out, don’t we?

These types of problems, if thrown into the marketplace, will make Vista look like a raging success. Confusing the consumer at this stage in the game will only drive them to other options (of which there are PLENTY).

Once you lose a customer, getting them back is next to impossible.

So, is that Why Can’t Microsoft Afford Windows 8 to Be a Failure?

To reiterate: the average user doesn’t necessarily need Windows anymore. We have a lot more choices than we did when Vista was unleashed – and many users have begun to rely more on their smartphones or tablet computers to do 90% of what they could only previously do on a desktop or laptop computer. Email, web surfing, Facebooking, YouTubing… you don’t need Windows for that.

Traditional, “personal computer” operating systems still have their place – but unless their place is sewn into a series of seamless experiences, they’ll be the odd man out (and the first to be replaced when an upgrade is warranted). Apple’s cards are already on the table; we are absolutely living in a post-PC world – and if you have a smartphone in your hand or sitting nearby, you’re a part of it.

Maybe Microsoft is hoping consumers will eschew their legacy applications for possible new WinRT-driven Metro versions? That’s quite a gamble. Maybe Microsoft believes that people will love how a tablet PC looks exactly like their new desktop or laptop PC? Consumers certainly might. Or, maybe Microsoft is hoping that people will just buy new tablet PCs because they’re available? Yes, Microsoft has definitely optimized Windows 8 for tablet (touch) experiences, but when people think about getting a tablet computer, what’s the first product that comes to mind?


So, This is All About the iPad?

Damn right it is. When you use Windows 8 on a touch PC, it’s obvious that Microsoft has serious iPad envy. These numbers are telling. Apple sold more iPads in Q4 than any single PC manufacturer. That’s not a fluke – it’s a trend that’s not even close to buckling. Within two days of Apple’s new iPad announcement, its online store was sold out. People want iPads, new or old – and the old ones are still spectacular tablet computing devices that are now even more of a bargain for consumers.

If usable (not slow by today’s experience standards) Windows 8 PCs don’t match the $499 price that Apple’s set, they’ll tank – just like every other Android tablet over $499 has tanked. Sure, you’ll have people buying Windows 8 PCs – but why? Why buy something that’s trying to be like another leading product, doing a poor job at it, and costs more money? Features…

Virtually indistinguishable from leading 1080p video displays in both sharpness and color reproduction, iPad’s retina screen (alone) makes a formidable opponent. What PC manufacturer could match that quality at the same price? It’s possible, but will we see it happen?

Don’t forget enterprise, either – since according to a qualified survey, 84% of companies polled plan to buy tablets in the next quarter. Those tablets? iPads. Will they hold out for Windows 8 tablets? Not if the Windows 8 PC vendors can’t match the quality, features, battery life, weight, size, resolution, and price of Apple’s iPad. The iPad hits a sweet spot on nearly all fronts. It’s not that they necessarily have an extreme love for Apple (probably far from it), but iPad is the product against which every single tablet computer is compared.

Consumers will likely begin to look at Windows 8 tablets like they do Android tablets – which, if anything, will hurt Google (not Apple). “You can get whatever you want versus what Apple says you get.” Well, there’s a reason Apple’s selling more products, people – and it ain’t because of a lack of options or a good marketing slogan. An iPad is affordable, accessible, and (in countless scenarios) compatible. There’s no muss or fuss. It just works. Hardware is sewn together with software is sewn together services.

Pray to the marketplace gods that OEMs will price Windows 8 tablet PCs competitively (to iPads). I don’t think ANY consumer would argue with that.

Just remember: iOS devices are “gateway drugs” to other Apple products.

But What If Users Don’t Want a Tablet Computer?

Well, then there’s Windows 8 on the desktop… that’s set to be completely not optimized for the desktop. Or they stick with Windows XP. Or they stick with Windows 7. Or they forget that their iPad happens to be a tablet computer? Or they switch to a Mac computer (that works very well with the iPad they might already own) when it’s time to upgrade.

People just don’t need Windows as much as we used to – Windows needs us more. God willing, Microsoft (and its strongest supporters) will understand that I want to see them succeed. I have no horse in this race, but I was right about Millennium Edition and I was right about Windows Vista. I still believe Microsoft can do this – and do it very well. While they have time.

Something like a Windows 8 Metro experience on tablets is long overdue. Windows 9? Yeah, by the time you get around to addressing customer confusion and/or ambivalence towards Windows 8, more iPads will have sold. More iPhones will have sold. More Macs will have sold purely on the idea that Apple is providing what you failed to provide consumers: a cohesive experience with little sacrifice. Rest assured, Apple would lose its place quickly should it abandon its ethos and bring traditional desktop computing paradigms to touch screens (or vice versa).

Windows 8 desktop and laptop systems will certainly sell (perhaps as well as Vista did), but will they be just as usable when compared to other contemporary options? My dad has an iPad, and he loves how well it works for most of what he needs a computer or gaming system to do. Will he be more inclined to: (a) buy a new Windows 8 PC that doesn’t look like his tried-and-true Windows XP; or (b) get a Mac that has familiar icons and services like those on his iPad?

The funniest arguments coming from this “is Windows 8 going to fail” discussion are from Microsoft supporters themselves, with many of them claiming that the iPad isn’t a “real computer” and you can’t get any work done on tablets. They might wanna take a hard look at Microsoft’s strategy and touch-computing optimization for Windows 8.

Why Do You Hate Microsoft and Windows?

If I hated Microsoft and/or Windows, I wouldn’t have bothered to write this article.

Article Written by

Chris has consistently expressed his convictions and visions outright, supplying practical information to targeted audiences: media agencies, business owners, technology consumers, software and hardware professionals, et al. He remains a passionate personality in the tech community-at-large. He's a geek.

  • http://twitter.com/RyanDasSouda Ryan Soudelier

    Amen brother.

  • robnaj

    Windows 8 will succeed do to the fact that it is Windows and the install base of Windows is so great that all Microsoft needs is the usual users that upgrade to upgrade regardless secondly     the number of business and schools that upgrade to Windows 8 will give Microsoft the market share that they need because that is Microsofts goal to have the market share. 

  • robnaj

    Windows 8 will succeed do to the fact that it is Windows and the install base of Windows is so great that all Microsoft needs is the usual users that upgrade to upgrade regardless secondly     the number of business and schools that upgrade to Windows 8 will give Microsoft the market share that they need because that is Microsofts goal to have the market share. 

    • Anthony

      The rate at which schools and businesses are upgrading to Windows 7 makes your point invalid. 

    • Ceronash

      I dunno where you’re from, but most businesses either use Windows XP or Mac OSX, such as my school that I’m enrolled in, uses Macbooks rather than Windows PC’s. If you think for a moment that Windows will succeed just because “it’s Windows”, you’ll be in for quite a shock.

  • Stacypharis

    I realize handheld devices are taking over… I get it. But making a desktop OS use the same mechanism that a handheld device uses is beyond me. ‘You gotta keep em seperated’!

  • Willdoors

    a- did your dad the first time he used an ipad knew how to use it?     … NO he learned bu himself or with someone else’s help     … the same will happen with windows 8, ‘or not’
    b- does ipad run a full version of photoshop or any of those softwares?
        … NO ….. well there will be a metro version of photoshop very soon wunning on Windows 8c- face the future! don’t run away from it!ps: I only agree with you that there should be only one experience….. and I would choose 100% metro and nothing else, both in desktop pcs and tablets

  • http://eyejot.com/users/davidg davidgeller

    Great post. Thoughtfully written.

  • Deniz Demirel

    Hilarious how your dad get’s impatient .. JUST LIKE I DID WHEN I TRIED THE BETA !

    Windows 8 is a piece of S***.

  • Jerry Reid III

    Very well written article, I still haven’t moved to apple products, and my main reasons have been limited budget and I enjoy building my own machines, which is better suited for Windows/LINUX OS’s. I don’t hate Microsoft and Windows, I just think they make things very difficult at times and don’t use common sense some times. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/temptressshauna Shauna Michelle Kelly

    I just hope SharpEnviro works for it, and can just do away with Metro.

  • Daniel Bentley

    If HTC would stop piddling around with the digitizer and bring it up to Android 4.x and get Adobe in on it, Android would destroy iTrash. The digitizer in HTC’s tablets is equiv to 256 level Wacom tablets, and the price is significantly lower than a Cintiq. An android tablet with a digitizer backed by Adobe software would sweep the artist market in ways Apple could only have wet dreams about.

    I’ve used Windows 8 Consumer Preview, and if Microsoft releases Windows 8 in a state similar to what we have now, it will be the first version of Windows since 3.0 that I truly believe will not be worth purchasing ever, and I may very well not go to Windows 9 either as long as my games continue running on Windows 7.

    • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

      The problem with pipe dreams is that they don’t sell well.

  • Richard

    Good article Chris. Nicely written. I think if Microsoft doesn’t change windows 8 from the current state, this could be a bigger disaster than Vista.

  • Bretislav

    One of the few trumps Microsoft still holds are the desktop hardware prices. There are lots of people who just cannot afford a Mac.

    • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo
      • http://twitter.com/motch_master Matyas Lajos Homer

        Translation. There are PCs cheaper than the iPad.

        • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

          We’ll see if a touch PC that can rival an iPad will come in lower than $499. 

        • http://www.jimrehs.net/ Jim Schmidt

          Even with Intel shelling out subsidies pc makers can’t match the Macbook Air. The idea that Apple products are more expensive is off the mark. Some items may cost more but not by much. But if telling yourself that myth makes you happy you keep repeating it.

        • Gitarzzan

          I absolutely love Windows 8 on my $269 toshiba. (non touchscreen). Actually I love the Metro part more!

      • Michael Carlson

        But Chris, why are we putting iPad pricing up against desktop hardware as posed in Bretislav’s point? 
        Let’s make it a given that a $500 iPad is an awesome price for an awesome product that does everything it’s designed to do, better than anything else. Super!
        But I think there is still a big need for desktops or laptops. From WoW type gamers with high powered gaming system to many processor intensive applications, the “PC” as we know it is still needed.
        The mobile and productivity niche is growing by leaps and bounds, spearheaded by Apple and given a nice boost by Android, but the desktop market won’t die soon.
        That puts us back to Mac vs PC. I think Bret was saying that there is still a bang for your buck factor in this category. I wish it weren’t so. I would love to never buy a windows PC ever again. But software still has to catch up when it comes to breaking out of the windows only paradigm.

        • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

          (1) iPad is a “gateway drug. (2) Software HAS caught up – where have you been? 😉

      • elucidsoft

        I would love to see how they can possibly get Win8 tablets cheaper with similar or same hardware specs as the iPad! I don’t see how it’s economically possible, Android has barely by its teeth been able to do it and in several cases not do it and Android OS is essentially free! We all know Win8 will certainly not be free, and Microsoft plans to make money, also the tablet makers need to make money, then take off the top what the retail chain will take from the tablet makers and what do you have left? It doesn’t make sense, I think Microsoft knows this which is why you get the entire Office Suite on WOA (Windows on ARM) included! I believe every single Win8 tablet will be 200-300 dollars more than its equiv and they plan to distinguish the difference brought XBOX Live integration, built in Office, and their own Cloud offering that might be free for a year or something. But it won’t matter, it’s underwhelming flat experience yells boring, I think it’s nice honestly but it gets old super quick!

  • http://www.bharatkumargupta.com/ Bharat Kumar Gupta

    its always a delight to read thoughts from Chris Pirillo, i really learn a lot from these kinds of articles, especially you are the kind of person who would always push things for the better and push us the users(community) for the better in regards to technology, i still remember a video from you in which u predicted gaming on iOS to be strong and we are seeing this happen today, u are far sighted dude! lg FTW

  • Erickurniawangunawan

    I’m sensing the “Windows Vista” de javu in Windows 8. It seems Microsoft rushes its way to publish Windows 8 just like its grand dad, Windows vista. Rather than that, why won’t they keep improving its previous windows (XP or 7) which we all know, can be considered successful? By the way, nice posting….. I wonder what Microsoft has to say about that (LoL)

  • http://www.bharatkumargupta.com/ Bharat Kumar Gupta

    All i understand is u are the one who is literally trying to help MS and loads of videos & articles prove that, still u face the heat from community and people who just “dont get it”… i also tried it and people lol literally slapped their blind arguments onto me without even understanding & getting involved with expert communities like yours, they would hav learned so much…thankfully i learned a lot from lg, to always push myself for better stuff bec lg always advocated good stuff for everybody bec “good is just not enuf”…thank you for that i m enjoying the community & learning i get from here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/randall.lind Randall Lind

    I don’t get why everyone wants a tablet with up to 64GB hard drive. They are now making 4TB hard drives to store video’s,music and photo’s. However it seems software maker like Microsoft, Apple

    • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

      External storage, FTW.

      • http://www.facebook.com/randall.lind Randall Lind

         I did get a Media Sonic 4 bay device when my server died and I love it. I am still planning on building another server down the road.. What do you do with large programs? I am just saying some things are still better on a PC (Mac, Windows etc) then a tablet.

    • Haxagon

      The storage used in tablets and ultraportables is solid-state, which means it’s quicker, quieter, and more expensive than the 4TB mechanical drives you outlined.

  • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

    It’ll be worse than Vista. At least Vista looked like XP.

    • Erickurniawangunawan

      Now that’s interesting. Previously, vista fail in maintaining PC performance coz they implementing aero. Which by the way had been perfected in Win 7. Now they wanna use metro in win 8. Well, considering from their previous mistake, I think I should wait for Windows 9. Or at least Windows 8 has pass its qualification (LoL)

      • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

        I still don’t think you understand why they can’t afford to drop the ball with 8.

        • Derek Witt

          Windows Vista was rushed and should not have been released. It was based on beta code base.  Not as bad as WinME, but a close 3rd to ME and MS-DOS 4.0.

          MS got it right with Windows 7. I tried the Developer Preview. The Metro interface felt very awkward on a desktop. Win8 needs to automatically detect touchscreens and allow the user to choose between Metro and classic.

          The UI notwithstanding, Win8 felt very smooth performance-wise and was much faster to boot. However, once I joined a Samba/Windows Domain, that speediness dropped significantly (and was still on par with With7’s performance).  Not once did I get a blue screen (even with the nForce4 chipset).

    • Erickurniawangunawan

      Now that’s interesting. Previously, vista fail in maintaining PC performance coz they implementing aero. Which by the way had been perfected in Win 7. Now they wanna use metro in win 8. Well, considering from their previous mistake, I think I should wait for Windows 9. Or at least Windows 8 has pass its qualification (LoL)

  • http://twitter.com/motch_master Matyas Lajos Homer

    If you’re on a desktop, don’t use Metro. If you’re on a tablet, don’t use Aero. If you want to mix and match, go ahead. Why is this so difficult to understand? You don’t HAVE to use Metro on the desktop. You don’t HAVE to use Aero on a tablet.

    If there was a start button, the video with your dad would’ve been entirely different.

    • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

      I don’t think you fully understand how it’s been implemented, nor the fundamental problem of two UXes in the same OS.

      • Matt

        I am writing this on windows 8.  Using the “Desktop” environment.  Other than when I select applications, I never leave the Desktop UI.

        Google Chrome, and Starcraft both run just fine in the desktop UI, and Metro does’t do a bad job of displaying my favorite applications.  To me it isnt so bad.  Just a prettier way to view my list of apps.

        You really can choose between on or the other. (I never have nor will use IE, so that doesn’t matter, and for mail, please… I haven’t even opened that Metro App…)

        • elucidsoft

          If you can’t clearly see the dilemma of the two UXs Chris is talkin about than you sir are a fool, not in the demeaning manner but in the true definition of the word!

    • Kamikaze

      That’s the problem, Microsoft forces the user to use both. They completely removed the start menu in the consumer preview. There was an option (a registry entry, I think) in the developer preview to enable the start menu, but now you have to use the start screen. You HAVE to use both Metro and Aero. I tested both the developer and consumer previews on my TC1100 tablet hybrid, a computer where this OS should shine, but it was still downright awful.

  • http://www.bharatkumargupta.com/ Bharat Kumar Gupta

    yeah i completely agree, if u look at the current ipad hardware and the touch apps that ll be built for it, specifically to say quality pro apps from major companies like adobe, autodesk etc an ipad makes much more sense than a win 8 tablet, and the UX that u get out of ipad is simply non comparable, competitors couldnt even beat ipad 1 and clearly they(MS & competitors) are taking things fr granted by not looking at the trends, for haters – u ll realize this when u ll use ipad its an amazing device, its here to stay, i m an artist and i cannot wait to see next gen of apps on touch interface vs the traditional deskptop model which is a kludge to me, and this is called moving forward what about u?

  • Daniel Nunes

    Windows 8 needs two things; to allow for more functionality through metro that previous Windows’ could (like background services running in the taskbar), and to be optimized for both desktop and tablet (like by changing the controls on the right to be smaller+visible at all times for desktops).

    Totally isolating Metro from Aero isn’t that great of an idea because app development and all the support for Windows 7+before might never make it to Windows 8.

  • http://www.bharatkumargupta.com/ Bharat Kumar Gupta

    quoting from you chris “there are elements of windows 95 still present in win 7″ and i would say windows 8, even if u dont want a “tablet” form factor there exist at current no compelling reason to buy windows 8 against competition and things are diff today from the time when vista was released, a completely diff scenario, yeah i completely agree with u on this.

    even in desktop UI & UX they hav to do things that are remarkable, atleast for me “good aint enuf” i expect best from windows, every user deserve best.

    now look at the way os x is going, its pretty strong and experience is sewn all together, again i would agree to this point of yours…and even i agree ms has resources to do amazing stuff but they r not doing it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/randall.lind Randall Lind

    Microsoft says they hate the iPod so they make a Zune. They hate iPhone so they make Windows Phone. Now they hate iPad so they are trying to make a tablet. So far tablets are not going well unless it’s a iPad. So they refined Windows with a windows phone interface for touch and desktop UI doesn’t really make sense for non touch devices but that’s Microsoft. If Microsoft hates everything Apple why are they copying everything?

    If I ever do want a tablet I will buy an iPad. Do I want a knock off pair of Nikes or do I want a real pair?

    • kidsilver

      Firstly, the touch-screen tablet PC space was invented by Microsoft.  
      They didn’t do very well, but they still did it first.
      So if anything, the iPad is a knock off of Windows XP Tablet Edition.

      Secondly, Nike did not invent the ‘shoe’ did they?
      In fact, as far as I recall, they did nothing exceptional with the shoe either.
      Except market the hell out of it. Like Apple markets the hell out of the iPad.

      Microsoft does not hate anything that Apple does.
      You need to remember that Microsoft is the largest software vendor on the Mac.

      Microsoft is a company that meets market demand.
      If the market demands a device like the iPad, with the full power of a Mac, then Microsoft will deliver an equivalent. That is what Windows 8 is.

  • Lhnemec

    Windows 8 is UGLY. The titled interface is why I never even looked at a mobile device with windows. I prefer elegant to clumsy and even on a mobile device win 8 looks clumbsy!

    • edrwinter

      I recently picked up a windows phone 7 and its actually impressively elegant, streamlined, fast and cohesive. aka not clumsy at all. but I forgot, its ok to blatantly bash MS products without using them at all – that’s always productive. I have nothing against Apple at all, I’ve owned an iPhone and an Android phone but this blind Apple support and condemnation of anything not Apple is getting really tired.

      • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

        Metro on Windows Phone 7 makes sense. However, Windows Phone ≠ Windows.

        • edrwinter

          I agree. I have tried windows 8 briefly on a desktop PC and I couldn’t stand it. Metro just doesn’t work well with a mouse and keyboard. Metro does seem like it would be cool on a tablet but as everyone is saying – ONLY metro is what I would want on a tablet. When it comes to a desktop experience I would not recommend win 8 in its current form over win 7. I brought up windows phone because of the statement “why I never even looked at a mobile device with windows”. I just feel if you never try something why are you insulting it?

        • nicodeimous

          I agree too, Windows 8 was horrible on my Viliv N5 [touch screen micro laptop] … Windows 7 and Windows 8 ran fine when used exclusively as desktop OS’s though [because Windows 8 behaves and looks nearly identical to Windows 7].  I decided to test and run Debian on the Viliv and thus Windows 8 died off it [debian install and config isn’t for the faint of heart on the Viliv N5 btw … gah :) ]

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1745689461 Hal Motley

          Agreed, I love Android 4.0 so I installed the Android x86 version on VirtualBox out of sheer curiosity.

          It felt really clunky to use and out of place which goes to prove that form factors matter. What works on a tablet/smartphone probably won’t work so well on a desktop/laptop.

      • nicodeimous

        I have used it and it is elegant.  Too limited for my tastes though far too many walls around the sand box for my free spirit :)

  • http://www.about.me/AngeloGopaul Eingoluq

    I love Metro, but the flavour of it in Windows 8 is horrendous. There are also paradigms that do not mesh together properly. Metro should replace the Aero shell and the start screen introduced with appropriate animation to indicate location and a for of hierarchy. Their are now two tool bars and two places to see running apps. It’s a mess.

    Microsoft keep saying that Windows 8 has no compromises, but with 2 browsers and metro being forced down desktop users throat this way, that’s not true.

  • Forest

    you have a point with this my parents are the same way put a new version of windows in front of them that doesn’t look the same at all and they are lost. I like the point that you are making.   

  • commodore256

    You need a REAL Computer in the mainstream market. I don’t care if you call the iphone/ipad a “real computer”, you can’t type on the ipad and as soon as you add a keyboard, it makes a touchscreen useless, you can’t develop apps on it, you need a compiler and a text editor and the ipad has none, you can’t edit images professionally, you need a wacom with photoshop, (the touchscreen is not a wacom) to work in enterprise, you need a local larger than 50MB.

    I’m sorry, but the ipad is as much of a computer as a Nintendo 3DS, It’s not a work tool, it’s a toy.

    and as soon as the main-stream doesn’t have access to computers with pci-e lanes, upgradable ram and computers that you can install compilers on, that makes those computers more expensive, prevents people from becoming develops because development machines will cost $2,000-$10,000 and I can develop apps on a $50 computer today and that limits the future of independent/hobbits developers and also film makers. But they have to start out with a $500 computer and if their $500 editing machine disappears, that could be very bad for video content makers who don’t have $5k for the editing machine and that would make Cameras more expensive because most people will want the shitty smartphone camera and no DSLR.

    iOS fucked up the future of independent content.

    • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

      By definition, it’s a computer. It doesn’t do exactly what other computers do, but that doesn’t make it any less useful for tasks it’s suited to help complete.
      You can’t do everything with any computer, FWIW. Your myopic view might be welcomed elsewhere, but not here.

      • paulsk

        You would tend to agree that the iPad is more of a viewer than a creator though.

        • DominiqueGriego

          I would say that depends on the user. My mom doesnt create anything on her laptop, she views emails, views video. Its all in the hand of the user. I create more on m ipad than she does on her spendy windows machine. Yes she bought a high end machine because she thought that meant it would be faster, and it is i7 quad cored out, but she will never use that machine to its full potential.

      • commodore256

        Ok, the computers that you use for video editing will be more expensive.

        If I want a PowerPC server, it will cost me $28,000.

        If $600 editing/development machines aren’t in the consumer market anymore, the same thing will happen to content contributing devices and the little guy won’t get work because you have to be rich to afford a content contributing computer and new independent people won’t get jobs.

        To quote South Park “They took our Jobs!”

        Jobs took our Jobs!

    • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

      By definition, it’s a computer. It doesn’t do exactly what other computers do, but that doesn’t make it any less useful for tasks it’s suited to help complete.
      You can’t do everything with any computer, FWIW. Your myopic view might be welcomed elsewhere, but not here.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bryant-Griner/849560603 Bryant Griner

      I think what you’re failing to grasp is that ‘People’ don’t need a computer. Consumer’s aren’t compiling and developing apps. Consumer’s aren’t buying wacom’s. They use Instagram (or the other 4 dozen consumer photo editing apps) 

      Consumer’s simply don’t need professional tools.. And that’s not the only place their failing… Airlines are buying their pilots iPads.. The Govt and Military are buying iPads…

      Windows is at a very, very, important time where if they don’t do something, they can lose the consumer and enterprise at the same time.

      Losing one would be devestating… 

      Right now enterprise and their patent’s keep them super profitable but they’re only 1 F*@! away from being the next IBM…..

      • commodore256

        I do grasp the concept, but I’m saying if this happens, there won’t be a next Angry Birds because the content contributing machines will be discontinued in the consumer market and the law of supply and demand will make them more expensive.
        That will prevent startups and the next angry birds from being mad. Microsoft started up with buying $395 Computer in a college Dorm and made billions! Apple started with a $666 motherboard.Once Development Machines stop being sold for under $1,000, the little garage company won’t be made and we won’t have apps made by new people.

        • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

          commodore256, I fail to see your logic. It just looks like you’re grasping at straws. The development tools are getting cheaper and more accessible – not the other way around.

          • commodore256

            How are they getting cheaper? If I wanna develop on Mac, Windows or Linux, my development too is free. It’s called GCC, a text editor and a Command Line. (IDEs distract me, so I use the terminal and I would need a paid developer account to sign my code in mountain lion for $100 and buy a new mac)

            But, that’s for Platforms without walled gardens the iPad is as much as a computer as an Xbox360, PS3, Wii or a Nintendo DS.

            I’ve actually looked into Nintendo 3DS Development, Nintendo wants me to fork over $2,000-$10,000 to develop a DS Game. (publishing is another story)

            The Xbox360 has so much red tape, I would have to learn C Sharp, DirectX, XNA and they won’t allow me to use SDL or any Middleware unless I sell my sole to a publisher and they will get most of my money. unlike apple’s 30% royalties, microsoft would charge about the same, but the publishers will want a cut. (in the apps store/market, the’s less middlemen involved)

            As much as I hate iOS, there’s less red tape in making an iOS Game vs. an Xbox Game. With iOS, I can use dynamic linking and call it good. (I would rather dev for Android, but I hate it almost as much)

            But, how am I’m gonna develop for iOS or android if you can’t buy a Development machine from Walmart or newegg and if that happens, Development machines will cost as much as the 3DS SDK.

            The only reason why laptops can be cheaper than tablets is because there’s too many of them and there’s not enough people buying them and one day, they won’t be sold in walmart anymore if all we have is the ipad and the kindle fire.

  • Alessio Colantonio

    I couldn’t agree more with you, Chris.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1430310093 Wolfee Darkfang

    I need to address something you left out in the “But What If Users Don’t Want a Tablet Computer?” section. Sure Linux may not be as well known as windows right now, but if Microsoft goes under the bus, it will be Linux’s chance to shine. I believe the PC will live on within enthusiasts, and more people will make games and apps for Linux. Not everybody will run to apple and google. Not everybody will stick around on the microsoft sinking ship either. As you stated earlier in the article, there are PLENTY of other options. :)

    • Ian Singleton

       Unbuntu is now pretty user friendly and it doesn’t cost anything it should do the average user just fine, surfing the web, Libre office, email, no need to spend quite a large sum of money to upgrade to something that might not be any good.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1430310093 Wolfee Darkfang

     Theres a tech ed center near me who still uses windows 98 SE lol.

    • Derek Witt

       Wow… Win98 support officially ended in 2006.  To make win98 worth using these days is maybe as a terminal (but even the 98 RDP client is flaky beyond belief).

      • Daniel Nunes

        You can’t even install any modern web browsers on Windows 98 nowadays. You’d have to go with Netscape Navigator for a “decent” experience. With the IE built in, you wouldn’t be able to do a Google search without encountering multiple dialog boxes of errors.

  • paulsk

    I have to say I tried the same test you put to your father on a couple of 9 year old kids (I felt sort of guilty ragging on you guys so much) – they got on just fine, and to prove it I will grab another couple next week when I have time to video it – so does that mean that you are too old or your dad is ‘way too old’, well I don’t think so, it has to with ‘thinking different’.

    I have been beaten the proverbial out of the Win 8 dev release and now have the consumer preview on a laptop, a desktop and a tablet. The UI tries to be all things to all platforms and by and large succeeds. Different types of apps need different control. The one thing I would like to see is a metro box and a desktop box so I can split the screen into a zone for metro apps and a desktop where I can run conventional apps.

    In terms of finding stuff on the network, printers, routers, shared files etc, it is the best Windows yet, in terms of speed, it is better than Windows 7. 

    It is almost the OS equivalent of the mullet – ‘business up front and fun out back!’

  • paulsk

    Its usually only businesses on TV that use OSX, and that’s because Apple pays promotional placing fees :-)

    • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

      In a report dubbed Global Tech Market Outlook for 2012 and 2013, Forrester Research predicts that by the end of the year, Apple will have nabbed $9 billion in sales of Macs to enterprises worldwide. It will have sold another $10 billion in iPads to them, too.Read more: http://articles.businessinsider.com/2012-01-09/news/30606596_1_ipads-windows-licenses-market-share#ixzz1pJLHs1I2

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bryant-Griner/849560603 Bryant Griner

    Computer’s are similar to cars.. To drive a car pre 1940 when the first automatic transmission was introduced you HAD to learn how to drive a manual…

    Prior to the iPhone/iPad to do a lot of computer functions, you HAD to learn how to use a computer. PC or Mac, there’s a steep learning curve in comparisons to any iOS device.

    Babies can use iPhone’s and iPads with absolutely no instruction… 

    My twin’s were born in 2007.. they’ve literally grew up with iOS…  In the Apple Store, I just realized that they don’t know the concept of a Mouse… They kept touching the giant iMac screens…

    This is the future for normal people. 

    Some people love the complexity of PC’s… Most people don’t.. More importantly, most people don’t need to anymore.

    • RaterKey

      I particularly like the automatic transmission analogy, it is perfect in that even though in some markets (USA and parts of Latin America) most people have opted for automatic transmissions since the 50s and 60s other markets have been much more resistant to taking it up. For a variety of reasons. And even in those markets where autos are strong, there’s is still the manual option!

      The reality is that for the average road driver, there’s absolutely no need to pick a manual over an auto. But some people actively choose to, either for enjoyment, to save a little money, etc…

      The same is happening to PCs, some people are perfectly happy with the simplicity that a tablet brings. And they don’t miss any of the desktop functionality simply because they didn’t use it in the first place. But that doesn’t mean that everyone feels that way, and there’s no need for a fully featured PC (with a keyboard, and a UI that allows multitasking effectively).

  • Paplos

    ohhh gosh i cant wait to get home and uninstall this mess of an OS. make up your mind if you for a tablet or pc.

  • Kyle Polansky

    Am I one of the only people that like the way that Microsoft is doing this? I have an old tablet PC and Windows 8 is probably the best OS I could have asked for. Metro works great when I’m in touch screen mode, and When I’m working with a mouse and keyboard, Aero works great, and I’m able to use all my legacy applications without any problems. If you go back to the “editions” that everyone is talking about, this is the best of both editions. You don’t have to spend $100 (or whatever it is) on a metro edition and then another $100 on aero, it’s just all there in 1 edition.

    I also think this will help regular consumers migrate between desktops and tablets. It seems that all other devices have been built for one experience or the other. My mom would never use a tablet because she isn’t familiar with the OS. And yes, she has tried an iPad and hated it. Also, people that use their tablets for everything will have no problem switching back to aero to get desktop work done.

    My guess is that Windows 9 will bring us a lot more of a metro style, users just have to used to it first. There’s what, less than 100 applications in the “Store”? Until I see a metro version of Google Chrome, I’m not going to switch over to metro, and those users that don’t like Google Docs are going to want Microsoft Office. Also being a network admin, I can’t understand why more administrative tools aren’t using the metro UI, but more will probably be implemented later. The server manager in Windows Server 8 does a great job at using the metro UI, but it’s just going to take Microsoft time to develop these tools, and I think they need something new, to get users using the metro UI.

  • http://www.TexansHQ.com/ TexansHQ

    Well written article indeed, but allot of hot air from most of you. In the end the market will decide, and while tons of articles like this from those who obviously grew up using SLI as opposed to GUI because it made them feel superior to remember those command lines, calling GUI users idiots, will influence some to switch or even think about it. It won’t be enough however to kill the PC or make Mac or tablets the standard.

    End users will decide and I can tell you that businesses that have spent the last two decades on Windows platforms (Servers and Desktops) are not going to make the switch simply because you say so. Mac and Linux users have been saying they are the future now for 2 decades.. when is it going to happen?

    The iPad is a gadget that old people can use, but do you think that any corporation is targeting the future of their business to people over 50? Your dad is a product of you in the sense that you most likely showed him everything he knows about using the digital world, so of course he shares your views of interfaces, etc. 

    Show each device to kids and see what happens. Remember the kids are who this is all targeted at. Many others who use “iGadgets” are simply doing so to “keep up with the jones’ ” so to speak, not because they know them to be superior devices. Status symbols at best and are rarely used to the full potential by most who own them.

    I can tell you from experience that most people over 50 do not like change, even though it may be a more efficient way to do things. It means they have to relearn things and they do not like this. I have seen it in every deployment I have done where the majority of the staff are not happy with the changes they face.

    In the end it comes down to Ford vs Chevy, or BMW vs Audi… Whatever your preference… you will defend it to the end regardless of what is put in front of you so all of these posts in support of, or against are nothing more than opinions of a very small sample of the real world.

    10 years from now you Apple/Linux fans will still be crying about unfair business advantages by MS, and proclaiming you are the future. Like always the market will decide and the Ford vs Chevy argument will continue.

    • RaterKey

      Great comment TexasHQ.

      We went through many many many years of “X the year of Linux desktop”, and people are STILL saying it today. I see many comments from people in the LockerGnome community reminding everyone that Ubuntu is now very user friendly and thus a threat to MS.

      Ubuntu has been user friendly for years! I’ve been a Debian and Ubuntu user for many years and particularly Ubuntu has had a very usable desktop OS for a long long time. If anything, it has gotten worse of late since they left Gnome 2. Has it been a true threat to MS? No. I have an Ubuntu sticker on one of my laptops, and here I am typing away with Windows 7 on my other laptop.

      It is exactly Ford vs. Chevy. The people in one camp will never admit that the other camp may be doing something well. Heck, I am sure some people back in 74 claimed the Mustang II was somehow better than Chevy’s Camaro even though hindsight now tells us NOOooooo…

      Also, I ABSOLUTELY agree on the iGadgets comment. 20% of Apple buyers do it consciously because of the functionality, this are the people who are savvy and know exactly why the Apple route is the best solution for their situation. The other 80% buy Apple because it is fashionable, simply a premium product to be seen with.  

      Apple’s marketing has been phenomenal since the iMac G3 was launched, and it keeps on getting better and better. They could hype up virtually anything. You cannot say the same for Microsoft, who couldn’t hype up a time machine.

  • Chingis Jumaliev


  • Wastefuldragon

    windows 8 belongs on tablets

  • http://twitter.com/NZAircraftFan Glen Towler

    I haven’t tried windows 8 yet but I am more than happy with 7 and don’t feel the need to upgrade I did say that about XP but XP is really old and I glad I upgraded and missed out vista . Windows 7 not broken so why fix it ?

  • johnwerneken

    You are right Chris, pretty much. Win8 works PERFECT
    for me on my desktop but you are still right. I had to do some stuff I ought
    not to have had to do, for starters, to get it the way I want, which is very
    close to classic, with Win+Q and Win+X to swap GUI’s. When I replace box and
    monitor it shall be a touch+keyboard+mouse set-up, for which I shall want it as
    I have it.

    MS should (1) Give all installers four options (2)
    they should be: (a) DESKTOP only; (b) TOUCH only; (c) BOTH; (d) Enterprise can
    create image to enforce whichever of a,b,c they prefer; (2) EACH of the four alternatives
    should be optimized by MS (and not by the user) to run to at least Win7 and iPod_OS
    standards wherever they are installed.

    That IMHO would solve 99% of the complaints. I
    suspect 2% are fundamental: (1) change is expensive in every sense and purely
    hated by some of us; (2) The “BOTH” option, optimized for both physical environments,
    simply may not be possible. Obviously the OS would be more complex and presumably
    potentially a greater user of all manner of resources, which is not anyone’s
    idea of optimization…

  • http://www.KillerGameRants.com/ Warren

    I am not the same as Sam, John, Tasha, Dick, Sherry..  I am me.  My iPad2 does not look like no one else s, but yet they are the same. My PC is VERY different from EVERYONE’S!  Now you want to make me be like Simpleton Sam because all he does is text editing.  I do text editing, video editing, graphic design, playing a few video games.  Trying to make my Desktop into a Tablet…  I might as well get a desk dock for my iPad2+ right?  Cheaper and iCloud to boot.  No need for a desktop PC or a Laptop OR even a Windows Tablet.  Adobe and many others have been set free to portability…  I love Microsoft Windows 98SE and WinXP.  Adobe CS5 made me upgrade to Win7 for the i7 Processor… with 8GB so…  But we use what is efficient.  Otherwise, get stressed out, then call it quits as it is not worth it.  I’ve told Mike Downey my thoughts…  If they don’t treat each person like an individual….  When Win8 farts…  Many will flee the area.  I want all things to be successful, but if you are going to blindly jump off the cliff, who am I to laugh at you until you hit the bottom?  “I told you those Hammmer Pants aren’t real parachutes.”

    Good luck MS.  I do hope we can customize the use and look of Win 8.

  • S1974

    Wow, that’s an awful UI!  I think Microsoft is stuck firmly in its monopolistic mentality.  For years it didn’t really have to perform well because its monopoly status protected it.  Microsoft even used this philosophy with the xbox 360.  The first batch of systems had severe hardware problems resulting in the systems becoming defective, and it took Microsoft not weeks or months to fix the issue: IT TOOK THEM YEARS.  Only a monopoly would have that kind of arrogance.  The funny thing is, monopoly standings are only skin deep and are prone to collapse.  That’s what we’re seeing because Microsoft is continuing with its monopolistic arrogance even when people no longer need it.  I do not see Microsoft *getting it* and I think their own arrogance will be their demise.  They’ll always be a player in the tech field, but I bet within 10-15 years they’ll just be any ol’ player.  

  • Curtis Coburn

    I don’t think I will be getting Windows 8. It is ugly (my opinion) and with what you have been saying, it doesn’t sound that great. I don’t really want a touch computer, that is what tablets are for. 

  • http://twitter.com/wood45dragon wooddragon45

    We have Ballet shoes and Wellington boots for a reason – nothing can perform both jobs – same with tablet and desktop…


  • Robert Wilke

    It was mentioned earlier why would an Enterprise go for an iPad. In 3 words it’s the “Ultimate Thin Client”.  For decades Companies have wanted basically terminal with more functionality.  They thought thin clients were the answer.  Problem was they were TOO thin in performance and functionality.  That’s why Oracle failed and why M$ won with small pc’s.  Now you have the iPads that can do most of what corp pc’s do (email, web ect).  It can do it out of the box.  Then you add custom corp apps that are market specific and you have a winner.  It can be locked down and controlled like any pc on the network without having to wait for your desktop to load from the remote server.

    I get where Microsoft wants to go with the unified UX.  I’m fine with that.  What i’m not fine is how they are implementing it.  The drop out between metro and aero is quite jarring. The programs should be able to run in full like the apps.  As it is now many of it’s users (not us) will be frustrated.  Many after hearing how this really works will not upgrade or demand that win7 be put on their new pc.  

    I made a mistake last week installing Office 2010 on a test laptop running 8.  Oh it installed fine but when I got back to the start screen I had it along with every program that would be in the start menu in Aero.  Some if not most should have been in a sub tile in Metro.  Where you see it and click it and then it displays them for you.  Not in Win8 Metro for the PC.  It’s all there whether we like it or not.  Yes yes I know you can arrange the start screen as you like.  Also you can take those items out of Start screen.  Well First as a user I should have to be bothered by that.  Second there is no ease as how to fix it.  I found in another install i did on a dif pc that there is a toggle to hide the admin programs.  Great, why though is it hidden in a sub menu that is not readily available?  This is why we are seeing such a push back already on this.

    If we thought Microsoft would listen and fix it before they released it we wouldn’t be this concerned.  M$ has a track record that sadly points in the opposite direction.  It’s kinda like seeing the speeding locomotive and knowing that the track is out just up ahead.  You try to warn them but the just keep plowing along.  We are just now waiting for the crash.  

  • RLP

    I do wonder though for the PC gamers. Virtually all developers only make their games on Windows. Steam is now on OS X but the other games available on there that isn’t developed by Valve don’t work on Mac. Sure there are games available on Mac OS X but there’s very few. Linux from my standpoint has absolutely no games that have ever came out that have mainstream status, probably due to how complex it is to work with Linux. Game devs will be limited by the hardware built into current iPads and Android tablets in how they want to approach the development of the game (games like Crysis 2 will never hold its ground on tablet hardware). After reading this Chris is right in many ways: Windows 8 has to not fail, and what I typed here is from a gamer’s perspective, as I am one. Yes I do have the choice of PlayStation or Xbox or Nintendo, but I have always wanted to get into the PC gaming market, and there might be good reasons why we don’t see Skyrim or Call of Duty on Linux, OS X, or tablets. The answer is easy for the tablets (FPS and touchscreens don’t mix well). As for the Macs or the Linux PCs, it’s probably related to simplicity and how easy it is to develop the games on those platforms. Yes I’m slightly off-topic, but I would note that if Windows 8 fails, the PC gamers are gonna have to resort possibly to Xbox and PlayStation (and take note that Metro is in Xbox 360 now, which I think is clunky compared to NXE).

  • elucidsoft

    Chris, today we stopped by the Microsoft store here in Tyson’s corner Virginia after going to the Apple store. A couple of disturbing things I noticed immediately: 1. The Microsoft store is a blatant and heap knock off of e Apple store. 2. It was dead empty, and mind you this was right around the corner from Apple store that was so packed they had police stationed outside the entrance. 3. The people that worked at Microsoft store lacked the energy, charisma, and overall excitement that the Apple store employees had. 4. When I asked about the Win8 tablet the guy yelled across the store for some random employee that had one tablet in the entire store to come show it to me, and she handed me the device and the very first thing she showed me was how to get to the desktop (mind you I know a great deal about Win8 but I played dumb because I wanted to see how consumers were being presented this OS) 5. She straight up handed me the device, at no point did she tell me this was preview software, nor did she tell me the device which weighed a ton and was super thick would not represent the final hardware. 7.6. When we first walked into the store (which was empty with like 6 employees) the employees were goofing off and joking loudly in the back and we were ignored for nearly 10 minutes until I straight up confronted someone

  • Nicodeimous

    Personally there isn’t really any chance of huge failure for Ms. At the moment they are the main stream desktop Environ. Apple and Linux have small slivers of the actual desktop environment ATM … I don’t really see this changing. Those who dont like the new is will move slowly from XP to windows 7. No real fail for ms just slow adoption of the newest version. Vista was horrible yet Ms has recovered and moved on.

    Tablet and mobile OS’s are tailored to causal gamers and media consumers as it was intended. The market ATM has a number of these consuming devices coexisting with desktops. The reason is when you want to get serious work done quickly and with the least fuss a desktop is does the job better hands down. Any desktop operating system. The it will be minuses time to shine is a pipe dream … been a Linux hack for years and the songs been the sane since 1997 … Linux is just too cumbersome for the average user to even give it a try heaven forbid if something updates wrong or a dependency breaks due to a bad package …

    MICROsofts going to be fine and around for many years to come just like apple.

  • Rbiaggi

    It will be a great article if you don’t always compare Windows 8 to the iPad. It makes you LOOK like an Apple fanboy (not saying you’re an Apple fanboy).

  • Bruno Fleurquin

    I’m just happy to read in somebody else’s words the word I’ve had in my head ever since I installed the preview version of windows 8: “schizophrenic” O.S. 

  • Wanted797

    Great article Chris. I am a long time windows user hated macs when I was younger and thought the iPhone was terrible. Until I bought one. I got my first mac last year and (and 2nd iPhone) and just now one of the new iPads which is what I am typing this on. When I seen windows 8 consumer preview I was annoyed and frustrated with how it was. It’s like they changed up windows 7 a bit and slapped a fancy metro on top. So many complain OS X is going to much like iOS but if you take a look they are doing it discreetly opposed to what could be microsofts blunder. You greatly summed up everything I have thought about windows 8 and what Microsoft needs to do to fix it. And anyone who thinks that just being an apple fan boy. You’re the one being the fanboy directing criticism where it is deserved is not fanboy I am a user of both windows and OS X, iOS included and I won’t follow and agree with everything one company does.

  • Carterslad

    i loved windows but when i got vista got a bad taste of bad work man ship and when i got updates from Microsoft my  xp PC one my grand sons two  mine. PC bad updates pc would not start gave up and went to Linux.how of work cant afford to buy new PC or 8   still use windows but only when i have to Microsoft more about money then the consumer no help desk to bad i really loved windows .when they make xp like 98 when you cant use it i hope  Linux has more  easy to install  hardware and and more games Microsoft  better watch out Linux and android and mac is on there back you can have the great  Product but if you forget the people you are out of business carterslad

  • nicodeimous

    Microsoft’s not going to fail because of a staggered Windows 8 launch, as too the “new competitors” none of them are competing with M$’s desktop strangle hold.  Most users of tablets [android and ios] end up at the desktop anyways to correct account issues, grab media they don’t want eating there “invisible unlimited data barrier” or working with files that simply require much more access to fast input methods that hold up for prolonged periods of time [ie keyboards].

    The tablets are nice and certainly take some of the time away from desktops but for the most part its passing.  Net-books though I see very threatened by tablets, Windows is often too bloated on these low end devices and Linux barely has any good offerings that are marketable to make these devices more competitive with tablets.

    Love HTC and Samsung tablets but until they can get the hype and media the Apple guys are so adept at using they wont “capture” the imagination of the common user.  The reality is the devices pretty much in the common users hands are the same in use.  I do a lot of work with customers on both types of devices and find the questions and frustrations seem to be more or less the same.  Power users [which make up a very small percentage of these markets] are much more picky about things but again we are power users.  This of course doesn’t take into account the bling buyers … you know the ones … its the fad so it gets bought.  Any how nice article but ultimately just speculation, vista did little to help Apple’s desktop % grow and neither will Windows 8 [pass or fail].  Linux hasn’t caught the consumer desktop market in the last 15 years it isn’t likely too now [wave the we’re coming flag all you want].

    I do believe they should have split the product into two distinct products, .net [metro’ed ui etc] for portable devices and windows 8 [windows 7 improved] for the desktop environment.

  • nicodeimous

    Played with and flashed a new rom on my wife’s HD7 [Windows 7 Phone], shes had it for awhile so I tried it out for a month to see if it could replace my android.  In the end even though the ui is simple and easy to navigate there were too many things the os would not do.  I felt as if I was driving a sport bike with training wheels and rubber bumpers on.  I KNOW the hardware could do SO much more, yet the OS was bound and determined to stop useful common tasks.  Just my opinion, i used to LOVE windows mobile OS.  In fact I still have a JasJar with 6.1 flashed on it, this new one is just too simple and plain.

    May appeal to the single use sandbox users though.

  • nicodeimous

    An idea btw … is it possible that M$ is just pushing a desktop advert for the mobile OS?  I mean its more or less windows 7 [i was able to install drivers for my Viliv N5 for instance without any issues].  The UI would create a familiar format that could “sell” Metro UI to a wider variety of users who more than likely will buy a new PC but not an windows mobile phone.  Just a thought.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NHEUAWMRAAZC7Z5KAC5IE5YHNQ rowan

    Microsoft should release this OS as a tablet OS and stick with Windows 7 as the desktop OS.

  • Bretislav

    For the price of a single iMac I can get at least three very decent IBM compatible PCs including the operating system which, of course, would be Windows.
    Today I was checking the prices of Apple wireless keyboard for my iPad – I think I’ll rather use the same money for a nice external HDD for my desktop PC at home.
    Until this changes we are not going to see a demise of Windows unless they really mess it up totally.

  • gorkon

    It’s worse Chris.  Windows Server 8 has this exact interfaces as well!  While the need for Windows is less on the desktop now more than ever, on the server it’s still pretty important.  Odds are if you have Exchange then you have Active Directory and you have a need for at least 8 servers or so.  probably more depending on how big your forest is if you have one.  Windows Server 8 DOES have a text install only available and that’s good, but if you install the GUI and remote in it’s VERY hard to use with Metro on top.  

  • Jizzy-lynx-boi

    I like the fact, that you got your dad to test out windows 8. the experiement is a good idea. if microsoft want to improve windows 8, they got to understand everybodys needs, and clearly your dad is finding it hard to use windows 8, and to be honest, windows 8 is rubbish. now i have used windows when i was at school (about 17 years ago), and i have been brought up using windows, i can not really afford apple mac, but i have used it in the apple store and used it on a friends ipad. and if i had the choice of windows 8 oir apple mac, it would be apple mac. apple mac is easier to use, without microsoft messing up windows 8! 

  • http://www.facebook.com/mattylaw78 Matt Lawson

    Chris I agree on alot but i will say in the end it comes to personal preference and 
    customization   of use. i am comfortable with the windows environment since i have little dealings with the ios environment but i will say when it comes to portable devices like a iPad ios is all i prefer but since my little dealings with ios in the desktop environment i am only comfortable with windows but have friends thats all they use and windows would be like ancient hieroglyphs in a pyramid to them in the end its all about personal preference and customization.

  • Chapmattman

    Chris, sorry to hear that u are called biased all the time.  I don’t think you are biased at all.  You are are one of the few technology reviewers that hits the nail on the head.  And I am a Microsoft fan.  That is because I work in high end graphics and animation, and I just built myself a new Win 7 editing machine for 5 thousand all in, including a new HD monitor.  the same machine would have been 13000 with Mac.  Yes I saved the price of a CAR using Windows.

    You are right about this fact, MS has serious iPad envy.  I have been a tablet pc user for 5 years and am in fact writing this on my Asus EP 121 with Win 8 CP.  for me it comes down to consuming or creating.  I love drawing on my tablet, and OneNote with pressure sensitivity, palm rejection, and handwriting recognition are better than anything that an ipad could or will ever offer, since they have no pressure recognition or radio frequency pen (which is partially why win tablets cannot match the price point of iPads.  iPads are for games, email, internet, and watching things.  literally consuming.  for all the elegance of their ads whenever I meet an iPad owner I always ask, “what do you do with it?”  no one says “learn a new language”, “design cars”, or anything their ads point to.

    you are right though, chris.  I am an avid MS fan, but it is so painfully clear that they cannot afford to lose the battle for consumers hearts.  they are poised to, though.   ipads are a gateway drug into the walled garden of expensive, grandma and 4 year old friendly technology.  By trying to please the consumer and the enterprise, MS stands ready to please neither.

    Remember the courier?   a simple piece of usable, elegant technology that would have capitalized on all of the natural user interface research MS had done, and use technology Bill Gates predicted?  Ballmer killed it.  And in doing so he killed the last hope MS had of creating a device consumers would have wanted.  when he killed it he delivered the message “the best parts of courier will be folded into Windows 8″.  where are they?  where is support for pen and handwriting recognition and an elegant dayplanning software that allows you to flick and make notes and draw and create inspiration?  it ain’t in metro.

    thanks for your blogs chris, if only someone at MS took note.

  • http://www.facebook.com/edenbrackstone Eden Brackstone

    Very well written, Chris. Valid points indeed. Personally, I do hate Microsoft and Windows simply because I hate the user experience… That being said I used them for years before switching to the Mac and seeing the light of day.

    I feel Windows 8 is a bad user experience all round… I’ve not used it myself, but I’ve read enough feedback to know that many people agree with me. Metro as a concept is admirable, however I think they’ve failed to do what only Apple does well; mesh various software services to create a seamless operating environment that ‘just works’ 😉

    Oh, and while I’m at it… I also hate the logo!

  • http://twitter.com/BradenJennings Braden Jennings

    Issues with Windows 8 have been blown out of proportion.
    Personally I’m a desktop user, and use many professional applications like: Maya, Mudbox, Photoshop etc. and spend 99% of my time in the desktop. When I use the new start screen, I navigate it just as fast as previously. The benefits of a dual platform have been largely conveniently ignored for this article.

    The main thing Chris has pointed out is issues with discoverability for new users. A first boot tutorial, physical manual with software package, advertising, and word of mouth will correct this for the most part.

    I’m not sure how Microsoft can make it fundamentality better. The hot corners seem like the only logical way to give a universal method to access controls from either metro, and desktop (with mouse and keyboard). The developer preview was worse, the start button was oddly viewable on desktop, but not metro.

    It is something new to learn, and I believe a large mass of Microsoft customers will be able to adapt, and find themselves as productive as ever, once they give it a chance, and understand the new features.

    Others pros for Windows 8:

    –  Many people feel metro is going to work well on tablets, and hybrid devices.

     – Windows 8 desktop offers some welcome new features, boot and general performance also improved

  • http://twitter.com/BradenJennings Braden Jennings

    Issues with Windows 8 have been blown out of proportion.
    Personally I’m a desktop user, and use many professional applications like: Maya, Mudbox, Photoshop etc. and spend 99% of my time in the desktop. When I use the new start screen, I navigate it just as fast as previously. The benefits of a dual platform have been largely conveniently ignored for this article.

    The main thing Chris has pointed out is issues with discoverability for new users. A first boot tutorial, physical manual with software package, advertising, and word of mouth will correct this for the most part.

    I’m not sure how Microsoft can make it fundamentality better. The hot corners seem like the only logical way to give a universal method to access controls from either metro, and desktop (with mouse and keyboard). The developer preview was worse, the start button was oddly viewable on desktop, but not metro.

    It is something new to learn, and I believe a large mass of Microsoft customers will be able to adapt, and find themselves as productive as ever, once they give it a chance, and understand the new features.

    Others pros for Windows 8:

    –  Many people feel metro is going to work well on tablets, and hybrid devices.

     – Windows 8 desktop offers some welcome new features, boot and general performance also improved

    • S1974

       Most people are not like us.  I can’t even count the number of time I had to fix a missing or oddly-positioned toolbar on someone’s computer and it always annoys me when either the toolbar lock option is off by default or not even present at all.  I’m tired of being the go-to guy when Windows allows a notice to easily screw something up that should have been designed to avoid.

      Sometimes Microsoft gets things right like with the Office redesign with Office 2007, but far too often Microsoft products act like a tech-boy’s club where some unwanted, but innovative, change is added to a product by default that makes the experience a mess for novices and is difficult to remove.  The most famous example is Clippy, but another example is that older version of Office with those awful collapsible toolbar menus “Stephen where’s that blah-blah option in my File menu?  It used to be there!”  Ugh!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sean-Denys/784153144 Sean Denys

     Ok, so what I’m hearing here is that everybody hates Windows 8, correct? So what would you do? Scrap Metro and release an OS that’s essentially the same as W7? Then you’ll be yelling about how MS never changes anything and how Apple is so innovative and everything they do is magic.

    • S1974

      Microsoft has more than the two options that you are citing.  Why not come up with something that’s both innovative and well conceived?

      What’s wrong with keeping Windows 7 and waiting for the right product to be produced?   The tech industry is littered with companies that took a major hit due to seeking innovation for the sake of innovation (remember Nintendo’s Virtual Boy?)  Windows XP was around for a long time.  I mean a LOOOOONG time because it was one of Microsoft’s most reliable products, and what was the harm?  It’s not like most consumers, or even businesses, are going to run out and spend $200 (especially in this terrible economy) to upgrade their OS.  Most people don’t even know what an OS even is! 

      Most people shop for new computers and not operating systems.  Either their shoddily-manufactured hardware has gone bust or their existing Windows installation has gotten so unstable that things run too slow.  Either way, in Granny’s mind she’s shopping for a new computer and not a new OS.  If Dell was still selling Windows XP Granny wouldn’t have a clue.

      Microsoft certainly has the resources to do this right, and from the looks of it they aren’t.  In the end they will only have themselves to blame.

  • Haxagon

    Jesus, you are the most annoying fuck that has ever existed.

  • Haxagon

    Why wouldn’t you be saying that about this moron?

  • Messenger386

    Thank you for providing a review, not a “preview” aka fake positive reviews
    Thank you for articulating which is becoming clear – Windows 8 is potentially a great OS for tablets, but an abomination for desktop PCs.
    **************Windows 8 for desktops is DOA ala Vista, as you predict****************************
    The fact that the most basic task (Turning off computer) now requires more clicks/touches is a bad omen – user productivity isnt a priority
    As you say, Microsoft has focussed on the IPAD as its main competition, and by forcing Metro down everyones throats, has forgotten:
    1)Windows main competition is not just IPAD but equally other desktop OSes, including OSX
    2)Enterprise will likely always want desktop OS systems – desktops are the optimal system for PRODUCING content
    My main question is “When did the paradigm that IPADS are now the main game” become true. Because when I review the situation, IPADS are good for consuming content, not producing content.
    3)Metro and touch input are not compatible with desktop OSes
    4)What are the productivity benefits that Windows 8 offers desktop users over Windows 7 – give me ONE
    Another thing few people discuss is the lack of Metro applications available now for reviewing, and thus usability of metro style apps is still in doubt. Yes its a beta version, but Im very wary Microsoft havent been able to show me a useful METRO app that isnt a gimmick (eg weather)
    I expect metro Office 2013 will never be able to hold a candle to the desktop version, so again, dont forget desktop users !!!
    The day “disjointed” becomes a popular word, so will Windows 8 be welcomed by desktop users
    In summary, totally agree with your main point – if Microsoft as predicted ignores experts and doesnt produce two separate Windows 8 versions (desktop and tablet), get ready for a blood bath

  • Daniel Gartin

    I hate Windows XP,my laptop is so painfully slow it is not even funny,i just use my iPad 2 for everything ( iOS 5.1)

  • Tensionsw

    Windows 8 is a total disaster. Better to switch to Mac OS X as anyone is doing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/miguelduarte3 Miguel Duarte

    Well, you’re right about something, they can’t afford failing… However I actually believe in their strategy. Sure not having a start button is as good as shooting your feet, and I hope that don’t come in the final W8 version. However, support for older applications and hardware IS critical. That was one of the reasons users hated Vista. The idea of being able to change between Windows classic mode and Metro is good too. It had to be well done, but it means you can do and run everything in a tablet as you run in a PC. It’s the difference between a phone with steroids and an actual PC, and is the reason I’ve personally waited for so long for a tablet with windows. Microsoft office is something I would miss in an ipad (sure there are apps that can make some work done, but it isn’t quite the same…)
    Another problem (and other reason to have purchased a netbook instead of a iPad) is that netbooks are found starting 250-300€, and iPad starts at 460-500€. Same goes to a decent Android tablet. And, when it comes to work experience, a netbook runs a desktop OS with all the advantages that it has. If Windows 8 tablets start at 400+€, they’ll be well spent money. They’ll have all the advantages of mobile apps with possibility of having a classic windows desktop. All I could have asked from the start.

  • W0lfbaneShika

    I won’t lose any sleep on this because it’s 4pm right now… so here’s my two pence!

    Microsoft aka Windows 8 WILL sell… however, will it be for the right reasons? No.

    The fact of the matter is Microsoft’s Windows 8 is just another GUI interface with compatibility problems which EVERYONE will complain about. Gamers will be all like: OH GREAT! My Graphics Card doesn’t work properly, Company Managers will be like: Sure it’s Windows 8 but it’s no Windows XP, Software designers will look at this skeptically like every other “version” Microsoft publishes and the average non-computer litterate will just crop their head to one side and ask: “What’s that?”.

    Microsoft at the moment is just playing tennis with Mac and Linux is the ballboy at the moment. Picture this: in a few years, soon the stadium will be filled with other OS’s spectating… and then as the years go by… the stadium eventually needs to get more seats and finally the two tennis Wimbledon players we all grew to love… end up being retired to make way for other “better” OS systems to play ball.

    The fact of the matter is and will always be: Microsoft is losing their edge eventually they’ll fall into obscurity unless they start using the looking glass their grandmother provided to them!

    I remember the days when Steve and Bill would work together with BASIC… but now things have changed and the two went head to head in the geek wars that have plagued us before George Lucas and Captain Picard poked their heads out. As soon as one died, people were dumbstruck as to how to react, it’s quite moving to hear that Steve and Bill shared pleasentries not conflict when they last met.

    So basically, it’s natural to think since Steve is gone – there’s no apple just a rotten core that used to be apple but has been painted over just to make sure no-one notices the mold forming on the base. Will Microsoft end up the same way? Well that’s Elementry my dear Watson. Of course they will! In case you haven’t noticed all someone needs to do in order to “ruin” customer experience is smash the “Window” that is the Windows Operating System… which by the way, you might want to get the bucket and cleaner out because the birds have been pooping since you’ve stopped cleaning them! Instead what Microsoft have been doing is bringing out new “Window(s)” and added several layers of glass to make sure no-one smashes through them… only to have the burglars use the open front door!

    Ideas of late have been well, let’s just say not very good… new Windows? What’s going to be the selling point to gamers? NEW DIRECTX! EXCELLENT! Wait, we can install DirectX11 on Linux… umm oops?

    My Windows experience has just basically been cleaning the Window panes since the nineties, one single virus can cause the computer to fail and Uh-Oh! Looks like we’ll have to reinstall Windows again Jimmy! Security as of late has scaled to “Okay” to “Oh what is this? Why do I need to run as Admin when I am the Admin GAH!”. The fact is the beard on computers is showing… it’s only a matter of time before we start shaving it off and replacing it with a “better” OS experience… do I think Microsoft is vulnable to other OS systems later: Yes absolutly! Now? Not quite, but there do seems to be a few flies buzzing around my monitor screen.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Corelogik Bruce D. Jenner

    The desktop is NOT a tablet. A tablet OS has NO PLACE on a desktop computer. Give us the option to disable metro completely, and restore the “normal” desktop. WITH start/windows button! If you don’t, Windows is done for. Tablets and mobile ARE NOT the future, they are an addition to existing computing eco-system.

  • http://twitter.com/atldaveed David Hillman

    People will buy Windows 8 when they buy a new computer (if it isn’t Mac). If they don’t like the experience, they’ll rant and rave until someone tells them to get a Mac or an iPad. I know a few people that are doing that right now. Some of us with less money are leaving the Windows ship a different way. That different way is the hackintosh. I am currently typing this on a serious machine with quad core CPU, 16 gigs of RAM, huge Apple Cinema display and OS X Lion that was bought from the Apple app store for $29. It has been running solid for 4 straight months and costs $$ less than a Mac Pro. You can get a feel for the BSD heritage in OS X. When this machine dies, a Mac Mini will certainly be powerful enough to replace it.

    There isn’t a single thing that I need Windows 8 for at home. Gaming is taken care of with the PS3 and the Wii. iOS and Android take care of the light Web and remote control duties. VPN and remote desktop duties can also be handled there. No more phoning home to headquarters to beg for permission to activate.

    At work, there is Sharepoint and Visual Studio, but all I have to do is throw the hard disk from work into the hackintosh and it shows up as a Bootcamp partition that can be booted in VMware Fusion (runs better, too). The annoying license key issue makes it a chore though. OS X is such a capable OS and Apple people are so smart in how they design things for ease of use, I agree Microsoft has to be really careful.

  • Windows8?

    I think they should keep traditional windows with upgrades to desktops and laptops without touch and metro to touch devices (ie: tablets convertibles)