On why Microsoft built Windows 8
This post is not why Microsoft built a successor to Windows 7 - that reason is obvious enough. This topic is to explain why I think it made Windows 8 look and function the way it does
To start, Windows Phone 7, by critical measure, is a compelling OS. Functional, reliable, and modern. No matter what you consider its market failings to be - lack of retail support, the use of the word "Windows" in its title, lack of apps, etc. - there is no way that this phone should be be getting outsold 20 or 30:1 by iOS and Android. The average consumer just wants something that works, and the fact that they can only sell approximately 1 smartphone out of every 60 purchased is a testament to how important mindshare can be. I believe that this utter lack of success in the phone space disheartened Microsoft and the belief that they can battle from behind to win over consumers.
Tablet computing, by all measures, has hardly scraped the surface in terms of its applicable use cases. The market has already determined that it will either be the successor to the laptop market or at least one of the horses in a very competitive two horse race. There are few sure things in the tech industry, but betting on the success of touch-based computing is one of them, and every major OEM and platform provider now have strategies in place to compete in this space.
Microsoft's Tablet Strategy
I've heard many people discuss why they think Windows 8 may be superior to that of tablet OSes - no compromise computing, architecture support, etc. All of these reasons may be true; however, I think the real reason is that Microsoft really doesn't want to have to play catch up again in what they think will be a dominant computing market in the short term future. They saw how even a solid product in WP7 was trampled by iOS and Android in sales because they started at zero market share and were reluctant to see that occur again with their tablet OS. For this reason, they went top-down and hitched their tablet OS wagon to their star, Windows.
And for this reason, Windows 8 seems to be a product built to brute force their way into the tablet market. Microsoft knows that the Windows brand is a winning brand, and so rather than make separate a separate OS for tablets (or build on the foundations of WP7) that will need to battle competitors at the 0% market share level, they will take the fight to the competitors leveraging their 90% market share. By all measures, Vista was a complete flop (mostly because enterprises didn't adopt it), and yet it still managed to be one of the best-selling OSes ever. And this is completely because people buy Windows, full stop. Death, taxes, and Windows.
Say what you want about how Windows 8 is no compromise and how Microsoft believes that they've created an intuitive OS, but the real reason is that Microsoft knows that they have a sure thing with Windows and isn't planning on taking any chances with its tablet strategy. Concluding, I'm not sure if I'm stating the extremely obvious here, but recently, I haven't heard this argument whatsoever, and people seem to be talking about W8 as a winning strategy on ideology alone, so I wanted to state what I thought to be the true motives of MS on this.
Thoughts and Opinions?
DISCLAIMER: I prefer Windows as my computing platform of choice, but have been using a the Mac and iOS ecosystem for work for the past year.