Windows 8: What Does it All Mean?
First, how's everyone doing? I hope all of you are well.
It's been interesting to read articles on the Verge and scroll down to the comment section and slowly see them turn into text based screaming matches; the latest is the post about the Apple Genius ads that turn into another fight about Windows 8. The thing that got me is that after a whole year people are still arguing over the Start Screen versus the menu and Metro on tablets versus the Giant monitor you keep in your house. It's an argument that if you tried you could recreate from memory; and I'm not going to do that now. And the problem with all this arguing is that everybody just speaks past everyone else.
Truth of the matter is, Windows 8 is difficult for people who want a traditional Windows desktop. They are used to, comfortable, and productive with the system as is. For them and others Windows 8 learning curve is either too steep or unnecessary especially if what they use is a desktop. Now other people have gotten on the ride and for them Windows 8 works and works well; they get benefits from the new start screen and the Metro applications. They have adapted their use patterns to Windows 8. So both have valid points and we should strive to be respectful and adult about this.
However everyone needs to realize that Windows 8 is a reset, for better and worse,. Microsoft could've put out a Windows 7.5 that gives you the underlying improvements in 8 and that would appease a lot of users in the short term. But longer term, if for nothing else than to keep the employees happy, Microsoft would have to redesign Windows. The consumer market is changing and the readers of the Verge or Engadget are not the biggest part of the market anymore. The things we value in operating systems are not crucial to the majority of computer users.
Most want to use the computer; they want it to be simple because its a tool. Now some of you will say that Windows 8 isn't simple, that Windows 7 is much simpler. And I will just say having been around people and helping them learn about computers; they can get lost on simple things like multitasking and understanding what a web browser does and doesn't do.
Now Microsoft also could have done what others have and taken Windows Phone and made a tablet or taking Windows 8 Metro and mad a tablet specific OS. This would make everyone happy, but then we have to think about how well that approach has worked. Android is only now getting traction in tablets; HP bowed out and RIM has issues. Their is also the issue of getting developers to actually make tablet optimized applications, something Apple has done but Android hasn't. Lastly, would Microsoft be getting this much attention if they just stretched a mobile OS or made a Tablet only one? They done form factor specific software before and it didn't take, so what would make it different now.
I'm not arguing against or for Windows 8; I just think we should look at the bigger picture. When the heads of Valve and Blizzard complain about Windows 8 one forgets to mention that they have an application on iOS and the other dismisses touch computing despite the fact that it is growing market.
And that's the matter, computing is changing and its changing fast. What took Microsoft and Apple a few decades to reach, it took Google one and Facebook a few years. We complain that RIM and Nokia are too slow in moving with plans. In that type of environment, do you really think Microsoft can afford to baby step change. So Windows is going hybrid and it will be painful. And you won't be able to easily avoid Metro and I am sorry for that. But it kind of needs to be done; Microsoft is looking at a future where Windows is like Oracle and IBM, big software vendor but not a factor in the consumer space. And as much as this will be difficult it would be more so if they did nothing or waited till everyone was ready.
Windows 8 and Metro is the plan. We can argue whether its right or wrong but its the play that will be made. They can't show doubt, they are going to have to muddle through.
You don't have to ride you can stay on Windows 7, or move to the Mac, or go Linux it's your decision. You can bitch to the high heavens how this will fail, its your opinion. I'm not doubting anyone's discomfort or frustration; Windows 8 is a mobile first OS and it has been since it was shown a year ago.
This is the play.