Microsoft Tribe


My Problem with Windows 8


I wrote a post on this earlier, but I don't think I was very clear my criticism's, so here is my second attempt.


First off, I think Windows 8 will be a great Tablet OS. The Tiles, Snap, Charms, etc. are great and are years ahead of what Apple and even Google to some extent are doing with the Tablet OS. The big problem for me comes to the desktop.

Now, for years I always agreed with Microsoft that the tablet and desktop OS should be the same. I've always wanted a device (like the Asus Transformer or Dell Inspiron Duo) that would give me all-in-one functionality. When I'm walking around or laying on my couch, I wanted simple and fun full-screen apps like those on the iPad.

But when I'm at my desk and have the luxury of a mouse and keyboard, I want Windows 7/classic desktop so I have multiple windows, full multitasking, and the fine point click of the mouse. Aside from those times when I need it for work, I like using a mouse and keyboard to do serious browsing, gaming, and etc. I usually have Hulu on one half my screen, another browser on the other half with tabs for email, facebook, and news sites. I also have gchat floating in the background somewhere. Obviously, this kind of behavior can't be replicated (or nowhere near as easy) on a tablet with fingers.


What I thought Microsoft was going to do was just have multiple UI's....allow me to choose the UI (tablet or desktop) based on the situation I'm in.

However, they aren't doing that, they are trying to eliminate the Desktop and force everyone to use Metro. I understand there are backdoor ways to re-enable it, but it's not behavior that Microsoft will easily support. On the desktop side, they are forcing everyone to open desktop apps through the new start screen. They won't allow WOA devices to have any other desktop apps aside from office. They even got rid of the start menu logo on the faux desktop mode taskbar.

Essentially, they are making the desktop into a virtualization mode for older desktop apps. Even if you have a mouse and keyboard, they want everyone to start using metro for every purpose. It's a bold step, but its incorrect.


I'm not some old fart (25) that's scared of change. I just want to do the things I want to do in the best and easiest way possible. If all I had was a touch screen, then metro is perfect for that. But there are things, even non-work things (as I described above), for which a mouse and keyboard within the classic desktop are better suited for. Here are things Microsoft should do:

1. Give me back the real start menu and taskbar. I really want them to allow me to choose my environment. When I want the classic desktop experience with overlapping windows, full multitasking, etc. etc., GIVE ME THAT. When I'm on my laptop, I don't want to see/hear/smell the Metro Start Screen.

2. Don't Tie down Apps to the Metro UI or Desktop UI. Take an Metro app like Tweetorama for example. When I'm on desktop mode, allow me to run that app (and other metro apps) within a desktop window. And lets say I'm in Metro. When I launch Office, launch it within the Metro UI. Don't take me back to the desktop and don't show me a taskbar.

3. Remove the WOA desktop App restriction. Either that or just take away the desktop UI and make it a separate tablet OS. That restriction is beyond stupid that takes away any reason to have a unified OS.


There will be a monumental backlash and most OEM's will probably ship Windows 8 with Metro disabled or just ship Windows 7. This will be the thing that gets Ballmer fired. Eventually someone will take charge and either do what I said or do what Apple does and separate the two operating systems.

Basically this will be Vista all over again, but it will hurt Microsoft much more this time to the point where they simply will never be the same.