Why Windows 8 May Fail !

Yesterday we saw some rather convincing argument about Windows 8, put forth  by my colleague, on why he thinks Windows 8 will succeed. I am however, skeptical about the success of Windows 8 in the near future – and if Windows 8 were to fail, the following could be the possible reasons, in my opinion.

With this operating system, Microsoft introduces the third biggest transition in its Windows line of operating systems – the first being Windows 3.1 to 95 and the second being Windows 98 to Windows XP. The operating system based on graphical user interface got its major revamp when the Start Menu was introduced in Windows 95. This was further improved upon in Windows XP.

With Windows 8, Microsoft removes the Start Menu and replaces the user interface with what it calls the Metro UI – a set of tiles featuring live applications on the desktop instead of icons and the Start button. While this is being seen as a major change that may be welcomed by users of touchscreen based devices, will Windows 8 become the choice of the people – especially for the desktop?

The Metro Interface

One of the main reasons I see for Windows 8 not being accepted by people is the new interface. The Metro interface is good, but only for devices with touchscreens. When it comes to desktops, the mouse-happy users, will have to figure out a way for easier navigation, which I could not find so far. There are Windows 8 shortcut keys but the ease of navigation among screens and then among the tiles is nowhere as near as compared to the previous versions of Windows.

In short the common Windows user will have to unlearn a few things before he can learn Windows 8!

There is quite a steep learning curve for basic navigation involved here, especially if you are a regular Windows users and do not consider yourself to be a geek.

Is Windows 8 Tablet Based OS?

From my perspective, Microsoft is trying to build an operating system for tablets and portable devices – possibly assuming them to be the future. While this is true that portable devices are the future, it is also true that people will not leave the good old desktops in near future.

Okay, the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) offices are getting popular, but ask the IT team and they’ll still suggest desktops and laptops for networking within and outside business houses. How many of you would like to hook up tablets to your home network – a network without desktops? And even if people accept tablets in the network, what kind of security can they expect from the users?

The operating system is secure for sure, but wouldn’t it be a risk allowing employees to move around with your organizations’ data on their tablets? What I mean to say, is that IT departments and general users will not find it easy to move to the tablets and other types of portable devices so soon. And the Metro interface of Windows 8 is perfect only for the portable devices and not for desktops with traditional input devices. This is one of the major reasons why I think Windows 8 will not be accepted in the market.

Windows 8 To Boost Microsoft Tablet Sales?

As one of my friends on Twitter puts it down: “@PowercutIN: Though Metro might fit tablet, it’s too late to compete with iPad & Android; big flop on desktop”.

Sure Microsoft is trying to bite into the market share of iPad and Android but does it need to risk rejection from desktop users? Or by introducing its own tablets, is Microsoft trying to signal the end of desktop era? What is the need for the company to move away from the successful mouse and keyboard navigated interfaces to “good-for-touchscreen-only” interface for tablets and phones? This is a factor many will have to consider before they move to Windows 8.

Microsoft Encourages Move From XP To Windows 7

Coming from the above argument, I also think that Microsoft has been too quick in bringing Windows 8 to the market. Though the product is yet to be released, many are using the Release Preview. Some used the Consumer Preview and went back to Windows 7, unable to bear with the interface woes. Moreover, even if we accept that people would like the new Windows 8 interface and that there won’t be many problems with users navigating the start screen, tiles, Charms bar, et al, how does Microsoft think that people who are still using Windows XP on their computers, will move to a totally new realm of Windows 8, easily? Microsoft cannot afford to forget that there are still very many Windows XP users out there and moving to the form of navigation in Windows 8 is not going to be easy!

According to a whitepaper released by Microsoft itself, there are some 45% people still using Windows XP – even after a decade of its launch. The whitepaper says that most of these users intend to stick to Windows XP even after the support for XP SP3 ends in April 2014. The whitepaper urges people to move to Windows 7, as Windows XP is now more vulnerable to issues – being a two decade old operating system. This, in my opinion, would be a good move.

People and organizations are finally moving to Windows 7 and training their staff on the new operating system. They have recently upgraded their hardware and software to make them compatible with Windows 7. Though Windows 8 can run on the same machines without added hardware changes, software will still need to be changed – especially if people want their software to run in Windows 8 Metro mode. How many will make such kind of transitions?

“Glad I Did Not Upgrade To Vista”

Given that people were so skeptical about the new operating systems from Microsoft that they took 10 years to move to Windows 7, how can I expect they will move to Windows 8 soon after it is released? People gave a miss to Windows Vista and they were glad they did not upgrade as Vista proved to be a mistake-of-sorts, by Microsoft. Now that they are moving to Windows 7 after nearly two years of it being released, will they not wait to see the performance of Windows 8?

Two questions arise here:

  1. Will the organizations and people invest again and so soon in Windows 8, as they recently invested in Windows 7?
  2. Given that Windows 8 is a totally different operating system – with Metro Apps, Start Screen, et all, will people not want to wait and see how different applications fare in the new operating system? It took two years for most applications to get compatible with Windows 7. How long or how soon can these applications develop metro apps for Windows 8?

Desktop Supercomputers vs Tablets

The bottom line is that people resist changes and in case of Windows 8, it is too many changes too soon. Having to train on new interface is one factor, while having to invest in the operating system cost is another. When the organizations are still in the process of migrating to Windows 7, they might find it difficult to move to Windows 8, which, it seems an operating system for portable devices with touchscreen and not for desktops. While Windows 7 was still in the release process, people were talking about the possibility of Windows 8 being developed for 128 bit CPUs. We were thinking in terms of desktop supercomputers – more computing power. And when the operating system finally comes, it is optimized for portable devices.

Personally, I feel Windows 8 is more like an operating system for use with mobile devices. It remains to be seen how Windows 8 will be accepted on desktops by the common computer user. It would be nice if Microsoft were to give the Desktop user the option to opt out of the Metro UI, if he wishes – but that doesnt seem to be happening, I guess.

I rest my argument here. If you have anything to add, support or counter my views, please leave a comment below.

Posted by on , in Category General with Tags
Arun Kumar is a Microsoft MVP alumnus, obsessed with technology, especially the Internet. He deals with the multimedia content needs of training and corporate houses. Follow him on Twitter @PowercutIN

17 Comments

  1. Dorothy

    *o* you make very valid points. Let’s see what happens next.

  2. Keith Brooks

    Windows8 just isn’t for us desktop/notebook user’s. I’m personally keeping my money and Windows 7. Why would I want to pay for Windows 8 Pro (most expensive version), then have to re-buy the addon for Windows Media Center, that is the same version, I currently have in Windows 7. Windows Media Player is still Windows Media Player 12, as in Windows 7. Except in Windows 7, I have dvd playback. Windows 8 doesn’t have dvd, blu-ray playback at all. Granted for the Blu-ray in 7, I purchased PowerDVD 12 Ultra, but I could’ve used the free PowerDVD disk that came with my Blu-ray burner. Then DirectX only goes from DX 11 in Windows 7 to DX 11.1 in 8. That’s actually a service pack update. Look at Vista, it came with DX 10 and Vista Service Pack 1 brought DX 10.1 with it. THIS IS THE 1ST VERSION OF WINDOWS IN IT’S HISTORY, TO NOT IMPROVE IT’S MULIMEDIA/ENTERTAINMENT FEATTURES. THE GAMING IS BEING TONED DOWN TO CONSOLE GAMING STATUS. I’m sorry show me 1 game console in history that ever beat a pc that had a decent cpu, ram, motherboard and video card. It can’t be done. Console gaming suck’s compared to pc gaming.

  3. Wondering About

    “Personally, I feel Windows 8 is more like an operating system for use with mobile devices. It remains to be seen how Windows 8 will be accepted on desktops by the common computer user. It would be nice if Microsoft were to give the Desktop user the option to opt out of the Metro UI, if he wishes – but that doesnt seem to be happening, I guess.” I strongly agree

  4. Wondering About

    “Personally, I feel Windows 8 is more like an operating system for use with mobile devices. It remains to be seen how Windows 8 will be accepted on desktops by the common computer user. It would be nice if Microsoft were to give the Desktop user the option to opt out of the Metro UI, if he wishes – but that doesnt seem to be happening, I guess.”
    I stongly agree.

  5. mulrich

    Um… Windows XP was released in 2001. That’s 11 years ago. Not more than 20/two decades.

  6. Derek Hodge

    I believe they need to come with the next advanced operating system for the desktop as well as the laptop like they did with Windows Vista and then came with Windows7. Operating systems for mobile applications is the thing right now, but in the comfort of your office or home there needs to be that next generation operating system like Windows7 only more advanced for the desktop/laptop.

  7. azharuddin

    I dont understand the need of Metro, Windows7 Has the best UI, The search is great and the Window frame are awesome..
    All they needed was to improve services and tasks to make it quick and fast.. The boot time is interesting..My opinion..

  8. beeek

    Windows7 Has the best UI like azharuddin said.

    Windows 8 sounds nice for my Samsung Galaxy, but on my workstation I’ll need a hack to revert to Win7 interface.

  9. zepe

    I agree with virtually all of the above and plan to NOT up(?)grade to 8.

  10. Biggins31

    As an I.T. specialist, the Metro is fine for mobile – but for the pc which I have been using the pre-releases, its a pain in the backside.
    I hate it – and I know I’m not the only one.
    I will not recommending it to anyone unless Microsoft come up with a fix to change the user interface to pre Win8.
    Ruddy terrible!

  11. Neeraj

    Hey Arunkumar!
    What a blooper! Twice you quote the alleged Microsoft whitepaper and mention XP as being 20 years / two decades old.
    For someone who proclaims to be “Microsoft MVP” who started with MS DOS, don’t you read your post before submitting? But I decided to give you the benefit of doubt – maybe you overlooked, maybe the Whitepaper did indeed say “20 years / two decades” so it was MS’ mistake, not yours.
    So, to verify, I downloaded and read that alleged whitepaper. And now I’m even more shocked wondering how did you even qualify as an MS MVP – the whitepaper mentions “two generations old” in exactly two locations – which you carelessly interpreted to mean two decades old?! Since when was that true, huh?
    But it did inspire me to start earning through blogging – if you could do it, why not me?

  12. Thanks. An oversight I suppose … Corrected. 🙂

  13. Arun Kumar

    That was a mistake. I am sorry for that. XP came in somewhere around 2001 so it is just around 11 years old. I will correct the post.

  14. Mistakes happen 😉 I’ve made worse!

    And yes – even if you are half as good as Arun here, I am sure that you will become a very successful blogger, should you wish to.

    Cheers. 🙂

  15. j. higley

    I do not like the preview version of Windows 8. I have to look all over the system to find out how to shut down the compiuter, not to mention how to get into the control panel to do anything needed to be done such as uninstall a program and also how to get into Windows update. I do not intend to waste my money on a tablet so I don’t need that type of operating system. I am running Windows 7 both the Home verion and the Professional system, I don’t much care for Windows 7 either. I have never had so many programs just up and die on me since I started using Windows 7 on my new laptop. I have had Nero quit working on me and also Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer always dies on me at any given time. I also have one of my computers running Windows Vista Ultimate and I have never had any problems with any program dying on me.

  16. Mary Ellington

    My window 8 update will up date then when it trys to install it then it stalls at 13% this all Takes over 1 hour before it then shuts down and then uninstall what it has tried to install. This is a new lap top first update install .Ive try the windows updater fix but to no avail.

  17. boral

    You have said the right thing. I use Windows 7 personally and after looking at the UI of Windows 8, I will not want to upgrade to it even it was given free of cost to me. Desktop computers will always remain and will go a long way and I don’t think that they will be replaced by portable devices soon. So Microsoft should design a good UI for desktops.

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