Why Windows 8 Could Fail and Become Another Vista

Windows 8 Beta, is releasing on February 28 29th. While just like everyone, we are excited about the plethora of features Windows 8 will be bringing on the tables, we however fear that Windows 8, in the long run may not be able to convert Windows 7 users as permanent Windows 8 users on PC’s. I have tinkered with the “Windows Developer Preview” for a fair amount of time on my desktop while I pile the reasons why would be another blunder for Redmond in biblical proportions.

1. Microsoft is playing a dangerous gamble with the PC market

Perfect GUI is a fictitious toy, which everyone keeps playing around with, and seldom succeeds in achieving. The current Windows 7 desktop, arguably is one of the best GUI (Graphical User Interfaces) ever designed for PC, in terms of customisability, stability and flexibility.

Here I am not arguing that Windows 7 GUI was the best thing happened to humanity, but the fact that, the Win 95 GUI in itself, was actually created after a lot of research. The successive windows versions merely kept improving upon the same and Windows 7 is the pinnacle of those efforts. But Forcing long time PC users to adapt to a completely new interface with the next Windows version is illogical, to say the least.

2. Metro: Y U NO LIKE PC?

metro control panelLet me not blaze the guns on Metro interface saying it looks childish, not customisable and more. In fact, we at TechSplurge are quite a fan of the Metro interface on the Window Phone 7 and keep on raving about it. Extending that clean design on tablets, is a good idea too which makes it really livid on touchscreens. What about non touchscreens? Of course Metro in Windows 8 supports keyboard and mouse, but the overall user experience on PC in the developer preview is kinda awful for me. And here is why:

  • Metro apps are actually, infotainment apps, which are built for consuming content, not creating them. So if you are a coder/designer/writer, you will be passionately hating Metro.
  • The classic start menu is simply gone, there is no neat way to get the classic start menu back in Windows 8 apart from few tricks which are out of bound for the common users.
  • Metro mimics the (un)popular GNOME Shell, Ubuntu Unity app management style, where you launch an app by searching it. Sure efficient and time saving for power users, but not for normal home users like my mom who launches Word by going Start>All Programs>Microsoft Office>Word.
  • In metro there is no good multitasking for PC. Either apps run in full screen, or  minimised. Which is definitely not a brilliant way for running apps on a PC.

3. Dearth of Applications

Speaking in naive terms, there are two variants of apps on Windows 8:

  • Traditional Desktop apps
  • Metro Apps

The latter, even if magically gained users overnight, is still according to many developers a pain to develop on PC because most of the Metro Development Framework is in its infancy. No wonder why Microsoft is overnight pushing so many incentives to develop Metro apps.

Now coming to the former, there are no known changes under the hood when compared to Windows 7 classic apps framework, so logically, most long time developers might not consider to have their apps ported to Metro.

4. Enterprises will Simply Not be Interested in Windows 8

What does Windows 8 contain apart from Metro interface? Windows Store, a new ribbon interface for explorer, a revamped task manager and a handful more expected internal updates. Sadly, the corporate big-wigs are not even remotely interested in these at the expense of wasted man-hours or relearning the interface and training employees for Metro. If Windows 8 Metro interface would be as famous as iPad, we could barely see pilot projects based on this but not a complete upgrade like Windows XP to Windows 7 or even Windows Vista to Windows 7.

5. Windows 7 is Just Perfect Right Now.

image

While this argument might sound rather silly at first, Windows 7 “just works” wonderfully, whether it is switchable graphics, or gaming. Apart from the new interface, there is practically nothing the common windows user would gain from the upgrade (except if Microsoft has added more features in Windows 8 on top of the dev. preview).

Remember that unlike Mac OS X which is mere $30 upgrade, Windows is very expensive from any point (the basic version of Win 7 costs about 4x the price of OS X ) Also it is unanimously the successor of Windows XP, which is why corporate houses are upgrading or planning to Windows 7 because Windows XP support will end soon. While all these factors are not at all Windows 8 team’s fault, this will simply work to the disadvantage of Microsoft.

Concluding

Although I would love to see Windows 8 as an another successful product from Microsoft, things might go exactly opposite for the reasons I’ve stated. If it happens, it would be a death bell for the entire PC market which is already witnessing flat growth rates and even loss making in some cases.

Though, the ball is in Microsoft’s court and small things like a neat way to get back the Windows 7 Start Menu, more focus on desktop at the least for PC edition of Windows 8, optimising the disk usage, taking note of user feedback on Metro, etc., would just go a long  way to ensure that this release of Windows does not bomb like its now legendary Vista release. Stay tuned for more action.

Comments

  1. says

    I personally hate touch. No tacktile feedback, unresponsive and slow. I get tired ‘pinching’ images and ‘sliding’ files across. I can’t draw on the screen, it can’t tell how hard I am pressing and the glass always gets smudges on it. Infact I hate people who put there grubby mits on my screen and leave f*ing finger prints all over it so you can image how annoyed I get. If it’s too bright I cant see it because of the sun reflecting off of the glass, if it gets a drop of water on it, it will no longer work properly…..If this is the way Windows is going I’m more than ready to give them the finger.

    • says

      you are not alone considering the way they are treating PC. They have just done away completely with the start orb… but anyways good old Windows 7 has got really impressive support (mainstream support till 2015, extended support till 2020) which means we don’t really need to bother about this release. Unless their tablet versions is better or atleast as good as iPad environment, there is no way Windows 8 could be achieve even fraction of what Windows 7 did ( the most successful OS ever in history of PC)

  2. Davis says

    How TechSplurge could embarrass itself as much as Redmond with vista: Review an unreleased product by a tech preview, designed to show the technology.

    • Ganesh says

      Hi Davis

      Windows 8 preview video was extremely promising and when redmond said they decined the interface for PC too in mind , things really looked bright. But all the fanbuzz around Windows 8 has dimnished massively since Dev preview is released. Why? METRO. Face it, Metro is BAD for PC without touchscreen from any imaginable angle .As for your claim that Dev preview is incomplete Windows Developer Preview is technically complete, just some components like Windows Media Center, Games etc are intentionally missing because its a developer version. All the core PC components are actually working perfectly in the Dev Preview.

      Also note that I have said metro could have a tremendous potential in touch interface, but that surely can not be the reason to overlook their mammoth PC user base by thrusting Metro screen, removing Start menu completely, removing hundreds of working desktop gadgets overnight to support windows 8, going back and forth to the metro tile screen even to launch a damned mundane app …I could go on…

  3. Dave says

    My problem (well one of many) with windows 8 is that the user is FORCED to subscribe to a windows live ID BEFORE they can even install it. At best, I would say that Microsoft will FORCE a user to have SOME sort of email address prior to install. To me, that is akin to blatant monitoring of a private persons internet dealings by a corporation without warrant. This sort of thinking leads me to believe that microsoft is saying “Alright, we’ll sell this OS to you, but keep it in mind that we do not trust you and so we must keep tabs on you.”

    • says

      I understand that, but due to the concept of “one OS to rule em all” Windows 8 needs to sync everything between your devices. The ID is just a tool. The privacy concerns must be the least for you because MS comes nowhere closer to Google when it comes to stalking your moves. Not that I am a huge fan of Windows 8

  4. Jimmy says

    i don’t reckon the boot time will slow down much bcsauee they are using a new technique of shutting down and booting up where the kernel is hibernated instead of shutdown hence the fast boot up, anyone correct me if i’m wrong i’m working off memory of something i was listening to when i wasn’t paying much attention.

    • says

      Hi Jimmy
      You are correct about the boot time. In Windows 8 all the system files and services use the hiberfile while booting and only Drivers are started normally every time you boot. Thus saving up quite a lot. Well I personally dont care about it because Hibernate in Windows 7 works pretty well , and I use it all the time

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