Bits from Bill

Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Windows 8 Metro: Success or Failure?

Last week Microsoft made a test version of Windows 8 available to the public.  Windows 8 is a dramatic change and you’ll see many articles which will evaluate changes and predict it’s success or failure. The new interface is called “Metro”.

I’ve been playing with Windows 8 but even I won’t make a prediction on the how Metro will eventually do. If you read the entire article you’ll be able to decide Microsoft’s future yourself.  Based on Microsoft history, developers often joke that the first and 2nd versions won’t be accepted but the third major release will be a hit.  This was true with DOS 3.x,  Windows 3.x and other Microsoft products except of course Microsoft Bob.



One of the funniest and ironic situations I’ve experienced with Microsoft is how they market new versions of Windows. To encourage folks to upgrade to new versions of Windows, Microsoft will acknowledge how bad their current version is. 

I’ve been at many new launches including one in New York City for the launch of Windows XP.  On stage, Bill Gates actually demonstrated the Blue Screen of Death as a reason to upgrade to Windows XP. We all shook our heads in disbelief but there was no real competition to compare too.

I do give Bill Gates credit for having the launch in New York City at the request of the mayor. It was soon after the 9/11 tragedy and this event was designed to show the world that NYC was a safe place to visit and have events.  It really did help.

I’ve read many reviews that dismiss Windows 8’s new “Metro” because they say “people don’t like change”.  While this is true, the real issue is that people really like Windows 7.  After the Vista disaster, Windows 7 came along and saved the day.  It was designed to work fast especially with popular multi-core processors and without major changes it was easy to use.

To convince people to upgrade, Microsoft will need to give them a reason to leave Windows 7 behind. That may not be an easy task,  yet is critical to Microsoft’s future.  Most of us who planned an upgrade to Windows 7 have already done so causing sales to flatten.

While we all pick at and debate the new Windows 8 Metro interface many folks are missing the real game changer. The most significant cash cow for MSFT is Microsoft Office. If PC sales eventually drop off so will the revenue from Microsoft Office which is the costliest and most required component of any new PC.

If you’re interested in the future of Microsoft, keep your eyes and ears open for what’s new from the Microsoft Office group.  What will the Metro version eventually look like?  How about an iPad or Droid version? The only thing certain is you should expect your data to be saved in an Azure cloud.  Ultimately, my prediction is, I’ll be very happy when version 3 is released.

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Blogger nightsmusic said...

I'm probably one of the few people who wishes I'd wiped my laptop when I bought it eight months ago and installed XP 64bit rather than keep the Windows 7 that came preinstalled.

I hate Windows 7. So I've been watching with interest the new Windows 8 and am probably going to use a virtual set up to try it. I'm hoping it's a bit more like an Android set up or maybe Ubuntu.

For now, I'll just keep swearing at Windows 7 and hoping they come up with something similar to XP.

8:37 PM  
Anonymous Charles Pearmain said...

I've been playing with the Windows 8 preview over the past weeks too. As an IT reseller the first question I ask about the new version of an operating system is "What's in it for the user?". Perhaps better performance, a cleaner, more intuitive User Interface, better integration with online resources?

In the case of Windows 8, for the general user I just can't see any advances over Windows 7 in any of the above areas. The 'integration' of the new front end is so hideous that you can see the bent nails and gaffer tape where MS have tried to hide Windows 7 with huge and lurid panels of colour that are supposed to be icons. Users currently have to scroll this out of the way before they can get anything done - and that's if they can find anything at all on the system now that the 'Start' button has been removed. I say 'currently' because I've already seen utilities to remove the horrid primary screen and restore the relative sanity of the desktop on boot.

MS says that the reason for the new start-up screen is that W8 is an OS for touch-screen users. Really? On a desktop machine? Has anyone at Redmond actually TRIED stretching across a desk and operating their PC via its screen for a working day? I have - a 23" Dell touch display that a client returned because he couldn't get on with it - and it'll never work.

Microsoft might wish that Win8 becomes all things to all platforms. To achieve this they've redesigned a perfectly usable desktop operating system to look like the screen of a mobile phone. So once more it is Microsoft's marketing department knows better than millions of users who just want to get on with being productive. Will businesses upgrade to Windows 8 and provide users with nice new touch-screen monitors and software utilities to make the new operating system usable in a business environment? Not a hope in hell. Windows 8 in its current form is a mess and yet another incentive to get people thinking seriously about moving to Apple, Linux or even, as it's pace of development accelerates, Android on their business systems.

1:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Charles, you are spot on with your comments. Couldn't have said it better.

9:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love win 7, and I have been testing win 8 on a virtual set-up for about 6 months now and I absolutely despise it, and I wouldn't even take it if they paid me for it.

12:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the comment by Charles says it all: "they've redesigned a perfectly usable desktop operating system to look like the screen of a mobile phone".
This is so true... and not just for this: many applications these days have changed to look "better" on small phone screens (at the expense of "old" desktop users), but for a complete OS to go that way is ridiculous. Concentrate on things that matter (performance, security) but leave the things tht work alone. If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

12:33 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

From a total non techie, but nonetheless is the go to person for most of my friends, I'd like to weigh in. I have upgraded each time Microsoft has created a new system, either by buying and installing the upgrade, or buying a new pc with the new system. I tried the Windows 8 Consumer Preview and did indeed find it hard to work with without the start button. Having said that though, I only spent a couple of days on it and there were some things I liked. When I bought my last pc I bought it knowing Win 8 was coming and got the HP Touchsmart All In One. When the release comes out I will install it on my laptop and spend time learning it but plan to upgrade when I feel comfortable. Hopefully by the time they release it they will have fixed some of the things we hate. But, sorry, I like Microsoft and will stick with them. They'll keep working till hopefully by version 3 we'll love it. Look for me to have 1 and 2. :))

1:04 PM  
Blogger NTGOG said...

I'm not a Collage grad Im just 1 of those every day guys that has taught him self to build a fast reliable gaming PC and with the ability install and configure the operating system to run safe, Reliable, and with ease of use for the avg user Iv been playing with 8 for a few weeks now and I can honestly say there are a few bugs as the start page should be set up as a usable program like media center so the user can bring it up if they have a touchscreen but with that being said. The Os is faster and seems more reliable the PCs I have installed it on is an intermediate gamer the Internet connection raised a few MB, Games are running faster, even FBs laggy games react to commands like they should and it can be set up in its raw stage user friendly. All I can say is I can not wait to see the fin product.

1:16 PM  
Blogger Paul F said...

Charles has hit the nail on the head, the "Metro" interface on a desktop is awful!

I actually have a Windows Phone, the HTC Radar 4G, and on THAT, the "Metro" interface is excellent. I've had the device for less than a week but I'm REALLY enjoying using it, thanks to "Metro!"

But as far as my desktop is concerned, I build my own BTW, they'll have to prise my Win7 Pro 64 Bit and Start Button from my cold, dead, hands! LOL!

1:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Metro (Windows 8) is about selling touch-screen monitors and social drama, nothing more. From my perspective as a power user and webmaster, using my i7 desktop as a 3D graphics tool, a software and hardware testing tool, an OS tweaker and occasional gaming device, I need a small, easily accessible start menu, readily accessible system configuration utilities and an absolute minimum of 'social' abilities and 'apps' better suited for a wireless phone or the gossip pages (the net is hardly a safe social environment, anyhow.) I need a "pc that works for me," not the other way around. I'll get a low-performance Star Trek PADD device and OS, devoid of its fully-functional, overwhelmingly efficient LCARS touch interface when Metro and iPad own up to their inferiorities and duplicity, and are forced to give away their toy versions of useful technology for grown-ups, for free. After using the beta and preview of Windows 8, I cannot fathom a practical-use environment for Metro, neither do I see a need to replace something useful with something current -- simply because it is different. Sorry for calling it as I see it, but rational people over the age of 18 expect that from me.

2:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can finally turn on my computer and start using it in less than a minute. That is very important to me. All past versions of Windows were so slow I also was thinking of changeing to Linux which I have also tried and liked very much.

6:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If you read the entire article you’ll be able to decide Microsoft’s future yourself." Im sorry but this is not true for me!

3:49 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Windows 8 'is' iOS5

5:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so sick to death of Microsoft and their constant tinkering that I could just spit! Not to mention that they finally caught on to the only way to make people leave their comfort zone...stop supporting the older versions. Well, this is not going to work for Windows 8. I refuse to use it...I am done. Windows 7 is as far as I plan to go. I'll be going to Ubuntu or something similar if they stop supporting Windows 7 so I am not worried. And they have to remember, not everyone wants a HUGE mobile phone screen to work from. I don't even like the smart phones to start with! Another play toy for suckers who have more money than brains as far as I am concerned. Will I be left in the dark ages? Probably, but I will be able to get what I want to get DONE without tripping over bells, whistles, and touch screens filled with busy colorful blocks to navigate. Unlike the rest of the sheep, I don't have to have all the pretties to play with. I just want to get on with it.

7:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you want to turn on your pc and use it in less than a minute get an SSD drive and run windows off that. With win 7 on my pc from the power button till desktop is 35 seconds.

8:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So then your pc starts in less than a minute, but you take 10 Times longer finding the way to your application to start being productive....its a complete failure, a Vista Repeat...

4:44 AM  
Anonymous Nyiko said...

win 8, sucks bi time. i wonder what microsoft was trying to dot there. it is not user friendly at all. one thought they would have learnt from the mistake they made with windows vista, for me. windows xp and 7 are the best OS they have ever produced

5:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

win 8 sucks, big time!!!

5:47 AM  

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