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Windows 8 - Will it Succeed?

Forrester suggests that Windows 8 has had limited sale and organizations aren't yet inclined to move to Windows 8. The expected push seemingly will come from consumers via BYOD options. [Update] Microsoft reports a sale of 40 million licenses since its retail launch last month.

What is your take? Do you think it would have been good had Microsoft kept the modern UI restricted to Windows Surface (tablet) and the current desktop UI as is for desktops and laptops?

Having both on the same machine doesn't really gives any advantage as they can't run the same applications. The applications that run on the new modern UI are built on WinRT and won't run on regular desktop. To me this seems like having two independent entities on the same device. They don't really talk to each other even for data sharing, but I can have them on the same device. The Forrester results showing higher BYOD adoption indicates towards this. At work people would use the desktop view and at home would use the modern UI to access their personal apps and data. The number and types of applications is limited as of today and will probably take another couple of months before the store catches up with more applications.

Another approach Microsoft could have taken would be the one they had adopted for .NET. When .NET platform was launched, it also brought in a new programming paradigm, but it didn't necessarily bring a new user experience. The kernel capable of loading PE file format executable got modified to support launching the .net MSIL based applications and as an end user I got seamless experience. The look and feel did evolve with things like WPF and Silverlight coming up, but I was still on desktop, interacting with all applications on my desktop in the same way and not really having to switch mental context. With WinRT could Microsoft have taken similar approach? The apps could have just launched in full screen without the title bar.

But then mobiles and tablets demand a different experience, which is more touch savvy and has menu options floating in when required instead of taking up space on the screen always. Also the apps had to be capable of running on ARM, as that's the predominant chip on tablet and smart phones. The .NET MSIL based model worked perfectly here where I could build on my regular Intel desktop using VS and then JIT compile the code on the ARM chip at time of actual app execution.

Old habits die hard and I have written earlier also that inspite of using Windows 8 for a while now (since its beta days), I still occasionally hit the Windows key and expect the menu to come up. In a way the menu does comes up, but in form of tiles on entire screen (does it reminds some of you old timers of Windows 3.11 for Workgroups, which had icons on desktop?).

I think that having kept the user experience different across desktop and tablets would have helped people accept Windows 8 lot faster. At the same time I also strongly believe Microsoft has a good potential to address the Enterprise space. They have good integration of Office productivity applications on Windows 8 Surface (tablets) and Windows Phone and the desktop has anyway been their home ground. Domain connectivity for these devices should also work fine with Microsoft AD as the backend that many organizations use. While an application may not necessarily work across all these form factors, but effort to make it work across would be less given that base would be Microsoft OS on platforms and Phone with its version 8 has better compatibility with Windows 8. With the diminishing control of Blackberry in enterprises, and Apply iPads on the rise, Microsoft still can make the most of it to provide a more seamless experience.

What are you views?

Comments

My views on Windows 8. Well these are not out of any statistical data or anything, purely my views.

Microsoft did create a lot of hype and hoopla out of the new Windows OS but I feel that it doesn’t really live up to the expectations. Upfront Windows 8 does look like a major revamp in terms of UI. This definitely comes with a disclaimer that the other advanced features as given below have not yet been explored by me. But who needs advanced capabilities for a simple home PC used for browsing net, playing a few light games or viewing photos once in a blue moon.
• AppLocker
• BitLocker
• BranchCache
• Client Hyper-V
• DirectAccess • Security Auditing
• Smart Cards
• Volume Activation
• Windows Firewall with Advanced Security
• Windows To Go
Maybe Windows 8 could be a hit when used with a touch monitor but then why would anyone want to switch to a touch monitor just to experiment with Windows 8. The home PC consumer would not like to do so and neither would the enterprise. Few Enterprises might want to experiment with it and hence roll it out on a selected few systems but that would be it.
Though the developer community may readily grasp it as we do have some sort of a hunger for something new, ever ready to adapt ourselves to be in line with this ever changing world and be always ready with all the arms drawn out against anything that we might come across, the consumer with home PCs might not accept it so readily. Not talking about the younger generation who would anyways get their hands dirty with anything that’s new, the old PC users ( e.g.: like my mom ) who have invested so much efforts to learn to make the machine work as per their wishes would never want to update to Windows 8 unless and until support for windows 7 ends. Even the younger generation doesn’t seem to be very excited about it, this is as per what my brother (college going) tells me as the opinion of his engineering friends who have tried their hands on Windows 8.
Windows 8 is really disruptive as it has entirely modified the way we’re used to working with Windows. Been through a couple of videos where people have no clue on even how to shut down the machine. Even if people switch to Windows 8, mostly would be using it in desktop mode most of the time me thinks. Processing capabilities might have advanced but am not really in a position to comment on it unless I try out the same.
The picture might not be so gloomy for the next generation of touch enabled PCs with people getting used to the new stuff with time but it’ll definitely take time and by that time who knows MS might be ready with something else to surprise us all.
All in all, the new might embrace it but the old/ simple / home PC consumer will certainly bash it. The developer has no view and will readily grasp whatever he comes across and make it dance as per his tunes.

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