Windows 8 Launch

Windows 8 was launched last week. The general reaction is the same as I highlighted when I saw the original Microsoft Surface announcement, that the O/S is a good one from the technical and stability point of view, but that it seems to be very confusing for the user. There seem to be four distinct modes, although probably only three will be used.

On tablets, the RT version used with the tile interface looks as though it will be a reasonably usable competitor to Android or iOS, at least if Microsoft can enlist developers to create enough apps (and it has a good track record in doing this).

On PCs, the Intel version can be used with the desktop interface, and certainly in business, this looks likely to be the norm. The question for us and for our monitor clients is how much the tile interface, with touch, will be used with the PC version. It seems that some usage is unavoidable.

As I said when Microsoft first showed the Surface, Windows 8 looks something like a camel – in the sense of the saying that a ‘camel is a horse designed by a committee’. It looks as though it is designed to be the famed Eierlegende Wollmilchsau of German farmers (an egg-laying pig that provides milk and wool and perfect for every farmer!).

I haven’t tried Windows 8 yet. I know that I should – I have used every Microsoft operating system since the first DOS and including every version of Windows. The rule, from years ago, is that every alternate operating system from Microsoft is really good. So Dos 3.1 was good, 3.2 not so good, 3.3 good, 4.0 not so good, 5.0 good etc. This extended to Windows – 98 (OK), ME (poor), XP (good), Vista (poor), 7 (good to excellent). If the rule still works, Window 8 will not be as good as 7 and I really like Windows 7. Maybe I’ll just skip it and wait for 9 – or just try it on a tablet.

Looking at the very big picture, the PC industry really needs Windows 8 to be very good, transformative, even. The PC world is struggling to keep its place in the consumer world. The Ultrabook has still not provided the boost to the market that Intel intended it to be. Apple and Samsung are dominating the consumer technology business with tablets and smartphones. BYOD trends may well be the key trigger to drive the shift to cloud computing that I have been expecting since at least 1996, when I first saw the Wyse ‘Winterm’ – although I first really came across the concept in the the late 1980s as X Windows (anyone else remember Desqview/X).

Unfortunately, Windows 8 doesn’t look like the ‘magic bullet’ to solving the problems of the PC business. What are your views?