Windows 8 is going to be a failure on the scale of Vista, here is why and what Microsoft should do with Windows 8
It’s time to face a reality. Windows 8 is going to be a massive failure. Having played with the developer preview for months now, it is clear that it is not only an unnecessary rollout, but more importantly that it is a step backwards in desktop interfaces. It feels like Windows 3.1 on a large monitor desktop with its big ugly dialog boxes and tiles and tons of wasted space. They are cute when they are active, but when they just sit there they are an unproductive waste of space.
Now, I have been called stubborn in the past, but Metro is just not a good desktop operating system. It is cute and is a fantastic second screen application on my dual screen home desktop to run twitter and the like in. But for getting work done, forget it. We do our production work on 26 inch single monitor machines and we are not going to buy second monitors for all of our systems to get around Windows 8’s major flaw. No one in our office will be upgrading and we are desperately hoping that upon final release there will be a way to make the “classic” interface the default.
We are not alone. Time after time as we talk to developers, no one is using or even considering Metro to do work. It’s the equivalent of iOS. Can you work on iOS? Sort of, but if you’re Microsoft, sort of is not the answer you want in the enterprise.
Windows claims you can go to the classic interface easily, and it is not that hard, but its an unnecessary extra step, unnecessary bloat, and for those of us who do productivity work daily, it just is not as easy in practice as that. Our production machines do not need, nor do we want 10 or 15 desktop apps running on the desktop.
Here is what Microsoft should do:
There is a reason that MacBooks do not run iOS. Metro should be brought out as Windows Tablet edition. Call it what you want, call it Windows Tablet, or call it Metro as we already do, it is a fantastic system for a tablet experience. Build the store, do everything the same except do not make it the primary desktop interface. What is the point of pissing off pretty much all of your customer base? You want to emulate what Apple did with the iPad, then that’s what you do, reinventing the wheel is senseless.
Put all of the existing improvements into Windows 8, there are some great tools like the ability to refresh the operating system, faster booting, the Windows store, and the live boot from a USB drive. These can all be left in as they currently exist, the only thing that has to change is that Windows 8 needs to have Metro stripped as the primary desktop and turned into an application or overlay on the desktop that is user accessible. It could be as simple as a taskbar button like explorer is today. It can be available, but should not be the primary entry point.
Nothing would really change for Microsoft except that they would have 2 clear operating systems, (which in all honesty they already do with the ARM and x86 versions) and the ability to run Metro applications across both the desktop and the tablet without alienating the customer base. It’s a win-win for customers and Microsoft. Windows 8 as it is currently designed will do nothing but create another situation like they had with XP/Vista where no one will upgrade and enterprise will be looking for a way out.