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Forecast for Windows 8 Cloudy

Windows 8 code will be essentially locked down early next month and ready for all to buy in October. Windows Server 2012 is on the same exact ship track.

For the last few days I've been completely steeped in all things Windows 8. I'm writing a big feature story about the OS based on your experiences with the beta, a story you'll get to read in our September issue of Redmond.

There's a lot to like in Metro because it brings the full power of Windows to touch-based tablets. What's cool is you can have an actual PC in a machine the size of an iPad. I know Netbooks offer the same promise, but no one has fun using Netbooks, and Netbooks have never been accused of advancing the state of the art in software.

However, Metro is only good for touch -- don't even think about upgrading desktops. The fact that Windows 8 has Metro and the old-fashioned desktop interface is disconcerting. Then again, when Windows arrived, didn't we all get used to the GUI and the DOS prompt on the same system? And trust me, Windows was ripped to shreds by IT when it came on the scene.

The early reaction from you all is a bit negative, but that is common for anything new from Microsoft. Some items, like Windows Vista, never recovered from the initial bad feedback. Others, like the Ribbon, generally recovered (by that I mean it sold well), but have lingering and deep resentment. And some products, like Windows itself, faced early hatred and ended up winners.

I have no idea which category Win 8 will end up falling into. What's your vote? Cast your ballot at

Posted by Doug Barney on 07/16/2012 at 1:19 PM

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Reader Comments:

Thu, Jul 19, 2012 Bruce DeLand, FL

IMO, if MS wanted to enter the tablet market, they should have developed a separate (but compatible) OS for tablet devices. Metro should have been developed as a subsystem to a normal Windows machine so developers could use their desktop systems to develop to it (even Win7). A desktop user would not even have to "upgrade" to develop to Metro if they wanted to, just install an extension to Visual Studio. As it is, MS is taking the risk of upsetting the entire Windows ecosystem. Had they done it as I outline, I would be willing to bet there would be little or no backlash. The desktop Windows could continue to evolve (yes, even with the nice Aero interface) and "Metro" would be added in to a successful ecosystem without all the collateral damage. Something went very wrong in Redmond with this one!

Wed, Jul 18, 2012 condere NJ, USA

Totally agree with Mr. Windows Consultant. My experience with clients of ours who we've been doing some Win8 previews with have gone a lot like he has described. As soon as it sinks in that the way they used to use a PC has been forever changed, they just shut down and immediately don't like it.

Tue, Jul 17, 2012 Gregory Houston, TX

Windows 8 is on the same path as Windows Vista and Windows ME. Microsoft is already in denial that they have created another turd. No amount of advertising is going to help users choke down this POS. Short of Windows 8 curing cancer I don't see anyone using it.

Tue, Jul 17, 2012 Windows consultant from Win ver. 1.0 -> 7 United States

I think that Microsoft is greatly underestimating the % of Windows desktop users that have little tech knowledge but have grown comfortable using the Windows Desktop UI. These are users that often struggled to learn how to use PCs but over time and with help, can do what they need and want to do. These users don't want to explore new UIs or have their PC routine changed. They want to write or browse and communicate with their friends & family, etc. and that's it. If Win 8 made the Metro UI 100% optional and provided the familiar Desktop Experience, without any disruptive curve balls, these 100's of millions (billions) of users could be kept happy AND those that want to explore Metro would be free to do so and of course Metro would be available for tablets and other touch devices. By creating roadblocks, small and large that force users into UI and other usability paths that they do NOT want, Microsoft is at significant risk of alienating both their IT and end users customer bases. All they need to do is make Metro an optional UI choice. Let the tablet users lead the charge for Metro and then let the desktop customer base adopt it more organically. If the users make the choice the themselves, rather than have it forced on them, Microsoft reaps the benefit of their enthusiasm and good will. If Microsoft forces unwanted changes on users, as it appears they will, they are showing that they lack confidence in their product and vision and simply don't trust their user base. Maybe we should ask ourselves how often we choose to associate with those that don't trust us or themselves?

Mon, Jul 16, 2012 James Richmond, VA

I think that Windows 8 is going to be like Windows ME and Windows Vista. Windows 7 is just starting to ramp up with the retirement of Windows XP. Users are going to need help training and IT departments don't have the funds to move and OS upgrade as well as additional training. Windows needs to slow down their release schedule for new Operating Systems. As an IT pro and a user I'm not a fan of Metro. I think that on a tablet that it would be ok, but Businesses are still mostly desktop/laptops and the new UI is not as friendly as Microsoft would like you be believe it is.

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