My colleague Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols believes that Windows 8 will be dead on arrival. While I think that the platform is going to have a tough time gaining traction (especially the touch-based parts of the OS), I don't believe that the platform will be dead on arrival.
Here's five reasons why:
- It'll be the new shiny!
Windows 8 will have going for it what every version of Windows prior to it had going for it - it's new and shiny, and people like new, shiny stuff.
The truth is that there are a lot of people out there who don't buy things based on features or what the new thing will offer them over the old thing. They buy the new thing because it's the new thing. And anyway, when you buy a new PC, pretty soon you won't have a choice - it'll be a Windows 8 PC.
- OEMs will push Windows 8 like mad
Another reason why Windows 8 won't be DOA is the OEMs. While PC OEMs might dabble with the likes of tablets and smartphones, they're still highly reliant on PC sales to keep afloat. If Windows 8 falters, we could see some of the big OEMs hitting the wall as a result.
I can't think of a single PC OEM with enough on a non-PC business for it to be able to afford not to push Windows 8. Because of this you can be guaranteed that the OEMs are going to be working extra hard to try to counter falling PC sales and a possible collapse of the industry.
- Backward compatibility
Putting the ARM version of Windows 8 on one side for a moment, it's important to remember that Windows 8 will be backward compatible with much of the software and hardware that people are running today.
While I think that some would find it nice to have Windows 8 specific apps, most people won't care. One of the main selling points of Windows is legacy support, and Microsoft knows this. The dominance of Windows comes from this enduring legacy support, and this will be no different in Windows 8.
- People like Windows 8
A lot of pundits are predicting that Windows 8 could be a flop just like Windows Vista was, but there's one key difference between Windows 8 and Windows Vista - people actually seem to like Windows 8. A lot. Despite being major paradigm shift in terms of interface (more so now that it seems Microsoft has dropped the Start button), people love it. And that's important.
What crucified Vista wasn't that it was a bad OS (by the time Service Pack 1 came out, most of the issues plaguing the OS were fixed and it was a decent platform), it was that people thought it sucked. They listened to those beta testers and early adopters and took their word and ran with it.
- Enterprise users don't come into the game for at least a year
Here's a killer reason why Windows 8 won't be dead on arrival - enterprise users won't begin migrating to the new platform for at least 12 months following the release of the OS (lots of testing to be done, wheels turn really slow), and the enterprise market is a huge market or Microsoft.
It'll be months down the line from release before we truly know what enterprise users think of Windows 8.
Windows 8 is no slam-dunk, but it's not going to be DOA either. It's going to take time for us to find out what people really think of what Microsoft's come up with.
- Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Five Reasons why Windows 8 will be dead on arrival
- Microsoft removes 'Start' button from latest Windows 8 build
- Windows 8 to help save you money when on the move
- Windows 8 ARM devices to have a 'classic' desktop experience?
- Windows 8 and the death of 'rich' apps
- It's time for Microsoft to come clean over the Metro UI
- The PC industry is heading for collapse