Windows 8's five biggest enemies

Windows 8's five biggest enemies

Summary: There are lots of reasons why I think Windows 8 will having trouble finding acceptance. A major one is that Windows 8 will face more competition than ever before. Here are Windows 8's biggest rivals.


Windows 8 biggest rivals are already hitting it.

Windows 8 biggest rivals are already hitting it.

We're finding out more and more about Windows 8 as its beta release approaches. And, you know what? The more I find out, the more I feel secure about saying Windows 8 will be a flop.

I've already explained in general terms I think Windows 8 will follow in Vista's footprints as a strategic failure. Here's specifically, from least important to most important, are the operating systems and platforms that will ensure Windows 8 be a non-starter.

5. The Linux & Mac Desktops

What? You thought I was going to say that the Linux and/or Mac desktops were going to rise up from their combined less than 10% of the desktop marketplace and smite Windows 8? Please. Contrary to Windows fanatics' view of me, I'm not a Linux fanboy. I just like what works.

Specifically, I think the Linux desktop is the best for power users and I think the Mac desktop is best for people who just want an easy to use desktop. Thanks though to Microsoft's illegal desktop monopoly in the 90s, its rivals never had a chance to flourish and to this day they've never been able to catch up. Windows 8 won't increase Windows' PC market-share, but it will only cause a slight decrease on the desktop, not a catastrophic decline. Unfortunately for Microsoft, Windows 8 has far more bigger rivals to worry about.

4. Google Chrome Operating System and the cloud

What's far more dangerous to Microsoft's desktop monopoly is Google's Linux-based Chrome operating system. It's not that Chrome and Chromebooks have taken off. They haven't. Google has had only had minimal success selling Chromebooks.

So why do I think Chrome OS is going to be a bigger threat to Windows 8 than traditional desktops rivals? Because Chrome OS PCs are cheaper than Windows for businesses; Google's applications offer most of the same functionality of Windows applications for less; and it's more secure than Windows.

It's not just Chrome OS though that's the threat to Windows. It's the whole concept of being able to use a Web browser and the cloud for everything you need to do and that you want to do. When you can do whatever you want with the Chrome Web browser, on any operating system now, or Chrome OS, which is just the Chrome Web browser running on a minimal Linux core, do you really need to pay for a Windows PC? For many companies, the answer is becoming "no."

3. The iPad and Android tablets

What Microsoft really wants to do with Windows 8 isn't to get you to switch from Windows 7 or XP. No, it's to get use to use Windows 8 and Metro on your tablets and smartphones. Good luck with that Microsoft. People are buying iPads like crazy; people are already drooling over the forthcoming iPad 3; and after several false starts Android tablets are finally getting off the ground. Microsoft isn't even in the race yet and they're falling farther behind by the day.

Worse still, according to NPD In-Stat's latest tablet report, The Business of Tablets: Tablet Usage in US Business, tablet use has begun its crossover from the consumer world into the workplace. The most common business uses of tablets are email/calendar management, note taking, and presentations, with 77% reporting email as a common workplace use.

Do you really think that Microsoft including limited versions of Office applications on Windows 8 "Lite" ARM powered tablets will really make a difference? I don't.

Let's even say you can't imagine not using Microsoft Office applications. So what? You do know that you can run the full Office suite today on your iPad with OnLive Desktop today right? And, there's already at least half-a-dozen other office applications for the iPad and, of course, there's always Google Docs for Android or iPads.

So, here we have Microsoft arriving late to the tablet battle with an interface, Metro, that in its Windows Phone 7x line, has captured a mere 1.5% of the smartphone marketplace. So tell me exactly how Microsoft, which is not a distant third, but a distant sixth--behind not just Android and iOS, but Symbian, RIM and Bada as well--in smartphones can possibly catch up.

2. Windows XP

So much for Microsoft on the tablet and smartphone, but what about the PC? Well, what about it? You do know that XP has just just been overtaken by Windows 7 right? Earlier today I was on a video-conference call with a Fortune 50 technology company. The senior VP on the call did his presentation on, wait for it, an XP system.

Many users and companies think "If it's not broke, why fix it?" They're right, of course. For hundreds of millions of users XP will works.

1. Windows 7

But the number one reason with a bullet why Windows 8 is going to start up like a car hubcap deep in red-clay mud without any gas is that business customers still haven't even completed their Windows 7 roll-outs. Do you really think businesses are going to do another major migration in 2013? 2014? Heck, 2015!? I don't think so!

Besides do businesses really want to waste time and money moving to the Windows 8 Metro applications? Training their staff on the entirely different Metro interface? There's no way businesses will be moving to Windows 8 anytime soon.

So, at the end of the day, besides all the other reasons I see for Windows 8's forthcoming failure, I see Windows 8's biggest rivals being the rise of Web-browser/cloud-based computers; it's failure to keep up with Apple and Google on smartphones and tablets, but most of all, its own installed base is simply not ready to switch to Windows 8.

If Windows 8 brought something truly new and wonderful to its users, then maybe it could overcome all this. It doesn't. To me, the real question isn't whether Windows 8 will fail. It will. It's whether by 2016 the changing IT would will have room left for Windows 9 to matter at all.

Related Stories:

Five ways Windows 8 could fail

Is Windows 8 Metro failing even at Microsoft?

Why Windows 8 will be Dead on Arrival

Windows 8 Consumer Preview due February 29: why it's not called beta

Why Windows 8 matters for real work, and so will Windows 9

Topics: Software, Hardware, Laptops, Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, Tablets, Windows

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  • RE: Windows 8's five biggest enemies

    Getting the popcorn.
    It will all come down to Windows apps. If I can use Windows Vista/7 and the apps I use, I have no need for Windows 8.
    • RE: Windows 8's five biggest enemies

      @daikon Nah! This one calls for pizza and beer.
      Rabid Howler Monkey
      • "Google???s applications offer most of the same functionality of Windows app"

        Yeah. All we need is running that pipe-dream 1000 times in our mind and it'd then become reality finally.
      • RE: Windows 8's five biggest enemies

        @Rabid Howler Monkey Agreed!
      • RE: Windows 8's five biggest enemies


        To cut costs, many school districts in the US have already made the switch to Google apps. As SJVN pointed out, it's cheaper per seat. With public funds as tight as they are, more and more public companies will be using Google apps and ditching MS apps.
      • RE: This one calls for pizza and beer.

        @Rabid Howler Monkey

        That will have to wait until tomorrow (Friday) afternoon. With the boss leaving early to take a long weekend, we will have a leisurely (pizza and beer friendly) Friday afternoon.
    • RE: Windows 8's five biggest enemies

      M$ demise will bring much joy to the world and will end the global recession if apple goes belly up too by letting the software flourish.
      The Linux Geek
      • RE: Windows 8's five biggest enemies

        @The Linux Geek Yeah and if Apple AND Microsoft go belly up it will end world hunger, racial hatreds, and everything will be free! /sarcasm.
      • They need to add a sixth


      • RE: Windows 8's five biggest enemies

        @The Linux Geek <- wow must be slow a McDonalds. Back to the fry station with you Mr. Smoke Break is over.
      • RE: Windows 8's five biggest enemies

        @The Linux Geek And of course, destroying American companies would bring prosperity to all Americans... <br><br>And maybe if a company that gave stuff away for free destroyed all the paid ones, the economy would get better...<br><br>And maybe if monkeys flew out my butt and unicorns became real and started stabbing CEOs with their horns...<br><br>And maybe...

        Oh, wait... WT_H are you on??
      • RE: Windows 8's five biggest enemies

        @The Linux Geek: You do know many government officers run Windows software? You really don't want Microsoft's demise.
      • RE: Windows 8's five biggest enemies

        @The Linux Geek funny to imagine, but wont happen in reality
        George Johnson
    • RE: Windows 8's five biggest enemies

      #3, #2 and #1 does seem to make some sense. #4 is off the mark totally. #5 is interesting. I work in a place where the Windows:Mac ratio is 9:1, but I see more and more people clamoring for Macs as they seem to be more stable and cute. Users do seem to be fed up with the continuous series of updates and restarts that keep happening on Windows. We recently did a costing analysis and we were shocked to find out that maintenance costs for Windows (such as rolling out updates and updating anti virus, disk crashes, backup ad cleanups, reinitialization) outweighed the initial cost of a Mac. When this became clear, our organization became more open to Macs. The hardware also seems to last longer with fewer support calls. From colleagues in the industry, I believe this is a growing trend. However, I am not sure the numbers are large enough to dent Windows.
      • We don't mind supporting Macs


        But as for reduced costs? Since we almost always end up having to provide Windows 7 and Office 2010 in a VM anyway I'm not sure it's a saving. As for drive crashes I think that's a silly point to make. If you use a Windows laptop, a good one, you're not going to have any more physical drive failures than Macs. It's the same type of hardware. Switching to SSD on both platforms is the best way to elimate failure. We've gone to HP 8540w Elitebooks for our engineers. It has 2 drive bays and one we put an SSD, for OS, etc. The other is for data. A lot of them run VMWare and logging software that can eat disk space.

        We do offer Macbook Airs to our salespeople because they're light. But I see more tickets open for those then for our Windows machines. We even have some users that run Ubuntu or Mint as their primary OS. They all share one thing in common though. They either access Windows via VDI or local VM.

        The users where I'm at are nowhere near typical, except maybe the sales staff. We do enterprise compute consulting, storage and virtualization, things of that nature. So we tend to be platform agnostic anyway.
      • RE: Windows 8's five biggest enemies

        @iRMX Honestly, even if you do run Windows 7 in a VM, it still costs less over time, as if there is ever a problem, you simply restore a snapshot and you are back in business within the matter of minutes.

        I keep trying to convince my boss of this, as I know how many problems switching to Macs would fix for us. I also believe that you should use the native Microsoft Office on a Mac, it works very well and now comes with Outlook, so should be just fine.
      • RE: Windows 8's five biggest enemies

        @iRMX: I generally agree but would add:

        1. People generally have more disposable income and like the prestige of Macs. That in itself isn't a technical advantage.
        2. Macs need just as much updates. Apple are always pushing out updates to "Apple Update".
        3. Faulty hard disks affect any platform, as does the need to backup.

        I'd guess your Windows hardware is much older than your Mac hardware. Right? Or am I off the mark?

        Two troubles with Windows are:

        1. Many people still think XP (not 7) when thinking Windows which to be fair is over a decade old.
        2. Windows 7 is as reliable and secure as Snow Leopard and Lion but it's often lumbered with inadequate hardware. That's the OEM no Microsoft's fault. Stick Mac OS X on rubbish hardware and it'll struggle too. Of course this'll never happen because Apple wouldn't let it.

        There's a reason why Apple don't use celeron processors for example and only use high end hardware.
      • RE: Windows 8's five biggest enemies

        @iRMX Aside from the sexy hardware I don't see any enterprise functionality in the Mac platform. What about Active Directory , centralized management, protection of data?
        The same goes for the iPad without management and data encryption its an accident waiting to happen.
        Wha happens when an iPad is lost/stolen and sensitive data goes missing?
      • RE: Windows 8's five biggest enemies

        I've had the opposite experience. The cost of ownership of Macs is always much higher as they cost more, are much more expensive to repair and the hardware is no where near as good as people like to tout. Certainly no better than a good business laptop/desktop.
      • RE: Windows 8's five biggest enemies


        Would be even better if thry offered the third choice of Linux...find that it is even easier to use and more stable than Windows or Mac, cost isn't exactly a stumbling point either....