Five reasons why Windows 8 won't be dead on arrival

Five reasons why Windows 8 won't be dead on arrival

Summary: While I think that the platform is going to have a tough time gaining traction, I don't believe that it will be dead on arrival

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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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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Topics: Software, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Windows

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  • RE: Five reasons why Windows 8 won't be dead on arrival

    Windows 8 is going to have to be great, because Windows 7 is really good. I'm not sure I want to switch.
    themarty
    • RE: Five reasons why Windows 8 won't be dead on arrival

      @themarty
      Exactly
      XP and Vista users will have to be convinced not to go to Windows 7.
      daikon
      • Depends on how they upgrade

        @daikon

        If they've held on this long to Windows XP, then their next OS upgrade will probably coincide with a hardware upgrade as well. That's why I switched from XP to 7 back in October: building a brand-new PC to replace the old one, so I needed a new OS. Going to Vista didn't make a whole lot of sense, & even the developer's preview of 8 wasn't available . So, the majority of the XP holdouts that upgrade this year will, if Windows 8 is actually out (& not in a "beta" status, but full OEM availability), most likely go ahead & upgrade to 8.

        For those of us who recently upgraded or chose Windows 7... no, most likely we won't be upgrading to Windows 8. We just shelled out for an OS upgrade recently, so we're not going to want to shell out again when the current one is most likely working fine for us. As for the whole "Windows 8 is the new Vista"... honestly, we don't know yet. It could end up being that "Windows 8 is the next XP", where it ends up being better than Windows 7 (like XP was better than 98).
        spdragoo@...
      • RE: Five reasons why Windows 8 won't be dead on arrival

        @daikon
        Corporate, the IT folks will have to be convinced. Consumer, I can't imagine that many will not fall at Adrian's argument #1. If I'm putting my own money down, am I going to buy the newest, or the one that's starting to get old?
        WebSiteManager
      • RE: Five reasons why Windows 8 won't be dead on arrival

        @daikon : Stop Here! They will not have a CHOICE... If they don't already switch they'll have to go direct to Windows 8 because soon no Windows 7 will be available...
        EricDeBerg
      • Ha! No. Exactly wrong.

        @daikon

        Thats not the point at all. Not even a little bit.

        Windows 8 is already showing signs of being a great OS. Just to make sure you get my point here, lets just say Windows 8 comes out and gets pretty much the same great reception that Windows 7 got. If someone is looking to upgrade to a newer Windows OS there will be no reason not to go with the newest, and with software like an OS, your a loony not to go with the newest unless there are reported reasons why NOT to go with the newest.

        The problem really isn't convincing old time XP users and Vista users to upgrade to Windows 8 if they are ready to upgrade, the problem is to convince any OS user that is happy with their current OS to upgrade at all.

        And what complicates matters is that Microsoft in past years could count on the hunger for newer and faster hardware to spike some good sales of new PC's to get that new hardware, and of course the new OS would be right in there sold along with the hardware. Now a days, there are more people then ever who have better hardware then they are likely to need for a few years and that dosnt inspire hundreds of millions of new unit sales like in the past.
        Cayble
    • Even if you were to get rid of ...

      @themarty,

      ... the new Metro UI, Windows 8 would be seen as a substantial improvement over Windows 7 because of a ton of new features such as Reset, Refresh, Storage Spaces, and enhancements to Windows Explorer with new commands and the Ribbon UI. Therefore in the highly unlikely catastrophic event OEMs would like to sell Windows 8 without the Metro UI, they could conceivably do so and still provide users a compelling reason to upgrade their PCs from Windows 7.

      The thing about it is that MS hasn't shown off a lot about Windows 8 so far. MS hasn't specifically shown off rich apps, new touch oriented PC form factors, a broad range of Windows 8 apps, its own apps and services such as Xbox Live, etc., on Windows 8 yet. There is also the salient point: once people start using touch, they hate going back to the classical GUI. The touch experience is that compelling!

      I personally expect Windows 8 on touch PCs to be flying off the shelves, and to spread like fire across the consumer and business markets. Now while the Windows 8 touch experience may not achieve depth of penetration in the business market quickly, I believe it will quickly achieve breadth. Windows 8 on touch PCs is not going to be like Windows Phone in which MS' mobile platform suffered from a horrible reputation before launch; on the contrary Windows 8 on touch PCs will more likely perform like Kinect, where Windows and Xbox are strong brands that are viewed very favorably - with Windows being particularly stronger than the Xbox.
      P. Douglas
      • Interface changes a challenge for its most important market

        The enterprise market isn't as keen on the UI changes as you are. Changes require training, and training costs money. This I see is Win8 biggest challenge.

        As far as OEMs go they too pushed Vista and Win7. Sadly neither have improved there fortunes. The market for Win PC hardware is to competitive, the opportunities to differentiate to small.
        Richard Flude
      • I believe the computing transition will take place okay in business

        @Richard Flude,

        [i]The enterprise market isn't as keen on the UI changes as you are. Changes require training, and training costs money. This I see is Win8 biggest challenge.[/i]

        I believe over the course of at least 2 years, most businesses will have some Windows 8 PCs. They probably will be thinly deployed to users across organizations (e.g. to sales staff, creative staff, and executives). I don't expect to see mass migrations. But I believe when people start to see how compelling the touch experience is over the classical GUI experience, and that it leads to great worker engagement and productivity, Windows touch PCs will begin to see significant adoption by the time Window 9 comes around.

        [i]As far as OEMs go they too pushed Vista and Win7. Sadly neither have improved there fortunes. The market for Win PC hardware is to competitive, the opportunities to differentiate to small.[/i]

        OEMs need to start differentiating on brand strength and user experience like Apple, in order to improve their margins. Differentiating on specs and prices alone will keep them in the situation they are now in.
        P. Douglas
      • Time will tell

        It'll be interesting to see if a touch desktop "leads to great worker engagement and productivity". The easy productivity gains of office automation are over, I don't see anymore low lying fruit (e.g. desktop publishing, electronic accounting, spreadsheet, databases, email, etc).

        I'm intrigue as to how PC OEMs can differentiate their user experience. Surely they rely on windows for this, and windows is available to their competitors. Isn't this the major reason for their current predicament?
        Richard Flude
      • Indeed it will

        @Richard Flude,

        [i]It'll be interesting to see if a touch desktop "leads to great worker engagement and productivity". The easy productivity gains of office automation are over, I don't see anymore low lying fruit (e.g. desktop publishing, electronic accounting, spreadsheet, databases, email, etc).[/i]

        People keep saying that about the PC. What else is there to do with the PC? Back in the early 90s, I never thought that the PC could be used to play back CDs / DVDs, rip CDs and store tracks as files on the PC which could be played back. Then came the Internet, etc.

        I can e.g. see a future, where offices and homes have Windows 8 touch PCs, which include telephony apps and services, which allow people to do things with telephone communications not possible today (or are now very cryptic). E.g. organizing, searching, emailing, archiving, voice messages with great ease - rather than via the cryptic interfaces people have to deal with today using physical phones.

        [i]I'm intrigue as to how PC OEMs can differentiate their user experience. Surely they rely on windows for this, and windows is available to their competitors. Isn't this the major reason for their current predicament?[/i]

        Essentially OEMs can do what Nokia does on Windows Phone to differentiate itself: add must have apps and services to its phones which its competitors do not have - which extend the vanilla Windows user experience. Also come out with innovative hardware designs which complement Windows 8 very well.
        P. Douglas
      • Doing things != productivity

        I agree there's no limit to what computers can be used for, the argument is around labour productivity.

        The applications I outlined had significant productivity improvements.

        I don't know what new productivity tools are around the corner. I can say we haven't seen any recently that matched early gains. And I haven't seen anything in Win8 beta that will result in productivity improvements at all.

        Win8 will do more things. This does not automatically translate to better productivity. An important distinction.

        Nokia has a bunch of things in common with the OEM PC business. A tragic story (for far) of a company that made a few technology bets that may kill it.
        Richard Flude
      • If apps become more ...

        @Richard Flude,

        ... intuitive, engaging, and easier-to-use under Metro, they will in general make users more productive.
        P. Douglas
    • You don't know for the moment but you want... trust me!

      @themarty : You don't know for the moment but you want to switch... trust me!
      EricDeBerg
    • Your right, and its more then that.

      @themarty

      You keep hearing that PC sales are faltering. The implication is that people don't need them anymore because they have tablets and smartphones.

      I personally find it inconceivable that anyone in the know would preach such nonsense. Everyone and I mean everyone I know who has a PC still uses their PC and plans to eventually replace their PC with a PC once they need to. And there in is the problem for PC manufacturers.

      "Once they need to". Without a doubt we are in a cycle of PC hardware vs. PC software where the hardware in most cases is so good it easily handles the software. And appears that it will continue to do so for some time. Its not that people don't need or want a PC anymore thats slowing sales, its simply that right now, far more then ever before in the past most people have a PC thats covering their needs and look to continue to do so. There is very little motivation to upgrade the hardware and get the new Windows 8 along with it.

      And of course, Windows 7 is so good your not going to get too many people to ditch what they see as good hardware just to get something new with the new OS when they really like the way their old OS works on the hardware they already own. Its a real problem for the OEM's and Microsoft as well.
      Cayble
    • RE: Five reasons why Windows 8 won't be dead on arrival

      @themarty My plan is to keep my Win7 desktop as-is and replace my iPad and Macbook Pro with a convertible Windows 8 on ARM tablet with laptop dock :). Adios, Apple! First I left my iPhone for WP7, and now I'm looking forward to dumping Lion for Windows as well.
      jasongw
  • RE: Five reasons why Windows 8 won't be dead on arrival

    Other than the Metro UI, I think I'll survive Windows 8.
    Droid.Incredible
  • RE: Five reasons why Windows 8 won't be dead on arrival

    Because its the new shiny? Sorry, but windows isn't the latest Apple product, and we're not Microsoft fanbois.
    samalie
  • RE: Five reasons why Windows 8 won't be dead on arrival

    All good reasons of why Microsoft Windows 8 will be a success. It also has the Microsoft brand name going for it. A lot of people are going to be quite curious and interested in the Metro UI. That alone is going to bring Windows 8 to the masses.
    Loverock Davidson-
  • RE: Five reasons why Windows 8 won't be dead on arrival

    This is more sensible than baseless prediction by SJVN, once released it will probably take minutes before it goes beyond Linux desktop sales for the year. So SJVN trying to spread fud again
    ninjacut