Is two years too long to wait for Windows 8?

Is two years too long to wait for Windows 8?

Summary: Microsoft is working on Windows 8, which is no surprise to us all. What is interesting is that it will probably take another two years for it to surface: in or around of 2012. Is this too long to wait?


Microsoft is working on Windows 8, which is no surprise to us all. What is interesting, according to Ina Fried at CNET is that it will probably take another two years for it to surface.

From a Microsoft blog in the Netherlands, the post roughly translates to:

Dutch: "Verder werkt Microsoft uiteraard an de volgende versie van Windows. Maar het zal nog zo'n twee haar duren "Windows 8" op de markt komt."

English: "Also, Microsoft is on course for the next version of Windows. But it will take another two years to get 'Windows 8' on the market."

It was only last week on the first birthday Windows 7's release when Mary Jo Foley reported that new computers from OEM's would not be supplied with the ageing operating system, Windows XP.

We have already seen a few of the expected new features in Microsoft's next generation operating system, such as a universal application store, simpler system recovery, and user account portability across the cloud. But will we end up waiting too long for services we are already seeing elsewhere?

Just before the weekend, I argued that while Microsoft takes its time in releasing major updates to its continuing stream of operating systems, Apple adds little by little, building up features in a shorter timeline to keep customers engaged and interested.

Yet this causes problems for the enterprise; the campus, if you will. The very vast majority of universities will heavily plug their study spaces and computer rooms with Windows machines, leaving the Apple devices for the students to buy of their own fruition.

But the semi-regular upgrades and the disproportionate price of licensing throws many public funded colleges and universities into choosing Windows. It also gives universities the chance to keep the existing hardware; arguably the more expensive element to a networked infrastructure.

Yet at the other end of the scale, consumers seem happy with Windows 7 with nearly 250 million licenses sold in the first year alone. In comparison, its predecessor Windows Vista left many home and student customers angry at the sluggishness, the bugs and the rapid change in aesthetics from the previous benchmark of XP. Windows 7 picked up its pace and redeemed itself at least somewhat for Vista's misgivings.

But as Steve Ballmer says, the next operating system release will be risky. With the company's ventures into the cloud and branching out to more specific demographics of business and education, many will hope that Microsoft will keep Windows as a high priority.

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Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software

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  • Every second version of Windows is a failure

    Better to wait for failure than to rush it. History has shown that every second version of Windows is a failure. That would suggest that Win 8 will also be failure.
    • Let's see, Windows 3 and 3.1 and 3.11 were successes, followed by

      Windows 95 and 98, both successes. Then Windows ME was a failure, but, rapidly followed by Windows 2000, another success, then rapidly followed by XP, another success. Then Vista a failure, and now Windows 7 a success. So, not exactly every other one. Also, it took much longer to get Vista replaced than ME. <br><br>My question if they could churn out 98, ME, 2000, and XP in rapid fire succession, why does it take them so long for Windows 8???
      • RE: Is two years too long to wait for Windows 8?

        @DonnieBoy, except that xp=win200 with a blue theme, 7=vista Service Pack with a fancy taskbar
      • Well, can not argue with your there. I think that they should have stayed

        with Widows 2000 for a couple of years before going with XP, which was arguably just a Fisher Price colors makeover. Then it would have not seemed so long between XP and Vista. <br><br>Yes, the switch from Vista to Windows 7 was a lot about better colors, but, they also re-wrote some of the bloated parts and stripped it down.

        But, in general, gone are the days that MS should even go 1 year without an update. This is internet time. If they keep on with 3 year upgrade cycles, it will be their undoing.
      • RE: Is two years too long to wait for Windows 8?

        @DonnieBoy I suspect Vista took so long because of the massive overhaul of UI and behind-the-scenes stuff which (supposedly) made it more secure. Windows 7 didn't take *too* long after that, but most of that was fixing all the stuff that Vista left screwed up.
      • I really have to laugh when people call Vista a failure.

        Because I don't know what metric they're using. In every metric that counts, it wasn't.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • If I am not mistaken


        Windows 2000 (in 1999) came out before Windows ME (in 2000).

        And anyway Win2000 was the successor to WinNT 4, and WinXP was the successor to Win2000, so I think you have to look at those lines and how long it took for them to come out with a new version. It took about three years for Win2000 to come out (1996-1999) and two years for XP (1999-2001). So 2012 is about right.
        Michael Kelly
      • RE: Is two years too long to wait for Windows 8?

        @DonnieBoy Windows Vista was a rapid overhaul and Windows 98 and ME were a different Product line than Windows 2000 and Windows XP. That's like asking why GM could release the Camaro and Firebird so frequently in the 90s and now only release the new Camaro every year.

        Vista was the major wait of 6 years, while Windows 7 followed 3 years later. Windows 8 being three years later is actually right in line with the typical Windows release cycle. I think it was February 2004 that Microsoft decided to focus on security and fix some of the major problems with Windows XP which caused the major delay of Windows Vista. This was a much needed overhaul which was painful for developers and end users alike but the end result later lead to Windows 7, albeit Windows Vista as a stepping stone.

        Windows 8 scares me that they talk about a radical shift because that is the one thing that Microsoft rarely executes well.
      • RE: Is two years too long to wait for Windows 8?

        @DonnieBoy Don't throw 2000 in there unless you're talking the corporate market. 2000 was pretty much skipped in the consumer market.

        We've only had 7 since last year, moving to 8 now while people still are recovering from the embarrassment of Vista would be just plain stupid.
      • @zwhittaker

        Vista took so long because it suffered death by committee. Read up on it. It took them two freaking years to design what the start menu should look like because it was all done by committee.

        Question: What is a camel?
        Answer: A horse designed by committee.
      • RE: Is two years too long to wait for Windows 8?

        @DonnieBoy - At the time of 95/98/ME vs 2000, Microsoft actually had two separate Windows development teams.

        The 95/98/ME was the "consumer" branch with 2000 being part of the NT world, which was the "enterprise" branch, and they were two entirely separate codebases.

        After ME and 2000 shipped, Microsoft abandoned the 9x codebase and went with the NT codebase for all future desktop operating systems. XP was based on the 2000 codebase, but was developed with two basic SKUs, Professional and Home, with what basically amounts to a few files being different to support domain networking, group policy, and some other "enterprise specific" functionality in the Pro SKU that does not exist in the Home SKU.

        What shipped as Windows Vista was actually based on Server 2003 after dumping the Longhorn V1 codebase. Longhorn V1 was dumped because of some poor internal decisions that didn't require developers to make sure that their changes played nice with everyone else's changes.

        So they decided to reset Longhorn and based it off of Server 2003 code and built Vista on top of that, but because of the reset, they rushed it out the door, so there were some bugs that should have been fixed for the release that got punted to Vista Service Pack 1. A bad decision, along with some other bad decisions (Example: The "Vista Capable" logoing fiasco), that gave Vista and Microsoft a black eye.

        Enter Steven Sinofsky to take over Windows 7 development with very rigid controls and no overreaching features allowed.

        As for the 3 year development cycle, far from being their undoing, it's what makes them a success in the enterprise.

        For the enterprise customer, that's the perfect timeslice, it gives them (enterprise customers) time to make sure that everything's stable before rolling out to litterally thousands of desktops.
      • RE: Is two years too long to wait for Windows 8?


        I disagree - Windows 7 did a lot of stuff under the hood to make it faster.

        . . . and it's not as if any OS is completely overhauling itself anymore, and I would argue that there isn't really a need to completely overhaul an OS these days.
  • Well, in the internet age, MS can not afford to take 3 years on updates.

    Especially as we move to doing more on the web, and have fewer and fewer applications specifically for Windows, they will no longer be able to control the pace of innovation to fit their schedule.

    Also, given that ChromeOS is going to be released soon, and will likely see updates coming fast an furious like with the Chrome Browser and Android. Of course not to forget the speed of updates and innovation at Apple.

    I would say that MS does not have 3 years for updates anymore if they want to hold above 90% market share. I would say that MS will drop below 80% in the next 2 years, and will not be able to maintain monopoly prices. Actually, hardest hit at MS will be revenues from MS Office.
    • Question: The future of the desktop OS

      @DonnieBoy and others: with the long wait between releases (Microsoft more than Apple, granted) but with the expected increase of Chrome OS users, is the desktop operating system heading towards an inevitable decline, forcing traditional OS developers to shift focus?
      • ChromeOS

        You actually think that the browser-OS is going to do anything for any market other than the netbook market?
        Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: Is two years too long to wait for Windows 8?


        Are businesses really going to trust their information to them en mass? I know some have but I'm talking about Apple & Microsoft level adoption (10-20% market share). Google's CEO said people who don't like them photographing their homes "can just move." With their unbelievably cavalier attitude toward harvesting information will that continue? I don't know how well Chrome OS will be accepted, that's still pretty up in the air to me.
      • RE: Is two years too long to wait for Windows 8?

        @zwhittaker : Judging by the way Goiogle cranks out their "versions" - they are at already when the thing came out in 2008 - Chrome OS will be getting big updates every few months.

        The OS is just another Linux distro. So except for those who think it is and will install it, it will end up with the other 100+ distros out there. Maybe Linux may hit 1.5% OS market share with Chrome OS.
        Gis Bun
      • RE: Is two years too long to wait for Windows 8?

        Zack, no sensible person or company is going to use Chrome OS. If you do, everything you do on the internet will be an open book for Google. Some foolish people may not mind right now, but they will. Google spyware is the biggest danger on the internet at this time.
    • RE: Is two years too long to wait for Windows 8?


      As long was they come out with a service pack every year (and they generally do), that is more than good enough to address that concern. If MS released a new version that required a paid upgrade every year, THAT would be their undoing. Most people want a computer that last three years without having to worry about a purchased OS upgrade, but they can deal with service packs just fine.
      Michael Kelly
      • RE: Is two years too long to wait for Windows 8?

        @Michael Kelly : Don't count on service packs. While NT4 had 6 [well 7 with the "6A", XP had 3. Vista [from the way it looks] will stop at 2. Win 7 may not see its first SP until maybe 16 months after it's RTM - one of the longest durations between a RTM and the first SP for any OS.
        Gis Bun