Five Reasons why Windows 8 will be dead on arrival

Five Reasons why Windows 8 will be dead on arrival

Summary: Microsoft's Windows 8 and Vista will have several things in common: Both are unwanted operating system updates that will flop in the marketplace.

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Windows 8 s Metro: The face of a DOA operating system.

Windows 8's Metro: The face of a DOA operating system.

Some of my die-hard Windows friends are very excited by Windows 8 arrival later this year. Others fear that Windows 8 will be a repeat of Microsoft's Vista disaster. Me? I know Windows 8 will be a Vista-sized fiasco.

Before jumping into why I think far more PC users will still be running Windows 7 in 2016 than Windows 8, let me explain that while I prefer Linux as my desktop operating system, I don't see Windows 8 charge into a brick wall as being a pro-Linux or anti-Microsoft issue.

In fact, as desktop operating systems go, I rather like Windows 7.  Yes, really. Besides, it's not like Windows 8's forthcoming failure will help desktop Linux. Looking back, when Vista flopped, in the long run it actually hurt desktop Linux. That's because Vista's failure, combined with the threat of netbooks, caused Microsoft to revive Windows XP. If Windows 8 goes down the same path, I'm sure Microsoft will extend Windows 7's lifespan.

So, why is Windows 8 destined to be a non-starter? Simple:

1. No one needs Windows 8 on the desktop.

Quick: Name one thing about Windows 8 that they don't already get from Windows 7-or a great desktop Linux like Mint or Mac OS X Lion? I can't.

Indeed, I can't think of a single significant new improvement in Windows 8. The ability to refresh the operating system? Faster booting? A Windows Store? Live boot from a USB drive? Come on! All these features have been around in other operating systems for years, and while sure, they're nice, put them all together and at most they're worth a Windows 7 Service Patch--not a whole new operating system.

2. Metro: An ugly, useless interface.

As everyone knows, Windows 8 has a totally new default interface: Metro. When I look at Metro, however, I see gaudy colors, boxy designs, applications that can either run as a small tile or as full screen with no way to resize or move windows. Where have I seen this before? Wait, I know! Windows 1.0!

More to the point, almost everyone knows the current Windows interface. It's changed over the years, but you could take someone who last touched Windows back in the Windows 95 days and drop that in front of them of Windows 7 and they'd be able to get work done. Metro? It's entirely different. Heck, Microsoft has even dropped the Start button in the latest version!

In short, even if Metro was the best thing since sliced bread, which it isn't, it will still require users to learn a new way of doing the same old thing. That's a failure of an idea right here. Sure, you can use the 'Classic' desktop experience instead, but hey, I have an idea! Why not just use the Windows XP or 7 "classic" interface instead?

3. Where are the Windows 8 Applications?

The Windows 8 Consumer Preview (read Windows 8 public beta) will be here real soon now and we still don't know next to anything about Windows 8's applications. As Mary Jo Foley recently pointed out we still don't even know whether Office 15 will be Metro, non-Metro, or partially Metro.

Seriously? Windows 8 will probably be out by this fall and we still don't know jack about its apps? Not even Microsoft's own flagship office application? Come on! How can you take this operating system seriously?

4. Vexed Windows developers.

If you're unhappy about the state of Metro applications, think about the poor Windows programmers. You've spent years learning .NET, Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) and Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), and now they have to learn WinRT and Jupiter/XAML.

Even developers who like WinRT give it "compliments" like "It's a great time to get involved with WinRT, as the platform is still in its infancy, and will need a lot of developer support to build even more robust tools." Really? That comment was made in January 2012, and the development tools are still in diapers!?

Last, but not least, Windows developers will need rewrite their Metro apps for the more traditional Windows-style desktop. Oh, and they'll also need to build them for both x86 and ARM platforms. That's a heck of a lot of work to do without a lot of time to do it in. Put it all together and I see little chance about Windows 8 having many mature, ready-to-run applications come launch day.

Heck, Brandon Watson, head of developer experiences for Windows Phone, just left Microsoft for Amazon's Android-based Kindle team Think he might know something?

This reminds me, what do you call an operating system without developers or applications? The answer? Dead.

5. Too little, too late for the smartphone/tablet market

Metro's real point, of course, isn't for desktop users. It's Microsoft's last gasp attempt to be a player on tomorrow's computers: smartphones and tablets. If Microsoft was bringing something truly revolutionary to mobile devices, or they were still able to strong-arm original equipment manufacturers (OEM)s into loading Windows on their devices, I think they'd have a shot at the mobile space. Neither is true.

Smartphones are a dog fight between Android and iOS. Tablets did belong to Apple, but now Samsung, Amazon and Barnes & Noble are giving the iPad a fight for the tablet marketplace. Android and iOS are mature, have enormous developer communities and are wildly popular. Heck, if you count smartphones, thanks to the iPhone Apple is now the number one "PC" vendor in the world.

On top of that, the U.S. phone carriers have no interest in a Windows Phone. Too old, too slow Microsoft is arriving much too late to the 2010s style of mobile computing to be a significant player and that means Windows 8 Metro won't find an audience either. I see no room left for a major third-party platform. A minor player, like KDE or Ubuntu? Sure. A Microsoft? No.

Add it up. The majority of Windows users have only just switched over from XP to Windows 7 in, at best, November 2011. Microsoft is now asking for its users to switch to a platform with no significant improvements, a radically different interface, and which is very likely to have few applications. The result? Window 8 will be dead on arrival.

Related Stories:

Microsoft removes 'Start' button from latest Windows 8 build

Windows Phone developer lead leaves for Amazon's Kindle team

Windows Phone 8: What's on the feature list

Windows 8 Consumer Preview nears - what we know about Metro apps

Windows 8 ARM devices to have a 'classic' desktop experience?

Topics: Hardware, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

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  • RE: Five Reasons why Windows 8 will be dead on arrival

    I see the outrage coming.
    daikon
    • RE: Five Reasons why Windows 8 will be dead on arrival

      @daikon Windows 8 will be the best thing that ever happened ... for Apple.
      terry flores
      • Actually, Apple's not doing themselves any favors

        @terry flores
        with Lion.
        William Farrel
      • RE: Five Reasons why Windows 8 will be dead on arrival

        @William Farrel Fair call. Many of the UI changes in Lion and a few of the default apps like Mail confused the heck out of my father-in-law, a longtime mac user.

        I don't think forced UI changes makes anybody happy!
        Imrhien
      • That Win8 grape is sour!!

        These foss guys, I'm telling you, LOL.
        LBiege
      • RE: Five Reasons why Windows 8 will be dead on arrival

        @William Farrel -

        Lion has some niceties, but the battery life problems were not nice to see.

        And the slider/scroll bars being thin and gray is a mixed bag -- more room for the browsers (which would help on 4:3 screen sizes far better than the 16:9 displays that are now the norm!), but take time to get used to and - let's be honest - a "gray on gray" color scheme makes the actual bar hard to find. Snow Leopard's GUI was very refined. Lion's close/minimize/maximize buttons' resizing were VERY nice, but as I said, mixed bag...

        I prefer the original spotlight as well...
        HypnoToad72
      • RE: Five Reasons why Windows 8 will be dead on arrival

        @terry flores: Hardly. Apple at the perfect opportunity ever when Vista was released and it changed nothing. Instead of ditching Windows for Snow Leopard, most stuck with the ageing Windows XP.
        bradavon
        • You don't get it

          Windows 8 isn't competing with OSX, it's competing with Windows 7 which is a vastly superior OS.
          AnalogJoystick
      • RE: Five Reasons why Windows 8 will be dead on arrival

        @terry flores let it launch we will see, no point predicting thing beforehand. these writers have been proven wrong thousands of times.
        augustus_rome
      • RE: Five Reasons why Windows 8 will be dead on arrival

        @terry flores
        Unfortunately you opened the can-o-worms for all the Apple Bashers. As a happy user of both Windows and Apple OS's, I am not happy with any part of Metro for Windows and don't see the need for Launchpad in Apple Lion. Desktop users don't want or really need their operating systems to mimic their smart phones. This has to be a youth market exercise. I don't see the need for all the bells and whistles If Metro happens on 8 and I'm forced through updates to give up my 7, I'll switch every computer to Apple, at least they left the dock and menu bar alone, and the scroll bars and scroll directions are all easily reverted to original. I love my Windows Mediacenter and my Silicondust M cable card tuner and media center extenders but if I'm forced to access all this through Metro I'm done. Balmer should get the boot. Please Bill please come back! Give me my start menu back, and let me pollute my desktop as I see fit.
        partman1969@...
      • RE: Five Reasons why Windows 8 will be dead on arrival

        @terry flores quite fanboy
        sarai1313@...
      • RE: Five Reasons why Windows 8 will be dead on arrival

        @terry flores

        So did this chump of an author build a time machine running on Linux or wait...maybe he used Android instead! What a crap article coming from someone who absolutely doesn't have a clue what will happen with Windows 8. We hate what we fear people...and it looks like the Apple, Android and Linux freakshow fear WINDOWS!
        Rob.sharp
        • We hate what we fear ???

          @ Rob.sharp

          The start button or diamond in Win 7 was a good idea. No need to get rid of it. To me it's like a car builder replacing wheels by some form of traction for all his car. Metro might be OK for phones and tablets but no one needs it on the desktop.
          Even the ribbon after all these years is not a good replacement for the menu's.
          That's change for the sake of change the sake of marketing and the hope of billions. THe never ending quest for the "killer" idea.
          CChello
      • RE: Five Reasons why Windows 8 will be dead on arrival

        @partman1969 - I don't think so, actually. I am always open to new ways to make my life easier on the computer, from both Apple and MS. I really like the interface on WP7, for instance. Very fast, very intuitive. The speech to text works very well (as long as you speak distinctly). The apps all work. I like it. I like it better than Android on my fiancee's Transformer (although it is VERY good). I think that Win8 is going to be a modest success. It will work (which is a significant difference from Vista - remember 64 bit drivers???), but it will take a shift in mindset, and that will make it a slowly adopted change. But I do think it will change things for the better. And it will drive a resurgence in the touch screen market!!
        always-a-geek
      • RE: Five Reasons why Windows 8 will be dead on arrival

        Lion = Vista. Slow, unstable, drivers that don't work. I finally switched back to Snow Leopard and have a computer that works again.
        NameRedacted
      • RE: Five Reasons why Windows 8 will be dead on arrival

        [b]@partman1969 said: [/b]
        [i]This has to be a youth market exercise. I don't see the need for all the bells and whistles If Metro happens on 8 and I'm forced through updates to give up my 7, I'll switch every computer to Apple[/i]

        Sheesh, you'd think people on a tech sight would actually know a little about the win 8 plans. Metro is the default UI. The current UI is also available, and almost certainly going to be the default on most PCs.
        notsofast
      • Thoiness is just trolling

        @thoiness

        "And as for your sny comments... I'd assume that we should never upgrade anything."

        That would be a really stupid assumption. Obviously you did not read what I said or you wouldn't have to "ass-u-me" would you? Since you aren't taking this seriously I'm done wasting time talking to you.
        Vorpaladin
      • RE: Five Reasons why Windows 8 will be dead on arrival

        @Vorpaladin Wrong thread, toolbox. As for the rest of your comments, you are bagging on Microsoft for not making a good enough DVR while comparing it to Linux being the basis of Tivo, then proclaiming Microsoft as the loser in home entertainment? Who is trolling??!?? How about showing me Tivo on a standard Linux PC, or how about comparing the Microsoft Entertainment PCs to the Linux PCs (but then we'd have to mention Netflix and Vudu, wouldn't we?)? Next you're going to tell me Linux is used on toasters, and tell me Microsoft has lost the toaster wars because their PCs don't have toaster ovens...<br><br>Oh brother... What more can I say?<br><br>You're arguing the same tired arguments without even reviewing the facts. You jump in with both feet, because you saw a picture of Metro (and you're likely an anti-MS, Linux die hard - am I psychic, or do you think it's perhaps just that obvious?). Have you *actually* read the fact sheets on the release information for Windows 8, yet? Do you know what their business preview will entail? The latter, I can safely say, of course you don't, because no one does. As a matter of fact, have we even seen what the next version of Server will bring to the table? Perhaps I was mistaken of my abilities, and it is YOU that is psychic.<br><br>You're right about one thing: You're definitely wasting your time.
        thoiness
      • RE: Five Reasons why Windows 8 will be dead on arrival

        @terry flores Best put!
        gil_seiler
      • RE: Five Reasons why Windows 8 will be dead on arrival

        @terry flores How's that, exactly? As a 16 year Systems Engineer, I'm actually very excited for Windows 8, which represents the single biggest advancement in UI design since the 1980's. I use OSX Lion on my Macbook Pro, dual booting with Windows 7, and here's what I'll tell you: it's stale, the same tired UI Macs have run with for more than 20 years with very little evolution.

        The same is true of Windows, of course. They've run the same basic UI design with a few tweaks since Windows 95. And of course, at the time I worked primarily with DOS, Win 3.11, WinNT 4.0 and Novell Netware, and remember all too well how "nobody" would buy the new UI, it was too big a change, people hate to learn new things, yadda yadda yadda. And a couple BILLION licenses sold later, where are we? We're looking at a UI that's been the foundation of most PC's sold for the last 17 years.

        You can expect the same for Windows 8. In spite of the author of this article's failure to look forward and realize that Windows 8 native hardware is coming and will significantly change the basic way we interact with computers (hint: if you're hung up on how Win8 will work with a mouse, you're stuck in the past--a relic).

        You'd be foolish to buy into the notion that Windows 8's new UI is a cause for gloom and doom. It isn't. Metro is, in fact, a BRILLIANT UI design, the best I've seen in my career. I decided to give it a try last year, and opted to get a Windows Phone 7 device for the 30 day trial period. At the time, I expected to return to Apple's arms and my beloved iPhone. But the truth of the matter is that Windows Phone's UI is so superior to any icon-grid UI on the market that I simply couldn't go back. iOS and Android are too stale, too antiquated, too slow and yes, not nearly as usable. It's time for a change, and Metro is that change.
        jasongw