Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols
Best Argument: Windows right
Place your bets!
Is Microsoft going in the right direction with Windows 8? Yes.
Will they succeed? Place your bets!
Look, we all know the future of computing involves devices of all sizes and capabilities: smartphones, tablets, laptops, gaming rigs, monster graphics workstations, developer consoles.
To work on those smaller devices you need a simple app framework and a simple user interface.
Microsoft has built that interface in such a way that it scales to larger platforms. Look at the Windows 8 Start screen and Metro-style apps, and then look at Mango on a Windows Phone. Same DNA, same developer story.
The real test will be how many companies follow Microsoft's new direction. If developers fill the Windows 8 Store with great new apps and games, Windows 8 will be a success. Let's meet here same time next year and check the selection in the Windows app store. That will tell the story.
The end of Windows
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols
There will be more people running Windows in 2015, years after Windows 8 shows up, than all other operating systems combined. But, they'll be running Windows 7. 8? Not so much.
Windows won't be replaced on the desktop, but I don't see any compelling reason for end-users, businesses, developers, or OEMs to move to Windows 8.
I spoke to Linus Torvalds yesterday and he said, “Breaking the user experience in order to 'fix' something is totally broken. If you break the user experience, you may feel that you have 'fixed' something , but you fixed it by breaking the user.”
Microsoft wants to “fix” Windows to be the universal interface for PCs, smartphones, and tablets. But, that will break users' Windows experience. That, in turn, will alienate their core audience, and the tablet and smartphone audience will already be committed to Android or iOS.
Windows 8 looks to a dead-end.
My verdict on Windows 8: Affirmative
Let's be honest, this was a home game for Ed, and Steven was a big underdog.
Nevertheless, both Steven and Ed put a lot of points on the board and I think they represented the views that we hear from a lot of commentators and technology professionals in the trenches.
In the end, I have to give the nod to Ed.
The Windows franchise is under serious pressure from mobile devices and Microsoft has to do something dramatic with Windows in order to stay relevant in the long term. At this point, we have to give Microsoft credit for being bold -- and watch with interest to see how it plays out.
Doc's final thoughtsIN PARTNERSHIP WITH Ricoh
It’s always a little sad to see Microsoft’s new offerings, as the folks in Redmond are usually playing catch up to Apple. In Windows 8 that trend continues, with a heavy emphasis on a new look and new compatibility with tablet devices. Trouble is, Microsoft doesn’t have the iPad or the legions of Apple developers on its side, and it’s a little late to the tablet party – after all, it’s all about the apps. But for those tablet buyers who will insist on a Windows operating system, I suppose Windows 8 is a step in the right direction. Still, the touch-screen-optimized Metro tile-based interface already looks dated, reminiscent of a 1980s brochure for some sort of health care organization. Also, it’s debatable if a one-size-fits-all strategy is appropriate for today’s variety of computing devices.
And as far as traditional Windows desktop and laptop users go, is there really much interest in yet another new look for Windows? It’s hard for me to get excited about this latest attempt by Microsoft to be more Apple-like, even if the effort is nimbler and more memory efficient. And while Microsoft promises better inter-operability between apps in Metro, that also sounds like a potential sinkhole for conflicts. Yes, there is support for ARM processors, but legacy apps won’t run on them without being re-written. Also in the me-too category is enhanced support for multiple monitors and, at least in the Metro interface, a lack of support for Adobe Flash. Big whoop. Windows 8 could certainly breathe some life into the rather stagnant Microsoft franchise, but revolutionary? It hardly seems so from what we’ve seen thus far (which admittedly has been limited).
Doc remembers back in 2000 when Microsoft showed a prototype tablet PC from Compaq running an optimized version of Windows, and was extolling the virtues of e-books. Back then the company was ahead of its time. Now it seems like just another also-ran.