Windows 8: Can this OS be saved?

Moderated by Larry Dignan | April 8, 2013 -- 07:00 GMT (00:00 PDT)

Summary: Windows 8 was a bold bet by Microsoft to link PC, tablet and phone interfaces. Is it too soon to say the bet flopped?

Ed Bott

Ed Bott

Yes, it can be saved


No, it can't be saved

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols

Best Argument: Yes, it can be saved


Audience Favored: Yes, it can be saved (54%)

The moderator has delivered a final verdict.

Opening Statements

Intelligent design and evolution, together

Windows 8 isn’t static code in a shrink-wrapped box, like Windows XP or Vista. It’s a living organism, made partly from familiar bits that have evolved over the last two decades, with several new strands of DNA tossed in.

It’s part of a much larger hardware-apps-services ecosystem with roots that also go back decades.

Windows 8 lays the groundwork for some huge long-term changes: big shifts in the user interface, a brand-new app model, and deep connections to online services like SkyDrive,, and

Those services have evolved significantly since Windows 8 launched six months ago. Windows itself will make another big set of changes this summer with Windows 8.1 (Blue), which is much more than a service pack. New Office apps for Windows 8 will arrive this year as well.

Those are big changes. But the Windows 8 system you use today will include all of them by the end of the year.

Windows 8 doesn’t need to be saved. It just needs to evolve.

This is not a debate. This is an autopsy.

The formal question may be, "Can this OS be saved?" But, we already know the answer. It's a dead OS walking.

This isn't a matter of opinion. The numbers don't lie.

Windows 8's market numbers are even lower than Vista's pathetic ranking at a similar point in their sales cycle. Even if you buy the most optimistic reading of NetMarketShare's numbers, Windows 8, after being in the market for
six months, has just 3.31% of the desktop marketplace—that's just over what Vista had with 3.02% in
three months.

You can—and we will—argue why this has happened. The cold hard sales numbers mattermore than any arguments we can make. Looking ahead, IDC and Gartner ) are going to overwhelm Windows-based PCs in the next few years. But, there's nothing new there. Goldman Sachs and KPCB already have Windows far behind Apple's iOS and Google's Android.

You can think all you want that Windows 8 can be saved,  but unless you start buying Windows 8 PCs, it doesn't matter. This is capitalism, not democracy. It's your dollars that count, not clicking a like button.

Now, onto Windows 8's causes of death. First, we cut into Metro with Stryker saw...


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  • Windows 8

    In my opinion Windows 8 was dead before it even started.
    Reply 60 Votes I'm for No, it can't be saved
    • +1

      We all knew this garbage would be dead out of the water and it's gonna take all those OEMs who rely on this garbage down too
      Reply 39 Votes I'm Undecided
      • I feel sorry

        For the OEMs actually, or maybe it is their wakeup call so they stop betting the farm on a single player.

        Anyway Microsoft is too preoccupied with their marketing messages to hear them. Creating such a monumental failure takes a lot of time, effort and meticulous planning…or simply some really bad management.
        Reply 24 Votes I'm Undecided
        • Those OEMs have tried introducing Lunix into their products multiple times.

          There are no other alternatives buy UNIX or Linux. If your single player has a 92% market-share, it is hard to justify investing much time or money into alternatives.
          M Wagner
          Reply 9 Votes I'm Undecided
          • Just trying…

            …by just installing an OS on the machine is one way, but then it leaves the users having to make sure that this machine fits their workflow. I think a targeted approach like Dell’s Steam+Ubuntu bundle is a more focused and promising approach.

            Like Samsung that is using Android and then adds a whole set of apps on the top to make it more relevant to the user’s needs.

            But I agree with you that this is not an easy task and it needs time and perseverance. At the end of the day Microsoft does “help” the situation with gems like Vista and now Windows 8 :P
            Reply 5 Votes I'm Undecided
          • Pointless arguments.

            Android apps are toys, Windows 8 means business.
            Reply 5 Votes I'm Undecided
          • Translation

            Translating Ow[l1]*net:

            "Android means loss for Microsoft, Windows 8 means business for Microsoft".

            And the untold

            "Microsoft fans of the world, unite! Buy your Windows 8 license today!"
            Reply 2 Votes I'm Undecided
          • If Windows 8 really meant busines...

            I would allow for a native MS Windows functionality, if at the least in the professional version. Windows is a business operating system, which is why so many companies are not prepared to consider alternatives - their software is Windows and Windows only. And these companies are not going to spend thousands of dollars to change their hardware to something more accommodating to this "pretty" tablet friendly, not desktop/laptop friendly OS. The fact that Microsoft has refused up to this point to provide a desktop and traditional start button option, even to the professional version, is what I consider the biggest downfall to this OS. It is the number one reason why I, as an IT manager, refuse to deploy it in my company. I'm not prepared to have to spend that kind of time training.
            Reply 13 Votes I'm Undecided
          • The voting system is not working.

            There is something wrong on the voting on these comments. I marked "No, it can't be saved", and it shows "I'm undecided." I see so many of these that say "I'm undecided" from commenters who clearly feel otherwise.
            Reply 6 Votes I'm Undecided
          • You have Windows functionality now!

            Your said "I would allow for a native MS Windows functionality"
            Is that what you want? Well you have it now.

            I have run Windows 7 next to Window 8 for 6 months running the same Desktop programs, there is no difference, but 8 seems a little faster.

            Just do three simple things:
            3 easy things to do to get back the Start menu and to make you realize that it is just a faster, more responsive Windows 7 with a Modern front end that you never have to see unless you want to see it. Also, the front end is useful even if you don't want to use Apps.

            1. Download the Classic Shell Start Menu and choose Windows 7, Vista, or XP style and choose if you want the Windows Key/MS Key to bring up the Modern Menu or just bring up the Start Menu like it has always done.

            2. Download a new free Picture Viewer like Windows Photo Viewer or other free photo viewer program like Google's Picasa, or IrfanView (both great programs). That is so when you click on a picture, you are not shot back to the Modern front end to view the picture.

            3. Automatically load any Windows 7 type program at start up, I happen to use StickyNotes. That way you will bypass the Modern front end on start up and be right at the Desktop (you could also create a task using task scheduler. Step by step directions here:

            That is it. You can use the Modern Start Screen to have you less used programs and techie programs available a tiles so you don't have to search for them and you can play with some apps and see if you like any of them.
            Reply 11 Votes I'm Undecided