OEMs might complain about Microsoft, but ultimately they'll do as they're told

OEMs might complain about Microsoft, but ultimately they'll do as they're told

Summary: Windows offers something that neither Linux nor Mac can offer -- compatibility.

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Acer CEO JT Wang says that Microsoft needs to "think twice" before pursuing its Surface tablet because the move could well disrupt the ecosystem and upset hardware partners.

In an interview in the Financial Times, Wang said:

We have said [to Microsoft to] think it over. Think twice. It will create a huge negative impact for the ecosystem and other brands may take a negative reaction. It is not something you are good at so please think twice.

Question is, even if the hardware partners do take "a negative reaction," what are they going to do?

The answer -- nothing.

My ZDNet colleague Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols believes that Microsoft's actions are pushing both users and vendors to Mac and Linux:

It's clear now that Windows 8 is not an operating system that Microsoft's partners or its long-time users can love. Isn't it time to give an alternative a try? I think so.  

I don't think so.

I like Linux. I really do. In the same breath, I'm willing to admit that I dislike Windows 8 with a passion. Microsoft might repeatedly use the phrase "fast and fluid" to describe Windows 8, but to me it's "clumsy and impractical". But I'm not sure that Linux is ready to go mainstream, not even if the likes of gaming giant Valve throws its weight behind the platform.

The problem is that Windows give users the one thing that Linux cannot -- compatibility.

When people buy a Windows license, they're not just buying the right to use operating system on a specific piece of hardware, they're also buying a warm and fuzzy feeling that most of the hardware and software they ran on the old operating system will continue to work on the new operating system.

People -- consumers and enterprise users alike -- love the idea of compatibility because it's a handy insurance policy against nasty surprises down the line. We live in a world where the bulk of the software and hardware around us is designed for Windows, and that gives it an enormous advantage when it comes to being able to offer the comfort of compatibility.

Put simply, people want the new stuff to work with the old stuff because it reduces costs and keeps the learning curve shallow. 

The same goes for Apple's OS X. While some people have managed to jump ship and migrate to Apple's platform, as far as most are concerned, Windows is the secret sauce that makes a PC a PC. There's a reason why the Windows market share is 92 percent, and Mac is at 7 percent.

If Windows 8 is going to flop, and Linux isn't going to take its place, and a Mac isn't a PC, then what's going to happen? Simple. Exactly what happened when Windows Vista flopped --- the older operating system will take up the slack.

Enterprises will continue to demand Windows 7. Why? Because the costs of rolling out Windows 8 'properly'will skyrocket due to mass purchase of touch-enabled hardware and additional user interface training. Meanwhile,  OEMs will sell Windows 7 PCs alongside Windows 8 systems because they will find it almost impossible to present the benefits of Windows 8 on desktop systems. Microsoft will once again find itself in a position where it has to offer longer-term support for the older operating system.

Image Gallery: Microsoft Surface tablet

Image source: Microsoft.

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

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113 comments
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  • And why do they need to convert to touch devices?

    W8 works just fine with a mouse and keyboard. It also doesn't take much training to say "Click this tile", because people that would have problems navigating Windows 8 are those that stick to their one or two corporate apps and doesn't even care what the rest of the computer does.

    That said, the Enterprise will still use W7 until around the time Windows 9 comes out. Why? The same reason that most people are just now moving to Windows 7. Enterprise customers don't just go "Oh, a new OS, lets install it on every machine." They spend a lot of time weighing the pros and cons of such a move to the point where it might be years in the future before a change in OS is actually done.
    Aerowind
    • More to it

      There's more to it than simply how the OS works. For many people, the look and feel is very important. Some will like W8, some won't. Personally, I don't relish the idea of spending 8~10 hours a day looking at a Metro screen on a large sized monitor - on a phone, or tablet, I'm fine with it.
      roteague
      • Multiple Choice:

        Please choose your answer:

        A) I am too lazy to click the desktop icon.
        B) I am too stupid to find the desktop icon.
        C) I am too hard headed to do something slightly different.
        D) I will make one click for the desktop and all will be right in W8 land, desktop and all.
        jjworleyeoe
        • Choice E)

          he has his own opinion, and doesn't ridicule others for not automatically agreeing with him
          theoilman
          • Choice F)

            How did Metrosoft miss the obvious?

            Choice G) Try to guess what that might be... [Kindergarten grade level difficulty]
            klumper
          • Choice G (or H)

            All of the above.
            Info Dave
          • His own "opinion" was factually incorrect

            unless his claim of not wanting to stare at the Metro UI 8-10 hours a day meant that he simply couldn't figure out how to get to the explorer shell on his own.
            milo ducillo
          • RE: A real man

            In 2012 it seems you can't feel like a real man unless you make everybody that you think is inferior know it and know it every day.
            edkollin
        • You missed the point

          "Look and feel" are important to some people.

          FWIW, I'm a senior .NET developer and have used every version of Windows since 2.1. I started programming Windows when the SDK came on a single floppy disk. I use a WP7 phone (soon to be upgraded to WP8), and fully intend to buy a Surface Windows RT device. But, I'm not upgrading my desktop to Windows 8.
          roteague
          • Just curious

            Why are you choosing to go for a Surface Windows RT device instead of a Surface Windows 8 Pro device? Isn't the Windows RT device much less functional?
            Shameer Mulji
          • Depends

            That entirely depends on your needs. For many the Surface RT will be able to do most if not all the tasks they need.
            hafenbrack
          • battery life child

            Battery life is lower.

            What begs the question is "if people can't move from a bad platform to a different platform then why is MS even trying to change?" Its not like the sheep will move to another platform.

            I give MS credit for doing something "new" even if it looks like a toy low functional OS but considering people will take it in the rear no mater what MS brings out.
            Kiljoy616
          • How are you going to upgrade your WP7 to WP8 ?

            You have to buy a new WP8 since you can't upgrade WP7 to WP8. I bet that you will upgrade to W8 no matter what you say today. I don't have your problem and I will dump Windows for ever since I am not .NET developer.
            oldman60
        • A)

          Fortunately I can get away being lazy since I don't use Windows 8. :-D
          T1Oracle
          • Even if?

            But even if you had to use Windows, this is a dumb as rocks rolling down hill. No one has to upgrade, not companies not people, Windows 7 will run for years just fine, I give that OS easily a 8 to 10 year life span which means Windows 8 is for the kiddies and eye candy fangirls.

            This fixation with companies and people upgrading is childish there is nothing in Windows 8 that is new or different, its all there the same as always its just got a retarded new UI and limitation on how and what you can do with it. A non issue for most.
            Kiljoy616
          • Relax Killjoy, relax

            You can always tell how much a person knows about something just by the way
            that they emotionally express themselves. Kiljoy616, man, you need to relax and study the issue under discussion. Insulting others does not elevate your level of knowledge on a specific discussion.
            fuzzlogue
        • Choice I)

          I really love my desktop icon graveyard
          Tony_McS
        • Choice J)

          I really love my desktop icons METROFITTED into CYCLOPEAN CUBES!

          Lay off the Foster's Pints!
          klumper
        • It's not about being lazy

          It's about what looks good to me.

          I can use Windows 8 just fine, have been using it daily on my main home system since the CP came out in February. And I still hate the appearance and design. I will learn it's foibles, tricks and tips because I work in IT, and have to be able to help people with it even if I find it totally repugnant. That doesn't mean I will be a cheerleader for a product I find jury rigged in implementation.

          I think the name calling from the pro groups need to stop, because you won't win any converts that way. Prove it's better, and show that proof. Otherwise, just shut up.
          trumanp@...
          • oh no!

            Glad I am in Network and Design and not in any kind of user support.

            I feel for you!
            Kiljoy616