Will Windows 8 be another Vista?

Will Windows 8 be another Vista?

Summary: "Too many cooks"; "an unmitigated disaster"; "the worst thing since fried Vista". Oh, dear. Some people really have it in for Windows 8, but there are good reasons why.

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TOPICS: Microsoft, Windows
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"Too many cooks"; "an unmitigated disaster"; "the worst thing since fried Vista". Oh, dear. Some people really have it in for Windows 8, but there are good reasons why.

A touch interface, but you can't touch it!
(Credit: CNET)

On the face of it, it appears we have an up-down-up-down approach to Microsoft. From Windows XP — good; to Windows Vista — bad; to Windows 7 — good; to Windows 8 — not so good.

We can reasonably assume from the successes of its predecessor that the next-generation operating system tries to improve too much, too quickly, and far too radically. It's failing to do so.

Out of the backlash, Microsoft claws back what it can in the following operating system, only to rinse and repeat the process again.

It's like Microsoft is stuck in a loop and someone needs to bang on its roof to get it whirring again.

A snippet of who's saying what is below. Grip tight, Windows fans.

MarketWatch's John Dvorak:

Windows 8 looks to me to be an unmitigated disaster that could decidedly hurt the company and its future...No business will tolerate this software, let me assure you. As a productivity tool, it is unusable.

Pocket-Lint's Dan Sung:

We're not saying that Windows 8 is the best thing since sliced wafers. It's more like the worst thing since fried Vista, but don't let that put you off. The trouble is, what with Windows 8 and that added Metro interface all built with touch in mind, being stuck with a mouse can be all too much of a drag.

Slate's Farhad Majoo:

I wonder if Microsoft knows that masses of Windows users are going to revolt against this new interface. If Microsoft wants to preserve and extend its OS hegemony, it's going to have to hold their hands through the changes, perhaps with more on-screen prompting and a large media campaign.

And then there's my take:

Windows 8 won't be a complete disaster, but it won't be what Microsoft wanted it to be in the first place. Too many have stuck their oar in to claim what works best for users in this crazy day and age of shifting values. Microsoft has a "too many cooks" problem; $20 says Windows 9 looks remarkably similar to Windows 7.

A week later, Paul Thurrott, of all people, who runs a "supersite" for Windows, made the same comparison:

But this comparison [between Vista and Windows 8] is actually apt, just not for the reason you think. Windows 8 is very much like Vista, because it represents a sea change, a huge platform bet that will confuse and confound some, even while it sets up Windows for another decade of expansion. Maybe there will be a Windows 9 that will clean up the mess, like Windows 7 cleaned up Vista's mess.

You can probably see a running trend: it's Metro, Metro and — oh look — more Metro.

If I'm honest, I found more neutral reports and positive reviews from the pool than negative ones. That said, I didn't need to look far for the blazes of criticism, and neither will many when the wider consumer market hears about Windows 8. They'll search for it and click on the first few things that come up. If it turns out to be a bad review, it may well cost Microsoft a customer.

Dvorak hit the nail on the head. It's the enterprise we are looking at more than anything. The consumer market will go for anything that's given to them, bar a subsection staunchly set in their ways. There's nothing wrong with that. I'm talking about my own parents, who until recently were stuck on an out-of-date, barely updated Windows XP machine.

Windows 8 will likely prove popular by Microsoft's standards, and sell like hotcakes. It has to. What else are PCs going to run? With a spate of tablets set for release over the coming months ahead of Windows 8's launch, the operating system will likely shake up the market enough to get a foot in the highly coveted tablet space.

But the ordinary, enterprise-working fellow, those with a desktop PC, a work-issued laptop so old it requires hand cranking to get going, or even a top-of-the-range ultrabook using teleworker — it's this chunk of Windows 8 users who will be left out in the cold.

Metro, in a nutshell, kills productivity. It's not just the live tiles, or the Start screen. It's the whole ethos — no, scrap that — it's the whole attitude of the new user interface.

The best that's going to happen is that users in a BYOD-trending world will opt for a tablet over a "traditional" PC, and that will likely come with Windows 8. Failing that, they'll opt for an iPad if they really want a tablet. Other than that, if they want the traditional PC without Windows, they can stick with Windows 7 until 2015 for the enterprise, or they can — dare I say it — opt for a Mac.

The devil is in the details. Dvorak thinks "Microsoft gives up on this soulless Metro interface and gets a new design team, fast". It has to. Again, I would not be surprised if Microsoft's Windows 9 looks a great deal like Windows 7 did.

Because let's face it: the old Start menu rocks, and people really, really don't like change.

Via ZDNet US

Topics: Microsoft, Windows

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27 comments
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  • I really don't understand what all the fuss is about with W8. If you don't like Metro, switch it off and you'll have a slightly tweaked W7 in front of you.

    It's amazing the number of journo's who are totally missing the point. Enterprise won't use metro unless of course, they opt for tablets over laptops.

    W8 is not aimed at W7 users so far as replacement is concerned, it's aimed at XP users and if they've improved on W7 so far as system efficiency is concerned, it'll probably still run quite happily on that old XP hardware.

    W8 is here to provide a common platform for delivering the same software across three form factors. Show me some reviews on how successful or not that is and I'll be more interested.

    Complaining about a tablet interface on a PC is pointless.
    Pachanga-4184c
    • You have got to be joking. Windows 8 meant for XP Users ? Ah XP Users cannot even Upgrade to W7 let alone W8. There is zero similarity between XP and W8 i.e no start menu and almost all apps that happily ran on XP need to be upgraded to W8 as well as all the hardware. Microsoft's strategy of absolutely alienating XP Users is working real well - this is why Apple is experiencing an unprecendented run of success with their product and Linux is picking up anything leftover. W8 is a joke and embarrassment for 99% of XP Users.

      Ken
      IT Director
      Melbourne
      ramnet@...
      • Yes Apple's huge success based on their hanging on to an operating system over 10 years old. Wait...

        Gotta love the rose coloured glasses people have for XP when if you went back 10 years you would find the same people complaining about how bad it was compared to Windows 95, which was terrible compared to Windows 3.1 which was useless against DOS.
        xBeanie
        • 10 years old?

          look unix is older than what you can remember.
          Is that old? of course not.
          Why?
          because from the beginning it was build right. when you build right from the beginning there is no need to rebuild every 3 years. Now compare to the Microsoft way, when suck*rs, er users are asked every 3 years to change OS. When confronted with a full new load of bugs, users are told: we are here for the long run (translation: whatever is not working we will fix it in SP1, SP2, etc).
          theo_durcan
    • Nope

      You _can not_ remove Metro from Windows 8 or even _hide_ it. Microsoft has denied it with tweaks that you can not do so.

      You are _forced_ to use Metro, liked or not.

      You either stay on Windows 7 or you switch to other systems (OS X and few Linux distributions with KDE) if you want to avoid Metro.

      For XP users Windows 8 will be _more dramatic_ change than for Windows 7 users. It is like avarage american is thrown to Paris middle of the night and they are so lost and angry because no one speaks English to them (not that they couldn't, but they don't want).
      Fri13
  • You can't just "switch it off", it's a core part of the OS. It is THE replacement for the start menu. If you want to launch an application you need to find it in Metro (unless you've got all your applications pinned to the start menu or desktop). Even enterprise users face this problem.
    m00nh34d
    • Certainly on the Developer Preview version, you _can_ switch it off. There is a registry setting which I have used to eliminate it, completely. From memory HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer somewhere. I have read that this hack no longer works on the Consumer Preview, which would be unfortunate. Here's hoping it comes back for the final release as with this hack in place, Windows 8 is great, very much quicker than Windows 7.

      And this from a happy OSX Snow Leopard user!
      anthony.hall
      • It has been removed in the Release Preview. There is no options to restore the Start Menu at all now, you are forced to use Metro to launch applications (unless you can fit ALL your applications on the desktop/task bar).
        m00nh34d
    • You can switch it off, its like UAC prompts. Its definitely there. Whether it will be an installation option is the concern.

      Touchscreen technology in a monitor is still too expensive. Until it comes down in price built into a monitor, it'll never be something you can use in a business or home environment effectively.
      Master_T[RG]
    • 777

      Metro *isn't* core part of the NT operating system. Contrary, Microsoft exactly made totally opposite that they removed all non-OS functions from NT operating system in project MinWin and they got NT back to few megabytes slim state so they could even start using NT operating system as Windows Phones operating system.

      Metro is just own layer over other layers and all layers over NT operating system. GUI is just one part of software system, not part of operating system what runs all.
      Fri13
  • moonhead, You are soooo wrong!
    As well as the author of this article.
    W8 is basically W7 on steroids. It is amazing and runs a lot better than W7.
    If you don't like metro as your home, you CAN switch it off and go directly to the desktop app.
    The desktop is exactly the same as in W7, you can find any program you want there, exactly the same as you did before. moonhead - looks like you didn't play with W8 as a desktop, hence your wrong point of view.

    The metro is not replacing start menu, it IS start menu - they just made it bigger!
    It has everything start menu has, only much better bigger and clearer, plus you can run metro style apps on it.
    But, functionally speaking, you can interact with it exactly the way you did with the start menu.

    After working on W8 for 4 months now, on all 3 versions that were launched, I can definitely say it is awesome in every way.

    Certainly not "one down" as the author here claimed, as the core of W8 is not new like vista.
    P.S - dear author - wrong again! XP was innovative, and got one up! here goes your "innovative system - down, second release - up" theory.

    As for "Metro kills productivity", you really don't get the point of metro, do you? It is not aimed for work tasks on a PC. It is aimed at pleasure computing at a home PC, a tablet/laptop or slate.

    P.s I run w8 on my touch-enabled tablet, and on my work PC (no touch) and I love the UX on both!

    And dear author, you forgot to mention the #1 new feature in W8 that W7 doesn't have: Hyper-V!!! I don't even suspect you know what that is or why it is so important... you'll learn...
    shaipetel
    • Metro is the replacement for the Start Menu, you cannot switch it off, no more than you can switch off the start menu in Windows 95 - Windows 7. The best you can do is not use it, which isn't really an option when you start using large numbers of applications. The way it works is completely obstructive when used in day-to-day tasks. You can't quickly launch a program form the start menu any more, you have to awkwardly bring up the Metro interface to launch your application. This is a major step backwards. I understand what it brings to users who's primary function is to use computers to consume information, but for someone who actually uses it for productivity or creation work, it is far more of a hindrance than an improvement.
      m00nh34d
  • No, windows 8 cannot be 'switched to' windows 7. Just try 'Start menu' .
    FADS_z
  • Let me guess, another bunch of whiny kids wanting to use Windows 98 still and not wanting to use anything else since. Some people just move into Amish communities...
    Azizi Khan
    • amazing, a W8 troll... happy playtime wiyth your Metro coloured blocks kiddy...
      btone-c5d11
  • My mom told me last night that she wanted to buy herself a new computer for her business. Being completely technology-illiterate, I cannot imagine why she wants 2 computers, but I told her that if she wants a new computer, she better act fast, because if she lands with a computer running Windows 8, she will have no idea how to use it.

    For something like a tablet/phone, Metro looks okay, but on a laptop or desktop computer, it is practically impossible to use it without getting frusterated. Having to drag your mouse across the screen to swipe to the next page of "tiles" is freaking ridiculous. Also, the fact that only one or two applications can be shown on the screen at the same time will decrease the functionality of a PC to that of a phone. And many of the interface controls are hidden, so new users will be alienated by a system that they have no idea how to use, especially elderly people.

    If the Start menu and taskbar worked wonderfully before, why get rid of it? Just leave it alone! It seems to me like Microsoft changes things around in their new Windows iterations just for the sake of changing things around without really improving anything. All it does is confuse consumers and IT professionals.

    Personally, for anybody who is looking to skip Windows 8 and uses their computer for basic things like web browsing and listening to music, I say go with Ubuntu 12.04. It's fast, very compatible with a wide range of hardware, doesn't get viruses, doesn't slow down over time, and there's very little difference between it and Windows 7.
    Lodmot-ad4d7
  • I rarely comment on articles as dumb as this one, but sorry, I absolutely feel the need to. And yes, I stand by that statement - this entire article is based on a completely false premise, and as such is totally dumb, stupid, a waste of time, whatever.

    I am growing increasingly tired of tech "reporters" (and I use the term very loosely) basically slagging off Windows 8 prior to launch. Prior to formal post-release reviews. Prior to a quarter or two of sales figures. Prior to 12-18 months of actual real-world use by the general public. Prior to essentially any metric that would really count about how good or bad Windows 8 ultimately is.

    Right now, we're stuck in a weird situation - tech "reporters" have been continually sticking the boot into Microsoft since 2007 for not being innovative enough in the face of what Apple is doing with iOS. We've been force-fed a constant stream of "reporting" which claims that Windows is old-fashioned, no one is using it, that devices like the iPad and the iPhone are the future.

    Amazingly, when Microsoft revamps thier core OS to tackle this emerging super-simple market, these same tech "reporters" attack Microsoft for daring to rethink the PC model, and try something new.

    So which is it, guys? Do we want a Microsoft that just continues to iterate one ponderous release at a time (so that you can all just lazily rely on the same old journalistic narrative?), or do you want a Microsoft that tries to think outside the square and deliver something new that, perhaps, the market doesn't yet know it wants?

    That's an important point to consider here, because let's be realistic about this - the general consumer knows what they want to do with a computer, but does not have a single idea about how they want that done. The "journalist" writing this article claims that if people want to just do basic tasks with their computers, they should switch from Windows 7 to Ubuntu. Seriously, WTF is that all about? Since when would ANYONE recommend Ubuntu over Windows 7 to a non-tech "regular" consumer?

    Do people not have any freakin' idea why the iPad is being so successful in the market? It's because the thing is an attractive piece of hardware, is light, has great battery life, has a silky smooth OS, and has the tools / apps (choose your word) that do the jobs that people want a computer to do.

    This is what Windows 8 does. It brings the iPad experience to EVERY Windows form factor presently used, as well as some brand new ones. Since when is this a bad thing? Since when??

    The writer of this article claims that enterprises will avoid Windows 8 in droves. They probably will. But that's got ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with Windows 8, but everything to do with release cycles. Windows 7 is less than 3 years old, and as such most companies are only just now getting ready to deploy Windows 7. Are they really going to switch to Windows 8 now, instead of Windows 7? Of course not - and this would still have been true if Windows 8 had just been a super simple iteration of Windows 7.

    This rubbish attempt to create some Star Trek-esque "every second release is crap" argument is just that - crap. Makes no sense whatsoever. Windows 3.11 was excellent, as was Windows 95, and Windows 98, and Windows 2000. Windows ME was a stopgap consumer-centric release (aaaahhh, just wait until people start evoking THAT comparison!), while Windows XP only got a good reputation for the length of time it was on the market.

    Let's not forget that it was this supposed golden child Windows XP that saw the biggest number of Windows users switching to the Mac, and was directly linked to Apple's highly successful ad campaign. Notice how that ad campaign stopped around the time of Windows 7's launch? Not a coincidence, either.

    Which brings me to Windows Vista, and the reason for my posting this comment. That OS was not crap. Not at all. Sorry to the haters out there, but the only people that hate Vista are people who never used it for any length or time, or more importantly, bought into the tech blogosphere "reporting" on this supposedly horrible OS. I am starting to see a massive repeat of history here, but it's got nothing to do with Microsoft, but rather EVERYTHING to do with how a very anti-Microsoft techsphere is refusing to judge an OS on its own merits, but rather are using whatever excuse they can to rubbish Windows 8 for one simple reason.

    They are scared. Scared that Microsoft might have actually had the guts to do something they never thought it could do - release something that is cool.

    I will make this promise right now - by the end of next year, Windows 8 will have been a huge success for Microsoft. The haters (i.e. the tech "reporters" and Apple fanbois) will do everything they can to sully that success, whether that be "oh, the only reason it sold so well was because it was Windows - doesn't make it any good!!" and they will ignore the gorgeous Metro experience, the high-quality apps that will surely come out in 2013, the fact that both Google and Apple are furiously trying to pre-empt Windows 8 in their own ways. Perhaps it'll be the tired chestnut of "oh, this thing sucks on a keyboard and mouse - it can't possibly work!" through to "oh, you can't do proper multi-tasking - how can anyone rely on just two apps on the screen at a time??", all the meanwhile forgetting one simple little thing.

    Windows 8 is a direct response to how users are changing their habits to suit the computing paradigm of the 21st Century. Apple started this race, Microsoft is taking things to the next logical step.

    Your move, Cupertino. At least you know you've got a Microsoft-hostile techsphere on your side.
    mkopelke
    • A micro version of all this happened with the Samsung Galaxy Note, where many so-called tech bloggers (but really ultra-conservatives) slammed it as being far too big, anybody making a call on it would look like a dork and the stylus is retro. One blogger even had an over the top rabid rant over it. Of course, they all ignored any of the positive comments from those who actually own one.

      Well several million sold later and if any think their reviews are still valid have nil credibility.

      Too many negative comments about Win8 are from those so-called tech bloggers and commenters that feel that they can speak for millions because they have taken the time to lock themselves into workflows heavily reliant upon XP, having thoroughly missed the paradigm shift from the Start mene in favour of the taskbar.

      Well, MS telemetry from millions of users shows that they did not miss the shift. Perhaps they just used what was presented to them, rather than think themselves into a box from which escape has proven difficult.

      With MS having done a lot of ideas-build-usabilty interative cycles for each of the UI and UX elements, average users may well adapt much faster to Metro than these upset bloggers give them for.

      Time will tell who is delusional, but at least too few of the general buying public will have read what any of these so-called tech bloggers have written to make much difference to the actual outcomes.

      However, MS will need to saturate advertise Win8 to make sure it is in people's faces. I doubt iOS would have gained the traction that they have if not for the sustained saturation advertising across all media. Samsung has done the same thing these days and it is obviously paying off for them as well.
      Patanjali
    • It's not that we oppose all change, and I hate macs, so I don't want them to do well either. The thing is, we don't want windows 8. It doesn't work for us. It changes too much, too fast and, as far as we can see it, it's trying to make a tablet out of my pc
      aerge
    • Removal of the Start menu

      Is the stupidest idea to come out of Redmon since they decided to release Windows Phone 7 with out cut and paste. Because some dipshit looked and saw that most people use the quick launch for their most commonly used applications they made the incorrect inference that people didn't use the start menu. When the fact is that the quick launch is really nice for the 3-5 apps that you use the most. But, for stuff that you access less often the nested (and unobtrusive) start menu works very well and is generally used almost specifically because it doesn't take up the whole frigging screen and interrupt workflow.

      Having a user interface element that takes the whole screen on a desktop computer particularly in a world where multiple monitors is becoming more and more typical is regressive backwards thinking.

      Other than this particular bit of stupidity Windows 8 seems to be a solid product with most of the testing so far showing an improvement in performance compared to Windows 7 I've got it running on an ASUS tablet and have been quite impressed with it's performance.

      But the removal of the start menu is a stupid decision that changes Windows 8 from being possibly the best Windows release ever to the worst.
      Shawn Burks