Windows 8: Give Microsoft credit for betting the farm

Microsoft is trying to make its customers think different with its Metro UI on Windows 8. Even if customers don't come along, Microsoft has shown a willingness to bet its cash cow.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Microsoft's Windows 8 and its Metro UI has sparked extreme reactions and there appears to be little middle ground. Windows 8 will either be a hit or the next Vista. But let's give Microsoft credit for making one gutsy bet.

In short, Microsoft is looking to unify its phone, desktop and tablet interfaces. That move alone is pretty ballsy. Even more ballsy is that Microsoft is upending years of user habits and offering a UI that reshapes the software vendor's approach to computing. Microsoft is trying to make its customers think different.

Yes, Microsoft is still trying to appeal to multiple devices. But the software giant is essentially ripping up a UI that we're all used to. Some customers will like it and adapt. Others will complain---loudly. And given the relatively weak uptake of Windows Phone, consumers don't have a lot of experience with the Metro UI.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes obviously falls in the camp that tried Windows 8, but choked on the design. Zack Whittaker is another. Ed Bott finds Windows 8 relatively elegant. Tim Anderson noted that Windows 8 almost seems to be the product of dysfunction, but could turn out to be brilliant. The feedback from ZDNet readers is just as extreme.

We've heard from an 81-year-old Windows user who liked Metro. Needless to say she wasn't happy with Adrian.

Most of the stuff he complains about is small stuff that might or might not be in the final edition. Just because some things are different does not mean they are a disaster. I am 81 years old and after about 30 minutes with Windows 8 on my laptop I find that I can navigate and manage quite well.

Then there's the other side from this talkback:

So 'resistance to change' is your answer to why so many people, blogs, tech sites, and companies have the same negative opinion of Windows 8? Everyone's just an old dog except you and a handful of others?

Have you ever considered that people have tried it and don't like it for practical reasons? -reasons that may not be that important to you, but are to us? I mean, we respect that you like it. Why can't you respect that we don't?

And it goes on and on. "I think the dude can’t handle drastic changes. He'll rather be stuck in Windows ME past. Well, some of us will like to move, accelerate," said another reader pelting Adrian.

Bottom line on Windows 8 is that there is little middle ground. It's not clear how the Windows 8 saga will turn out, but let's give Microsoft some credit. It is willing to put its largest cash cow and legacy on the line with a make or break Metro UI.

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