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June 19, 2012

Microsoft seems intent on shooting its cash cow in the hoof with Windows 8

Posted by David Hunter at 2:27 PM ET.

Microsoft recently made available a Windows 8 Release Preview and you really have to wonder whether they have a corporate death wish. It’s not so much that that they have a fixation about every PC form factor running Windows 8; it’s that they apparently believe that every PC should have a tablet/smartphone interface that you can’t get remove. Cue John Dvorak:

It’s not that the product out-and-out stinks. It is refreshingly slick-looking and modern, albeit without any charm whatsoever.

The real problem is that it is both unusable and annoying. It makes your teeth itch as you keep asking, “Why are they doing this!?”

First of all, the system-software product is mostly divorced from all the thought and trends developed by Windows over the years, as if to say that they were wrong the whole time, so let’s try something altogether new.

No business will tolerate this software, let me assure you. As a productivity tool, it is unusable.

And no business wants to budget for the necessary retraining for all their Windows users just because Microsoft got lost in the weeds.

Most applications cannot even be scaled down and so take up the whole screen. To even get out of these “apps,” you have to ram the cursor down into the lower left corner and click. That puts you back onto the vapid “Metro” start screen, where you can begin another miserable adventure.

Do you work on a huge 27-inch or bigger monitor? You know, so you have room to organize your programs and files? Well, imagine everything running full screen on that. It’s a joke.

There is an old-fashioned desktop you can visit, but whenever the OS gets the chance, it throws you back onto the Metro interface. For those of us who thought we could avoid Metro and live on the desktop screen, we are going to be sorely disappointed.

This is a problem for Microsoft investors. The potential for this OS to be an unrecoverable disaster for the company is at the highest possible level I’ve ever seen. It ranks up there with the potential for disaster that the Itanium chip presented for Intel Corp. It’s that bad.

For an even less phlegmatic view, see Windows 8 Consumer Preview – One word: fail:

I would like to congratulate Microsoft on corporate cretinism that is equivalent to nuking a village of blind orphans on New Year’s Day. They have given so much more hope to their competition with this move. And to think that only a week ago I praised the company for their business foresight in keeping backward compatibility as their first priority. Oh, the humanity.

Windows 8 is obviously geared toward smartphones and tablets, or as we should call them, stupidphones and craplets. Lovely. Except, Windows 8 will also be shipped to home customers running normal computers, desktop and laptops and whatnot, where battery life is of no consideration, screen size is ample, and productivity and efficiency are more important than looking cool.

Let’s see. Microsoft holds the vast majority of the desktop market. It has failed so far on the small form-factor market, mostly because their system was not optimized for low-end non-Intel architecture, regardless of the user interface. Microsoft has gained this absolute majority by offering a simple and conservative design that has not changed in almost twenty years, with long-term support and consistency as its biggest selling points.

Now, Microsoft is abandoning the most thriving computing market and rushing into the den of rabid wolves called the mobile market, where it expects to garner some extra points. It will be fighting against ARM champions, almost all exclusively running Linux.

Does this sound like a good decision? Let me elaborate a little more. Would you sacrifice your entire user base in a rich and profitable tier for the sake of a feeble chance that you might hold a small share of a new market segment that has significantly lower profit margins? Sounds like stupidity to me.

Referenced there is this video of a home user meeting Windows 8 on a desktop PC – it isn’t pretty:



So how long do you think it will be after Windows 8 ships that Microsoft releases a fix that allows the user to restore a traditional Windows UI? Probably about the time that large numbers of corporate customers decide to stick with Windows 7 and take a pass on Windows 8.

Filed under Microsoft, OS - Client, Windows 8

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