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September 17, 2012

Windows 8, Surface RT ship October 26

Posted by David Hunter at 3:51 PM ET.

Preceded by a Launch Event in New York City on October 25.

Filed under Microsoft, Microsoft Hardware, OS - Client, Surface, Windows 8

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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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January 6, 2011

Windows 8 to run on System on a Chip (SoC) architectures including ARM

Posted by David Hunter at 12:23 AM ET.

Today at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show, Microsoft announced that “the next version of Windows will support System on a Chip (SoC) architectures, including ARM-based systems from partners NVIDIA Corp., Qualcomm Inc. and Texas Instruments Inc. On the x86 architecture, Intel Corporation and AMD continue their work on low-power SoC designs that fully support Windows, including support for native x86 applications.”

To drive the point home:

Microsoft demonstrated the next version of Windows running on new SoC platforms from Intel running on x86 architecture and from NVIDIA, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments on ARM architecture. The technology demonstration included Windows client support across a range of scenarios, such as hardware-accelerated graphics and media playback, hardware-accelerated Web browsing with the latest Microsoft Internet Explorer, USB device support, printing and other features customers have come to expect from their computing experience. Microsoft Office running natively on ARM was also shown as a demonstration of the potential of Windows platform capabilities on ARM architecture.

“Windows will continue its industry-leading support across the widest possible set of devices, delivering the breadth and choice that customers demand. Intel and AMD continue to evolve and improve the x86 platforms, including new low-power systems, and advance new designs such as the recently announced 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ processor family and AMD’s Fusion accelerated processing units (APUs). NVIDIA, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments are joining Microsoft to provide ARM-based designs for the first time.

To those with long memories, Windows NT supported other processor architectures besides Intel, but that support disappeared over time due to lack of market interest. Now the situation is reversed with the mobile market compelling “light” architectures and operating systems that have the traditional Wintel players scrambling. Windows 8 is unlikely to arrive before 2012, but the real question though is whether a full-fledged Windows OS is really the right fit for the mobile market and when touch enabled apps will arrive to run on it.

Filed under AMD, ARM, CES 2011, Conferences, Hardware, Intel, Microsoft, NVIDIA, OS - Client, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, Windows 8

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