Thursday, January 24, 2013

Finger pointing Windows 8 failings

There has been a lot of bashing of Windows 8 and Microsoft lately, and finger pointing to what has gone wrong.  Truth be told it is never only one entity's fault, rather a combination of multiple factors. Some are controllable, others are environmental and others are just out of your control.

Take for instance the following article that incited a forum thread entirely negative towards Microsoft:

Keep in mind that media hypes up anything they can represent as "controversial" or attempt a "train-wreck" kind of slow drive-by by rubberneckers to read their articles/blog posts.  In other words, out of a dozen "journalists", maybe one or two spent more than 15 minutes on Windows 8, have never tried anything other than Windows XP and maybe 7 (which are very similar to each other in my opinion) or started in with the mind-set of "this is going to suck, I just need to research details...".

I did not say, however, that Windows 8 is any good (or bad).  

Personally, I have gone through some UI changes on the Linux front (Gnome2, Gnome -shell, Unity, KDE, Xfce, etc.) and the one thing I have gathered from this is that you cannot go into a new interface and expect it to run just like the other interfaces.  It's a mind-set that most people haven't had to use because Windows has predominantly stayed the same in a UI manner since 95!

So Microsoft is starting something new, a new UI and a new "philosophy" of how to navigate the system. This after waking up and realizing the world has gone on without them and IE 6 is no longer the only browser in the market (let alone Office, Windows Server, etc.).  It's taken a while for them to rub the sand out of their eyes, and I think they are still working on their first cup of coffee but at least they are shambling around like a Monday morning zombie.

The OEMs, though, are grumbling and whining about having to change their way of thinking, to include touch, mobile devices, power AND efficiency and more device-like computers than the old beige boxes sitting on a desktop.  Coupled with strong Apple sales and a slower economy to navigate through and they have had to actually... um... work!  Innovate!  Come up with something more than same-old-same-old.  And just to help drive home the point, now they have to compete with Microsoft themselves!  Gosh, guess they can't be caught sleeping at the wheel anymore.

Microsoft is "rebooting" Windows 8 February and it does make sense.  The name "Vista" became synonymous with "sucks" and though it was more of a bug-fix and polishing up of Vista, "Windows 7" has become the heir apparent of Windows XP's position of the most popular operating system (of the world).  

Technical issues will exist regardless of how long they tested and developed the OS, especially at the size and and magnitude Microsoft and Windows exist. Really what Microsoft needs is a marketing "reboot", not a technical one!

Hopefully Microsoft has learned.  They have had 3+ months of real-world feedback that they could address so that Windows 8 Pro on Surface can benefit from it and have fewer flaws.  The world has had 3+ months to learn how to operate this new UI.

I think that Microsoft needs to push education (books, video, blogs, etc.) on HOW to work the Windows 8 UI and push deals to get it into the hands of people so they can get used to the new interface.  Also, there are plenty of improvements "under the hood", let people know how it benefits them whether it be safety, security, stability or even putting into place a framework that can easily handle massive changes in the near future.

Now is their time to push and push hard on it; Apple is looking old, Linux's competition is still forming and the mobile market is young enough that nothing is set in stone.  


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