Windows 8 Will Drive People To Mac
Unless you’ve been living in a cave with your fingers in your ears for the past few months then you would know that Microsoft released a consumer preview of their next flagship OS Windows 8 with its controversial and new touch interface called Metro.
One clunky interface
To put it bluntly: Microsoft have essentially created an operating system that is comprised of multiple operating systems all in the one operating system. Are you confused already? In true Microsoft style they’ve created a schizophrenic operating system that will end up confusing people more than it will wowing them.
Windows 8 is Microsoft’s attempt at creating an operating system that will work across multiple devices, it’s optimised for everything. So desktop users are subjected to the same Metro touch screen interface that tablet and smartphone users will be subjected too. The touch screen Metro interface is quite good on touch enabled devices but on a desktop computer with a mouse and keyboard? Yeah, no it doesn’t work at all.
Remember Windows 8 has only been released as a consumer preview, but if Vista was anything to go by, this is a pretty close to final version of Windows 8 and it’s scary if that is the case. The consumer preview hasn’t even been out for a month and already people are threatening/are quitting Windows in favor of using Mac and other operating systems.
Who is making the decisions at Microsoft?
The question here is: who the hell is making these decisions at Microsoft and just how bad is their alcohol addiction? Windows 7 was an awesome operating system, I’m using it right now. It looks great, works great and doesn’t try forcing any unconventional and non-functional user interfaces upon me.
I get touch enabled devices are a big deal and definitely the future, so I really would like to know why desktop users (especially gamers) are being subjected and forced to use this new Metro interface which as I said works great on touch devices, but on desktops it sucks and is completely unusable. Why couldn’t Microsoft just you know, give users the option of having; a Windows 7 like interface, a Metro only interface and another option to have both like it currently works. That way, tablet users can choose the touch only version and desktop gamers can choose the Windows 7 like interface version.
The real world
Check out this video of Chris Pirillo’s dad trying to use Windows 8 for the first time to see why the operating system is badly thought out.
Microsoft can’t afford to mess this up
Never has there been such a wide choice in terms of viable operating systems for consumers. Microsoft has been the defacto household standard for the family computer for the past 20 years. The next version of Ubuntu is looking insanely awesome and as for Mac OS it’s a nice interface people can easily learn how to use. It used to be if you were a Windows user (like when Vista came out) people were like, “I hate Vista, so I’m going to umm… I’ll just go back to XP” – is Windows 8 going to be the new Windows Vista? Will it take another major release to regain the trust of people?
The market share of Apple appears to be growing quite substantially in both home and especially enterprise (Microsoft has been the enterprise king for 20 years now). If Microsoft screw this up they’re going to lose a lot of people to Mac and as I said it’s already starting to happening. Prominent tech journalists after using Windows 8 are starting to change their choice of operating system. Eric Norr of InfoWorld is one such high profile tech journalist to jump the Windows ship to Mac after trying out Windows 8, he wrote an article on the switch here.
Is it too late?
Some are arguing that it is too late for any substantial changes to be made to Windows 8. At the heart of Windows 8 it’s still Windows 7, it’s the interface around the code that has changed substantially, I mean they even removed the Windows bar and start button. The very iconic thing that everyone knows and associates with Windows is the start bar and button, taking that away is a big mistake and one that could cost them quite a lot of money from the aftermath. Even if timelines need to be pushed if it means saving Windows’ image, then so be it.
Microsoft’s pride might get the better of them in this situation. They’re in a tough spot here, they’re touting an operating system with an unusable interface as a consumer preview and lets face it based on past consumer previews this is a close to final product. Will they accept they failed and go back to the drawing board pushing out the final release by a few more months potentially a year? It’s better to lose a few million in development time than it is to lose that money, release the product and lose more money because half your user base has lost faith in you and jumped ship over to Linux or Apple.
Learn from Apple
Apple have done this already, Microsoft. The iPhone, iPad and Mac desktops all use the same operating system only it’s tweaked and stripped down for the different devices. You don’t see Apple forcing its desktop users to use a touch screen interface like the iPad or iPhone do you? This has already been successfully done, and if Microsoft would only get down from their high horse for a second, then they’d see one version for everything is a bad idea. Have the one code-base, but break it up on a per-device basis.
If Microsoft don’t reconsider the approach they’ve taken in Windows 8, it will most likely be the beginning of the end for the company. The interface is just not usable on a desktop machine, and if the end product is anywhere near what we’re seeing then it looks like Microsoft have a Vista 2.0 on their hands.