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  1. #1
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    Where we stand — and are going — with Windows 8




    TOP STORY

    Where we stand — and are going — with Windows 8


    By Woody Leonhard

    Work on Windows 8 is in the home stretch, but predicting its success is still pure speculation — probably more so than with any previous Window release.
    Microsoft's announcement that it will build and sell its own Windows 8 computers just adds more drama to an already opaque roll-out schedule.

    The full text of this column is posted at WindowsSecrets.com/top-story/where-we-stand-and-are-going-with-windows-8/ (opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

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  3. #2
    New Lounger
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    It's now been just over a year since I made the switch from Windows to Macintosh, and I haven't regretted it for a minute. My Windows experience doesn't quite go back to Windows 1, but almost. I still run Windows software every day - and even Microsoft software - but I run the former in a Parallels virtual machine, and the latter (Microsoft Office), mostly in its native Macintosh version. I have an iMac desktop, a Macbook Air laptop, an iPad 3 and an iPhone 4S. As you say, give Microsoft some credit for entering the tablet space, but like you, I think that they are at the beginning of a very long and difficult road, and I doubt that they will succeed. The difference between Apple and Microsoft has always been a philosophical one - Microsoft has always believed in entering a market by putting something very basic out there, and then improving it incrementally over years. Essentially all Microsoft users were enrolled as beta testers. A lot of their products have been initially pretty terrible. Apple on the other hand have generally only released products that were well-designed, polished and ready. There have been notable exceptions on both sides, but in general I think I'm right. Microsoft's strategy has succeeded because of its dominant market position, but it doesn't have that position vis-a-vis Apple in the market it is now entering - which is the world of the integrated digital ecosystem that Apple have built up over many years. Good luck to the folks at Redmond, I think they'll need it.

  4. #3
    New Lounger
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    Thumbs down Windows 8....

    Well, I for one will not want to use W8. I had a look at both versions that have been available and after a first look I went back to Windows 7.
    I am a standard Windows 7 user who might be a little more knowledgeable about the OS itself than a others, but I don't use more than IE, Office and play Patience, but having those tiles on a desktop is a pain. You cannot arrange them as you would like, things don't react as you would expect and getting to the new app you installed means scrolling all the time... Why not have at least the 'dots' under a window so you can go to another without having to scroll??
    If you want a tablet you will buy a tablet. You don't have a desktop or laptop for nothing.
    If W8 stays as it is now I will definitely buy a Mac when my computer cannot be used anymore (I just bought it, with Windows Home Premium which is not all either. I think I will upgrade it to Ultimate!).

  5. #4
    2 Star Lounger
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    From the article :-
    There’s much more we still don’t know. In the demos, Microsoft made the point — repeatedly — that its Surface flip-down stand sounds like a “premium car door” when shut.

    That so reminds me of the Volkswagen advert that portrayed a cheap car salesman who's special tactic was
    To close the door on his cheap car and say "listen, it sounds just like a Volkswagen".
    What a sales clincher

  6. #5
    New Lounger
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    I think many folks are missing the point about Win8. It has everything to do with paid for downloaded apps and subscription cloud computing. The Metro UI may work fine on a phone/tablet but it simply doesn't do the job on a desktop/laptop.

    MS have watched the $$$'s Apple make and want a slice of the action. Without wishing to offend anyone, Apple is viewed by many as a fashion accessory - hence the prices tend to be through the roof. I know of a few ex-Apple users that were fed up with being 'locked down' into the Apple way of doing things. So MS are going to alienate many of their existing customers especially the corporate ones.

    It would have helped if they had called this new OS MS Metro or Windows Metro but calling it Win8 thereby giving the impression that it was an improvement over Win7 is a grave error. Sure MS will ship Win8 by the bucket load via the OEM's but it will finish up being a Vista moment - with complaints coming in from all directions.

    The only good thing is, if you've got a Win7 rig which is performing well then stick with it. That's what I'll be doing. I'll also be buying up a few unlicensed copies of Win7 so I can upgrade my customers from Win8 to Win7 when they start complaining.

  7. #6
    2 Star Lounger
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    While Microsoft is the industry leader and won't crash overnight, it has taken on a huge task. Apple own the tablet market and what they don't own is Android. MS have a long history of failure to move away from the classic PC. The most compelling argument for rolling out more Microsoft systems is that staff know the interface, business critical software runs on the platform, and there's a huge legacy of PCs to be compatible with. Take that away and what is left?

    Just look at Windows Phone in it's various forms. Technically great in theory, I started several clients down that route after seeing the hyped presentations and listening to a few converts, but within a year all those phones were history - they just didn't work as well as they should and the staff wanted blackberries and iphones, which worked better than they should.

    Then look as Vista. A game-changer for Microsoft, supposedly the best, most radical change since Win 98. Exactly how many corporates switched from Win XP? Exactly how many have switched even now with Win 7 being a much more stable product?

    There's lots of competition in the traditional PC market and MS are way behind in the tablet market. The new systems won't really run old software. I can put Linux on a PC for free and get access to cloud based computing, and I can get office apps compatible with MS files for free. If I have the choice of learning to live with Windows 8 or learning to live with Linux I'd go with the well-established, free product.

    I hope I'm wrong, MS staff probably don't deserve to lose their jobs, but I see this as the watershed, where MS could finally lose their dominant position. Too little innovation, too late, but too much non-innovating change. The savvy market chooses to go somewhere else and the non-savvy market get driven somewhere else. Double whammy.

    Microsoft are living in interesting times.

  8. #7
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    I like your description

    {snip} the thickest operating system I’ve ever used. {/snip} The first time I read that line I snorked! Did you mean to say it is the dumbest OS you've used, as in "as thick as 2 short planks" or feature rich? I hope you meant the first, {grin}! I tried the Win8 Preview on my PC and hated it. It is NOTintuitive if you have not used a touch device like a smart phone. It is actually counter-intuitive for PC users! I'll have to wait to see how it looks and feels on a touch device. But I don't fee encouraged. Once again MS has taken the stormtrooper (yes a "N" allusion) approach with UI changes. First they did it with the Ribbon "gooey" in Office. What a thick, phat, waste of space! It would have been trivial for them to include an option to revert to a menu but they didn't. They could have even made it awkward to get to, but still have it there. The text based UI is a small part of the overall app. They got away with that, so now they are doing it with Metro. Again, all they had to do was maintain a "reverse compatibility" option with the old Win7 UI and they would have eliminated almost all of the resistance to it. But no, they are shoving metro down our throats sideways! It's really sad. Almost all of the "legacy" structure is still there. When MS went from Win 3.1 to NT, people investigated and still found 1980's era DOS code modules running in it. When Office 2010 abends, it fails over into a pre ribbon UI display. And the same is true of Win8. There have already been hacks published on how to recover the Start Button. Although I hear that MS has taken steps t suppress that one. It is sad that they have moved away from supporting the huge mass of loyal, or at least involuntary ("I had to use it at work...") long term customers and "super users", apparently in favor of chasing new customers. Personally, I've invested almost 25 years in their products. That is, I've invested my personal time and money (buying products and training) learning the products, and even becoming competent in many of them at an above average level of competence. And yet they blithely throw away my investment, apparently without a thought. I'm disappointed. PS: I REALLY HATE your input box. It keeps eating my paragraph breaks!

  9. #8
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I believe this article will generate a lot of feedback by the Win 8 nay-sayers, just like 3 of the first 4 posts. Many people took a quick look, got turned off my Metro and left. That's OK. It's their prerogative to do so.

    I have been using Win 8 100% of the time, on a conventional laptop with conventional keyboard and mouse (or touchpad if I choose) and no touch capacity since Win 8 CP was released. Before that I used Win 8 DP for testing. I do have my Win 7 Ultimate in a dual boot with Win 8 RP and have kept it up to date with all updates.

    Win 8 has worked exceedingly well for me. I do not use the Metro UI. The Desktop UI has been fantastic. I have done some customizing to make this OS work the way I want it, but then again not too much. These customizations have been documented elsewhere so I will not go through them again.

    I have noticed the faster OS as stated in the Windows Secrets article. This is most likely due to the better memory usage. All else is identical as my Win 7 OS as these are both dual booted on the same hardware. My Win 8 RP OS actually networks to my home network better than Win 7 and shares with my wife's Win 7 HP and our desktop Win 7 HP better than my Win 7 OS. I do not use homegroup as this was even worse with my Win 7 than conventional workgroup. I was continually having problems with my Win 7 Ultimate talking with and sharing with my wife's Win 7 HP. These problems have disappeared with my Win 8 RP and her Win 7 HP.

    I have never used a Mac, but do read that Macs are much less customizable than my Win 7 or Win 8 RP. I am stubborn when it comes to changing the way things work. I like to "play" with things, and Mac does not allow that. I want ti use my PC the way I believe it should be used, not the way some developer believes it should work.

    As far as Surface, I believe this is a giant step forward, at least with Surface Pro. I will not use an RT style tablet. I believe these are just play toys, the same as the iPad. If I'm going to spend my hard earned dollars on these style tablets, I need a workhorse, not a toy. The Surface Pro should make the OEM's design a comparable tablet to compete. I believe consumers will be the winners with the Surface as competition is good for consumers.

    Anyway, that's my 4 1/2 cents (this was a little long for 2 cents, LOL)
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  11. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by iansavell View Post
    There's lots of competition in the traditional PC market and MS are way behind in the tablet market. The new systems won't really run old software. I can put Linux on a PC for free and get access to cloud based computing, and I can get office apps compatible with MS files for free. If I have the choice of learning to live with Windows 8 or learning to live with Linux I'd go with the well-established, free product.
    If there was a way of getting any of the numerous Linux distro's to work effectively with Adobe software then I'd be out of here. Unfortunately the Wine software will only run up to Adobe CS4 (I think) and InDesign is a no go.

    There are apparently many under the hood improvements with Win8 but from my limited experience I never saw any speed improvements over my Win7 rig. Guess though it all depends on your hardware.

    Where MS has fallen down is not offering a choice to the consumer of Classic UI or Metro UI during installation. But then MS are chasing after those paid for downloaded apps and subscription cloud computing. So they will alienate a huge number of existing folks imo.

  12. #10
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    Has the ribbon interface driven a lot of Office users to Open/LibreOffice?
    Will the Metro UI drive a lot of Windows users to Linux?
    (Currently installing Ubuntu 12.04 / OpenOffice / Mozilla Thunderbird/Firefox on an old Windows XP laptop)
    or will the power of marketing just steamroller all but the technically competent?

  13. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsf View Post
    Has the ribbon interface driven a lot of Office users to Open/LibreOffice?
    Will the Metro UI drive a lot of Windows users to Linux?
    There were plenty of negatives about the ribbon interface taking up screen real estate but MS refused to budge. I know of several organisations that are still using Office 03 (like myself), they will not budge but are seriously considering open source. The cash cow at MS is under threat so the new approach is to get everyone using the cloud!!

    With Win8 MS are living in a bubble but don't hold your breath that anything will change. No doubt, once launched we will get the normal 'fastest selling Windows of all time' junk. A great many of those will be via the OEM market. Then again, MS are droning on about how many folks have downloaded the CP Win8. Oh big deal, many have now deleted it and are firmly back on Win7.

  14. #12
    5 Star Lounger
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    I don't think MS has to over take iPad sales to make a big dent. And I think they will. People keep talking about all the things you can do with an iPad and how many apps there are. Yet how many of those many thousands of apps are games, and lame ones at that? The vast majority of of iPads are used only for e-mail, web surfing, and playing a few games. I'm not bashing the iPad. Its a wonderful device. But the Apple hype has everyone thinking that its the end all be all. MS is going to be offering a compelling alternative with far more flexibility than Apple has ever been able to offer. And the aversion to the Start screen is nothing more than the fact that most people hate change. Most have long forgotten how they hated the "new Start Menu" when Win 95 came out. now they don't want to give it up. Folks, take some time to use the Start screen. Its just a more graphical (and useable!) version of the same old Start Menu. Just because it doesn't boot right to the desktop doesn't mean that it's in the way of anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by dajashby View Post
    I still run Windows software every day - and even Microsoft software - but I run the former in a Parallels virtual machine, and the latter (Microsoft Office), mostly in its native Macintosh version.
    I always get a kick out this. "I hate Microsoft products, Apple is the bomb, and I'll never look back. But oh yeah, because I really can't do everything I need to with Apple products, I need to run Windows in a VM". Really? This is exactly why MS has been the dominant desktop OS. I do agree though that MS has an uphill battle in entering the tablet market. I think they'll succeed, though I doubt they will outsell Apple. At the very least they are going to make a huge dent. Keep in mind that no one thought the iPhone would be outsold, yet Samsung seems to have been giving Apple a run for its money.

    Quote Originally Posted by dsf View Post
    Has the ribbon interface driven a lot of Office users to Open/LibreOffice?
    Will the Metro UI drive a lot of Windows users to Linux?
    (Currently installing Ubuntu 12.04 / OpenOffice / Mozilla Thunderbird/Firefox on an old Windows XP laptop)
    or will the power of marketing just steamroller all but the technically competent?
    I hated the ribbon at first. Now I'm kind of liking it. For home use its wasn't the functionality of MS Office or useability that drove me to OpenOffice, it was cost. but for company use, we've found it hard in many areas to be able to replace MS Office with OOO.

    Linux? Seriously? Its still requires far too much knowledge technical know how to be able to replace a Windows or Apple desktop/laptop for the average user. If anything people will get an Apple machine before even considering another flavor of Linux. So far Apple is the only one that has made Linux into something that the average user can easily work with.
    Last edited by Doc Brown; 2012-06-28 at 10:33.
    Chuck

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    I hope MS succeeds with Surface and Win8, if for no other reason than to force Apple to make significant changes to iOS for the iPad.

    iOS on iPhone is great. iOS on iPad is mediocre at best: No window tiling. Primitive multitasking and backgrounding. Truly lousy web browsers. There are any number of tasks I do daily on a real OS that I cannot do with iOS. Just one example: I often comment on various forums, and many commenting text input boxes do not work well at all on the iPad, even after years and hundreds of millions of iPad sales. Or, try creating or editing an email filter in gmail with an iPad. A 1 minute, easy task in a real web browser is a hit-and-miss chore with the iPad. The iPad is a toy device, and I want something real.

    Apple needs competition and isn't getting it from Android. I hope they get some from MS, but realistically expect they won't.
    Last edited by buggsy2; 2012-06-28 at 12:49.

  16. #14
    2 Star Lounger
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    Here are the problems I see with Win8

    1. Tablets and PC's are two different devices. Look at how many people have large monitors attached to their desktops - often more than one. With large multiple monitors it makes sense to have several applications open simultaneously. This was always a feature of Windows going back to the earliest versions.

    Tablets have small screens. There isn't room for several apps simultaneously. Tablets don't have full size keyboards. Tablets don't have large-capacity storage. Tablets don't have optical drives. Tablets don't work off the AC mains.

    A user interface which works well on a tablet is not suited to use with a large screen monitor connected to a PC with no touch capability. A user interface which works well on a PC doesn't work well on a tablet.

    With Win8 M$ forces the PC user to use the tablet UI. Why not make it optional.

    2. There is a cost associated with change. It's not a major worry for a home user but if you are a business with many PC's to support, it becomes important.

    3. Users dislike having things rammed down their throats. Remember New Coca-Cola?

  17. #15
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    MS does NOT force a user to use the Metro UI at all. Just because it initially boots to Metro, it's one click to go to Desktop, and stay there. Win 8 RT will force users to use Metro. Please see that distinction. If you are using a conventional desktop or laptop PC, then either Win 8 or Win 8 Pro will allow you to go to the Desktop with that one click. Win 8 RT will not be sold except installed on an ARM tablet.

    With Surface Pro, you CAN connect to a larger screen if you wish. It will run Win 8 Pro, the whole thing not just a striped down RT version. Let's see how Surface Pro works before saying a tablet will not work with a large monitor. I seem to remember reading that it will.

    The other OEM manufacturers will be forced to design higher spec tablets similar to Surface Pro or fall by the wayside and just use Win 8 RT, which in my opinion is for playing with, just like the iPad. I cannot afford to buy a tablet just to play with. I need something I can actually do some work on.
    Last edited by Medico; 2012-06-28 at 17:06.
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