Windows 8 — Lots of smoke, little fire

Tracey Capen

A couple of days ago, one of our readers sent me a link to a Windows 8 video demo that I’d missed. Since then, there has been something about Windows 8 from almost every computing pundit.

Well, I’ve watched the demo and read the stories, and most of it is simply journalistic junk food. Almost all of the Windows 8 stories are the same spin on that one quick, thin Microsoft demo.

What is now known comes down to this: the demo showed a radically new interface for Windows. There was nothing in the demo about important new features or major changes to the architecture of the OS. I suspect that the demo was a trial balloon. There’s probably a big battle within Microsoft over what Windows 8 should look like. So MS put out the demo to see what the pundits and future users would say about it.

In my humble opinion, it would be a mistake. Why take a format that is optimized for small screens and move it to full-sized displays? One wonders if Microsoft will ever really understand fundamental PC usability.

Most stories state that Windows 8 will be out in 12 to 18 months. My prognostication? Win8 will not be out for at least two years. More to the point, however, most companies are still planning for Windows 7 — an OS that’s good enough that most users will want to stick with it for a while. Perhaps as long as XP. Let’s hope that Win8 doesn’t become another Windows ME.

— Tracey Capen, Editor in chief

Tracey Capen

About Tracey Capen

Editor in chief Tracey Capen was the executive editor of reviews at PC World magazine for 10 years, from 1995 to 2005. He was InfoWorld's managing editor of reviews from 1993 to 1995 and worked in the magazine's test center and as networking editor from 1989 to 1992. Between his stints at InfoWorld, he was senior labs editor at Corporate Computing magazine.