Turmoil at Microsoft; implications for Windows users

Woody Leonhard

Microsoft in general and the Windows group in particular have gone through enormous changes within the past year. All the key Windows 8 players are out.

Most of us can only speculate on the reasons for the massive turnover, but one point remains clear: under new management, Windows is in for changes.

Reflecting on the Windows 8 disaster

As you probably know, I am not one of Windows 8’s biggest fans. And that opinion comes from long experience with the OS. I wrote a thousand-page book about Windows 8 and another thousand-page tome about Windows 8.1. I’ve used Win8 all day, every day,for almost two years.

Based on that experience, I can’t recommend Windows 8 to experienced Windows users — unless they’re springing for a new touch-capable tablet or they really want to try something quite different from classic Windows. In truth, the vast majority of mouse-and-keyboard Windows users I know are still better served with Windows 7.

I don’t think relatively inexperienced Windows users are well served by Win8, either. (Yes, of the approximately 1.4 billion Windows users on the planet, there are a few novice Windows users left.) Those who know a little bit about Windows often get hog-tied trying to figure out Metro; those who don’t know anything about Windows but are comfortable with their smartphones are usually better off with an iPad or an Android tablet — in my not-so-humble opinion.

You might not agree with my assessment of Windows, but again: I speak from long experience and many discussions with fellow Windows users. It’s clear to me that Microsoft’s board of directors is staring up at a sword of Damocles 8.0 — and unwilling to let it fall without a fight.

Microsoft’s dilemma over the direction of Windows 8 isn’t confined strictly to Windows. There are numerous emerging threats to the Windows hegemony, such as the many excellent alternatives that use a heavy helping of cloud. But the Jekyll-and-Hyde design of Windows 8 certainly didn’t help. I think Apple’s Tim Cook got it right: “You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator,” but it won’t please users.

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2014-02-27:

Woody Leonhard

About Woody Leonhard

Woody Leonhard is a Windows Secrets senior editor and a senior contributing editor at InfoWorld. His latest book, the comprehensive 1,080-page Windows 8 All-In-One For Dummies, delves into all the Win8 nooks and crannies. His many writings tell it like it is — whether Microsoft likes it or not.