Monday, March 5, 2012

Windows 8 is not the next Vista

I was reading an article at PCMag which asked the question "Will Windows 8 Be the Next Vista?" The author suggested that -

The other way to do this is to pull a Windows 97 trick: yank Windows 8 and never release it but instead wait a year and roll out Windows 9 – the winner.

So much emphasis has been placed on whether the new Metro interface, but people seem to forgot that Windows 8 is being created for a new set of hardware that is still not available in the market. Microsoft cannot yank Windows 8 wait a year to roll out Windows 9. Microsoft needs to get a tablet friendly operating system out ASAP. Microsoft cannot yank Windows 8 and wait a year, because this would mean waiting another year to release tablets. One year, with Google working harder on getting into the tablet space could be fatal to Microsoft.

Let me get this straight. Microsoft came out with an uncompetitive smartphone which utilizes these weird tiles and failed to achieve any sort of market dominance or even serious attention. So the company jumps off a cliff by going with this as if it's the greatest thing ever and they make it the core of the new OS? Exactly who is out there in Redmond thinks this is a great idea?

Anyone who has tried Windows Phone 7 will probably agree it is a very good operating system. The problem is not the Windows Phone 7 is a bad operating system. It is that it is a bit late to enter the market. If Windows Phone 7 had launched a year earlier Google's Android might not  be the success that it is today. Between Apple iPhone, which is an expensive option and Nokia's Symbian and RIM's BlackBerry OS, both of which were obsolescent, there was room for a new player. That turned out to be Google's Android. 

Right now in the tablet market, you have Apple's iPad dominating, with Google Android taking nearly 40% of the market. Android tablets suffer from the lack of a great tablet ecosystem. BlackBerry's tablet has so far tanked. There is room for a new player. Microsoft intends to insure that the gap in the tablet Market is filled by Windows tablets.

With Windows 8, it will go on tablets where it should work well, but I also foresee our laptops changing to be built around Windows 8. I would not be surprised to see redesigned keyboards and touchpads, and a return of the Tablet PC. This time though powered by ARM, they wont be as big and bulky as the used to be. 

Will we see Tablet PC's (although they may even be ARM based) become mainstream

Microsoft is taken a "unproven" approach. Apple chose to use their phone OS, iOS as its tablet operating system. Google has a separate operating system for phones (Gingerbread) and for tablets (Honeycomb). This turned out to be an erroneous approach, and now Google has unified its phone and tablet operating system (Ice Cream Sandwich). Microsoft has its Windows Phone 7 operating system for phones and Windows 7 for personal computers. Instead of using its phone operating system for Windows tablets, it decided to modify its desktop operating system in tablets. Microdoft needs Windows 8, now. The only question is whether they should have built it from their phone OS and have left Windows 7 alone.

Windows 8 will not be the next Vista. Vista was bad, mainly because it had high hardware. Windows 8 runs fine on hardware that had a hard time running Vista. Windows 8 success wont depend on how well it does as a desktop operating system. Its success will depend on whether Windows tablets succeed.


  1. I think it should be elaborated that Windows 8 will be the 'next Vista' in that it will flop just like Vista, though not necessarily for the same reasons.

    Vista flopped due to a number of reasons, and higher hardware requirements was the least of those reasons. In a nutshell, Vista was a half-baked product with lots of compatibility/driver issues. It was not until Vista SP2 that the issues stabilized.

    Windows 8, on the other hand, is a gamble, a product with an identity crisis. I would also add that Metro on the desktop is not very well implemented; it is clearly a work-in-progress, half-baked product in that aspect.

    Yes, Windows 8 has nice improvements under the hood. Fast boot time, low hardware requirements, better security etc, what's there not to like?

    Unfortunately for Microsoft, because Windows 7 was such a successful product that had been released barely three years ago, and because of the unresolved issues in Windows 8, most consumers (and I daresay all of the enterprises) are going to stick with the OS they currently have and skip Windows 8.

    Therefore Windows 8 is the deja vu of Windows Vista, a.k.a the next Vista.

    Expect Windows 9 to be released by late 2014-early 2015.

  2. Thank you for you insight on the matter. You are right about Windows 8 being a gamble, but the identity crisis you write about is really transition. The desktop is just being kept for backward compatibility. Unless something goes terribly wrong, Metro is the future.

    Much is made about how quickly Windows 7 was launched because XP was kept so long. In reality, Microsoft launches a new OS every two or three years. Win95, Win 98, Win ME...

    Windows 8 though is not targeted at users on Windows 7, or even Vista or XP. It is not even designed with existing devices in mind. It really is designed for tablets and next generation laptops and desktops. I would be surprised if some form of Kinect technology will not make its way to PC's.

  3. I have no doubt that Windows 8 will be great on Tablets. If it's designed for tablets, release it for tablets.

    Don't mess with my PC, please.

    1. Windows 8 will not really add anything new other than the new Metro Sell, so basically, if you are not keen on Windows 8, you can stick with Windows 7. Hopefully, Microsoft will allow Windows 8 licenses to be downgraded to Windows 7 for those who don't like the new look and feel.


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