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Gut-Check Time For Windows 8, Microsoft 516

Posted by timothy
from the you'll-feel-a-slight-pinch dept.
theodp writes "GeekWire reports that, for better or worse, the upcoming week is shaping up as one of the most pivotal in Microsoft's history, as the software giant makes its pitch for Windows 8 at two important conferences. First, Microsoft will be huddling with hardware and software developers beginning Tuesday at its sold-out BUILD conference ('BUILD will show you that Windows 8 changes everything'), where it's rumored that Samsung will unveil a Windows 8 tablet. And on Wednesday, CEO Steve Ballmer and other execs will be holding the company's annual Financial Analyst Meeting, which was delayed from its traditional summer date to allow the company to put its Windows 8 strategy in context for Wall Street. So, are we about to finally see the realization of Microsoft's vision for Information at Your Fingertips (Part 2), which Bill Gates introduced with a hokey video at Comdex 1994?"
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Gut-Check Time For Windows 8, Microsoft

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  • by DanielRavenNest (107550) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @07:24PM (#37372036)

    Windows 7 is a nice operating system, and is selling well. If they don't do something stupid like stop selling it when Windows 8 is released, they will do fine.

    • by Pollux (102520) <speterNO@SPAMtedata.net.eg> on Sunday September 11, 2011 @08:15PM (#37372368) Journal

      Windows trying to release Windows 8 with its tablet shell interface on a mainstream PC makes about as much sense as Apple release iPads with a command line shell. Here's what I mean; watch this video [youtube.com] (starting at minutes 15) where the presenter tries to show how Windows 8 is just as easy to use on a laptop as it is on a tablet. It makes no sense for any user to have to move the mouse around that much just to get to the object they want to select. Microsoft needs to stop taking this silly "one-size-fits-all" approach with its OS. Make one OS for the enterprise, another for laptops (primary PC machine purchased nowadays by home consumers), and another for tablets. Tailor the shell to fit the machine, not force the machine to fit into the shell.

      Now, while I still have my administrative gripes about Windows 7 (bloated size of WinSxS directory, unable to easily unlock a workstation locked by a user, behavior of & driver support for legacy devices, etc.), but I would still recommend that Windows keep selling Windows 7 for the enterprise rather than try to force us to swallow Windows 8. We want something newer, and a lot of these gripes could be fixed w/ SP2. Stop with the one-size-fits-all crap. Market Windows 7 for the enterprise and tailor it for the enterprise. Let Windows 8 start and develop on tablets. If Windows 8 turns out to be a good OS on tablets, I would predict in a very short amount of time, laptops will start to ship w/ touch-screen interfaces to take advantage of the Windows 8 shell.

      • by swalve (1980968)
        They say the "Windows Classic" mode is available as an application inside Windows 8. I'm guessing the swipey stuff is just a different "explorer.exe" (the shell one, not the file browser one) on top of a pretty standard NT kernel.
      • by zach_the_lizard (1317619) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @09:29PM (#37372806)

        If Windows 8 turns out to be a good OS on tablets, I would predict in a very short amount of time, laptops will start to ship w/ touch-screen interfaces to take advantage of the Windows 8 shell.

        It may spawn touch-screen laptops, but they won't be well received or used for very long save for some specific niches. Why? Gorilla arm syndrome. Holding your arm in front of you to touch a screen for long periods of time just wears it out. It'll suck quite a bit. Using it for maybe one or two things might be OK, but using it over and over will be a chore that will rapidly be painful.

        TL;DR unless Microsoft ships a new human arm, I don't expect touchscreen laptops to take over the general laptop market.

        As for the rest, some of the stuff isn't just a service pack away. For example, they're supposedly integrating a new and improved version of Hyper-V in at least some desktop versions of Windows 8. There's also rumors of per application virtualization. I don't think either of those would be simply bolted on in a service pack.

        • A few manufacturers (like Lenovo with the T400s/T410s) have already tried the touchscreen route... it didn't go particularly well.

      • by mcrbids (148650) on Monday September 12, 2011 @12:06AM (#37373716) Journal

        Strangely, Linux gave up the "one size fits all" and runs nicely as a desktop O/S on my Fedora Core laptop, and as nicely as a mobile O/S on my Android Moto Droid2 Phone. There is very little software that works on both platforms, they are effectively completely different Operating Systems.

        Software engineers like the number 1. Unifying a whole suite of problems into a single framework feels better at a gut level, it just seems right. And even though Microsoft has been trying for almost 20 years to get this unified approach to work and has failed repeatedly, they'll keep trying because they are software engineers of the modest type - the type arrogant enough to think they have all the right answers but not quite smart enough to figure out how nor that it's a bad idea.

        • by LWATCDR (28044)

          Frankly that is part of the LInux's problems. Two many APIs.
          The Kernel can scale well. Frankly modern mobile devices as super powerful. They are much more powerful than say a VAX11/780 that supported many people and ran VMS. The Linux/Unix/NT Kernel will run just fine on any mobile device. Where things go down hill are the API frameworks. Linux has API stacked on top of API. You have X windows, QT, GTK, OpenStep, and on and on. Android and WebOS took Linux and put their GUI/API on it and dumped all the rest

      • by AmiMoJo (196126)

        Microsoft needs to stop taking this silly "one-size-fits-all" approach with its OS.

        They have seen Apple trying to do that and are trying to get there first. Apple is launching an app store for OSX and there are rumours of trying to re-unify with iOS. Developer's would love to be able to write an app once and have it work on phones, tablets and PCs, and Microsoft is all about developers.

        As well as Apple they also have to worry about Google who want the browser to be the platform. It is no coincidence that Internet Explorer has been receiving some major updates recently after years of stagn

    • by jhoegl (638955)
      IMO... MS is trying to go back to the separated OSes. One for work, and one for home. Windows 8 looks more geared towards the home consumer, or at least the gadget consumer.
      I dont see any business in their right mind purchasing Windows 8 for the workplace.
      • If that is the strategy, Microsoft needs a better name for its product. Windows 8 is named like a replacement for Windows 7.

        • by tomhudson (43916)
          They're going to turn the 8 on it's side and it becomes "Windows Infinity". They'll get Buzz Lightyear to hype it, as it's the newest cartoon interface.

          Then in 3 years, they'll release Windows 9, and Buzz Lightyear can say "... and BEYONDDDDDDdddddd!"

          And maybe, just maybe, the BoD will have fired Ballmer and Microsoft will actually be able to come up with something for Windows 10 that is more than just "look - 20% more shiny!"

    • I don't believe microsoft has ever not used that tactic, even on the outright bombs of OS's like ME and vista. It helps show a giant boost in PC and OS sales for all the people that completely refused to buy a PC for the 2 years that you couldn't get a PC with a decent OS.
    • by williamhb (758070) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @09:45PM (#37372882) Journal

      Windows 7 is a nice operating system, and is selling well. If they don't do something stupid like stop selling it when Windows 8 is released, they will do fine.

      I suspect we should just consider the "Metro UI" as a very hyped gadget layer (like those HTML+JavaScript gadgets that both Windows and Mac have had for years now), but allowing them to be more complex, better performance, giving them a new "swipey" way of accessing them, and allowing you to run your Windows Phone 7 apps as Windows 8 gadgets. Dashboard/Sidebar redux.

      I think MS is hoping this will be a tipping point where these HTML+JavaScript apps now become actually useful and usable, and that the portability of gadgets between Phone 7 and Windows 8 will be a market advantage. But I don't see any way in which this should detract from existing Windows 7 usefulness. Just if you're on a tablet, you'll be interacting with the dashboard much more, and if you're on a desktop you'll be interacting with the desktop much more.

  • I think Microsoft is gonna take it on the chin over the next few months.
    Too little too late in phones and tablets
    Please convince me why I need up upgrade?
    If you give me a system with win8 on it (and probably only a laptop) I'll probably leave a partition for it so I can update the OS once
    or twice a year...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by North Korea (2457866)
      I don't think Microsoft is that late for tablets. Quite frankly, I think the current Android tablets still aren't worth using. That leaves you with iPad, so there's definitely some market open for tablets and what Microsoft has shown about Windows 8 for tablets it looks quite nice. On top of that you get the support for Windows apps, which is a huge deal.

      But even on normal computer side, Windows 8 seems to improve many things over 7, which already is really good OS.
      • On top of that you get the support for Windows apps, which is a huge deal.

        Even if Windows 8 runs on ARM processors, none of the apps will, so it doesn't seem like much of an advantage.

        • .NET apps might.

        • by SpryGuy (206254)

          The HTML5/CSS apps will. Others will likely require little more than a recompile.

          • The HTML5/CSS apps will run on everything, so it gives no advantage to Windows over its competitors.

            And it takes a lot more than a recompile to go from a keyboard and mouse to a touchscreen interface, to say nothing of the things that contain x86 assembly or assume x86 processors in one way or another, or apps that are extremely poorly optimized for battery life, etc.

            More to the point, even if all you have to do is recompile it, that assumes that you can recompile it. We're not exactly talking about open so

            • And it takes a lot more than a recompile to go from a keyboard and mouse to a touchscreen interface, to say nothing of the things that contain x86 assembly or assume x86 processors in one way or another, or apps that are extremely poorly optimized for battery life, etc.

              Productivity apps suck on a touchscreen either way - anyone who tried using Pages or Numbers on iPad knows what I mean.

              What can be done, however, is a tablet that can be docked to become a netbook, like Asus Transformer or Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet. Imagine this kind of thing, but with Win8, and the ability to switch between tile-based touch UI, and classic Windows desktop - and running e.g. Office in the latter, with keyboard docked and mouse attached.

          • i really doubt you'd be able to recompile a c++ app targeted at winforms on x86 to run on arm
        • by exomondo (1725132)

          Even if Windows 8 runs on ARM processors, none of the apps will, so it doesn't seem like much of an advantage.

          .Net apps will since they run on the CLR and the underlying architecture doesn't matter.

        • Most apps will work with a recompile, anything running Java, .NET or HTML5 wont even need that.
    • By

      * 2 year lock in

      * CDMA VS GSM

      * locking out wifi on some phones

      * saying no to tethering or makeing you pay more it's like the old cable days where they did not want you use routers and or make you pay for more ip's to use more then 1 system.

      * low data caps with slow down or high fees for going over.

      * app store lock in

      * custom carrier ui's and apps.

      * locked OS rom's

      * app store mystery censorship

      * lack of a local corporate app store on some systems

      * insane roaming fees.

  • When they rushed out Windows 7 after Vista flopped that was understandable, but now Win8 is coming out just as quickly behind Win7. It's like they're doing the famous trash-good-trash-good pattern on purpose. Rush out the next trash OS to get the next good one out sooner.

    • by exomondo (1725132)
      The 'obsolescence' you refer to doesn't appear particularly rapid, Windows XP is over a decade old and is still supported. Vista didn't get a warm reception for obvious reasons but I'm not sure why you believe XP or 7 to be 'trash OSes'.
      • XP and 7 are the good ones. Vista and 8 are the trash OSes (an app store, the ribbon disease spread over the whole OS and a tablet UI? Trash.)

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by North Korea (2457866)
          Are Ubuntu and Mac OSX "trash OSes" too because they have app stores?

          Besides, Vista was a good OS, but it changed the Windows fundamentals so much that many apps broke. But to advance, improve security and to use better driver model Microsoft had to do it at some point. There was nothing wrong with Vista but the old badly designed programs that stopped working with it when MS had to take the step forward.
          • Ubuntu has an app store? It has repos with a graphical interface.

          • by formfeed (703859)

            Are Ubuntu and Mac OSX "trash OSes" too because they have app stores?.

            No, Ubuntu is a Trash OS because it forces a tablet GUI and similar misfit features on your desktop.
            Ubuntu 11 that is, I am using 10.4

        • by exomondo (1725132)

          XP and 7 are the good ones. Vista and 8 are the trash OSes (an app store, the ribbon disease spread over the whole OS and a tablet UI? Trash.)

          But you barely know anything about Windows 8 much less having used it to be able to form an opinion of it.

    • by North Korea (2457866) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @07:36PM (#37372110)
      Windows 7: 2009 Windows Vista: 2006 Seems they've taken three years release cycle, which is a really long time compared to Linux distros and Mac OS X. It's better than the time after XP anyway, which really started to feel like an outdated OS, by security standards and features too.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 11, 2011 @07:50PM (#37372206)

        Windows 7: 2009
        Windows Vista: 2006

        Seems they've taken three years release cycle, which is a really long time compared to Linux distros and Mac OS X. It's better than the time after XP anyway, which really started to feel like an outdated OS, by security standards and features too.

        I'm using XP on modern hardware and it screams. I don't feel the need for "modern" UI features that are nothing more than eye candy. The only reason I can see for moving to Win7 is SSD support (and additional RAM with 64 bit). Win 8? Haven't seen anything about it yet that looks interesting.

        But to tell the truth, even with my "outdated" Velociraptor and Q8300, with XP 32 bit, this is a super fast and efficient machine. I'm not a gamer, nor am I into video on my PC. So I'll gladly trade a fancier UI for raw speed and stability.

        My boot times could be a little faster, but I only boot up once a day. And app load times are less than 5 sec. even for Photoshop. Why would I care if they could be 1 or 2 sec?

        And security may be important for the clueless, but I'm a careful surfer and haven't had a virus for years.

        I'll only update when hardware requirements force me to -- that is, when my current machine breaks down. Or, when a vital piece of software forces the upgrade.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by GameboyRMH (1153867)

        Every time a Linux distro comes out it doesn't cost three digits to upgrade, the distro maintainers don't go out of their way to push me onto the new distro, and doing an in-place upgrade will work fine with just the occasional minor problem, whereas with Windows an in-place upgrade for anything greater than a service pack tends to leave the install totally fucked up.

        So let's recap.

        Linux upgrade: A few clicks in the Update Manager (or "sudo apt-get dist-upgrade") and wait.

        Windows upgrade: Spend at least a h

        • by swalve (1980968) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @08:40PM (#37372510)
          I think the idea is that Windows users don't have to upgrade. Apply the patches and service packs and it will work just fine until the equipment is replaced. Unlike the rest of them, where every time you turn around there is some dependency for an application that requires you to upgrade your OS.
        • I don't know in what manner Windows precisely goes out of their way to "push you" into new major releases -- other than Windows Update nagging you to patch flagrant security holes to prevent Grandma's PC from becoming a botnet, there's nothing in the OS that does that.

          As far it being a treadmill, perhaps that was the case in the 90's. But now? Windows XP came out in October, 2001 with an EOL in April, 2014. Windows Vista came out on January 2007 and has an EOL in April 2017. Given the widespread installatio

    • by saleenS281 (859657) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @07:40PM (#37372136) Homepage
      Rushed? Vista was extremely late because they tried to do too much (WinFS anyone?). They were on a 3 year cadence for just about every release prior to that. They're now back on their normal cadence. I get the impression your first experience with Windows was XP if you think this is "rushed" for Microsoft.
      • And yet here we are with Windows 8 around the corner and no more info about "WinFS"... well, at least good info.

        They need to update their filesystem (so does Apple come to think of it.) And Windows' version of "Desktop search" is pretty dated even compared to Apple's... (which sits on an ancient FS updated and patched together with duck-tape and bailing wire.)

        Is there ANY possibility that when WinFS does come out, it'll be retrofitted to 7?

    • you need to revisit microsoft's historic OS release schedule. 2 years after the previous OS is the -norm-. the XP to Vista gap is the exception, not the rule.

    • Windows 95
      Windows 98
      Windows 2000
      Windows NT
      Windows Me
      Windows XP
      Windows Vista
      Windows 7

      other than XP->Vista , all gaps were less than 3 yrs AFAIK
      (order of 2000,NT,ME may be wrong)

    • by fermion (181285)
      MS Windows Vista was a long overdue and desperate attempt to rewrite the OS. Few upgraded because it was crap. MS WIndows 7 was an upgrade and gave many a reason to upgrade. I myself did only my fourth personal major upgrade in windows(3.11->95->NT->XP sp3->7), prior to which I was in MS DOS. Some vendors began to add functionality for Windows 7, something that was not widely done for vista.

      The challenge with MS Windows 8 will be effect a large shift from XP. I just received a moderately

  • by ThorGod (456163) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @07:41PM (#37372140) Journal

    Last I checked, they've got all sorts of contracts with every PC vendor out there (name brand). When Microsoft releases a new OS all their 'vendors' immediately update.

    Granted, this is /. where the average user probably builds their own. But, the 'roll your own crowd' is not the majority.

    • by Nerdfest (867930)
      What are those manufacturer's other options? Last time someone tried to muscle in on it (Asus EEE/Linux) there were rumours of financial punishments, etc, for not being exclusively an MS manufacturer. They likely can't afford to make that gamble again with the tiny profit margins they make. I'd love to see someone team up with Canonical or Mint, but it's not likely to happen.
    • Last I checked, they've got all sorts of contracts with every PC vendor out there (name brand). When Microsoft releases a new OS all their 'vendors' immediately update.

      Great. So as soon as Microsoft's check to Dell clears, we can look forward to every catalog page stating "Dell recommends Microsoft Windows 8 Three-Bedroom, Two Bath Home Tablet (Left-Handed User) edition" and the like.

    • That's not quite right.

      On slashdot, we all pretend to run linux, and we all pretend we don't care about windows. Yet we still manage to complain about it every time a new version comes out.

  • by Dan East (318230) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @07:41PM (#37372142) Homepage Journal

    Um, I'm seeing a lot of things in that future prediction that were dead on. Making purchases with cell phones? Right around the corner. SMS like texting on a small PDA device? Bingo. Roku-like video on demand, controlled by a standard remote and a simple menu system? Exact match. Stylish, flat-panel LCD monitors? Yep. The kid was pretty much doing his assignment straight from Wikipedia (with a more simplistic and stylized interface). At one point the kid and his mom went into an art store to shop. That was wrong in the sense that they wouldn't have gone into an actual brick and mortar store and talked to a saleperson who showed them things on a screen - they simply would've done it from home (eBay, Amazon, etc). Tablet computers - check, but they got the interface all wrong - it had external controls, like a trackball with buttons. Obnoxious PowerPoint presentation? Yep, that's pretty realistic. They went overboard with the amount of Facetime-like video. Takes too much time, too engaging, doesn't allow multitasking, etc. SMS came to rule the communication mode that Sci-fi movies and predictions figured would all be video chatting. The other thing is a lot of the style and design shown in this flick were never brought to the market by MS or the companies embedding their OSes, but from Apple. Now THAT is ironic. Whoever did the prop work on this video should've been hired by MS.

    • by Yvan256 (722131)

      The most ironic thing is that SMS/IM did more to damage languages (not just english) than video chatting ever could have done.

  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @08:06PM (#37372298)

    lot's of corporate uses is just rolling out 7 with lot's of stuff still stuck on xp due to software / old ie and maybe even some old hardware.

    Now windows 8 new UI may be a big show stopper and likely have alot of software not work with it.

  • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @08:26PM (#37372424)

    Microsoft's consistent marketing strategy for Windows over the past quarter century can be summed up in a few lines:

    int main() {
      int i = 1;
      while (true) {
        printf("Windows %d changes everything!\n", i);
        sleep(7e7 + ((double) rand()) / RAND_MAX) * 7e7) ;
      }
    }

    • by lakeland (218447)

      You might want to add a ++ in somewhere or else people will get sick of hearing the same message...

    • by Solandri (704621)
      Just to add something besides the i++ error, Microsoft lost a lot of face with businesses because of how long it took them to push Vista out. Prior major corporate releases of Windows were:

      Aug 1995 - Windows 95
      Jun 1998 - Windows 98
      Feb 2000 - Windows 2000
      Oct 2001 - Windows XP
      Nov 2006- Windows Vista

      You can see how they were keeping a schedule of 2-3 years between versions before Vista. At the time XP came out, Microsoft was trying to transition its business customers over to a subscription model,
  • Don't we skip every second windows release anyway?

    Windows 3.0
    Windows 3.1
    Windows 95
    Windows 98
    Windows ME
    Windows XP
    Windows Vista
    Windows 7 ...

    • by Ltap (1572175)
      That's missing Windows 2000, which wasn't exactly a "skip" release.
      • But it was also released during the consumer legacy-to-NT transition period and wasn't really marketed for home use, as the others the OP mentioned were.

      • by Lifyre (960576)

        He has to be talking consumer OS. Remember NT and 2000 were intended for the business/enterprise/server market.

      • by mysidia (191772) *

        That's missing Windows 2000, which wasn't exactly a "skip" release.

        Windows 2000 was a server release, in the same vein as Windows NT.

        If you wanted to include 2000 you would need to include the NT releases in between as well.

        Windows 1.0
        Windows 2.0
        Windows 2.1
        Windows 2.11
        Windows 3.0
        Windows 3.1
        Windows for Workgroups 3.1
        Windows NT 3.1
        Windows 3.11
        Windows for Workgroups 3.11
        Windows NT 3.5
        Windows NT 3.51
        Windows 95
        Windows NT 4.0
        Windows 98
        Windows 98 SE
        NT 5.0/Windows 2000
        Windows ME
        Windows 2

  • by Dennis Sheil (1706056) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @08:37PM (#37372496)

    With the explosion of smartphones and tablets, HP announcing they're leaving the PC business and all the news being how Windows 8's perhaps main feature being tablet (and smartphone) ability, the mobile aspect of Windows 8 is what many people will be looking at.

    I hear some Windows fans talk about how Windows 8 is going to come in and eventually dominate smartphones and tablets. However, Apple already has been in the smartphone space since mid-2007, and the tablet space since April 2010. Android has been around since October 2008 in the smartphone space, and Honeycomb came out in February of this year (and a few months earlier things like the early Samsung tabs were coming out). Developers have spent a lot of time learning these platforms and writing code for them. The App Stores and Android Markets are filling up with apps, which are being improved continually by updates based on user feedback. Over 550,000 Android smartphones are being turned on a day. Customers are familiar with the apps on their phone, and how to do various things on their phone or tablet.

    What do we he hear from Microsoft? It's all just vaporware so far. Even if developers want to develop for an SDK with no device, there's no SDK out yet. Maybe it will be put out after this conference. Also - Microsoft has been saying a lot of it is HTML 5 and Javascript. I'm happy about that, but it doesn't really exploit all the code and experience for Visual Basic, Silverlight, .NET and so forth. I understand they backpedaled on this a little bit, although HTML 5 and Javascript will still be on it. They're kind of forced to do this - they can't force mobile developers to develop just for Microsoft, they have to hope that the popular iPhone/iPad/Android applications are easy to port to Windows 8 so they can get some applications that way. Microsoft's Windows 7 smartphone/tablet market share is very, very low, so due to the lack of any kind of monopoly strongarm, they're forced to open up a little bit.

    The two things Microsoft has going for it is the existing Windows code base, and the ability for people to connect to their PCs, or PC formats (Word, Excel) or Microsoft servers at work (Exchange etc.). As people dump Microsoft PCs for iPads and Android tablets, this lock-in becomes less important. Also insofar as the Windows existing code base, both Apple and Android have had a lot of C++ OpenGL code which used to be primarily dedicated to Windows ported to Apple and Android mobile devices. Miguel de Icaza and company have even brought Mono to Android, so a lot of C# and .NET code can get on Android. As existing Windows code can often be used on Android, this lessens the advantage of Windows 8.

    And then there's other things. Microsoft makes money selling Windows 8 to manufacturers like HTC and so forth. Google gives Android away for free, and makes money on the hook-ins it has for Google Maps and so forth. I guess with the Motorola purchase, Google will make some money actually selling the hardware as well. Microsoft has to sell an unwanted product to manufacturers, when a free, popular OS already exists, with a user base of millions, with an Android app market with hundreds of thousands of apps, and many developers working on creating new apps and improving existing ones.

    I also wonder how hard it is to develop for Windows 8. For Android, I can download Eclipse on a Linux machine, and the Android SDK, make an Android emulator, develop code in Java (with a few calls to special Android SDK Java classes like Activity), pay Google a one-time lifetime $25 fee to put as many apps on Android Market as I want, and I'm all set. I can even release the app to a non-Market competitor site and save the $25. So the whole shebang costs $25 for life. What will Windows be like? Will I have to pay to get on their app store? Will I have to buy Visual Studio or something? If they don't make things real easy and cheap for developers, they're going to have problems. They might even have problems if they do make things real easy and cheap.

    • Microsoft can still afford to be late to the game by virtue of the fact that they can throw 11 figures behind anything they want to be successful. It worked with the X-Box, and from what I understand (never having used one), it's actually a pretty decent product. Their days of being able to do this are hopefully numbered, but I have no doubts that in a couple years MS will have a significant, if not huge, market share of tablets and phones even if their offerings are inferior to everything else.

      Strongarmi

  • by ledow (319597) on Monday September 12, 2011 @03:55AM (#37374596) Homepage

    Please let me apply my Windows purchasing checklist to the new product:

    1) Can I buy a permanent, non-revocable license to use the software at a reasonable price per seat (not per user) without requiring activation servers on my network and the possibility of the damn thing just switching off one day because it's unhappy? (I class "reasonable" as lower than the most expensive piece of application software I plan to run on the machine) Also, can I work out what version and license option I need, and find somewhere that will actually sell it to me, without spending a week researching the options (hint: I work in education in the UK and apparently it's just not possible to offer me a perpetual license at a sensible price because I don't have enough MS software on the premises)

    2) Can I turn the desktop back to what I want it to be - basic, empty, simple, not requiring a full-3D graphics card just to load up?

    3) Can I control EVERY aspect of the computer from a network server without waiting years for an appropriate Group Policy and/or other hack to appear? (I had to wait until Vista to control things like Power Policies effectively without using third-party software, I imagine there's a whole swathe of similar problems with newer OS too). This means being able to turn off pop-up warnings, taskbar icons, and EVERYTHING that might provide an avenue for a user to get to a dialog that I've deliberately locked them out of.

    4) Can I just image a working machine byte-for-byte if something breaks (takes minutes) for diagnosis/repair/recovery/replacement without having to reinstall the entire damn thing or worrying about the licensing going apeshit?

    5) Can my users use the damn thing on their own initiative, alone, without retraining, or do I have to rejig every single machine so that it's more familiar to them and yet still never quite get it to look/work the same as previous OS?

    6) Can I install it on the same machines that I have now without things running slower? (Why is this such a big problem, especially if I want to run in "classic" modes?)

    7) Can it run everything that previous versions did without requiring months of tweaking, testing, and crossing fingers?

    My guess is that basically zero of those are true of Windows 8 (certainly, Windows 7 fails too, which is why we haven't deployed that yet). I don't think these are onerous demands, either, and if the newer versions of Windows offered even some of them, it would be infinitely more attractive. As it is, though, Microsoft are slowly pushing people out of their own market.

    Seriously, you spend decades creating a product, and don't think that some of your big corporate users might want to exist without having to "activate" their own licensing from a server they have to pay for?

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