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Microsoft Windows

Windows 9 Already? Apparently, Yes. 1009

Nerval's Lobster writes "A little over a year after Microsoft released Windows 8, and a mere three months after it pushed out a major update with Windows 8.1, rumors abound that Windows 9 is already on its way. According to Paul Thurrott's Supersite for Windows, Microsoft will begin discussing the next version of Windows (codenamed 'Threshold,' at least for the moment) at April's BUILD conference. 'Threshold is more important than any specific updates, he wrote. 'Windows 8 is tanking harder than Microsoft is comfortable discussing in public, and the latest release, Windows 8.1, which is a substantial and free upgrade with major improvements over the original release, is in use on less than 25 million PCs at the moment.' Microsoft intends Threshold to clean up at least a portion of Windows 8's mess. Development on the latest operating system will supposedly begin in late April, which means developers who attend BUILD won't have access to an early alpha release—in fact, it could be quite some time before Microsoft locks down any new features, although it might double down on Windows 8's controversial 'Modern' (previously known as 'Metro') design interface. Yet if Thurrott's reporting proves correct, Microsoft isn't abandoning the new Windows interface that earned such a lackluster response—it's betting that the format, once tweaked, will somehow revive the operating system's fortunes. With Ballmer leaving the company and a major reorganization underway, it'll be the next Microsoft CEO's task to make sure that Windows 9 is a hit; in fact, considering that rumored 2015 release date, shepherding the OS could become that executive's first major test."
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Windows 9 Already? Apparently, Yes.

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  • 9.1 (Score:5, Funny)

    by OffTheLip ( 636691 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @01:42PM (#45941129)
    I'm waiting for 9.1. Don't want to be first in the pool.
    • Re:9.1 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JMJimmy ( 2036122 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @01:45PM (#45941179)

      100% guaranteed they continue in the metro vein and continue to obscure/drop features/settings and continue to be "dumbfounded" as to why no one wants to buy it.

      • Re:9.1 (Score:4, Funny)

        by NoNonAlphaCharsHere ( 2201864 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @01:51PM (#45941277)
        Threshold of unusability, most likely.
        • Call it "This is it" (Score:5, Interesting)

          by h00manist ( 800926 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:02PM (#45941519) Journal

          They should call it the "this is it" version. Make a grand video of the rehearse of its pre-release beta version. Hire a tech doctor to put it to sleep with anethesia. Have a great big media trial and debate. Then admit it's dead.

        • Re:9.1 (Score:5, Insightful)

          by tripleevenfall ( 1990004 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:04PM (#45941545)

          Microsoft refuses to acknowledge the one simple truth that could save them:

          No one who chooses to use a PC instead of a tablet wants to see Metro. Ever.

          • Re:9.1 (Score:5, Insightful)

            by bananaquackmoo ( 1204116 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:24PM (#45941881)
            It only takes one person to disprove nobody. Count me in. I like it.
            • Re:9.1 (Score:5, Insightful)

              by ahabswhale ( 1189519 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:25PM (#45941903)

              Please explain why as I can see absolutely no point to it on the desktop.

              • Re:9.1 (Score:5, Interesting)

                by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:56PM (#45942383)

                I'm not the person you replied to but I like it on my HTPC for netflix, and the metro video player.

                The large start menu, and automatically going full screen for movie playback is great on the big screen at 10 feet away.

                  I could see a few other metro apps being useful in that setup, although I haven't gotten around bothering to look for any myself. (A "file explorer" would be good for example; I'd probably even consider a metro browser... I hear firefox has one... I should look at that too. As both those activities are a bit painful from the couch using the desktop apps.)

                As for my actual desktop on my actual desk...

                I've also really got nothing against the new start screen for the desktop use case either. I rarely use the start menu; having pinned my apps to custom toolars. Right clicking on the start button brings up pretty much everything I ever used from the old start menu and more.

                But yes, I have little to no use for metro apps there. However, I just don't launch them and they don't bother me.

                I had to change the default picture viewer and video player away from the metro version to the desktop version, and then it was good. IMO those are bad defaults.

                If they gave win+r the autocomplete+search functionality of the win7 start menu widget I'd really have no complaints about 8.

                I don't use classic shells etc, they really aren't necessary at all, and just preserve a lot of the legacy mistakes that the win7 start menu has accumulated. Just because you are used to it, doesn't mean it was good.

                • by number6x ( 626555 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @05:51PM (#45944597)

                  Honestly, I think this argument can be put to rest. The sales figures do not lie.

                  While It's nice for you that you are happy with Metro, the interface is not moving computers off the shelves. There are a lot of people who will risk staying with XP, and the security risks that go along with it, rather than switching to Metro.

                  Windows fan boy or not, there is no arguing that MS has built a flop. Time to move on. The train has left the station.

                  Apple carved out a new frontier in the small touch screen market with the iOS interface. Then Android came along and also did well in the small touch screen interface market. However, both of these OS's left their desktop version (OS/X and Linux whatever) behind. Different modes of interfacing with hardware drove different interfaces.

                  People were happy using a traditional desktop on the desktop (Windows was the clear #1 here), and a new interface on their small touch screens. Could you find a few odball users? Sure. For the most part, however, people seem to have no problem using more than one interface. Each interface suited to its environment.

                  The idea that everyone wants one interface is a problem that does not exist, and is not looking for a solution.

              • The only advantage I can think of for Modern UI/Windows Runtime in Windows 8 is that it lets you buy an app once and run it on both your Windows RT tablet and your desktop PC.
            • Re:9.1 (Score:4, Insightful)

              by DoofusOfDeath ( 636671 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:44PM (#45942211)

              It only takes one person to disprove nobody. Count me in. I like it.

              Well, you've disproved nobody.

              That was... anticlimactic.

          • Re:9.1 (Score:5, Insightful)

            by binarylarry ( 1338699 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @03:00PM (#45942459)

            They know that and they don't care.

            They are trying to use their desktop monopoly to muscle into the mobile space (and have failed hilariously).

          • Re:9.1 (Score:5, Insightful)

            by herve_masson ( 104332 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @03:47PM (#45943137)

            Not sure people choosing to use a tablet want to see metro either....

      • Re:9.1 (Score:5, Funny)

        by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @01:51PM (#45941281)

        They are so consistent with this crap lately, I'm starting to wonder if it isn't a strategy: let the consumers beta test and debug the next big corporate version. The last corporate version was XP, now it seems to be 7. If I wasn't being ironic, I'd suggest that the next corporate version will be Windows X.

        • Re:9.1 (Score:5, Interesting)

          by JMJimmy ( 2036122 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:02PM (#45941517)

          Oddly enough, the bugs I can deal with. The horrid interface, the gradual removal of control, and attempts to mimic apple's walled garden is what I take issue with.

          • Re:9.1 (Score:5, Informative)

            by smooth wombat ( 796938 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:21PM (#45941845) Journal
            the gradual removal of control,

            Tell me about it. Going from XP to W7 was horrible with things being hidden or removed. I'm still able to do things much more quickly in XP than in 7, the response is snappier in XP than 7, the list goes on.

            W7 was a mess, 8 is a nightmare. I don't want to imagine how bad 9 will be.
            • Re:9.1 (Score:5, Funny)

              by Sponge Bath ( 413667 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:41PM (#45942143)

              I don't want to imagine how bad 9 will be.

              MS introduces the new Psychic (TM) UI, with even more invisible UI elements than Win8! Where are you supposed to click or move the mouse? Wouldn't you like to know!

              Visual feedback in a UI is for the weak. Live strong, MS strong!

            • Re:9.1 (Score:4, Interesting)

              by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <mojo@world3.nBLUEet minus berry> on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:48PM (#45942271) Homepage Journal

              Strange, for me it's the opposite. I can find stuff much faster in Windows 7 because it is logically laid out and grouped, unlike XP which just evolved randomly over time. The search feature will get you to pretty much any random function or setting as fast as you can type. It's also a lot smoother and cleaner, snappier and more responsive.

              Windows 7 is actually a damn good OS. Windows 8 is hardly a "nightmare" with a few tweaks, which any self-respecting techie should be able to apply. Metro was incredibly dumb but like MacOS if you ignore the crap parts there is a lot of good stuff and power under there.

              • Re:9.1 (Score:5, Interesting)

                by Alomex ( 148003 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:53PM (#45942333) Homepage

                Sorry, Windows 8 is a nightmare. I have used every version of Windows since day one, and stand out sucks are 2.0, Windows Me, Windows Vista and Windows 8.

                All others, including NT, WfW and the rest were much better than /.ers made them to be. Win 8 is every bit as bad as you've heard.

                Windows 8 works in as much as you can make it not to be like it was supposed to.

            • Re:9.1 (Score:5, Informative)

              by danomac ( 1032160 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:51PM (#45942307)

              Windows 7 did move around a bunch of things, especially in the control panel. And of course this followed suit with the registry which impacts group policy - this means that you had to have two GPOs (one for XP, one for W7) to do something as basic as setting and enforcing a screen saver. Talk about a manageability mess.

              My experience with Windows 8 was horrid. Yes, Metro is very annoying to a desktop user, but they've just plain removed things from Windows 8, like the ability to remove a saved wifi connection. There's no GUI way that I could find to remove it, I had to use the terminal to list and remove a saved connection using netsh. What the hell were they thinking? And this is just ONE example that I've noticed with Windows 8.

            • Re:9.1 (Score:4, Interesting)

              by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @03:19PM (#45942711) Journal

              I loved Windows 7 when it came out and was excited to leave XP and Vista behind FINALLY!

              What is so bad about it? Is it change. Do you find the libraries weird? Do you know like the theme?

              Windows 7 has new features as well. If you hit the Windows key on the keyboard and type it will instantly find any document or program. A godsend if you are college student and have hundreds of files! I can search "financial analysis Marsh 2008" and find only the correct excel and word documents for this!

              I like aero snap. On your Windows 7 system drag the title bar of your browser to the left or right? Notice there was a clear rectangle on what it would look like before it was moved? Now you can have 2 documents side by side.

              As an IT pro I finally can do a system file check. Sooo annoying under XP. Sure we can use the OEM XP SP 2 disk but guess what? 70% of the files have been altered since 2008 because of Windows Update making the damn thing useless. So if your XP installation is corrupted I can not fix it :-(

              But that is my opinion. If you hate the translucent aero you can adjust this and make it solid. I think it looks pretty and do not mind it. You can even make it look like Windows 95 if you want and disable aero.

              All these things just the gui. Under the hood it is a vast improvement from the XP days.

            • Re:9.1 (Score:5, Funny)

              by ElusiveJoe ( 1716808 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @02:50AM (#45948301)

              W7 was a mess, 8 is a nightmare. I don't want to imagine how bad 9 will be.

              Imagine Clippy with Siri-like capabilities.

          • Re:9.1 (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:42PM (#45942157) Homepage

            I want to waterboard the idiot at Microsoft that though it was a good idea to rearrange everything in the control panel. That person needs to be waterboarded for 16 hours then left in a small metal box in the hot desert heat for 2 weeks.

          • Re:9.1 (Score:5, Insightful)

            by real gumby ( 11516 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @03:32PM (#45942901)

            ...attempts to mimic apple's walled garden...

            I am puzzled by this common complaint, that the Mac is a "walled garden" (not talking about iOS). I can write any program (mostly I write posix code in fact), and download any app I like from the web. I am really not sure why the Mac is any more a "walled garden" than Windows is. Arguably less, since things like mail are kept in flat ascii files rather than some proprietary database as does Outlook. Mail speaks ordinary IMAP and POP (and has an adaptation for Gmail's aberrant implementation). The calendar can subscribe to various sources, and apple's in house service exports its data in a standard format. So where's the walled garden?

            This is not an attempt at starting a flame fest, it's a genuine question.

            (I could prefer more support for plug ins (e.g. in itunes) but apple is hardly alone here).

        • Re:9.1 (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Jakeula ( 1427201 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:26PM (#45941915) Homepage
          I know you are modded 'Funny', but I have honestly been wondering the same thing myself. Between Windows 8/8.1 and the Xbox One, it seems like they are intentionally driving away users. Maybe this restructure will help. It seems like Microsoft doesn't really know what it's trying to do, and maybe that is because there is no unified goal for each department. The cause is pure speculation on my part obviously.
      • Re:9.1 (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:00PM (#45941461) Homepage

        They should hire me to fix it...

        It's quite simple, really:
        a) If somebody is in "Metro" mode they stay there until they deliberately switch to "desktop".
        b) If somebody is in "desktop" mode, they stay on the desktop until they deliberately switch to "Metro".

        Switching between the two should be an easy gesture, maybe even a special new key on machines with a proper mouse/screen/keyboard.

        (And maybe the "scroll lock" key could work for us Model M diehards - is that really too much to ask? It even means we get a "Metro" warning light on the keyboard as a bonus feature).

        How hard can that be?

        • Re:9.1 (Score:5, Interesting)

          by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:08PM (#45941607) Homepage

          They don't want that. What they want is that desktop gradually retreats to acting more like a guest OS / GUI on a Metro based system. Moreover that is really suboptimal even now. Far better is:

          large screen = desktop
          small touch screen = metro

        • Re:9.1 (Score:5, Interesting)

          by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:16PM (#45941739) Journal

          They shouldn't have two GUI modes based on entirely different paradigms. It's absolute madness. Trying to make a desktop operating system behave like a smartphone operating system is just idiotic. I get the MS was trying to plant the psychological seeds to make the Surface and desktop offerings a unified target, but Surface and Surface RT just aren't selling and, in a time of shrinking PC sales, they've shot themselves in the foot. Whatever master plan they had with the Metro interface, it's been a failure on all fronts.

          To show you how bad it is, I ordered some laptops from one of our main suppliers a few weeks ago. I didn't even have a chance to request downgrade rights to Windows 7 Pro when my rep simply said "And these come with Windows 7 Pro installed, but we can install the upgrade media if you want it." This is one of the biggest hardware and software providers for enterprise and government in Canada, and they're selling new hardware with Windows 7 out of the box simply because no one in enterprise or government wants anything to do with Windows 8.

        • by mbkennel ( 97636 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:44PM (#45942209)

          Make a desktop interface which is optimized for the desktop and is substantially better than anything that exists now. Look at all the academic research, and take years to adopt and polish it. Demand excellence internally and never believe your own BS.

          Heck, even NextSTEP from 1990 is a better zeroth-order start.

          In a nutshell: work on something truly great for your customers. Not for your delusional marketing requirements or internal power point power plays, e.g. "mobile and tablets are the future, and so we need to privilege their interface everywhere because we want Windows Everywhere."

          Steve Jobs wasn't stupid enough to put a little microscopic Mac on the iPhone. The previous horrifying Windows Mobile 5 made that mistake, a miniature XP with a stylus on the phone. Microsoft still didn't learn!
          • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @03:33PM (#45942937) Homepage

            In a nutshell: work on something truly great for your customers. Not for your delusional marketing requirements or internal power point power plays, e.g. "mobile and tablets are the future, and so we need to privilege their interface everywhere because we want Windows Everywhere."

            This. Windows 8 was driven by powerpoint market analysts, not people who want to do work on computers.

      • Re:9.1 (Score:5, Funny)

        by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:02PM (#45941505) Homepage Journal

        Yeah, I clicked the links. The images supplied show a metro theme. I've never quite decided whether I had more interest in metro, or in cutting off my body parts. Tough decision. I'll continue to put off the decision while I run a Unix-like OS.

      • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

        I fear you're right but hope you're wrong. My laptop is about 5 years old and I've used it heavily (I wrote Nobots on it, see my sig if you're curious) and have been shopping for a replacement. But all the new ones are either Chrome, W8, or Apple. Apple would be acceptable if they weren't so expensive, but I don't trust Google any more and W8 is an unusable clusterfuck.

        And the guy at the store said installing Linux on one (he had Chrome and Windows) would void the warrantee. Screw that, if it has a factory

    • Re:9.1 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @01:48PM (#45941219) Homepage Journal

      I'm waiting for 9.1. Don't want to be first in the pool.

      It'll be fine. It's really just going to be re-badged Windows 7.

      • Re:9.1 (Score:5, Funny)

        by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:20PM (#45941815)

        It'll be fine. It's really just going to be re-badged Windows 7.

        If that is the case, then Windows 9.x may actually have a chance.

        Unfortunately, I doubt if Microsoft will be able to backtrack like that and call it progress.

      • Re:9.1 (Score:5, Interesting)

        by TheloniousToady ( 3343045 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:30PM (#45941967)

        Yes, but with or without Aero?

        It fascinates me that they added Aero as eye candy that no one needed in Vista, then in Windows 8 they not only took it away but also took away the minimal, though longstanding, eye candy of rounded corners. So do we need eye candy or don't we?

        Years ago, I read about a study in which researchers tried to determine what type of music would make cows produce the most milk. They tried all the common genres, from classical to hard rock, but didn't find any clear winner. However, they found that the cows produced slightly more milk when the type of music was changed.

        Microsoft consistently has milked their users by changing the cosmetics of each major new version of Windows. I assume that's part of the plan to sell you the same thing again while pretending it's different - much as car makers do. But since Windows 8 is plain, Windows 9 seemingly would need to be fancy. But it can't be slightly fancy like XP, or really fancy like Aero. What's more, if they want to stick with their dogma of deploying the same look-and-feel across all devices, big and small, they're going to have to find a new form of plain (to run on lowest-common-denominator hardware) that's somehow different. Changing colors is about the only option I can think of. Hey, it works for the fashion industry.

        • Re:9.1 (Score:4, Interesting)

          by JDG1980 ( 2438906 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:43PM (#45942179)

          It fascinates me that they added Aero as eye candy that no one needed in Vista, then in Windows 8 they not only took it away but also took away the minimal, though longstanding, eye candy of rounded corners. So do we need eye candy or don't we?

          Personally, I think this [berlios.de] Win8 hack would be a good design to go with. It keeps the clean lines of the new interface, while restoring transparency to increase visual interest and make overlapping windows a bit more usable.

          That said, I'd be fine if they just went back to the Win7 Aero interface. But I do want to see glass transparency in some form – this isn't just eye-candy, it does serve a useful purpose when multi-tasking. (Apparently Microsoft has forgotten that some people actually use their PCs for work.)

    • Re:9.1 (Score:4, Funny)

      by ranton ( 36917 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:05PM (#45941555)

      This version of Windows is guaranteed to be great. Windows has been going back and forth between one crap version and one great version for over a decade.

      It is kind of like some IQ test pattern matching questions:
      Win 95 - crap
      Win 98 - great
      Win ME - crap
      Win XP - great
      Vista - crap
      Win 7 - great
      Win 8 - crap
      Win 9 - (see the pattern?)

  • by Ravaldy ( 2621787 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @01:43PM (#45941151)

    The H/W support and other features of Windows 8 were completely overshadowed by the interface. Fix the interface and maybe MS gets a third chance.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 13, 2014 @01:44PM (#45941167)

    Windows 20 is planned for next fall.

  • by Bill, Shooter of Bul ( 629286 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @01:48PM (#45941223) Journal

    Write a good clean seperation for the launcher and let app developers go to town, like they do on Android. Let the best one win, and incorperate its fearues as the offical one.

    • by Nerdfest ( 867930 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @01:55PM (#45941363)

      I've always said that the purposed of Windows 8 was not the interface, it was the introduction of their 'App Store'. They want the same think Apple has with iOS (and to a lesser degree, OSX); they want a cut of all sales and the ability to dictate what can be installed. It will be interesting to see if either the interface or the app store goes away ... I'm betting the interface will go before the app store does. I'd say I hope I'm wrong, but I don't. The more they lock users and development shops out, the more will join Valve on Linux.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 13, 2014 @01:49PM (#45941241)

    Knowing Microsoft, this is what they're going to do:

    - Remove Right-Click capability
    - Remove all menu bars and hotkeys
    - Require SuperAdmin privileges for everything from resizing a window to shutting down the computer
    - Make MSOffice 100% touch-screen compatible, removing all mouse compatibility
    - Make ribbons 60% bigger
    - Remove ability to save over existing files

  • Missing the boat (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 13, 2014 @01:50PM (#45941267)

    MS shouldn't create any new versions of Windows O/S. It should take Windows 7 and make it a subscription-based product. Pay $50/year and MS will maintain it in its current form forever. It has everything that it needs to have - all it needs is ongoing support for bug/security fixes. No more churn on hardware. No more churn on software. Just make Windows 7 the new standard so that any investment into hardware/software for Windows 7 is never thrown out and make Windows 7 rock solid. I would happily pay $50/year to have the O/S locked down and put into maintenance mode in perpetuity.

  • Metro on servers (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Monoman ( 8745 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @01:56PM (#45941369) Homepage

    Metro on servers is a big turn off but MS will be slow to accept that server admins have different GUI needs. Sure core is catching on some but the GUI users will stick around until forced to use powershell.

    • You know, oddly enough I don't have nearly as much trouble using Metro/Modern on my servers as I do on my desktop. I guess it's because I only do a small number of things on the server and I can place those to the Start menu and go on about my business. For me it's the exact opposite on the desktop. Like a lot of people I have a bunch of programs that I use (and have used for years) and I just want my "desktop" when I'm working on my desktop.
    • Re:Metro on servers (Score:5, Informative)

      by mjwx ( 966435 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:18PM (#45941767)

      Metro on servers is a big turn off but MS will be slow to accept that server admins have different GUI needs. Sure core is catching on some but the GUI users will stick around until forced to use powershell.

      The problem isn't GUI users, its the fact Powershell is complete shite.

      All this time I cant get a basic instruction on how Powershell works without getting a 500 page book. Learning Linux and AIX wasn't this hard (granted the Linux training covered a lot of the AIX ground).

      Also you have to deal with different versions of Powershell, I once spent an entire day constructing a Powershell script for Exchange 2007 only to find out it required Powershell v3 and only v2 was installed on 2008 by default. It was easier to get management to give up on the idea then go through change control to get Powershell updated.

  • by secondsun ( 195377 ) <secondsun@gmail.com> on Monday January 13, 2014 @01:58PM (#45941429) Journal

    Windows failed to learn a lot of the lessons that iOS and Android could have taught it. It failed to learn the lessons it should have from GNOME 3. It failed to bring the Internet to the desktop in a way which hadn't been tried in Windows since Windows 98.

    Windows 8 finally brought us a managed application repository with automatic updates, monetization features, etc but only for modern UI. The Desktop apps were still their own special snowflakes stuck in "Don't accidentally a toolbar" install and update hell.

    Windows 8 has tight integration with cloud services, but those are limited to only services and features hand picked by Microsoft and (last I checked) has no openness for third parties to integrate in the same way. GNOME 3 on the other hand, has lots of integration with various social and cloud services. Sign into Google for instance and your Google Docs are available in your Docs folder, your contacts show up in your Contacts app, your Google handouts get routed therough Empathy etc. Windows 8 does this for Facebook and Sky Drive but, again, only in the Modern UI.

    Windows 8 Modern apps are firewalled from Windows 8 Desktop apps. Do you have Skype? You have two Skype apps. Do you have a chat client? You have two apps again. The same app on Android can run on everything from a wrist watch to a Television supporting tons of different input paradigms ALMOST natively (the developer has to do some basic UI legwork of course).

    As a consequence of the previous point, lots of services (push notifications, application lifecycle management, etc) are available ONLY in Modern and not on the Desktop. Desktop apps still need to manage their own networking state and messaging. Many of the native applications were rebuilt as Modern full screen apps and their desktop equavalents were removed. The most galling is the Photo Viewer. If you open a picture in Explorer in the Desktop, all your windows go away and the image takes up the full screen.

    In conclusion, Windows 8 problems don't stop at the Start Screen and framing the Start Screen as the biggest and only problem fundamentally misses what Microsoft did very, very wrong. Microsoft did not TRY to bring modern cloud technologies to the desktop. They ported their tablet OS to the desktop and stopped there.

  • by saleenS281 ( 859657 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:03PM (#45941531) Homepage
    Microsoft stated with Windows 8 that they'd be moving to a far faster release cadence. What's with the surprise? The version number change... or? The title says it all - Windows 8 was released a year ago, windows 8.1 3 months ago. If they're going to get Windows 9 out the door anytime soon to follow the faster release cadence they'd HAVE to be working on it already. They probably started the second that Windows 8 shipped. Since everyone here appears to have a ridiculously short memory, let me remind you what was stated at Build 2013:

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-10805_3-57591154-75/microsoft-moves-from-short-twitch-to-rapid-release-at-build-2013/ [cnet.com]
  • by Virtucon ( 127420 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:05PM (#45941557)

    Oh joy a new set of incompatibilities and endless upgrades and updates await. Windows 8 broke a lot of desktop apps and 8.1 did the same, especially in the AV camp. Let's hope 9 at least maintains backward compatibility for app users otherwise it's more pain than it'll be worth.

  • by ArcadeMan ( 2766669 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:06PM (#45941563)

    Most people use Windows for one of those two things: gaming or business.

    Make the following:
    - Windows 2015: Gaming Edition, optimized for games, no useless services running in the background, only the bare utilities to help setup/add hardware easily.
    - Windows 2015: Business Edition, optimized for business applications with strong support for emails, calendars, networking, etc.

  • by Lawrence_Bird ( 67278 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:07PM (#45941585) Homepage

    Take away all hardware purchased/built prior to 2011. The longevity of hardware purchases is the real culprit. People no longer feel compelled to upgrade their hardware every three years (give or take). Outside of the gaming community and niche video/photo workers, what does the average person do on their pc that one from 2007 can't handle?

  • No 's' in Windows. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:21PM (#45941827)

    They should rename it Window 9, and drop the 's'. No more multiple windows. This is the design choice Microsoft has made. They've dropped the feature that made people want to use Windows and force a single Window format on users. They've dropped their namesake feature. It's ridiculous.

  • by Anaerin ( 905998 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:24PM (#45941887)
    Microsoft has always attempted to follow an "Every 3 years" release schedule for new consumer operating systems, and they've pretty much kept to that schedule, apart from skipping a release in 2004:
    • 1995: Windows 95
    • 1998: Windows '98
    • 2001: Windows XP
    • 2004: Skipped
    • 2006: Windows Vista
    • 2009: Windows 7
    • 2012: Windows 8
    • 2015: Windows 9

    So why is everyone acting so surprised when they keep following this trend?

    • You forgot "ME" (Score:4, Insightful)

      by tekrat ( 242117 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:59PM (#45942433) Homepage Journal

      There was Windows "Millennium Edition" and there was also Windows 2000 -- Now, before you say that Win2K wasn't a "consumer" OS, it essentially was because a lot of people Upgraded to 2K not from NT but from Win98. And XP was the first merge of the 2k and "consumer" windows codebases, which is how we wound up with XP Pro, (there was never a Win98 Pro, for example)...

      Anyhow, my point is; you make it seem as if this is all cut and dry, like MS is following a master plan, but the history of Windows releases is a little more complex and convoluted.

  • by JDG1980 ( 2438906 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:33PM (#45942031)

    Just calling the new release "Windows 9" isn't going to do the trick. They need to listen to what customers, especially power users and enterprise administrators, are saying. Grandma has already moved on to an iPad and she doesn't spend much money anyway; she's a lost cause. Forget about pandering to the lowest common denominator. Stop trying to beat Android and iOS at their own game. Emphasize that Windows is a tool while Android/iOS is a toy. Windows is what people use to get work done. That means a renewed focus on the desktop. Because, let's face it, if you're willing to ditch the desktop and legacy compatibility, you might as well ditch MS altogether.

    Specifically, Microsoft needs to make it possible for desktop users to never see, or interact with, Metro. Yes, I know they want us all with touch screens and buying apps from their app store, but it isn't going to happen. All they are doing is alienating their most important customers. Bring back the real Start Menu so that people who have been using Windows for 10-20 years aren't confused and baffled by the new interface. (Remember that many people who use Windows at work are not technically oriented. Re-training costs money, and IT departments often don't have it to spend.)

    Also fix the little things. These are important. An example: After using Windows since 1995, my eyes are used to seeing the title on the top left side of the window frame. Win8 centers it, for no good reason other than some designer's dubious sense of aesthetics. That completely breaks my eye-tracking and costs a second or two every time I have to look at the title. It doesn't sound like much, but little things add up, and minor issues of fit and finish are often the difference between a successful product and an unsuccessful one.

  • Threshold... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:34PM (#45942043) Journal

    Good name. An even better name: Tipping point.

  • by bobjr94 ( 1120555 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:49PM (#45942291) Homepage
    One simple check box could have saved the computer industry including Microsoft hundred of millions in lost sales. - Windows 8- boot options: [ ] Metro OR [X] Desktop - Click OK to restart with the new settings
  • by gman003 ( 1693318 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @03:32PM (#45942887)

    Metro isn't a bad UI in itself. The problem is how it is currently implemented on the desktop.

    First, of all the default Metro apps, not a single one matches the functionality of their desktop equivalents. That alone is enough to sink it, especially when it took me less than an hour after first installing W8 to find something that I needed the old application for (the Music app lacked workgroup support, and I wanted to play some music stored on my laptop). If your default Metro apps are less functional in a concrete and quantifiable way than the old Desktop apps, then Metro apps in general get a reputation as being underfunctional and dumbed down. It doesn't matter that your Music app works just as well, even better, than the Android music app or the iOS version of iTunes - on the desktop, it's fighting WMP and all the third-party apps like VLC and whatnot.

    Second, you shouldn't have two different means of interaction. We knew this even back in the CLI->GUI transition - DOS prompts, and later the "command prompt", were encapsulated in windows because everything was being done through windows.

    There's two ways this could be done. The simplest, and perhaps the most popular, would be to simply let Metro apps run in a window (or something interacted with like windows). Yes, Metro apps look different than Desktop apps, but who really gives a shit? Counting the windows I have open right now, at least four have their own distinct UI paradigm (Thunderbird, GTalk, Steam and PuTTY), plus several that differ from Windows norms in subtler ways (including Microsoft's own Media Player).

    Or you could double down on Metro's tiling, and make Desktop apps run in Metro tiles instead of in the traditional windows. If you designed it right for the desktop, this could be perfectly fine, maybe even better than the desktop. But you'd have to design it for power users to be able to use, because the casual computer users are slowly switching to tablets or laptops. Don't run things fullscreen unless it's a small enough screen - let us configure layouts we want on each monitor, switching them as needed, and just "drop" apps into the spaces. Add virtual desktop support, so I can emulate having six or twelve or thirty monitors instead of three, and I'd basically have my current work setup, with slightly more space (lack of window borders+UI) and without having to manually set up these layouts.

    In short, having *two* UIs makes users choose between the two to find one they prefer, using the other only if forced to. On the tablet, they went for Metro because it was more tablet-oriented and the only Desktop app of note was Office. On the desktop, we went for the classic UI because its programs worked better and because most of us have enough display real estate that using fullscreen apps for almost anything is wasteful. Instead, go full-on with Metro, but give us variants (I'd go with Phone, Tablet, Laptop and Workstation, each slightly tailored for that device class) so that our *experience* fits what we're using.

    That's really the short version of it - they decided to bundle API, UI and UX, and they failed because those things don't actually have to be bound together.

  • by MyNicknameSucks ( 1952390 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @03:49PM (#45943173)

    Early adopter here -- it came pre-installed on a notebook.

    What I eventually realized is that MS is now supporting 3 separate UIs, all with quirks, and all with separate design philosophies.

    The classic, window-based UI has been evolving over 15 years; it's straight-foraward, if cluttered. Start button; apps binned to the task bar; random crap on desktop; text-based menu bars; high contrast, colourful design elements.

    Ribbons in Office. Similar to windows, but it replaced the menu bars with ribbons. More customizable than the menu bars, but my old eyes find the muted colours, grays on white, and small icons troublesome, especially in Outlook. Runs exclusively in classic UI.

    Metro -- which actually comes in two flavours, touch and keyboard / mouse. The touch interface isn't bad, although I personally find it a pain to sort through open apps. But ... I find it hard to stay in Metro. Open up the calculator app, and you end up with a full screen calculator that looks STUPID on an 18" monitor (similar calculator on a 4" smartphone looks great, mind you). Open up Outlook? Back into classic. Further, the apps themselves feature scrolling vertically and horizontally which is ... disconcerting. If there's a pattern as to the reasoning behind H v. V scrolling, I don't get it. While the tiles themselves are colourful (a reference to the classic UI?), the apps are back to scroll bars that are grey on white (Office?). And the Music app is mostly black / grey / white. Weird choice, that, since it removes a design element that can highlight useful information. And, having a whole bunch of live tiles scrolling information on an 18" monitor is distracting, not illuminating.

    But Metro with a keyboard and mouse? I know it can work ... but "put mouse in corner and pray" seems like a poor design choice. Further, I'm unaware of any helpful hints within the OS itself about how to use keyboard shortcuts. Seriously, MS made one of the most counter-intuitive UIs I've ever used with a keyboard and mouse, but did an outlandishly poor job of introducing it. First impressions last -- and if the first impression was "rage", good luck to you.

    And, finally, my grousing aside, but if MS had released Win 8 with useful, clever, and outlandishly cool apps, we might not really be having this conversation. Instead, MS has my geographical location (Toronto, ON), but the installed apps gave me news, sports and weather for NYC (seriously, they got the country wrong?). Again, it's small -- but it would've been a nice touch if the apps tried to have a local flare because, frankly, I don't care about NYC. At all. The other apps? Music is interesting, especially since it includes free streaming (something of a big deal in Canada), but the interface blends local libraries with cloud streaming not-quite-seamlessly. The other apps, like mail and calendar, suck.

    Win 8 is a deeply weird beast. It's fast. It's stable. And I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, especially if you're wedded to Office. The weird blending of multiple UIs is, plain and simple, goofy.

    Looking back at my comments. What I think I would like is a small, tablet-sized second monitor for running Metro, connected to my desktop. I'd have whatever I'm doing on the classic desktop open, but could easily glance over and see Twitter updates, incoming e-mails -- a lot of things I use my iPhone for. Weird thing, that.

  • is it that hard? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by slashmydots ( 2189826 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @02:09AM (#45948163)
    Welcome to the year like 3000 BC. What the hell? Give the customer what they want and they'll buy it. I think the Greeks knew that. Hell, let's back it up because I bet Sumerian shop owners knew that. Get rid of that awful interface and release Windows 7 with some fancy new modern features that work. Stop mentioning "Xbox" on corporate desktops, get rid of the mobile-y app store garbage, and give people a normal computer that works like a computer.

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!