With the leak of a build (apparently of development milestone 1) of Windows Blue the blogosphere is abuzz over what is coming in the next few months. Most of that buzz is about nice modest improvements to the Modern (yes, I’ve conceded this is what it should be called) environment. The usual trolls abound. And then there are some bloggers who are just being bizarre.
If you go back and read my earlier posts you know I’ve been expecting changes like allowing more concurrent apps on-screen than just the one full size view plus one snapped view. I’m really happy to see that coming. And I’m very happy that Microsoft will apparently make even greater use of Skydrive to sync state and backup data in the cloud. I also expect there are numerous improvements that won’t really appear until the second, and final, development milestone.
Windows Blue is a completion release, taking Windows 8 to where Microsoft wanted it to be but couldn’t fit in to the available timeframe. Its primary influence is almost certainly things that Microsoft had on its Windows 8 planning list but fell below the line. How does that happen? Well you’ve got functionality (and performance etc.), time, and resources as the principle variables in any development effort. Resources are hard to vary once you are into a project, so that leaves schedule (time) and functionality that you can tradeoff. Windows 8 used up every inch of the schedule available. Originally it was planned as a 3 development milestone release (which is where rumors of an April 2012 RTM date first came from). Somewhere mid-release they realized they needed an additional development milestone, which pushed RTM out a few months. But with “Holiday 2012” as a hard deadline, that left many things undoable in a “V1”. Windows Blue picks those things up.
Windows Blue is also the first place where Microsoft could really react to the feedback coming from the Developer, Consumer, and Release Previews. Pretty much what we have in the market today was cast in drying concrete by the time the Developer Preview hit the market. At best minor tweaks came out of the Developer Preview and bug fixes out of the later previews. In planning Windows Blue Microsoft would have taken both customer feedback and telemetry from the previews into account. Post-RTM usage would come too late for influence over Blue and will instead factor into Windows 9.
I find two topics coming out of the blogosphere rather bizarre. The first was an expectation by some that Microsoft would abandon Modern and return to the classic desktop. This is bizarre because it would mean a decision to turn Windows into a pure legacy offering with a slow death ahead of it. But hey, the 5% of the overall user population who are in the “desktop is the future” camp would have been happy. Anyway, there was not a snowball’s chance in hell of that happening. Microsoft may want to provide a solution optimized for the 5% for years or decades to come, but that isn’t the future for the other 95%. The right answer for the 95% is to rapidly evolve Modern to meet their needs.
The other side of this bizarre coin is those claiming that Microsoft would abandon the desktop by Windows 9. I’ve pointed out that the move away from the desktop is a 5-10 year evolution. Many other observers thing it is well over 10 years. Windows 9 would be only two years into that cycle. David Vaskevitch used to point out that people tend to overestimate the amount of change that is possible in 2 years and underestimate the amount of change that will occur in 10 years. Once again I think he’s right.
The other thing about moving away from the desktop is the standard logic error so many people make. A is B does not mean B is A. Microsoft will move quickly to make the desktop superfluous for those who just need Modern applications. That says absolutely nothing about removing the desktop for those who have a need for it. The desktop will disappear from Windows RT relatively soon, perhaps by Windows 9, because once you have a Modern Office and Modern system utilities it is superfluous. It will live on in mainstream Windows for many years to come because customers have a need to run desktop applications. But that will be a continually shrinking market, and at some point Microsoft will use various moves (pricing, licensing, etc.) to accelerate its decline. I don’t expect any of that to happen with Windows Blue or Windows 9. Maybe Microsoft will ramp up the pressure to narrow the desktop focus to only things that really need the desktop by Windows 10. Maybe.
In the meantime we’re just a few months away from a pretty significant evolution forward on Windows 8. Some of that evolution, in the case of first party apps, is already rolling out. By the start of the summer it looks like anyone who wants will be able to try out Windows Blue, and by the fall we’ll all be enjoying Windows 8 the way Windows 8 was always meant to be.
Windows Blue is a “completion release”?
What a joke! You’re admitting they didn’t finish the product, that they shipped it anyway, and you have an Orwellian term – “completion release” – to describe what they did.
Completion release == scam!
“and by the fall we’ll all be enjoying Windows 8 the way Windows 8 was always meant to be”
Huh? So, if the thing that we’ve been ‘enjoying’ isn’t really Windows 8, then why did they call it that? If it wasn’t complete, why didn’t they call Windows 8 RTM Windows 8 Beta? That would have been more honest.
And they wonder why they have such a bad reputation.
I’m sorry, when was the last company that put out release xx.0 and then did nothing? At least the last company that still existed after they did?
Nothing is 100% complete. Nothing. Ever.
100%? Strawman. Your whole post talked about how INcomplete it was. And how we’ll have to wait about a year after RTM to experience it as it was actually envisioned.
So, was Windows 7 a “completion release” of Vista?
1st: DUH. 7 was a completion of Vista. Vista introduced a lot of new tech that, like any software, needed to be tested in the real world to perfect later in 7. No software is complete of perfect on day 1. Windows 8 is incomplete, Blue will fix much of that but will still not be complete. No OS is ever complete.
2nd: Remember OS X 10.0? Circa 2001. Totally incomplete. It came with OS 9 for 5 full years until intel-supporting OS X 10.5. The same will probably happen with full Windows: the desktop will be deprecated further in the first 5 years and eventually be shed at around 10 years after the Win8 release. As Hal said, I would also expect RT to shed the desktop by Win9… the moment I get a file explorer and office, I have zero need for the desktop in my RT hybrid.
I also happen to work with a company that is in the process of bringing a radically new version of an existing product (in its 14th major version) to the market, primarily to move away from almost-legacy technologies, but also to “freshen” up the product. The new product needs to support most of the existing product’s functionality while at the same time introducing new functionality, but it takes time to re-engineer 8 years of existing work.
And THAT is why the first release of the new, re-branded product will NOT include everything that is on the product backlog/wish-list… our company just doesn’t have the time & resources to get everything done in the desired timeframe, so features have been prioritized and the most-important features get out the door first.
To Hal’s point, no product is ever 100% complete – people always want changes or new features, you just have to pick the appropriate delivery cycles.
All I know is as great as Modern metro Windows 8 is on tablets and smart phones it sure doesnt work well on my 24″ desktop monitor. And dividing it into 4 columns isnt going to help much. I am used to working with multiple apps with RESIZABLE screens. As I’ll bet millions of other users are.
Well, Modern is working beautifully in my 22″ desktop monitor. That doesn’t mean that I constantly touch my screen, but depending on my position at a given moment, sometimes it’s more convenient to use the keyboard, sometimes the mouse, and sometimes touch. I’m pretty happy about having 3 input methods, it’s made me quite faster in my interactions with the PC.
Absolutely agree, Hal. It’s a long, slow evolution, that in today’s world of absolutes and “everything will change in 6 months”, most people just don’t get.
Ok, now answer this: why in the world would one company release an unfinished (beta) product if they knew they would get all the critics?
Isn’t it better to ship something feature complete and let critics to their job than some incomplete experience? I know, It’s Microsoft. They’ve been doing this since 85.
You mean like Android 3.0? 3.1? 3.2? and even 4.0? It took until 4.1 for Android to be generally in good shape for tablets.
You can’t meet 100% of the needs of 100% of people in any release. What you do is choose a set of scenarios that you want to satisfy and target those. In subsequent releases you expand the scenarios supported and you polish up the existing scenarios as well. That is exactly what Microsoft did and is doing with Windows 8 and Windows Blue.
Exactly. Or like Mac OS X 10.0. And 10.1. And 10.2. And 10.3. And 10.4. And 10.5. And 10.6. And 10.7. And 10.8. And the upcoming 10.9.
Or the gmail which had been in beta for how many years? 😉
Let MS move and deprecate desktop, there are many open source alternatives to take its place. Let them accelerate the movement of yet more of its users away from their ecosystem..
I personally believe you are completely wrong in your analysis and that MS is going to rewrite desktop into a modern desktop, I’ve seen it already happening with blue where more is being xamlified but not start screen store app xamlified.
A modern desktop, modern shell, modern messaging and windowing system is all that is needed.. and there are many recent uncovered patents that show research in this field..
Its MS’s competitive edge, if it turns its back on it then chromeOS, Linux, OSX others will take it and users will love there desktops, and not MS’s.
Also look at Android with its icons and widgets, they are just metaphors of desktop, and they show massive acceptance from the consumer space…
If what you really mean is a move from Win32 then I would agree, but a move from desktop paradigm I flatly disagree..
Does Android support multiple variable size overlapping windows?
Does Android have a WIMP UI?
I just don’t see your point.
Microsoft will evolve Modern to cover much, perhaps eventually all, of the space currently served by the desktop. That doesn’t mean it will ever look or function exactly like the desktop of today, nor that it will run existing applications. It will be something else.
wrong and you missed the point completely !
yes, android does support these things. My galaxy s3 and the note range have them.
people like a desktop and people like widgets. an os that can provide all of these things and an intuitive interface will come out on top. choice and customisation is what people want. if everyone gets their way then you can please everyone all of the time (theoretically).
Android mimics a desktop and only Samsung provides a form of windowing (side by side). And given the popularity of iOS which doesn’t have Widgets your point is a bit mute. The thing I think most people want is a space where multiple applications can be used; reality is most people don’t multitask in the way tech enthusiasts do. And the things that you mark as Android strengths are all well and good but are also fairly niche use cases and not exclusive to Android
One thing that surprises me is that so many people find the idea of transitioning to a new paradigm difficult to understand. It’s not like Microsoft hasn’t already done this successfully at least once before when they transitioned from character mode interfaces (i.e. DOS) to windowed interfaces (i.e. Microsoft Windows).
As for the Desktop, need I remind everyone that you can still open a command prompt to run console applications even in Win8? On 32 bit versions of Win8 you can still run most DOS applications to varying degrees. I’m assuming that they’ll follow the same sort of gradual dismissal of the Desktop over many years.
The first few versions of Windows didn’t look much like Win7 just as I don’t expect the fourth or fifth generation of Modern Windows to look much like Win8. That didn’t make Windows 3 bad (in it’s day), just not as nice as Win7.
Scott Bussinger: ” need I remind everyone that you can still open a command prompt to run console applications even in Win8? On 32 bit versions of Win8 you can still run most DOS applications to varying degrees.”
Exactly. Note also that the OS command prompt applications far from being abandoned have become more and more powerful as the official demise of DOS becomes a distant memory. For the 1% who need and use these regularly this is glaringly obvious and makes the whole “MS is going to abandon the desktop” argument particularly ill-informed and foolish.
Most people who knock the OS are actually knocking the OS whilst typing on the keyboard of a PC running the very OS they are complaining about, moral of the story, some people just like to complain, LOL
I think that a lot of the confusion comes to what people perceive when they read the word “Desktop”. People understand different things with this term:
1) Not laptop or tablet, but a desktop computer. Will it disappear?
2) The desktop app in Windows 8, the tile you press to enter the familiar desktop environment, the desktop metaphor. Icons on the background, the recycling bin, and the taskbar. Will the desktop metaphor disappear and be replaced by the Modern UI paradigm?
3) The operating system ability to run desktop applications, all these millions of win32 applications that are so useful. Will Windows in the future be able to run these win32 applications? (We could run win32 applications before Windows 95, the first OS from Microsoft with the desktop metaphor. Remember Program Manager from Windows (NT) 3.x ?)
I think that the desktop metaphor will disappear (2), not the operating system’s ability to run win32 applications (3). Legacy applications might run inside a Modern UI shell in the next version of Windows. I do not think that the desktop computer (1) will disappear, but we may get more tabletop computers in the office of the future.
Maintaining compatibility with desktop apps without maintaining the desktop environment seems pretty tricky given that apps can open multiple windows and have basically unrestricted interactions with other app windows, the shell, etc. And what good would it do?
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Anybody who doesn’t understand “completion” releases hasn’t done much software development. Shipping is a feature, and sometimes you have to sacrifice features and quality perfection to ship.
One area where I vehemently disagree with Hal is the notion that Modern is a good name for apps that run on RT. It’s an awful name, because it disparages applications that run on the desktop and do about a million times more important things than any of these toy “modern” apps. Metro was a great name, because it denoted something new without disparaging the millions of applications that allowed Windows to dominate and have the money in the bank to develop Windows RT. Which leads me to the actual worst naming decision in the history of product naming – Windows RT. That choice of name for what is in large part a consumer product is beyond stupidity. With the exception of Surface, which been well marketed, the marketing around Windows 8 has been an unqualified disaster.
I don’t think Modern is a good name at all. It is just the name that most observers have settled on and I’m tired of saying Metro/Modern/Windows Store all the time 😦
I agree with you on the Windows RT name. I suspect Microsoft agrees as well and, frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them rename it at some point. Perhaps even dropping Windows from the name. I’m not predicting that happens, just saying that it wouldn’t surprise me.
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“But hey, the 5% of the overall user population who are in the “desktop is the future” camp would have been happy. Anyway, there was not a snowball’s chance in hell of that happening. Microsoft may want to provide a solution optimized for the 5% for years or decades to come, but that isn’t the future for the other 95%. The right answer for the 95% is to rapidly evolve Modern to meet their needs.”
Source? Where did you get these numbers? Windows 8 is having a slower adoption than Vista, Surface sales are abysmal, and (before you bring up the recession), competing products are selling like hotcakes.
This whole “the desktop has to die” thing is crazy, there’s a reason surface RT has a desktop with office on it. Metro just isn’t a good UI for doing any kind of serious work.
Microsoft either needs to massively improve metro for doing work, integrate metro and desktop properly (not this disjointed mess that pissed every non-metro fanboy off), or fully separate the two UIs.
Microsoft is rushing this (as obvious by the abysmal store, and i’m not talking about the apps) and it’s not going well.
You can only go “la la la la” for so long. Windows Blue doesn’t even have the necessary code for stuff like Start8 and ClassicShell. Microsoft is using the desktop as a “selling point”, while deprecating it as much as possible, and giving constant mixed information (the desktop is going to die so it’s deprecated / the desktop is for serious work).
What in the world is going on at Redmond? It’s like Microsoft got overrun by hipsters.
PC sales were in the toilet before Windows 8, and they wouldn’t have “recovered” had Microsoft focused on the desktop. That paradigm is in permanent decline, just like mainframes and minicomputers before it. Microsoft is trying to make a transition, and doing so smoothly is not at all easy. It never is.
As for the 5%…try adding together all the people employed to do things for which no suitable substitute for the WIMP user interface paradigm exists and taking that as a percentage of the number of devices in the world with screens of 5″ or more (in other words, everything other than smartphones). You end up with about 2 billion devices of which perhaps 100 million are used in environments where the “can’t do it without WIMP” argument applies. Software Developers, CAD/CAM designers, etc. This isn’t a statement of current preference, of which far more than 5% do like WIMP, it is a statement that differentiates the audience that has a strong argument for the continued investment in the desktop versus those who are or will make the transition to a new paradigm.
“PC sales were in the toilet before Windows 8, and they wouldn’t have “recovered” had Microsoft focused on the desktop”
You mean like what happened with Windows 7? Oh wait…
But seriously now, I have no problem with microsoft’s investment in metro. I have a problem with their specific current strategy regarding it. Out of every option I considered when it was first announced, they took the worst one. All the hate they got was completely unnecessary, but deserved.
The current strategy is essentially this:
We (microsoft) have this new product designed to compete in the smartphone/tablet market, which is quickly expanding and eating up computer sales (for people who use PCs for facebooking all day and angry birds).
Our competitors on that market (Google, Apple) are also slowly eating at the desktop, despite targeting only the bottom (Google) and top (Apple).
Our biggest leverage is the legacy we’ve built over all these years on windows. All the important applications run on windows. We need to somehow leverage this to increase out foothold in the smartphone/tablet market to which we are late (well, to be honest, we got there first, failed miserably on tablets, and we had a massive userbase on phones, but we forgot about it).
To gain that foothold, we need to convince developers to develop apps for the new metro environment. There’s the chicken and egg problem of having no marketshare, and needing apps to get marketshare.
Windows has a massive userbase, so we need to somehow take advantage of that.
We could make WinRT a new API for windows, allowing the development of new windows software that would run on anything since XP, giving developers an easy modern api for over 90% of the market that would also target our new Metro environment on tablets. We could make porting apps between tablet/phone metro as easy as drawing a new UI and we could also invest a lot into making awesome metro apps, to really show what it can do, and develop a new version of windows where metro and the desktop integrate perfectly, allowing for a smooth transition.
No, we’re instead going to introduce a new version of windows, one with just enough pointless changes to piss a bunch of tech heads off, force metro on people with no touch input devices so they get really annoyed and want to play $5 for a freaking start button (and therefore never have to see it again), get hate all across the internet, create a horrible store so people can’t find the few good windows 8 apps, create terribly bad metro apps to really show how much it sucks, have a totally different metro on windows phone then half-assedly rectify that by introducing a new windows phone that’s incompatible with the previous, pissing our few fans off, and then jam the desktop somehow in there so people buy it anyway, making sure to make settings and apps as separate as possibly while the environments are as interwined as possible, the worst of both worlds.
“We could make a new WinRT API for windows, allowing the development of new windows software”
I would say that this is exactly what Microsoft has done.
“that would run on anything since XP”
It would be too difficult, too demanding. XP’s extended support ends soon, and there is little reason to continue to use resources on XP. Maybe support for WinRT under Windows 7 could be a good thing, just to provide an incentive to develop WinRT applications.
“We could make porting apps between tablet / phone metro as easy as drawing a new UI”
As I understand it, this is the main goal of Windows Blue aka Windows 8.1. Rome was not built in a day.
“we could also invest a lot into making awesome metro apps, to really show what it can do”
Modern Office is in the pipeline, and I expect that the included Windows applications gets a major overhaul with the Blue wave. Modern Office will as it will be set the new standard for development of productivity applications on Windows.
“develop a new version of windows where metro and the desktop integrate perfectly, allowing for a smooth transition.”
I think this is what Microsoft has tried to accomplish with Windows 8. I think they could have done a better job, but I can not quite see what Microsoft could have done differently? It’s just hard to do.
Maybe the solution is to remove the desktop (the metaphor) while ensuring that Win32 applications continue to run. This can, as an example, be done by creating a Modern UI shell that can run win32 apps in tabs. Think Modern Internet Explorer and a tab for every win32 application you are running. No taskbar, no icons in the background, only one win32 application maximized in each tab. Applications can be started by selecting “new tab” and they can be pinned to Start. UI integration problem solved. 🙂
“Maybe the solution is to remove the desktop (the metaphor) while ensuring that Win32 applications continue to run. This can, as an example, be done by creating a Modern UI shell that can run win32 apps in tabs. Think Modern Internet Explorer and a tab for every win32 application you are running. No taskbar, no icons in the background, only one win32 application maximized in each tab. Applications can be started by selecting “new tab” and they can be pinned to Start. UI integration problem solved.”
Would have pissed even more people. It could work if it was a bit more like the current taskbar. Having, say, “pinned” tabs, and a “metro tab” in the top right corner that would appear as a snap view by default (hey! a start menu ba dum tss). Microsoft would probably have to support some kind of “window” mode for people using a mouse too though. Doing something like this would have “eased in” people a lot more.
Captain Hindsight is unfortunately always late for the job.
Why is it that Apple, despite being the King (or at least the Queen) of mobile, by all appearances is continuing to move its desktop paradigm forward, whilst Microsoft has, by all appearances, decided that they can stop innovating in the desktop space 10 years before the world is fully ready to move beyond it? Is Apple just stupid? Do they not see the writing on the wall? Or is it that despite the trends, they know the desktop is still important to a large segment of important people, such as *platform enthusiasts*?
WinRT and iOS are *NOT READY* for serious content creation, large-scale data analysis, etc., applications to be ported to them. Maybe by Windows 9, Windows RT will be ready. Believe me, we will be waiting. We are not interested in being pioneers on this platform. Remember, the pioneers take the arrows, and the settlers take the land. We will be settlers. We have no customers asking us to port our application to iPad or WinRT. We do have an iPad app, but it does 2% of what our desktop application (that runs on both Windows and Mac, by the way) does and we give it away.
At this point, I have to say I like Apple’s strategy a lot better than Microsoft’s: Continuing to move both the desktop and mobile platforms forward while moving them towards each other. You would think that the company that has the most to gain by the desktop hanging on as long as possible would have a strategy like that, but I’m not seeing it.
The desktop was also not ready when it came out, you could do so much more with DOS. Still, they had to start somewhere and then build from there. History is repeating itself, it’s expected and natural.
DOS was fully accessible from every windows till 98. And I mean FULLY, you could directly boot into it even. Heck, Progman was available and fully working in windows 95 and 98, you could also directly boot into it.
Can you see the difference? People chose the new while having all of the old available and working. You cannot avoid metro on windows 8 without extra software that will no longer work in blue.
Confidence vs Cowardice.
I still don’t see that much of a difference. The Desktop is fully accessible to you (going through the start screen for a second before heading to the Desktop hardly implies inaccessibility). As for the killer apps, yes, we’re not there yet but we’re heading there. Rome wasn’t built in one day, and I’d much rather MS take sufficient (but not too much) time in building a solid base than replicating the win32 mess. The metrofied versions of Office are coming with the Blue wave later this year (codename Gemini) and when you add that to the fact that my laptop is now a hybrid that I can use as tablet or laptop and its weight is imperceptible in my hand or bag, it’s well worth the growing pains… but that’s of course just my opinion.
The old windows desktop is not included in Windows 8. There’s a desktop there sure but tons of things are metrofied (ex. the new “networks” interface, the app selection interface, the hot corners, the charms bar, etc…), all the default apps are metro so they have to be changed, there’s no start menu so you have to use metro for that functionality. It’s totally not the same as my example above.
All unnecessary changes. Metro should just be metro, and the desktop should just be the desktop. Metro apps would run windowed on the desktop, and Win32 apps would run scaled and fullscreen in Metro.
This would have pissed off exactly 0 people, and made metro substantially more attractive to developers.
*Captain Hindsight strikes again*
Sure, the desktop looks different in a few places, but the functionality is the SAME, you’ve lost nothing in Win8. The hot corners are as useful as they have been for years in OS X and all the other metro features you mention don’t take any usability out of the desktop: it’s the same desktop you had before, with the same abilities, with some parts looking different (due to it being a transition from the old towards the new).
These are not unnecessary changes. They are compulsory. The desktop is dying, you can accept that now or 20 years from now, but it’s happening. Had MS kept the emphasis on the desktop, they wouldn’t have died tomorrow, but they would have suffered a progressively diminishing market share death throughout the years. People are buying less full computers because for %70 of people a tablet will do just fine and they got confused with Windows’ complexity anyway. Another %20 likes tablet functionality plus work features: that’s where the new hybrids fit perfectly (I myself bought an RT device instead of a new laptop, since it had Office so I could work while having all the audio/video/internet stuff I’d want for fun). You represent the final %10, those who need/want the desktop. I would argue that such a need will eventually fade away as metro gets more elaborate and useful. I hate to break it to you, but you barely matter. You’re in the minority. The world doesn’t need the complexity of the desktop metaphor: that doesn’t mean there’s not a sizeable market that indeed NEEDS it, but it’s the MINORITY. The great majority of people will be much better served by the simplicity of the new metro environment.
Don’t take my word for it. Watch it happen. In the last couple years, I’ve seen more tablets running businesses and giving people 50 years old and up all the functionality they need. This reality will only become more pronounced as tablets become ever more powerful.
You keep saying stuff like “the desktop is dying” forgetting it’s not at all DEAD. The great majority of people are better served by the simplicity of the iPad or Kindle Fire. Windows RT is dead on arrival.
The desktop is Windows 8’s “killer feature” on tablets, and yet microsoft messed it up enough that 2 chromebooks and a macbook are all outselling Windows 8 laptops on amazon. A while back (while they were on sale), the top included a PC running windows 7 and another running freedos. People chose freedos over windows 8. That’s how bad the reception has been.
Metro 8 has 0.12% of net stats, and Desktop 8 3,6%. 30x more! Metro RT doesn’t even register (I saw one with 0.02% or something like that)
You’re the minority.
You keep making the same mistake: you’re looking at the RIGHT NOW and not at what’s coming. Of course Win8 isn’t making waves right now. It will in the future if they keep iterating and building upon it correctly. I didn’t say the desktop is DEAD. I said the desktop is DYING. Don’t take my word for it, look at the market trends in the past few years: sales are going down, not up. People are using more and more tablets to get work done (some of my university students already write their essays in tablets and don’t even own a laptop anymore). Things are changing. I’m not making this up, I can see this in the younger generation that takes the classes I teach.
The desktop is not Windows 8’s killer feature. There’s no killer feature (which is a problem). Office Gemini will be the killer feature when it’s done later this year. The desktop is necessary NOW. People in the 80s used the exact same arguments about DOS that you’re using now about the desktop. History repeats itself. You keep telling me all these numbers and statistics about RIGHT NOW. That does not matter. It’s where we’re going to end up that matters. MS has already made a decision about the way forward: you can accept it and move forward with them or stop crying about it and move to a different platform (or stay entrenched in the past).
I don’t know why people get so offended: you ARE the minority in this transition, not right now, but you’re about to be really soon. There’s people who work on their PHONES now. Phones are the majority platform these days. Tablets are rising to that market size. The traditional PC is going to become a niche segment. You can stay there as long as you want, but don’t expect the world to go there with you. The world is moving on to lighter, simpler machines. You can join the transition or move to a different system, but the crying is getting annoying. Note that I wasn’t particularly happy about these changes either, but I saw the direction societies are going and decided to cut ties with the past and embrace the future we’re trying to achieve. There’s really no point in fighting it: simpler machines will benefit the majority and thus it’s an unstoppable evolutionary step. Resistance is futile.
I wonder how many families are like mine. We used to have 3 Windows desktop computers in our house. Daughter went to college 3 years ago with a Macbook Pro, so her Windows desktop went away. 18 months ago, I got my wife an iPad, and she can do everything she needs to do (e-mail, internet, games) on that. Her desktop is never powered up anymore and will not be replaced. Then there is my desktop, which I upgraded last year and put Windows 8 on. You will pry that desktop computer from my cold, dead hands. I also have a Surface RT and a Windows 8 phone. I only use the Surface RT when I’m traveling. I would much rather use my WP8 phone than the Surface when I’m not at my desktop. Surface is too slow and inconvenient for reading e-mail. The only thing I use Metro for on the Windows 8 desktop is Search (for applications and settings). Otherwise, it never leaves desktop mode. Why would it? There are no Metro apps that let me do something more easily or conveniently than the desktop apps that I use (iTunes, IE (web-based Outlook.com for e-mail), Quicken, camera interface, Excel, Word).
So my house is down from 3 desktop computers to 2 (one of which is a Mac laptop). Metro usage is nonexistent other than on the phone (the better Metro experience). My daughter has actually said she wishes she had a Windows laptop because of the better gaming. She has never said, “Can you just get me an iPad? I don’t need a real computer anymore.”
Where is the Metro version of iTunes? Quicken? My camera software? The camera integration in Metro is bloody awful.
Windows made people forget DOS because of killer apps like Excel. Where are the Metro killer apps? Why does Microsoft seem incapable of creating decent applications anymore?
It’s pretty disingenuous to counter claims that the product was not sufficiently cohesive or well enough designed with platitudes like “You can’t please 100% of the people 100% of the time.” and “Nothing is ever 100% complete.” Anna Karenina surely isn’t 100% perfect, but that doesn’t mean there’s no difference between it and some random high schooler’s homework essay.
And where’s the proof in the pudding? Surface and RT occupy so little of the market that forecasting articles don’t even mention their existence. Tablets and touch may or may not be “the future”, but Microsoft hasn’t demonstrated to the least measure of confidence that they will be a part of it.
We are witnessing the greatest technological regression since a long time, maybe ever. I get sick hearing from the pundits the claim that the forced touchiness is the same as the transition to GUI from CLI, utter garbage.
The new paradigm gives less functionality, is far harder to use (try to stretch your arms for a belonged time), needs far more maintenance (cleaning screens from fingerprints constantly), and is a health nightmare in the making (gorilla arm). Seriously, it inverts all the health cautionary warnings and recommendation for the office workplace. Then of course the loss of empowerment by the forced accompanying appstores, with no sensible sideloading function most of the time. It’s tech from hell!
I really wonder what’s going in the mind of these darn ABMers (anything but mouse) promoting this garbage as the future of all computing, consumer and work alike. BS. Were they bitten by mice in the ass when they were children or something, and we have to suffer because of their traumas? Even the Minority Report interface they are always wetting their pants about is garbage in reality. Watch that scene again – it looks cool, but every cop would prefer a desktop computer after two days of standing around and twisting your arm like a retard all time.
This is actually a great point. When you went from DOS to Windows, you lost nothing, because Windows was first and foremost a multi-tasker of DOS programs. Well, you lost some stability, but the ability to multitask was worth the lost stability. But it was really killer apps like Excel that made Windows. Excel was a better spreadsheet program than you could get on DOS. When is there going to be a Metro application that is genuinely better in every way than the desktop applications in of the same time? It sure as heck hasn’t happened yet.
We are moving from GUI to NUI, but it will take time. Good applications needs to be developed. 🙂
“try to stretch your arms for a belonged time”
When using a laptop with a touchscreen your arms can rest comfortably on the desk with one hand on each side of the screen. It is natural to bend the screen slightly further back than usual. Note that the commands and buttons are placed along the edges of the Modern UI so they are easy to reach. Try it!
Not a good picture, but it illustrates the point:
In the case of desktop computers, I think the solution is that these should be lying virtually flat on your desk if touch is the primary input method. That is a natural and comfortable position. Maybe someting like this:
“The new paradigm gives less functionality”
New touch optimized applications takes time to mature. Incorporating functionality in a good way takes a lot of time. Don’t worry, it will come… 🙂
I’m not against touch txabi, I have a Samsung Galaxy S and a Nexus 7. They serve me very well. So does my laptop and desktop. Believe it or not, All 4 serve different uses. Both you and microsoft don’t seem to get this.
I’m not against desktop. It’s what I predominantly use in Windows 8 on my desktop PC. I rarely ever do anything in metro in that machine. My RT device though, anything that’s not Office has already been supplanted by metro stuff, and it’s not worse at all, it’s equivalent. That’s not even 1 year after release, and that’s what I’m getting at: this stuff will only get better and more competitive. I think MS is hinting at a future where instead of all 4 of your devices, most people will be perfectly serviced by 2 or 3 maximum: phone, tablet and desktop, and they’ll all be able to run the same version of Windows.
I’m happy we disagree though! Makes for much more interesting debate. We’ll see who’s perspective ends up becoming true (if any!) 😀