Why Windows 8 Fails

So here we are a few months after Windows 8 has officially hit the market, so I thought I’d throw out some thoughts on it, and explain why I think it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.  For starters, the biggest problem with it is the same problem Microsoft has had since Windows 1.0.  They make the software, but not the hardware.  That’s where the problem is, at least from an OS standpoint.  The entire function of an operating system is to manage the resources of the machine, so how can you effectively create a program designed to manage hardware when you never really get to see the hardware, and not only that, in the end, the software will run on an endless combination of hardware components.  Example: Windows 8 was created to usher in the multi-touch gestures ala phones and tablets, but not all the hardware out there will meet the requirements for multi-touch gestures.  So, a 2 year old Lenovo with a touch pad made by some  third party manufacturer Lenovo hired to supply touch pads had no clue what the requirements of Windows 8 would be, hence, unless you’re ready to buy a whole new system, there’s no point in investing in Windows 8 because 2 year old hardware is out of date already.   Therefore, Microsoft is forced to try and pound square pegs into round holes all over the place, and it shows.  Steve Jobs saw this 30 years ago, and Apple always remained proprietary with their hardware for just this very reason.  Knowing what hardware is in the machine makes it way easier to write software that’s efficient, effective, and common across all platforms.  Honestly, you have to hand it to Microsoft for doing as well as they have with Windows despite this drawback, so I’m not bashing Microsoft here, I’m actually complimenting them on how well they’ve done despite their handicap.

If Microsoft was smart (which, pretty much they’re not), the time to break from “pc compatibility” is now.  What they should do is come out with a special version of Windows that runs solely on Microsoft hardware, and no others.  This would put them on an even playing field with Apple and give them the freedom to develop something that can compete with OS-X on a equal playing field.  They could even continue a “vanilla” version of Windows that runs on “pc” hardware, yet, at the same time, have a high-end, elite product that they could work to “steal” the market from, well.. themselves.  The currently have about 80 percent of the market, but with the pc market growing at about 1 percent per year, and Macs growing at close to 30 percent per year, if they don’t do something, they’ll find after a few years Apple will be more than just a foot note with a much larger… perhaps even a majority of the pc OS market.

So, now that someone else (Steve Jobs), pointed out the way with sand-boxed applications sold in a curated marketplace… Microsoft wants to bring that same idea to Windows.  This is a good thing because curated markets and sand-boxed environments mean better software that crashes less, and does what it advertises.  Apple has already brought the App Store to the Mac, and in the long run will be the best place for most consumer based software to be brought to market.  They can’t be closed, like the iPhone, but instead present a “best bet” place for the non-techie to shop for software.  So here comes Windows 8 with it’s phone/tablet interface stapled onto Windows 7 (that’s all it is really), and poorly done at that.  At the end of the day, a pc is a pc, and shouldn’t be forced to be a phone or a tablet.  It’s a move backwards.  Apple did a much better job with “Mission Control” than Windows did with the “Metro” interface.  So, when you combine the fact that Windows can’t make an effective OS having to cater to a million and one hardware configurations combined with being strong armed into phone/tablet style applications, Windows 8, IMHO, just simply fails.

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By John