Five reasons Windows 8 could be a big hit

Windows 8 could be the biggest gamble that Microsoft has ever taken. But even though many people have said that gamble looks like a bad one, there's certainly a chance that it will pay off. Here are five reasons that Windows 8 could be a big hit.

People will get used to it, just like they did to Windows itself

As a general rule, when it comes to using computers, people don't embrace change, and Windows 8 represents a major change from previous Windows versioons. But another general rule is that people end up getting used to new ways of using computers, and it could well be that will happen with Windows 8.

When Windows 3, the first mass-market version of Windows, was first introduced, plenty of people grumbled about it. They hated the operating system's wasteful graphical frou-fraws. They complained that -- gasp! -- it actually required the use of a mouse. Typing incomprehensible instructions at the command line was the best way for people to use real computers to get real work done...who needs icons and pictures?

We knew how that turned out. Microsoft was right on target and Windows became the worldwide dominant operating system.

Those who are younger like it...and they're the future

A New York Times article about many people not liking Windows 8 did note that younger people might well favor it over earlier Windows versions. The article said:

Younger users may be more likely to embrace the new approach. Joanna Lin, 23, who works in sales and marketing for a hotel chain in New York, said she was impressed with the software. "The feeling was very fluid," said Ms. Lin, who was the most enthusiastic of five people that The New York Times asked to briefly try Windows 8 last week. "Definitely a step up from Windows 7."

If younger people do favor Windows 8, that will help Microsoft tremendously, because they're the future.

It's better than Windows 7

There are plenty of things Windows 8 does better than Windows 7, or that Windows 7 simply can't do. Live tiles constantly pipe in changing information, such as social media updates and incoming email, without users having to do anything. The Windows 8 People app is especially useful for people who use multiple social media tools. And overall, Windows 8 is faster and more responsive than Windows 7. All that counts for a lot.

It will jump-start Windows Phone 8

Windows Phone is a very good operating system, and from what I've been able to glean, Windows Phone 8 will improve on it. One of mobile's greatest secrets is just how good Windows Phone is, and how it in some ways beats both the iPhone and Android, notably in the way live tiles deliver constantly changing information.

Its problem is that it's thoroughly different from the app-centric iOS and Android phone interfaces, and people aren't used to its interface. Anyone who uses Windows 8 on a traditional PC will immediately know how to use Windows Phone 8, though, so the new OS could finally give Windows 8 the chance it needs .

It will help tablet sales

PCs are not the future; tablets and hybrid devices are. A tablet-centric operating system like Windows 8 is better positioned for the future than a keyboard-and-mouse one. That means that Windows 8 can help make Microsoft better eat into the tablet market.

And because Windows 8 is designed for a touch-based interface, expect an increasing number of traditional computers sport touch interfaces as well. That will be a market that Microsoft has to itself.

Will all of this come to pass? I'm not convinced, but it's certainly a possibility. And whatever else you can say about Microsoft and Windows 8, it shows that the company is willing to take a big gamble, something it had previously been averse to.

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