Windows Blue can't fix Windows 8's rotten apps problem

Windows Blue may clean up some of Windows 8's rough edges, but it won't fix one of Windows 8's core problems: The apps it ships with are rotten.

Michael Cherry, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, pulled no punches when he was asked by Computerworld whether Windows Blue would help Windows 8. Here's what he said:

"Windows 8 sucks because Windows 8 apps suck. And there's nothing in all these rumors of Windows Blue or Windows 8.1 that tells me that apps will be easier to write or that will result in better apps."

He added:

"Everyone's obsessed with the look of the thing. What do I care about a Start button in Windows 8 if I spend all my time on the desktop? It's the lack of good applications [that's hurting Windows]. And from what I can tell, developers aren't going to get anything from Blue. I don't see anything about apps getting better."

Cherry is right. And the problems start with the apps that Microsoft ships with Windows 8. They're underpowered, and are more like lightweight tablet apps than full-blown apps designed to run on powerful computers. The Mail app, for example, isn't as good as Outlook, Gmail, or Microsoft's Outlook.com Web-based mail service. The SkyDrive app isn't as good as the SkyDrive Web istse itself. Even the Windows 8-designed version of Internet Explorer is far inferior to the Desktop version -- it does a truly horrendous job of handling bookmarked sites, forcing you to put them individually on the Start screen, meaning you'll litter the screen with them, making an unholy mess.

Cherry says of the apps that ship with Windows 8:

"If that's the best Microsoft can do, if that's what they come up with, with their resources, it's no surprise that there's not a [third-party] app worth a darn."

That's a bit of overkill, because there are some very nice free Windows 8 apps -- I pick out ten of my favorite free ones in 10 nifty Windows 8 apps -- all free.

Still, the numbers tell the story as well, approximately 50,000 Windows 8 apps versus Apple App Store's 775,000 apps and the Google Play Store's 800,000.

So while it's true that Windows Blue will make Windows 8 a better operating system in some ways, until Microsoft solves the rotten apps issue, it will still have a long way to go to solve Windows 8's problems.

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