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Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: The shocker that wasn't: Intel CEO disses Windows 8

Intel, as in Wintel, says Windows 8 won't be ready when it ships. But since when did anyone believe Windows 8 would ever be ready to ship?

October 9, 2012 08:46 AM ET

Computerworld - It's been reported -- and Intel isn't denying it -- that Intel CEO Paul Otellini told his Taiwanese staff that Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system is being released before it's fully ready. This is shocking only in that it suggests that there were people who thought otherwise.

Yes, it is somewhat shocking that Intel is talking smack about its biggest partner, though Otellini softened the blow by adding that he was sure Microsoft would patch Windows 8 up to acceptable levels after its release. But then you consider how Microsoft has been treating all its hardware partners lately.

Surface, the tablet that Microsoft is manufacturing and selling itself, is a slap in the face to all of its Windows 8 and RT tablet partners. Phone makers were thrown under the bus when Microsoft announced that no current phone hardware would support Windows Phone 8. As for Intel, it's got to be annoyed that Microsoft is now supporting Windows on ARM processors.

But Otellini's assessment itself isn't shocking. Even if every bit and byte in Windows 8 were rock solid, who outside of Windows fanatics -- the ones who probably have Microsoft stock in their 401(k) plans -- really wants Windows 8 in his office?

If you haven't already, take a long, hard look at Windows 8. You can do it; even if you don't have a Microsoft Developer Network or TechNet membership, the Windows 8 RTM code is free for anyone to try. It runs quite nicely in Oracle VirtualBox or VMware Workstation, so you don't even need to dedicate a PC to it.

You'll find that the interface formerly known as Metro is a disaster on the desktop. Your office PCs probably have nice, big screens, but they can hold only one Metro application. It's a tremendous waste of space. Do you usually open applications via the Start button? Well, guess what -- it doesn't exist in Windows 8. Everything that everyone on your staff ever knew about how to use Windows is gone.

Windows 8 is not a Windows upgrade. This is not a misstep like Vista, to be followed by a real step forward, as happened with Windows 7. This is a giant leap into the dark.

Microsoft, of course, is insisting that Windows 8 is the best thing since sliced bread, but there's a lot of yeast in that hype. For example, Windows 8 was supposed to be the most secure Windows ever. What's this, though? Windows 8's Internet Explorer 10 had an enormous Adobe Flash security hole before it was even officially shipping, and Microsoft took its own sweet time about admitting to the problem and patching it.



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