Steven J. Vaughan Nichols: Windows 9 in 2015: Desperation isn't pretty
Yes, Windows 8's been a failure. It's been worse than Vista. But is the solution really to push out a new operating system in double-quick time?
Computerworld - Seriously, Microsoft? You want to get Windows 9 -- Windows freakin' 9 -- out in 2015?
I get that you want to distance yourself from the Windows 8.x train wreck. Who wouldn't? But by upgrading Windows on a consumer pace, aren't you taking a big chance that your enterprise customers will turn their backs on you? I mean, companies want desktop operating systems they can rely on for three to five years, not three to five seasons.
Let's start with some fundamentals. As Paul Thurrott, senior technical analyst for Windows IT Pro and the boss of Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows, put it, "Windows 8 is tanking harder than Microsoft is comfortable discussing in public." According to Thurrott, the free upgrade Windows 8.1, which offers major improvements over Windows 8, is installed on fewer than 25 million PCs. "That's a disaster," he wrote. Windows 9 (as it's expected to be designated; Threshold is the code name for now) "will need to strike a better balance between meeting the needs of over a billion traditional PC users" and enticing users to a Windows experience on new types of personal computing devices. "In short, it needs to be everything that Windows 8 is not."
That's not me, Mr. Linux, talking. That's a dyed-in-the-wool Windows expert and supporter speaking.
What Thurrott doesn't mention in that essay is how Microsoft is also facing serious competition on the desktop for the first time in decades. People love Chromebooks. Adding insult to injury, the two biggest PC OEMs, in the world, Lenovo and HP, are shipping Android-powered PCs, and AMD and Intel are supporting architectures that will let OEMs build dual Android/Windows systems.
That's four of what once were Microsoft's staunchest allies. The Intel move is especially significant. If you hadn't realized it before, you should know by now: Wintel is pushing up daisies; it's pining for the fjords; it's an ex-alliance.
And bringing out a new operating system will somehow change this? I understand that radical change is needed to get Microsoft back on track after the Windows 8 derailment, but I'm afraid the company is only going to further alienate its once locked-in customer base.
The company will be asking home users and CIOs to make yet another jump to yet another desktop experience in rapid succession. I don't think they're going to follow Microsoft again.
As it is, an alarming number are still hanging on to Windows XP or Windows 7 tooth and nail. When those folks do move, they seem more likely to move to smartphones, tablets or Chromebooks.
So what should Microsoft do? I think it should pull a page from its past. In 2008, Linux netbooks started carving into Windows' market share. Back then, Vista was the dead whale on the beach that no one wanted stinking up their offices. So the boys from Redmond brought XP back from the grave and gave it away to OEMs.
More by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols
- Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Bye, Nokia, nice knowing you
- Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Who should really worry about Apple/IBM? Microsoft
- Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Does HP have a development pipeline or a pipe dream?
- Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Give us the Windows 8 Start menu and no one will get hurt
- Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Windows 8.1 Update 1, now with less annoyance
- Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Here comes the black market for XP patches
- Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: What's the best smartphone? That's the wrong question.
- Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Office for iPad: Big deal, or big yawn?
- Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Who needs operating systems anymore? Not you.
- Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Windows 7 lives!
- Who does NSS Labs "Recommend" for NGFW? In 2012, NSS Labs found that most available NGFW solutions "fell short in performance and security effectiveness." In 2013 NSS Labs noted "marked...
- CIOs Deliver Productivity Breakthroughs with Intelligent Digital Signage Retailers have long recognized the influence that digital signage provides over a shopper's point-of-purchase decision making process.
- 9 Essentials for a Complete Cloud-to-Cloud Backup Solution In 9 Essentials for a Complete Cloud-to-Cloud Backup Solution, we'll walk you through potential sources of data loss in the cloud and provide...
- Workload Change: The 70 Percent of Your Business DevOps Forgot Adding WLA early in the development process ensures that the benefits of DevOps accrue for all applications, including your batch services. This paper...
- Top 4 Digital Signage Fails Join RMG Networks for a look at four of the most common reasons digital signage fails in corporate businesses. Learn about strategies to...
- Protecting Critical SaaS Data Before It's Too Late In this webinar, you'll hear how to avoid SaaS data loss through best practices from a panel of experts. All Operating Systems White Papers | Webcasts