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Is Windows 8 Microsoft's Riskiest Bet?

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the sometimes-you've-gotta-roll-the-hard-8 dept.

Microsoft 362

Microsoft has rolled out many new products and many revisions of old products over the past couple of decades. The releases haven't always gone well, as in the case of Windows Vista, but Redmond has managed to ride out the rough patches. However, Windows 8 is an even more dramatic revamp of one of Microsoft's top products than Vista was. At the same time, they're piling their tablet hopes onto Windows 8 as well. Does this make it Microsoft's riskiest bet ever? "Thus the problem facing Microsoft: How to convince Windows users to rush out and buy an upgrade of a perfectly good (and relatively new, at least by Windows standards) operating system? Compounding the issue is the new Windows 8 design, with a Start screen that discards the traditional desktop interface in favor of a bunch of colorful tiles linked to applications. That revamp is supposed to make Windows 8 more touch-screen friendly, and thus optimized for tablet use; but it could turn off consumers who don’t like change, not to mention businesses that shudder at the idea of retraining their workers in new ways of doing things. ... if Surface and the other Windows 8 tablets fail to make an impact on the market, then Microsoft will have lost a major chance at seizing the new paradigm, which is centered on mobility and the cloud. Meanwhile, that same paradigm shift is drifting the center of peoples’ computing lives from desktops and laptops to smartphones and tablets—which puts Windows’ traditional center of strength at long-term risk.

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It's Not A Bet... (5, Funny)

ilikenwf (1139495) | about 2 years ago | (#41028801)

It's suicide.

Re:It's Not A Bet... (1, Funny)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | about 2 years ago | (#41028919)

No [wikipedia.org] and please, fucking start adding the definite fucking article before the fuckingest superlatives.

Re:It's Not A Bet... (5, Interesting)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 2 years ago | (#41029063)

Actually, according to Ballmer, the answer is yes:

Pescatore asked Ballmer what he considered to be Microsoft's "riskiest product bet."

... Ballmer's answer? "The next version of Windows."

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/microsoft/ballmer-riskiest-product-bet-by-microsoft-is-the-next-release-of-windows/7786 [zdnet.com]

Re:It's Not A Bet... (2, Funny)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | about 2 years ago | (#41029319)

Windows 8 can't hold a candle to Ballmer himself (as a CEO).

Re:It's Not A Bet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41029079)

You're [I think] trying to educate him on his composition. I've read your post three time, and I still can't figure out what the hell you're trying to tell him.

His post is pretty clear, though.

Re:It's Not A Bet... (0)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | about 2 years ago | (#41029279)

I still can't figure out what the hell you're trying to tell him.

Whatever.

Re:It's Not A Bet... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41029433)

Whatever.

The stock answer of 12 yo girls the world over who can't come up with anything resembling a coherent response.

Re:It's Not A Bet... (-1, Flamebait)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | about 2 years ago | (#41029549)

Whatever. Jerk.

Re:It's Not A Bet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41029609)

Whatever. Jerk.

The stock answer of 13 yo girls the world over who can't come up with anything resembling a coherent response.

Re:It's Not A Bet... (0)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | about 2 years ago | (#41029655)

Dude, you need to chill.

Re:It's Not A Bet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41029113)

It's a fucking suicide.

Re:It's Not A Bet... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41029249)

Hand in your grammar-nazi card, you fail.

Re:It's Not A Bet... (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | about 2 years ago | (#41028927)

If you think a lot about it, you'll discover that there is some chance Windows 8 actualy has the effect MS is hoping for.

I mean, the chance is non-zero. It can be estimated. It's even bigger than the chance of the air living the entire MS headquarters at random, and suffocating everybody there. It is also bigger than the chance of the entire planet deciding it wants to decay into iron at once and blowing.

Re:It's Not A Bet... (2)

Tough Love (215404) | about 2 years ago | (#41029537)

even bigger than the chance of the air living the entire MS headquarters at random, and suffocating everybody there

Didn't that already happen about ten years ago? [yahoo.com]

Re:It's Not A Bet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41028929)

I'm buying it

Re:It's Not A Bet... (1)

Linktwo (2653953) | about 2 years ago | (#41028969)

It's suicide.

You sir. Nailed it! they are throwing themselves off the office building and down to kinder garden.

Re:It's Not A Bet... (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#41029259)

Having used Windows 8 preview for a while. I actually quite like it, I do have a multi-touch display on my laptop so works quite well. Comparing it to Windows 7. It made it from a Laptop that just happened to have a touch screen, to a high performance tablet (Core I7 Sandy Bridge 8 gigs of ram), that runs standard PC applications.

Should you go out and buy Windows 8 to upgrade your old desktop? No Windows 8 isn't for you, you are better off with Windows 7 (or XP if your system is really old)

When you get a new PC (Probably a Laptop) you may want to consider an UltraBook or a convertible Tablet, or even a full tablet, then Windows 8 is actually very nice.

For me, I was thinking of an iPad, but decided to go with a convertible Laptop because I was willing to loose some portability, and be able to normal PC stuff. It came with Windows 7. It worked, it has some third party tablet software... But it ran like garbage. Then I put windows 8 on it, it Ran very nice, and I can use it as both as a PC and a Tablet interchangeably.

The biggest thing.... The Start Button is gone and went full screen... It really isn't that big of a deal. In some ways it is better because you have full screen to do your searches.

Re:It's Not A Bet... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41029299)

Yeah, no.

Microsoft survived Windows ME.

Microsoft will survive Windows Metro. Or Windows Me, for short.

Granted, it's going to do a lot of damage on the way down. Good news for Apple. And I guess the three people out there who run Linux on the desktop. But it's not going to cause any sort of fatal wounding.

Re:It's Not A Bet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41029369)

Why? They still sell 7 and XP and office and xbox and a zillion other things that make money.

Here is a newsflash to all of you out there saying 'this will kill the company'. It will not. 2 years from now when we are talking about windows 8.1 (aka windows 9) everyone will be raving about it... It will be a *minor* tweak on 8 yet will somehow be magically better. Like win7 is nearly exactly the same as vista. But just better polished built in software (they fixed the slow stuff and called it a new version when it should have been a service pack).

Oh and they will sell millions of copies. They will probably sell in the first month probably more than the entire install base of Macs.

Fail? No. Not as successful as windows 7 and xp? Yes.

Me personally I am giving it a skip (unless I happen to buy a computer with it on it). I did not like what I see. But I have skipped many versions of windows before this and they still make them.

Re:It's Not A Bet... (3, Interesting)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#41029387)

No, it's not suicide.

If this was 10 years ago, then yes, probably suicide. The Windows ecosystem is so big, and so entrenched with 'new' computers being sold with 2 year old parts in them (not used, just parts fabbed 2 years) as great buys that a single iteration of windows being a clusterfuck isn't the end of the world, because people will still buy the old version, with hardware suited to the old version.

That gives them a chance to change direction after people have had windows 8 for a few months and the torrent of negative feedback ends up as a pie in ballmers face. And then they can change direction to: consistent design. It's not that any of the interfaces in Windows 8 are bad, it's that there are more than one, and things inconsistently shift between them. That's a fundamental design problem on microsofts part, and they'll have to pick something and go with it.

It probably is, correctly guessed, the biggest bet MS has taken so far. They know that the feedback has been by and large negative, and that it's horrible to use, microsoft employees must have parents and putting windows 8 on one of their computers risks getting you disowned it's that bad. But they're releasing it anyway, and it's hugely expensive to make an operating system like Windows 8, so that's certainly risky, and it's risky because they're banking on their ability to not fuck up windows 9, whatever that will be, even if (and likely when) windows 8 is a disaster.

It certainly won't be the biggest bet MS ever takes, but to this point I could be reasonably persuaded it is the riskiest bet they made. All of the other major revisions they've made have been into different market conditions or as a much smaller company.

Re:It's Not A Bet... (5, Interesting)

Locutus (9039) | about 2 years ago | (#41029451)

it is so far looking like an attempted suicide and all because someone thinks all their products must run the same UI. And it's a phone UI tuned to work on tablets forced down to all users of their desktop devices. As we've seen the iPod->Touch->iPhone-iPad migration while Apple has left the MacOS as a different product at the UI level. We've seen Android on phones to TVs, infotainment systems and tablets without any push to desktop systems. But along comes Microsoft with a migration from Windows Mobile to Windows Phone and it's Metro UI( yes it's easier to define it as Metro because they have for 2 years on the phone ) based on Windows CE and a port of Windows 7 to ARM with the Metro UI on it for phones and tablets while at the same time forcing desktop users to endure the Metro UI also. that is just nuts. But I can see that with the failiure of Windows Phone 7 to gain any market share and even the loss of their market share held with Windows Mobile, Windows 8 not only would have not apps but be the same as Windows Phone 7 but different only under the hood. Developers developers developers as Monkey Boy once danced is once again their bet. Because they are forcing desktop developers to make Metro apps for teh desktop and by default they can be listed as developers for tablets and phones. Not to unlike how they killed off PenOS by Go Inc by marketing how many developers they have on the platform(Pen for Windows) when it was mostly smoke and mirrors.

They are attempting suicide but they still know that for OEMs to dump Windows, the OEM would have to create either new partnerships with something new to the desktop in the scale of Windows shipments or create their own software org to tune something like a GNU/Linux version to be desktop ready. Much like how Corel once did that with Corel Linux.

I do think they will be pushing many many many of their customers to the Mac. Their OEMs will shrink as sales of new systems fall and Microsoft will spend billions subsidizing their own hardware products in attempts to gain a market share in the double digits. It'll be suicide by one thousand cuts and a slow death unless they give the desktop back a familiar UI and quick like. IMO.

LoB

Thanks again Obama! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41028893)

Windows 8...another thing to add to the long list of Obama's failures...

Re:Thanks again Obama! (1)

Githaron (2462596) | about 2 years ago | (#41028983)

While I don't like Obama, I do not see how Obama has anything to do with this.

Re:Thanks again Obama! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41029017)

Wow. You are a hoot! And, it's even Friday. You need more funny.

Re:Thanks again Obama! (1)

Ziggitz (2637281) | about 2 years ago | (#41029053)

It's (I'm hoping) a joke.

Re:Thanks again Obama! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41029133)

LOL of course it is... you can tell by how confused the republican is.

Re:Thanks again Obama! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41029229)

That's because you are liberally biased. Spend five minutes watching a *real* news channel such as Fox News and you will see how Obama has destroyed this country. But of course you being a liberal, "facts" and "truth" don't come into play.

Re:Thanks again Obama! (5, Funny)

bwintx (813768) | about 2 years ago | (#41029325)

"*real news channel"
"such as Fox News"

> WHOOSH not detected
> does not compute
> humor fail
> end program

Re:Thanks again Obama! (4, Funny)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#41029455)

Pink Floyd said it best: "Oh, how I woooooosh you were, hear?"

Re:Thanks again Obama! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41029293)

Well, the republicans let it pass. So it was all their fault!

Re:Thanks again Obama! (1)

EnsilZah (575600) | about 2 years ago | (#41029585)

Plans to begin working on Windows 8 were drafted before Obama was even elected, clearly George Bush The Lesser is at fault here.

Well is relative (4, Insightful)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 2 years ago | (#41028897)

The releases haven't always gone well, as in the case of Windows Vista, but Redmond has managed to ride out the rough patches.

It's worth noting that Windows Vista still to this day has an install base of 12% of computers, more than every version of Mac OS combined. It was still gaining market share until October 2009, a little after Windows 7 was released. Although it wasn't gaining traction as fast as MS would have liked, they sold hundreds of millions of copies thanks to the fact that it's the defacto install on all new machines, and the same will be true for Windows 8.

Even a botched release for Microsoft by all accounts is considered a good day.

Re:Well is relative (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#41029075)

Vista was different. There was no heir apparent. Now there are two. That may be difference enough.

Re:Well is relative (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41029083)

This was partially (personally I think mostly) because they used their still active monopoly power to force all new computers to ship with Vista. You had to know what you were doing and go far out of your way to not get a new PC without Vista at the time.

Re:Well is relative (5, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#41029091)

I recall the angst surrounding Windows 95. Pretty much everybody had the same idea - it's the end of Microsoft as we know it. On top of that, the world was ending, Carter was a failure, the Russians were winning and we're all gonna die.

Nothing to see here, move along.

Re:Well is relative (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about 2 years ago | (#41029195)

Indeed, the Win95 interface was a massive change. However, it pretty quickly showed that it was superior to the old 3.1 design.

You can call both that and Metro, ahem sorry 'Modern', risks, but risking something with a better product is a far better 'risk' than forcing something from/for tiny screens on to the desktop, simply because 'you want to'.

When my 'screen' is embedded in my desk, touch will make *some* sense. But when it's sitting out at arms length? Sorry, keyboards and mice are still the single best way to interact with any kind of efficiency.

Re:Well is relative (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 2 years ago | (#41029425)

but risking something with a better product is a far better 'risk' than forcing something from/for tiny screens on to the desktop, simply because 'you want to'.

You're still free to use the familiar desktop. You're still free to use mouse, keyboard, or trackpad and all the available gestures and shortcuts in a metro application. Anyone who develops a metro application is as free as they want to make the UI as mouse or tablet friendly as they care to. You're still even free to install any shell or launcher you want, even those that replicate the functionality of the start menu.

Re:Well is relative (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about 2 years ago | (#41029705)

Keyboards AND Mice are certainly not the SINGLE best way to interact. Keyboards are one way, mice are a second way. Having a third way to interact does not mean you have to give up the first two. We have found that there are some tasks that work better with the keyboard than the mouse, and others that work better with the mouse than the keyboard. There are other tasks that will work better with a touch interface. I am not sold on Metro, but touch screens on the desktop have already taken too long to get here. We will all be happier when touch is an expected feature of a monitor.

Re:Well is relative (1)

Ziggitz (2637281) | about 2 years ago | (#41029109)

That and the fact that a lot of games that came out shortly after Vista required DirectX 10, which XP did not support, that's the only reason I even bothered using my free student copy.

Re:Well is relative (0)

wfolta (603698) | about 2 years ago | (#41029641)

Three issues with your "Vista is installed on more machines than all versions of MacOS combined" idea:

1. Are you counting iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod), which is substantially based on MacOS? Which is probably the reason MS is going with its Windows 8 strategy.

2. I'd guess that the vast majority of these Vista installs were what business machines shipped with. The consumer market is different, and its growth is also something that's driving MS's Windows 8 strategy.

3. MS' profit margin is pretty high, but if you look at the smart phone and tablet markets, Apple is making most of the profits, and its laptops have pretty much captured the most profitable segment of the traditional OS market. So installed base isn't really a good measure of impact.

Maybe a calculated risk. (5, Insightful)

fragfoo (2018548) | about 2 years ago | (#41028905)

I think it is an educated risk, Windows 7 is well done and robust, and still has a future, much like XP lived all those years. So they are throwing Win 8 to see what happens.

Re:Maybe a calculated risk. (0)

marcosdumay (620877) | about 2 years ago | (#41029125)

Windows 7 is well done and robust, and still has a future

Won't MS just kill Windows 7 once they release Windows 8, like they did every other release?

Re:Maybe a calculated risk. (4, Insightful)

Tridus (79566) | about 2 years ago | (#41029165)

You mean like they killed XP?

Windows 8 has no traction with their corporate users. 7 isn't going anywhere.

"Bet the company." BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41028907)

Microsoft says that about everything and for some reason the press and sites like Slashdot breathlessly repeat it on demand every time. How many times can a company "bet itself" on every product, particularly when it is one for which they already own over 90% of the market? Even Windows Vista (which Microsoft "bet the company" [google.com] on almost a decade ago) still made huge amounts of money for Microsoft despite being widely ridiculed as a total disaster.

Yep (4, Insightful)

Tridus (79566) | about 2 years ago | (#41028943)

It's risky as hell. Not for their PC business, really. Home users will get it because it's what comes on a PC. Corporate users will ignore it just like they ignored Vista.

The real danger is that by changing so much in the desktop version, users will get confused and annoyed. That kind of reaction taints an entire brand, exactly like how "Vista" became a four-letter word in the PC industry. Nobody wanted to touch it. If Windows 8 has a negative reaction among users due to how much they screwed up the UI formerly known as Metro, that won't stay contained.

It'll spread to the tablets and phones too. People will see a Windows tablet and immediately think of their last, negative experience with their home PC. Then they'll go buy an iPad.

That's the real danger. This might be a great tablet OS. But it's a shitty desktop OS, and you won't get people buying Windows tablets if they hate the Windows desktop.

Re:Yep (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#41029073)

Maybe every other version of MS isn't as good because it's for home users, effectively being a cash cow testing bed for corporations.

Shit, I think I may be right.

Re:Yep (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41029171)

Not unless the OEMs offer Win 7 downgrade rights.

Re:Yep (1)

NettiWelho (1147351) | about 2 years ago | (#41029181)

Well, it does give a fine chance for microsoft to sell downgrade licenses to W7. Only 499!

Re:Yep (3, Insightful)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 2 years ago | (#41029185)

That's the real danger. This might be a great tablet OS. But it's a shitty desktop OS, and you won't get people buying Windows tablets if they hate the Windows desktop.

That's the risk, sure, but Microsoft is betting the opposite will happen. People aren't buying new desktops as often as they used to, and not many people upgrade Windows. They're banking on the fact that most people will be exposed to Windows 8 for the first time on a tablet, and they will enjoy the experience. At the rate Apple is selling tablets compared to how laptops and desktops are doing, this might not be a wild bet.

Then when they upgrade their laptop or desktop, metro will be something familiar. There is nothing inherently bad about metro for the majority of home users. It's simple to use, easy to install and find apps, easy to manage settings, secure through using the store and built in AV, compatible with peripherals, and connecting and manage many accounts (email, calendar, facebook, twitter) is baked into the OS, etc. It's really a consumer friendly OS, which is really the problem Slashdot has with it. Because it's not by default catering to the power user, it is automatically dismissed here (although this stance I still don't understand since it's capable of everything Windows 7 was).

They've done it before (2)

wfolta (603698) | about 2 years ago | (#41029441)

They've done this before, except the other direction. For years, MS insisted that phones and tablets should run Windows that worked almost exactly like a desktop version (with a pen), because: 1) Windows Everywhere!, and 2) people lived and died on MS apps, and they want the apps to work the same everywhere.

Compare to WIndows 8, where they're strongly suggesting (I say "strongly suggesting" because there is some backwards compatibility) the converse: desktops should run Windows 8 that works just like phones and tablets.

I like the idea of Windows 8, and the guts to take a risk. But I think Apple has the better strategy of having a common code base (OS X/iOS) and different but intelligently-converging UI's for laptops and handhelds. So Apple's established a tick-tock kind of rhythm of moving each UI forward, but also pushing developments between them. Things like moving more multi-touch gestures to their (larger) trackpads on their laptops, etc.

I guess Ballmer delegated the design of the Windows 8 UI to the right people, but also demanded MS's historic Windows Everywhere attitude.

Re:Yep (1)

avandesande (143899) | about 2 years ago | (#41029515)

I don't think so- MS didn't want to delay windows 8 and include 'windows 8 desktop' so they released it as is... windows 9 will have 'windows 8 desktop'
They get to sell the same thing twice.

Re:Yep (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 2 years ago | (#41029613)

If Windows 8 has a negative reaction among users due to how much they screwed up the UI formerly known as Metro, that won't stay contained.

That's a good point, but there is something else to think about too. There's a whole bastion of dumb computer users out there. The average /. user isn't a dumb user, well mostly. The majority of us were here when CLI was the only game in town(some were here back in the punch card days), and we had to load programs the old fashioned way, we had to use cfg files, batch files, and get down into the gritty goodness. And heck, some of us still do in our 'nix and bsd boxes.

Those dumb users though? You know, the ones that want simple. Yeah them...this is right up their alley. And unlike us, they're the majority. We're gonna hate it, I hate it with a passion. What MS should have done was include two UI's, a classic shell, and the metro shell. Everyone would have been happy, and I bet there would have been widespread adoption as well.

Well I'm off to grab my MSDN copy, and beat my head against a wall. So, if you hear blood curdling screaming from somewhere in Southern Ontario that shatters windows. That's probably me.

Other examples (4, Interesting)

ichthus (72442) | about 2 years ago | (#41028971)

Was New Coke risky?
Was Gnome 3 risky?
Was the American version of Iron Chef risky?
Was a sequel to The Matrix risky? (Actually, it shouldn't have been, but...)

We'll see how well this plays out.

Re:Other examples (3, Insightful)

medv4380 (1604309) | about 2 years ago | (#41029277)

No, Coke makes lots of money off of other things, and always had the chance to go back if it failed.

No, do they even have a lot of money tied up in Gnome 3?
No more or less than any other random show. Also pretty cheep to pull off.
Yes, and the 3rd movie didn't make its money back with the domestic box office thankfully killed the franchise and sparing us a 4th and 5th, or do you think they would have stopped at 3 no matter what?

Is Windows 8 risky? Yes, because if it fails it could stop the Office Upgrade Cycle that fuels all of the other losses that they incur. Without Office and Windows revenue they couldn't afford the 360 or the other random acquisitions that killed their profits over the last year. A few years of deep red could kill confidence in the Almighty MS and that would be the worst thing that could happen to them.

Here's where I see it (2)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 2 years ago | (#41028975)

Like Vista, enterprises will wait. Heck some of them are now deploying Win 7. Win 8 does not offer a lot of enterprise features. For consumers, OEMs will offer Win 7 downgrade rights for desktops and non-touchscreen laptops. I'm sure they are pissed enough about MS competing against them with Surface. MS will count all downgrades as Win 8 installs to inflate their numbers.

Re:Here's where I see it (1)

flirno (945854) | about 2 years ago | (#41029095)

Some of them are deploying Windows 7 enterprise and having a really crappy time of it.

Re:Here's where I see it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41029765)

Particulary the ones that have no idea what they are doing. It's pretty easy if the staff's competent.

Re:Here's where I see it (3, Interesting)

afidel (530433) | about 2 years ago | (#41029415)

The problem is that Windows 8 DOES offer a lot of enterprise features (SMB 3, Powershell 3, Windows to go, fast boot, secure boot, among others) but most shops will forgo those due to the horror of trying to spring "Modern UI" on their users.

Re:Here's where I see it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41029505)

You literally don't know what you're talking about.

Why not allow W8UI/Metro apps in window? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41028999)

Why not allow W8UI/Metro apps in window? I mean to me it's ridiculous that apps are fullscreen in desktop with multiple monitors... These metro apps must scale to different resolutions, they should handle windowing too.

No. (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#41029037)

and please don't make headlines that are a Yes or No question.

It's not risky because of there isn't enough uptake do to the start interface, they will release a patch for the PC. It's like playing 21, hitting on 12, and if a 10 comes up you get to change your bet....checkmate.

how to get people to buy win8... (1)

Zimluura (2543412) | about 2 years ago | (#41029065)

tell them its "just like win7 but without the registry!" of course, it would only really work if it were true. it doesn't seem like ms makes technical improvements anymore - just dress it up with a newer, heavier shell.

Obvious pattern here (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41029067)

yes it is risk, but every odd numbered microsoft product tanked... see, lets go back

Windows 95: good

Windows ME: BAD

Windows XP: very good

Windows vista: bad

Windows 7: good

Windows 8: anyone seeing a pattern here

I know im forgetting some of them, but you get the idea. the key to their success is that after they release a pile of garbage they make a better version that fixes all the problems that the last version had, and everyone hails it as the greatest thing in the world becasue they have been working with crap for a few years.

Re:Obvious pattern here (2)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#41029111)

Where do 98, 98SE, NT4 and W2K fit into that "pattern"? You can make a pattern out of anything if you pick and choose.

Re:Obvious pattern here (1)

drzhivago (310144) | about 2 years ago | (#41029211)

95: good
98: not as good
98SE: good
ME: bad
2000: good
XP (initial): bad
XP (later): good
Vista: bad
7: good

Re:Obvious pattern here (2)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about 2 years ago | (#41029263)

Windows CE

Windows ME

Windows NT

Windows CEMENT!

Re:Obvious pattern here (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 2 years ago | (#41029295)

Also within each release are the service packs. XP pre-SP1 was much maligned, and was generally a security and stability mess until SP2. Windows Vista today is pretty much on par with Windows 7 in terms of stability and compatibility, but still a little on the heavy side of resource usage. Vista also suffered from lightweight hardware, inefficient drivers, and overzealous UAC which poorly written software was all too happy to trigger. These problems have all been fixed since 2006. I'd take Vista SP2 any day over XP SP2.

Re:Obvious pattern here (1)

flirno (945854) | about 2 years ago | (#41029121)

Win 7 is great at home but it is not all roses for enterprise.

Re:Obvious pattern here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41029217)

Fixed.

Windows 95: good
Windows 98: not bad
Windows 2000: very good
Windows ME: BAD
Windows XP: very good
Windows vista: bad
Windows 7: good
Windows 8: bad

Re:Obvious pattern here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41029287)

Win 3.0 Bad
Win 3.1 Good
Win 95 Bad
Win 98 Good
Win ME Bad

Then, you have to skip Win 2000 (Good) to keep your pattern going, but you do have a point.

Star Trek 1: Bad
Star Trek 2, The Wrath of Khan: Good
3: Bad
4: Pretty good
5: Terrible
6: The best one
7: Meh
8: Not bad
9: The worst one
10: Pretty good
11: Uh oh, this one's good too.


I can still be geeky on /., right?

Yes, creating a product is risky (1)

Shompol (1690084) | about 2 years ago | (#41029077)

Collecting "protection money" and locking competitors out at boot level - not so risky.

angry rednecks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41029085)

There are going to be a lot of angry rednecks bringing their new PCs back to Staples and bitching.

I saw this happen during the Vista era, and it will be two orders of magnitude worse with Windows 8.

Oye (1)

drwhat99 (2596325) | about 2 years ago | (#41029139)

Wow. So much uneducated, know-it-all hate. Welcome to Slashdot comment section!

I was using XP last month (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41029155)

The company I work at is in the process of moving from XP to Win 7. Odds that they'll go to Win 8 anytime soon are zero.

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41029167)

Has the OP used Vista?

Marketing (4, Insightful)

jbeaupre (752124) | about 2 years ago | (#41029197)

It won't be a total flop. They'll market the hell out of it. Heck, the IE9 ads are so flashy, you'd think they reinvented the internet and if you don't use IE9, you're SOL.

If they can do that for IE, imaging what they can do with Win8.

Damn Straight (2)

onyxruby (118189) | about 2 years ago | (#41029207)

They just best the company that the future of computing is the tablet and not the desktop. They then did everything they could to force the enterprise to stop treating desktops like desktops (no you may /not/ shortcut your way into the desktop) and to start treating them like tablets wither they wanted to or not.

What do you mean you think you know you to manage tens of thousands of your users better than we do? The enterprise has made very clear they don't want metro forced on them and Microsoft has made very clear they are going to ram it down their throat anyways. It's the biggest corporate bet in the history of business. Who blinks first?

/I really wish people would quit copy Apple all the bloody time just because they are Apple.

Re:Damn Straight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41029343)

They do have 80 or 90 thousand employees so i think they know something about managing that many users.

Re:Damn Straight (4, Informative)

onyxruby (118189) | about 2 years ago | (#41029429)

They do, which is what makes this so damn irritating. They know better! This decision is coming from the top, not from the rank and file. This debacle with refusing to allowing the enterprise to boot directly to the desktop is a /really/ big deal and they have been repeatedly told this.

They have simply ignored the input because their upper management is deathly afraid that they are going to lose the future of computing to the likes of the ipad. The issue is not the metro interface, the issue is that it is forced on you whether you want it or not! If I'm running 75,000 seats I'm not going to have people booting bloodying f******g metro!

Re:Damn Straight (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 2 years ago | (#41029615)

This debacle with refusing to allowing the enterprise to boot directly to the desktop is a /really/ big deal and they have been repeatedly told this.

There is no such restriction. Microsoft may have removed some particular piece of code some particular script was using, but as of RTM programs like Start8 still boot the computer directly to the desktop.

Maybe not that risky (1)

erp_consultant (2614861) | about 2 years ago | (#41029213)

If this whole tablet thing actually sticks, instead of being a fad, it might be a good move for Microsoft. I think they could have two OS's - one for desktops (7) and one for tablets (8) - that share a common code base. Apple is doing the same thing with IOS/OSX right now. It also gives MS a chance to do an end run around the hardware makers (DELL, Acer, etc.) and make not only the software but also the hardware. Just like Apple, and Google. Margins on PC's are pathetic but on tablets they seem to be pretty healthy. But - and this is a big but - the tablet is going to have to be priced aggressively. If they come in at $499 for a wi-fi tablet with 16GB of storage people will just get an iPad. The other risk is that they are way behind both Apple and Google on app development and will have to find some way to woo developers to their platform. Otherwise you have nice hardware with nothing to run on it. I'm not sure that the Metro interface is a good idea on desktops but at least it's a bold move from MS - something that has been sorely lacking for some time now.

how could MS not do something risky now? (4, Interesting)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 years ago | (#41029245)

Microsoft's hold on personal computing is slipping, partly due to their own lack of foresight, and they are in danger of being resigned to the role of "legacy personal computing". To get back on top, they have no choice but to do a hail mary pass at this stage.

I think the main overriding problem is that Microsoft as an organization doesn't know how to do that. They make money by maneuvering, with innovation coming a poor second. Mind you, there are very bright engineers working there, but management has for too many years been the consumer computer equivalent of a water economy (the government that controls the water can rot until it's just a shell, but will not be toppled from within) that they don't know how to act any differently. And so, they try a variation on a past strategy (come out with a product that's more strategic than useful, incidentally screwing their partners in the process) and assume it'll be business as usual. They might be right, but I don't think so.

Epic Fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41029247)

The OS will be an Epic Fail

But all the developers I know are having orgasms every time they talk about it.

Too bad they are going to waste a lot of time and money building stuff now one will want.

No Point In This (0)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 2 years ago | (#41029255)

Is there really any point in attempting to have a rational discussion of Microsoft at Slashdot?

Magic 8-Ball says "No".

Not even remotely close (5, Interesting)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#41029261)

The riskiest bet Microsoft ever made was selling IBM an operating system before they actually had one to sell. Imagine what would have happened to the fledgling Microsoft had they failed to come up with the product in time.

WIN8, the new ME? (1)

NoOneSpecific (1844718) | about 2 years ago | (#41029321)

How many of you will simply pass on WIN8? I know that I will, 100% certain. Just curious.

Win7 desktop / Win8 tablets (1)

gtirloni (1531285) | about 2 years ago | (#41029329)

If Win95, WinMe and Vista are enough evidence, Microsoft never planned to have people upgrading to Win8... that will be left to Win9. Duh.

Paradigm shift? Not so much. (4, Insightful)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about 2 years ago | (#41029333)

The problem is that the paradigm isn't shifting to mobile. There's certainly a lot of mobile use being added, but in the corporate world especially the vast majority of computer use is conventional desktops. Tablets and phones don't work well for data entry, or for typing up long documents, or for doing complex spreadsheets with lots of math and data entry. And mobile doesn't seem very compelling when the employee's going to be at his desk anyway.

Home users on the other hand seem to be adding mobile instead of replacing their desktops. They already have a desktop, and they aren't inclined to throw it out while it's still working. I don't see my artist friends throwing out their big Cintiq graphics tablets for a 10" screen, I don't see college students throwing out keyboards and trying to type long papers on a smartphone, and I don't see my gamer friends abandoning their high-performance gaming machines for a 1GHz system with a 7" screen and no custom keyboard commands because there's no keyboard.

Mobile and tablets are just as likely to replace the desktop as the desktop PC is to replace the corporate mainframe.

What Risk, where are desktop users going to go? (3, Interesting)

guidryp (702488) | about 2 years ago | (#41029395)

They have no real tablet share, so they aren't risking losing that.
They have no real smartphone share, so they aren't risking losing that.
They own desktop users body and soul, and there are scant real alternatives where users can go even if they hate it. So I don't see much risk here either.

Worse case, it's another Vista, which they tweak, and continue business as usual.

Already there is Classic Shell to restore the start menu and solve the main Win8 complaint:
http://classicshell.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]

Obvious if Win8 was received even worse than Vista, MS could simply issue a patch that does the same and have a soft fallback.

Bottom line, the fixes are easy, and the desktop users are going anywhere else anyway, so minimal risk.

Upgrade or else! (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 2 years ago | (#41029419)

"Buy Windows 8 or your computer will be unsafe to use in less than 7 and a half years [microsoft.com] ."

For what it's worth, Windows Vista "expires" on 4/11/2017 and Windows XP "expires" on 4/8/2014. That's less than 20 months away, folks.

How about playing poker (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 2 years ago | (#41029447)

I would say Bill Gates selling (excuse me....licensing) an OS he didn't own to one of the largest tech companies on the planet the riskiest move the company has ever made. Of course they didn't have nearly as much to lose back then so perhaps it's a wash...

Ugh, they still don't get it. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41029463)

FTA:

but it could turn off consumers who don’t like change

No, no, no! They still don't get it.

It's not change that we're against.

What we're against is Windows being dis-optimized for desktop usage.

Microsoft had been improving the desktop experience over the years, from Win95 to Win7. Those changes were good. But Windows 8 is a sharp turn in the opposite direction, where the desktop experience has been deliberately degraded in favor of introducing a tablet-like experience. That change is bad.

System requirements (1)

havana9 (101033) | about 2 years ago | (#41029489)

Seems to me that Microsoft is trying to follow Apple moves because are quite successful. But Apple is mainly an hardware company and the operating system in an accessory revenue. More importantly the hardware ecosystem is reduced. Now I've tried to look at the new windows 8 beta image in a virtual machine, but even after playing with bios options and virtualbox configuration the operating system failed to install. If the final version remains so picky with the hardware refusing to run in a virtual machine or on a beige box PC, when 7 and Xp could run happily on the same hardware or virtual machine, it could me a graveyard stone in the adoption of the new operating system. If Windows 8 installation in older hardware or generic hardware is difficult, people will stay with older operating systems, or even try to downgrade the operating system on new machines, and this is naturally bad if not for sales, for the adoption.

Since it won't install on 3 different Virual boxes (2)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about 2 years ago | (#41029527)

I'd have to say "Yes." Our entire testing system revolves around virtual machines and VMWare. No install. Not testing. No verification. No support.

Doh (1)

blagooly (897225) | about 2 years ago | (#41029529)

Obviously there will be a way to remove/not boot metro. MS wanted feedback on the new UI, locked it down on the early releases. They are not going to frick with the installed business base. Not.

The main risk (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41029535)

The main risk for (Microsoft) is that the ensueing debacle wont be quite enough to unseat Ballmer and overturn the corosive and incestious manaagment culture.

This is not a "bet the company" bet (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 2 years ago | (#41029547)

It may be "risky" in pure dollar terms but some of the "bets" Microsoft made in the early days were bet-the-company bets.

This isn't unusual, most small companies have only a few major projects going on and a major failure on any one of them can doom the company. Of course, if it's a small company and it goes belly up, only a relatively few people are hurt. If it's a major company that make too many dumb-headed decisions tens of thousands of people can lose their livelihood and millions of customers can be stuck looking for a new vendor.

Now, if the major design changes that are going into Windows 8 were instead going into Windows 7, AND if MS didn't get many sales of Windows 8 other than in new-PC installs, the combined disaster of two OSes in a row that few would buy except for the need to get off of XP before it "expires" could cripple Microsoft. 3 or 4 such major disasters in a row could kill it.

All because of a button. (1)

Graham J - XVI (1076671) | about 2 years ago | (#41029639)

Definitely risky. The funny thing is the main reason for this is a single UI element - the start button. If they had left it in place and let people access the Metro UI from the charm menu barely anyone would be complaining.

Metro is decent and I'm sure people don't mind it being there, but forcing it on desktop users is a mistake.

18 more months of XP (1)

michaelmalak (91262) | about 2 years ago | (#41029643)

Microsoft will be supporting four OS revs simultaneously until 2014: XP, Vista, W7, and W8.

BTW, playing with VS2012 this week. No borders or any visual indication of tabs on tab controls, but the tab controls are still there functioning and a central part of the UI? Microsoft has gone overboard on its "clean UI" bent. Perhaps W9 will settle on the W2K interface -- an ideal balance of chrome and, you know, actual functionality.

Microsoft is still competing with itself (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41029679)

At this point, I'm think they botch every other release on purpose.

It is hard to get people excited about a new operating system. Damn near impossible.

What *is* easy is designing a terrible operating system, and then releasing a version that "fixes" all the things you changed to make people uncomfortable so they're willing to dish out money to return to normal.

Rinse and repeat.

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