Friday, September 16, 2011

Windows 8 – How does it fit?

I have had a few emails from friends who have installed Windows 8 and are skeptical to say the least. With all due respect to them, I believe that Microsoft is working two angles with one OS here.

Some have said that the corporate world will not accept Windows 8 with the Metro UI. I think Microsoft knows that.  They have, after all, been the dominate OS in the business setting.  This is where they have their roots. Windows NT through Windows XP and now Windows 7.  I believe Windows 7 will be the workhorse corporate OS for many years to come just like XP was before it.  It will live as long as XP, if not longer. In fact, as I write this, my office still has users on XP.

The separation of Windows Desktop and Metro UI in Windows 8, I believe, was done on purpose.  Microsoft needed to enter the tablet world and the world of touch with a bang.  The only way into the tablet/touch world is to support ARM processors which are so prevalent in the mobile and tablet market.  They couldn’t do that with Windows 7.

Metro is their answer for the ARM processors. (Qualcomm and Texas Instruments are happy about that.) Microsoft has made it clear that they will only port a limited number of x86 apps to Metro. Though Ballmer did hint today that Office may be ported. So this indicates ARM will be Metro only.

The reason for this is simple. All those apps are power hungry. ARM processors wont give them that power while still protecting battery life.  Metro apps will be asynchronous and the apps processes will be shut down by the OS just 5 seconds or so after they are no longer in the forefront.  This does not allow for any long running process to work in the background.

But IE has both a Desktop version and a Metro version.  Or do they?  The engine is the same according to Microsoft but the UI is different.  The Desktop version supports plugins and can persist and all that client side stuff can happen.  But in the Metro version? Not so fast. No plugins. No Flash, No LastPass. This is Microsoft saying we need to move on. Many pages optimized for the mobile experience are already plugin free.

So what Microsoft is kind of doing here is the opposite of what Apple has done.  Apple supports 2 OSs. One for the iPAD/iPhone and one for their hardware like AIR.  The iPAD is the touch experience to beat. Microsoft feels they can. In NASCAR in order to succeed, teams try to always do the opposite of what their nearest completion does.  This may or may not work out for Microsoft.  This isn’t a NASCAR race.

On a side note:
Interesting that all around the web some people are praising and some people are condemning Windows 8.  What is interesting to me is that people are condemning it because it doesn’t support this, it doesn’t have that,  some comments on blogs I have been reading are like:
“I don’t see InPrivate viewing on IE10 Metro.  What’s up with that. I am throwing this in the trash! No one is going to use it.”
You have read these comments or comments with the same implication all over the web. It is comments like these that make me wonder what people are thinking.  This is a pre Alpha developer preview.  Of course it isn’t going to have all of your little favorite features yet.

Microsoft spent a lot of money this week to show us all what it has planned.  this is not even close to what will be delivered.  Have you seen the slide regarding what Microsoft didn’t show us? Here is a big picture of it.

Till next time…

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