back to article Charge of the Metro brigade: Did Microsoft execs plan to take a hit?

"Tiles to the right of them, Tiles to left of them, Tiles in front of them"   - Alfred Tennyson, The Charge of the Metro Brigade (1854) It's fair to say that the typical reaction of pundits and analysts to Windows 8 is quite different to yours or mine. Our misgivings are shared, I have discovered, by many Microsoft employees …

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  1. Michael M
    Happy

    Good stuff

    An excellent analysis. Slight error - the 2nd and 3rd punctuation marks of the user's quote have been transposed.

    1. dave 93

      Re: Good stuff

      And well done for pointing out the annoying black strip of nothing. This also seems to be a 'feature' of Windows phones that has always puzzled me. Real estate on small screens is precious - why waste it?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Good stuff

        On wp7 it's an area to scroll your thin up and down, without covering any content on the screen.

  2. Tzael
    FAIL

    Why?

    I said it before Andrew, why upgrade a computer that doesn't offer touch-input with an operating system that is primarily focused at touch-input devices?

    Alternatively you can turn the Metro UI off altogether if that's your main beef with Windows 8. You did know that right?

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Why?

      You can turn it off by turning off the machine, correct.

      Can I borrow your brain, Tzael? I want to build an idiot.

      1. amanfromarse

        Re: Why?

        Haha. Brilliant!

      2. Vic

        Re: Why?

        My god, I've just upvoted Orlowski,

        I need a lie-down...

        Vic.

        1. nexsphil

          Re: Why?

          I'm also reeling from the Orlowski upvote I just gave. I've noticed a definite change in him recently actually - maybe he's come back to the light side... *ewok dance*

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Happy

            Re: Why?

            I agree with adamwill (and for some reason the reply button doesn't work for his comment). Possibly Mr. O has changed his meds - I know I haven't changed mine and it is the second time I upvote him...

      3. BorkedAgain
        Thumb Up

        Re: Why?

        "Can I borrow your brain?" - I'm having that. Thanks Mr O. Have an upvote. :)

        (We need a popcorn icon...)

        1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Re: Why?

          A pint for anyone who can correctly identify the source!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Why?

            If google search is correct, it was a spectator at one of your strange sports - http://www.btvision.bt.com/sport/sporting-insults/

          2. Tzael

            Re: Why?

            Andrew, that's not cricket.

            You managed to dodge my question and build yourself a bit of street cred with your immature insults. Simply _why_ do you feel the need to install a touch-centric OS on a device that doesn't support touch input?

            As for disabling the Metro UI it's easy. As another commenter has pointed out it was a registry modification in the developer preview, now it's simply a case of adding a custom toolbar to the taskbar that points to your start menu folder. Once done you never need to switch back to Metro if you don't want to.

            Now where's my pint? (cricket)

            1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

              Re: Why?

              @Tzael - touch centric OS

              You say that Windows 8 is a touch centric OS. What version, then, is to be released for non touch screen devices, and when can we get a look at it? All reports I have seen so far state that this is the version for both types of device which is, for me, useless. This OS is going nowhere near my desktop or laptop devices unless it changes radically from what it now is. A touch centric OS is, by definition, never going to be more than a compromise on a non touch screen device, in the same way that traditional mouse and keyboard windows was never more than a compromise on a tablet. Better stock up on Win 7 now. I think MS will be supporting that version for a long time to come.

          3. Ilgaz

            Re: Why?

            Dutch admin friend of mine said "pinky and the brain" right after I pasted it.

      4. Tom Maddox Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Why?

        In fairness to Tzael, it was possible to disable Metro in the Developer Preview with a registry hack, which has now been disabled, so s/he may be operating on outdated information.

    2. Geoffrey W Silver badge

      Re: Why?

      How do I turn off Metro?

      I did a search and tried the method given and it didn't work. Is there another way in the preview edition?

      A link would be nice.

    3. Richard Bijster

      Don't worry

      The Metro UI CANNOT be turned off in the Consumer Preview of Windows 8. It could in previous builds.

  3. flying_walrus
    Happy

    Wtf indeed.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So why isn't this a major story?

    Almost every site on the internet can't afford to upset Microsoft and their advertising money and luxurious reviewer benefits packages...

    Microsoft have a hard enough time trying to get buisnesses to upgrade from XP to Windows 7, they won't stand a chance in hell of transitioning them to a less productive Windows 8.

    Consumers are also not impressed with Windows 8 preview.

    I think this is going to bomb bigger than Microsoft Bob, bigger than Windows ME, bigger than Vista, bigger than Xbox..

    1. Groaning Ninny

      So what if Win8 fails? Win9 wins....?

      Regarding the assertion that this will fail (a la MS Bob, ME, Vista...)

      Ah, it may well be a failure, but haven't you noticed that seems the be the way MS do things?

      NT4 : great

      Win2k : okay

      WinXP : great

      Vista : awful

      Win7 : great

      ... so Win8 : fail sets the way for Win9 for be fantab.

      1. Sporkinum

        Re: So what if Win8 fails? Win9 wins....?

        I like how everyone says Vista is awful. I have been using it for years and it has worked fine outside of an occasional driver issue in the early days. I use 7 at work and Vista at home and there is hardly any difference, to the point of 7 not being worth the money for an upgrade.

        1. Chika

          Re: So what if Win8 fails? Win9 wins....?

          I don't believe, after all these years, that Vista was necessarily "awful". It was, however, resource hungry and bloated. Given that Windows XP has survived so long, partly thanks to the good grounding it had from Windows 2000 days, and given that Windows 7 is such an improvement on Vista (I've used both too, and there's a difference!), I still believe that Vista was a mistake, much as Windows ME was. I know of folk who used WME quite happily too, but it doesn't make it any less of a mistake.

        2. Turtle

          Re: So what if Win8 fails? Win9 wins....?

          "I like how everyone says Vista is awful. I have been using it for years and it has worked fine outside of an occasional driver issue in the early days. I use 7 at work and Vista at home and there is hardly any difference, to the point of 7 not being worth the money for an upgrade."

          I am on XP - and there I shall stay, it seems - but of the people I know using Vista, not only do they have no complaints, they all say it's great. It seems that the bad reputation that Vista has is current only among non-Vista users.

          1. Sweaty Hambeast

            Re: So what if Win8 fails? Win9 wins....?

            "It seems that the bad reputation that Vista has is current only among non-Vista users."

            Allow me to disillusion you. We've got it on the other half's laptop (pre-installed, Acer) for his "program that'll only work under Windows" (sigh) and it's a right pig. I had all the std. problems that were mentioned in the fora. It's awful.

        3. richard 7

          Re: So what if Win8 fails? Win9 wins....?

          Vista out the box *IS* awful. There is no debate, its slow, bloated, full of bugs and 'oops not finished in time for RC' style shortcuts.

          Vista with all updats, SP2 and some tweakage is quite useable. But thats power user territory, without someone to do it for them the great unwashed rightly hate Vista.

          About half a dozen registry tweaks and little cheats will make it steam along quite hapilly, funnily enough one of the biggest wins is killing off readyboost.

          1. PeteA

            Re: So what if Win8 fails? Win9 wins....?

            There's an SP2 for Vista? I thought they'd just called the service pack "Windows 7".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So why isn't this a major story?

      > uses Microsoft Bob again

      > claims XBox is a failure

      Hi Barry.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So why isn't this a major story?

        Xbox IS a failure.

        $12bn sunk into it in total, and only a fraction of that back in profits.

        65% failure rates.

        Both those measures stink of failure to me.... Or do you measure success on some lame selectibe NPD "news" on Eurogamer or Joystiq, or some Microsoft press release telling you so.

      2. Chika

        Re: So why isn't this a major story?

        Microsoft Bob? Well, I can see why. Microsoft Bob was an attempt to foist a dumbed down interface on the ordinary home user using a patronising interface that nobody in their right mind would be caught dead using. I'm not sure if Metro sinks down to quite the same level but a similar mindset is apparent in its design.

        The thing is that the interface we see on Windows 7 is an interface that has been developed over many years. OK, it didn't always get it right but we all know where the menu is, what the buttons do and so forth. This, however, is far removed from when Windows 95 first came out and we all had to get used to the "Start" button rather than play around with Progman. Another point made elsewhere is that the current interface was designed around the traditional three box solution. It can be used in a touch screen environment but it isn't perfect by any means. That doesn't mean that it should be thrown away!

        No, I believe that the Metro interface is an unwanted mess - an attempt to ape such front ends as the latest GNOME or Unity to try an push Windows users in a direction that they don't necessarily want to go. So yes, I can see it being snubbed as much as Vista. Possibly more so.

        XBox a failure? Well, I'm not a keen fan of it but I believe that the jury is still out on that one.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So why isn't this a major story?

          I believe XBOX was a failure, while XBOX360 was/is reasonably good.

          Though I'm not a console guy so could be wrong.

    3. JustWondering

      Re: So why isn't this a major story?

      Upgrade from XP? Why?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So why isn't this a major story?

        Surely you meant DOWNGRADE from XP ;)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So why isn't this a major story?

        Surely you meant 'DOWNGRADE from XP' ;)

    4. Killraven

      Re: So why isn't this a major story?

      I thought it was a major story from two weeks ago?

  5. dogged

    Metro

    Took me less than a week, I suppose, to completely get used to it.

    Some theming, some rejigging of the main Start screen to show only what I regularly use, hit the Windows key and start typing for anything I don't regularly use (mind you, I do that in Win7 anyway). Custom shortcuts on the Start screen for Shutdown and Restart, proper groups for Office, VS11 et al, a few ("serious", not "casual") games and some utilities.

    To begin with, Metro annoyed the living crap out of me. Now, it's just a Launcher. Most of the Metro apps that are currently shipping might good enough for tablets but are a huge bag of crap compared to proper desktop applications.

    With just the launcher and a little familiarity, I'm starting to appreciate the improvements in the actual OS. It's pretty good. It's certainly quick and inbuilt utils have way better functionality. I could use it over 7, although it's not worth the standard upgrade price.

    The Metro launcher? Might be nice on a tablet. I rarely see it, to be honest.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Metro

      Spot on my friend, i feel the same.

      I use Metro like another application, its my quick view of all things important, one click, i see the lot, a single glance and i get a snap shot of anything i setup, another moment latter im back at work. Its amazingly efficient using it like this.

      I have a concern over desktop clutter and metro clutter but i hope that will get sorted out in the RCs

      As you said, you need to get used to it, you need to work differently but there is a very clear benifit to it once your there.

      As to upgrades, id love to know the percentages but i suspect that most licences sold are to OEMs building new computers, whilst im sure upgrades are a large part of their business i dont think Microsoft are stupid to the fact that businesses are like oil tankers when it comes to change.

      As for the metro launcher as you put it, it is actually quite good on touch screens, and is firmly its home ground, but after some time i dont have an issue with a keyb and mouse and as you say, i hardly see metro for more than a few seconds, but within those seconds it provides a shed load of info which will only increase as more programs support it.

      In essence, what metro brings to the computer is your mobile phone, you probably dont use a mobile to do serious work, its a bridge to your data, it opens a window to allow you to peek at it but thats about as far is it goes, thats what metro is about, quick and effecient, you then have your desktop programs to get stuck in to the serious work

    2. jason 7

      Re: Metro

      A week eh? I'd go with that.

      I guess you would class yourself as an experienced or advanced user? That's fair enough.

      How long will Michelle in Accounts take? Times that by 5000 and you see the issue.

      1. dogged
        IT Angle

        Re: Metro

        I'll try to answer as honestly as possible.

        I'm a professional developer. As such, I guess I probably count as "advanced" although I'd remind readers that the "advancement" in this case is specialized - I don't know about things I have no reason to use such as CAD packages or DTP or spreadsheets.

        A further point of order is that it took me a week to get to the stage of "okay, I was probably wrong, I can not only work with this but I actually like it". That time period is going to be different for every user. In some cases it will be shorter, in some cases it may take past the heat-death of the Universe, I don't know. What I do know is that from a USB install to fully capable of being productive - ie, install Office 2010, download and install VS11, put Firefox on it, set up my media shares, install about 40GB worth of games - took probably two evenings worth of non-concentrated fiddling. The Win8 install itself from USB took about 15 minutes, which shocked me since I don't have an SSD on this box.

        Given a ghosted or Admin-controlled standard build, Michelle from Accounts would skip all that. And it's not like you can't find Michelle's things in the Metro launcher, barring Shutdown and Restart and custom shortcuts installed as part of a standard build would sort that.

        To be honest, I expect users to piss and moan about any little change. That's what users do. That doesn't, however, mean that Win8's not usable almost immediately given some clever config by the IT folks.

        What surprises me is that we, the IT folks are here bitching about Metro and feeding the Apple trolls and those three guys who insist that Desktop Linux is very nearly workable now (and one of those is me) while gleefully proclaiming the death of Microsoft when... when we should be pleased by this.

        It keeps us in work. It gives us some new toys to tinker with. It'll get us paid to make Michelle's life easier.

        I mean seriously, how come Reg readers - devs and sysadmins, supposedly - are all out here bitching like a bunch of schoolgirls or fifth-rate first-line support drones? It's bizarre.

        1. Ilsa Loving
          Megaphone

          Re: Metro

          Why? For one very simple reason. We have enough experience to know that it's us poor sods that will have users right left and centre, day in day out, screaming bloody murder at us for "forcing" this change upon them.

          You say you're a developer. I strongly recommend you give technical support a try. In fact, I strongly recommend to anyone who has even a shred of faith in humanity, to do this. One week should be enough to burst that little bubble.

          Unless you're going to quadrupal my salary and, even more importantly, quadrupal my vacation time and add psychotherapy to my benefits plan, I'm really not interested in taking that hit. My cardiac health and sanity is just too important to me.

          1. jason 7
            Stop

            Re: Metro

            Yeah I remember this support call I got about 10 years ago from a user that had been using windows PCs for a few years.

            User: I cant do such and such.

            Me: Okay click on the start button.

            User: What do you mean start button?

            Me: The start button that appears on the desktop bottom left.

            User: No, I don't see anything like that.

            Me: Well you are on the desktop with the icon so bottom left should be the start button.

            User: No I don't have a start button.

            Me: (voice now up two octaves and 20dB) There must be a start button its a standard feature on XP/NT (whatever we were using then).

            User: Nope.

            Me: (thinking they are taking the piss) Okay so you have the only windows PC without a Start button? How did you access your programs?

            This goes on for another minute or two and by now my throat is as tight as a gnats chuff and I want to kill this person and their whole family.

            User: I just know there isn't a start button, and don't get ratty with me!

            Me: Sorry but I'm finding it hard to believe you don't have or cant see the Start button!

            User: (slight pause) Oh you mean this thing called Start down in the bottom left corner? Oh yes I have one of those!

            Me: (sound of gunshot)

            Yep that was a true support call and that was when we had V-I-S-U-A-L C-L-U-E-S on the screen. Have 20 or so of those a day and you age quickly.

          2. dogged
            Thumb Down

            Re: Metro

            I strongly recommend you give technical support a try

            No thanks, I have actual skills.

            1. kain preacher Silver badge

              Re: Metro

              Try having some that is blind as a bat so they set the resolution to 800x600 on a 24 inch monitor. Yes sir can you click on the button on the lower right hand of the screen.

              Customer god damn it it;s not here, it was not here yesterday and it wont be here tomorrow.

            2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

              Re: Metro

              Clearly they don't include reading conprehension or anything in the social sphere, or you would have realised that the suggestion wasn't intended as careers advice. Try technical support and find out how those without your skills get on when they use the systems that your genius has produced. Then have a think about whether you need to broaden your skills base.

              1. dogged

                @Ken Hagen

                I have of course done tech support - my own and other people's code needs to be supported by somebody who knows how it works. Nothing is perfect and I'm (probably) no genius. Is there any actual non-IQ (which can be gamed) way to tell these things anyway?

                But supporting Metro as a hard job is a bit of a stretch, despite what people have posted here. You just change the tech support script.

                "Have you tried clicking on the bottom left of the screen"?

                "Press the WIndows Key and Tab key at the same time"

                "Press the Alt key and the Tab key at the same time"

                "Click on the square with the word "Excel" on it"

                "Have you tried turning it off and on again?"

                There you go, first-liners with your cardiac health concerns. I have just done your nightmarishly difficult job for you in under thirty seconds. Perhaps you'd like me to code a text-to-speech widget as well so that you can be unemployed?

                1. Richard 12 Silver badge
                  Facepalm

                  Re: @Ken Hagen

                  @dogged

                  That's kinda the point. "Click in the bottom left corner of the screen".

                  "Why? There's nothing there!"

                  "Trust me, just click there"

                  "I tried and nothing happened."

                  "All the way into the corner. Move the mouse down and left until it stops."

                  "My mouse fell off the table."

                  That's even before the fun and games of multiple monitors - if the "primary" isn't bottom-left then you're well and truly ****ed.

                  It's quite difficult to click on a single visible pixel. A single, invisible pixel is...

                  We've spent the last couple of decades making things look 'clickable', as if they are physical buttons. Even making them change colour to announce "Click me! Click me!" if you hover the mouse over them.

                  Metro removes all that. It takes away all the visual clues that every desktop interface has given users since the dawn of pointing devices.

                  That's painful.

            3. accountant
              Stop

              Re: Metro

              "I strongly recommend you give technical support a try

              No thanks, I have actual skills."

              The expected arrogance of a developer. Anything to run away from the end-user, a refusal to face up to the shit that the developer throws right into the face of the user!

              A developer is worth nothing until they have tested every aspect of their creations on a single-monitored desktop without a mouse. That's what Michelle in Accounts uses, and that's all she cares about.

        2. Someone Else Silver badge
          Alert

          Re: Metro

          @dogged

          The point you, and many other whizzy fans, appear to be missing (at least, it's missing from your detailed comment) is that, it's not that we cannot adapt to change, it's that we don't want to; certainly not for change's sake. We're not going to buy an OS because it's oh, so whizzy and has this really cool feature set that we don't need and can't use. We buy an OS because it supports the applications we use on a daily basis, and then gets the fsck out of our way. Metro, for all its creamy goodness, doesn't do that (on a desktop), and apparently has no intention of ever doing that; it's in our face, causing us to have to work around it to get our stuff done. Remember, a tool is supposed to serve us, not the other way around...and no matter what else you want to make Metro out to be, at the end of the day, it is a tool.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Metro - reg readers

          I suspect that many of our so called IT pros are probably more closely related to 15-20 year old kids. or at least thats their online alta ego where many of us lose all sense of rational thought whilst being able to hide behind the wonders of net neutrality, i suspect that were our online IDs actually linked to say our facebook pages an by association people we know face to face things would probably sound very different....

        4. Mephistro Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Metro (@ dogged)

          Why, we IT guys should be thanking M$ for making us learn yet another new interface, and giving us the opportunity of enjoying re-learning all the tricks and shenanigans hidden in it. We all loved those years when trying to fix a Vista box would mean countless hours of fun trying to decide whether the cause of the problem was a poorly written driver, a design inconsistency in the GUI ,another bug in the OS or a virus entered through one of the gazillion security holes, those years or simply searching in the Net for hours for someone, anyone, who had any fleeting idea about WTF was going on. Ohhh, I could go on for hours.

          I want to send a very clear message to Microsoft:

          " Stop developing that 'Metro' shit OR THE KITTEN GETS IT !!!"

          Here. Hope it helps.

        5. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Metro

          > What surprises me is that we, the IT folks are here bitching about Metro and feeding the Apple

          > trolls and those three guys who insist that Desktop Linux is very nearly workable now (and one

          > of those is me) while gleefully proclaiming the death of Microsoft when... when we should be

          > pleased by this.

          Ever notice how the best trades people - carpenters, plumbers, painters, etc - get together on specialty forums like Fine Homebuilding and bitch about the horrible work they see their less-careful peers doing?

          Note that they do this even though it provides a revenue stream for them, fixing others' mistakes in the Mike Holmes mode. Specialists often care about work done in their specialty, and are aggrieved by what they see as lapses in quality of design or implementation, or ill-conceived work, or work they feel is motivated by bad intentions (such as what Orlowski's suggesting here, that Microsoft is forcing a bad desktop OS on users in order to elicit applications for its phone/tablet OS).

          So while there's a certain amount of schadenfreude among folks who want to see Microsoft fail (and/or see Microsoft users punished), there's also quite a lot of outrage from the perception (true or not) that Microsoft has deliberately sacrificed technical quality in a play for market domination.

    3. bluest.one

      Re: Metro

      Can you put Metro or Metro apps on a second screen and have them remain there without taking over your main screen?

      I could live with that. But from what I've read, it jarringly takes over your main screen every time.

      1. Jonas Taylor

        Re: Metro

        "Can you put Metro or Metro apps on a second screen and have them remain there without taking over your main screen?"

        Metro apps, like the Start Screen itself, will only appear on your primary display. The rest of your displays - thanks to the improvements in multi-monitor support - appear just like a traditional desktop environment, replete with taskbar. So you can have fullscreen Metro apps on one screen and Office, Chrome and Windows Explorer open on another. Or you can simply pin a Metro app to the side of your screen and use the desktop as normal, which is well suited to news and social apps. The biggest problem is that most Metro apps are still only placeholders, so most lack any compelling functionality (the Mail client being the most obvious example) - this will improve over time.

        As for "jarringly" taking over your screen, it's more a paradigm shift. Rather than switching between apps with the taskbar you have a black strips to the left accessible via mouse or Win+Tab. You lose the close / maximise / minimise controls; instead you can either switch to another app (in which case it is suspended so as to not impact system performance) or drag from top to bottom with mouse to close it. It's entirely possible we'll still see changes to this, as we did between the Developer Preview and Consumer Preview.

  6. Donald Miller
    Boffin

    What to do, what to do?

    As I posted on the "mosh pit" article, stockpile Win 7, preferably the Family Pack, and wait it out. Off-lease machines are starting to appear with builder licenses for Win 7, so there's an option that lasts as long as used motherboards are available.

    I am telling clients to switch to M$ Orifice 2007 or higher, because as much as I hate the ribbon, you'll be dealing with others who've never used anything else.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Donald Miller

      "I am telling clients to switch to M$ Orifice 2007 or higher, because as much as I hate the ribbon, you'll be dealing with others who've never used anything else."

      A person who writes juvenalia such as "M$ Orifice" actually has clients? They must not be very particular clients.

    2. gotes

      Re: What to do, what to do?

      I may be wrong here, but don't Windows licences allow you to "downgrade" to a previous version anyway?

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Downgrade rights

        For Windows 7, yes. See http://www.microsoft.com/oem/en/licensing/sblicensing/pages/downgrade_rights.aspx where you will read "Another compelling reason to encourage customers to move to Windows 7 is the ability to downgrade to Windows XP.".

        However, this is a notable exception. See http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=13029. OEM and Retail licences (which between them cover the majority of systems purchased by consumers) do not have downgrade rights. You need to have a volume licence.

      2. Mage Silver badge

        Re: What to do, what to do?

        Only some editions have a downgrade licence.

        It can be difficult to find drivers.

        I think this will benefit OS X, Android, GNU-Linux (Such as Redhat, Centos, Debian, Mint, Ubuntu). Migration from XP will be even slower. Over 40% of PC users still use XP.

        If you are using a high end Laptop or Desktop bought since 2002 the need to upgrade (other than for gaming) is hardly compelling compared to 1992 to 2002. Especially for business. This is part of the reason for big growth of Tablets vs Laptops/Desktops. People are getting a Tablet and KEEPING their older PC.

        I have done support for Vista & Win7. MS has progressively been losing the plot on OS development since NT3.51. I blame the success of Win95.

        Windows 7 is nothing more than what Vista should have been and ought to have been free to every Vista user. A lot of machines sold with Vista are now running XP or Win7.

        Windows 8 looks like a genuinely new version of Windows. Maybe by Win 10 it may be sensible, but it looks like MS has been seduced by the iPad. They need to notice that Mac Air doesn't run same GUI or version of OS as iPad and iPhone.

        With WinCE / Winmobe they made the mistake of copying the Desktop GUI. Now they are making the mistake in opposite direction. Really you need 4 to 6 OS versions and DON'T give them the same name. Or at least 4 GUIs:

        1) Small to Medium Phones

        2) Very large phones to tablets

        3) Regular sized stuff with keyboard and mouse and mostly used for content creation

        4) Servers

        5) Embedded Devices such as Routers that have only a remote Web/HTML gui

        6) TVs & Setboxes with only a simple remote control.

        Strangely GNU-Linux can do all of these. Possibly because historically it was worst at (3). Today there is nothing wrong with GNU-Linux desktop, except possibly for Ubuntu Unity. But unlike Win8 on Ubuntu you can easily swap the desktop to one of choice. Curiously MS once had this to extent on NT4.0 you could have Program Manager and File Manager instead of Explorer. Replacing Explorer's File Browser Window with File Manager would have been nice, though really the solution is to open two Explorer Windows.

        However File copying & Moving in Windows is still rubbish and unreliable for large amounts of files and where some files have various attributes compared to xcopy and other CLI tools.

  7. Hal Berenson

    Two mistakes about the math

    The first is any assumption that Enterprises would upgrade even if the interface changes were less controversial. They aren't done adopting Windows 7 yet, and the belief has always been that they would skip a full-scale Windows 8 upgrade (Metro or no Metro) just based on historical upgrade cycles. I wrote about this in http://hal2020.com/2011/12/31/will-enterprises-aka-business-buy-windows-8/

    The second is the pure financials. Enterprises don't directly buy new versions, they get them as a result of their Enterprise Agreements and Software Assurance. Enterprises continuing to upgrade traditional PCs to Windows 7, buy more traditional PCs with Windows 7, and use Windows 8 purely for Tablets or other touch-centric devices would be a total win from Microsoft's perspective.

  8. joeW
    Coat

    Tiles to the right of them

    Tiles to left of them, Tiles in front of them - Microsoft Blundered

    1. Someone Else Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Tiles to the left of me

      Tiles to the right

      Here I am

      Stuck in the middle with you...

      Got it...going now...

  9. ShelLuser
    Windows

    They're not alone anymore...

    "Microsoft needs brute force to coerce a touch-based "ecosystem" into existence, and it's using Windows as the battering ram. Microsoft fears that if it loses "touch" to the iPad and iPhone and Android, then it loses its place in the consumer space altogether."

    So basically trying to do the exact same thing when they discovered that they had missed the boat to the Internet miserably. Instead of trying to catch up they simply started to make the lives of the competition as horrible as possible by simply violating set out standards and thus trying to enforce their own Windows-specific standards onto the market. Something the competition could do little about considering that most people would simply use that what MS has provided them with.

    However times have changed. And so has the market; its not something MS can easily dictate any longer. It's also the reason why launching a hardly flawless product isn't the best of ideas if you're trying to make it appeal to your customers. Back in the days they could get away with it but now people actually have a choice on the matter.

    To me it seems that Microsoft is trying to catch up, but the way they do it leaves something to desire. But most of all... IMO they need to get rid of the prejudice many people have towards certain Window products and that won't be easy because these opinions were based on existing and proven failures.

    As the author said; people annoyed with Metro are likely to ditch the Windows Phone solely because of the familiar interface. Ironically enough; people who enjoy previous Windows versions are also likely to ditch the Windows Phone up front because of the /unfamiliar/ interface. And people who are more interested most likely end up on stories which cover the first release ("What, no support for todo lists, what nonsense is that?") and as such....

  10. TeeCee Gold badge

    Right you are then.

    "Microsoft is at least prepared to forgo the revenue that comes from one enterprise Windows upgrade cycle......"

    They did it with Vista (which everyone hated in preview/beta) before backing down and shipping Se7en, so they have form here.

    BTW: Never mind the retraining costs. I can't see many, if any, corporates junking their existing monitors en masse in favour of rare-as-hen's-teeth and priced-as-unobtanium widescreen touch monitors (of which the willy-wavers will still want two per desk). It's dead, it just ain't stopped twitching yet.

    1. Andy 115

      Re: Willy Wavers

      I guess that's me :-p

    2. fishman

      Re: Right you are then.

      "I can't see many, if any, cor.porates junking their existing monitors en masse in favour of rare-as-hen's-teeth and priced-as-unobtanium widescreen touch monitors"

      Just for the heck of it, I pretended that my monitor was touch, and tried to "use" it in that mannor. It takes alot of arm and hand movement with a 24" monitor, and if you have to go from screen to keyboard and back, a real pain. Mouse to keyboard takes less effort. Using the monitor as a touchscreen can be more tiring since your arm is unsupported during many motions, while with a mouse you can rest your elbow and often your wrist.

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        Re: Right you are then.

        Right. Just boil that down to a couple of snappy sentences and spray-paint the results on the walls at Redmond would you?

        Incidently, you left out the bit where you describe what a 24" monitor covered in greasy finger marks looks like. You can wipe a tablet screen with your sleeve, as they have the sort of surface that permits this without substituting "opaque due to fingermarks" for "opaque due to scratches and smearing".

  11. stucs201

    I'm starting to wish they'd never ditched the 9x version of Windows

    There might have been some hope they'd only stick Metro on 9x and leave NT alone.

  12. Mr Nobody 1
    FAIL

    Not a chance

    Succinctly put Andrew.

    The speed and performance improvements could have been packaged as a Windows 7 SE with the Metro interface reserved for tablets and phones. Instead we see yet another example of Microsoft steadfastly refusing to learn from their own past experiences and spectacularly failing to understand their key customer base.

    We cannot afford the training and productivity overheads of this pointless upgrade and so we will be sticking with Windows 7.

    'Bob' Sinofsky's evil child will not be meeting our 80,000 desktops.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not a chance

      To be fair Mr Nobody, given you have 80k computers, much of which is on Win 7 according to your post, its unlikely that you wouldnt have upgraded your computers anyway regardless of what Win 8 was like.

      given that something like 24 Million computers are sold each month (or have done on average for this year), there are bigger fish to play for than upgrades or more importantly easier fish to play for.

      Most companies i know and work with will roll out OSs in stages, based on test and development of internal systems and software you wouldnt dream of dropping a bomb shell like this on the whole company if your already running 7, but more likely you would find tablets brought in to the fold if needed first, followed by systems where it would make more sense. you wouldnt move the full network over until it was needed which it probably wouldnt. MS knows this, we know this, the only people who dont seem to be the people moaning about it and saying its going to be a flop.

      OEMs will punt Win 8 for all its worth, why you might ask, if Win 8 needs to be learned then you may as well install linux. Well the answer to that is very simple, Linux has almost no ecosystem of its own, go down to your local computer shop and see how much gear is supported by Linux out of the box, or software. Yes you can learn to use it, but it wont matter when joe bloggs picks up a copy of PC Pro from WHSmith because of something interesting on the DVD only to find it wont install, or when Mary Jane pops in to tescos to pick up a new "special" keyboard or webcam only to find its not plug and play and doesnt work correctly / at all

      That situation wont change over night, or even over the next 5 years so for the large majority of users Windows, in whatever its form will always be king. (assuming it remains backward compatible!)

      1. Vic

        Re: Not a chance

        > Linux has almost no ecosystem of its own

        Errr - you what?

        > go down to your local computer shop and see how much gear

        > is supported by Linux out of the box

        Pretty much all of it these days, even if it doesn't say so on the box.

        > something interesting on the DVD only to find it wont install

        There is stuff that doesn't work - but most stuff does. Wine really is excellent these days.

        Your view of Linux capabilities seems to be based somewhere in the mid-90s...

        Vic.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not a chance @vic

          your missing the point mate, plugging it in and making it work and plugging it in and it does work with minimal fuss are two very different things.

          What your saying, which is correct is that any old jo can grab a piece of gear plug it and and get it working, yes your probably right for most of it, but tell me, if average jo cant even see that its support on the box what are they supposed to do? buy it and hope it works? buy it and hope they have the abilty to get it working? you want them to do a full on research against their distro to make sure it works first?

          no, thats not the way average joes work. You need to remember that most people do not know what they are doing, they bumble from one thing to the next relying on clear text and instructions.

          Having a box that says its Windows compatible (and even macs to a degree) is clear and simple and for the most part its very easy to get working for someone that doesnt know what they are doing. This alone is a big reason people wont move from Windows. Im not saying that will always be the case, im not saying that will be the case for everyone but for the large majority of users that is the case and so long as windows maintains very good compatibilty and linux stays in its safe market by making things APPEAR more difficult than they are it wont change.

          now linux users wont agree with that, and thats fine, but these users are a minority to the world at large and the very people that will use linux are people that either have the knowledge to use it or are of a disposition that allows them to pick it up very easily.

          1. Vic

            Re: Not a chance @vic

            > your missing the point mate

            Well, one of us is.

            > plugging it in and making it work and plugging it in and it does

            > work with minimal fuss are two very different things.

            Yes. Agreed.

            And with Linux, you buy kit off the shelf and plug it in, and it works. There are very few exceptions.

            15 years ago, there was much buggering about to get kit to be supported under Linux. These days, it's frequently easier in Linux than it is in Windows. That's no joke - when I have a difficult problem to fix in Windows, I boot into Linux to test the hardware, because the drivers are invariably ready to roll and already part of my distro, whereas Windows will require me to find the appropriate driver, download it, install it, ...

            > linux stays in its safe market by making things APPEAR more difficult than they are

            Linux doesn't do this. I would suggest that if you have any experience of G/L at all, it is woefully out of date.

            Vic.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Not a chance @vic

              Your correct, but more like ~3 years since i killed the penguin, before that changing a graphics card, getting a printer to work CORRECTLY, additional input devices etc was a complete nightmare. although i do use it on a current VM which again is fine if you know what im doing but is by no means simple for average people, Wine is good but its not perfect and to average joe its like fitting a square box in to a circle, its not what they expect. The reason i ditched it was because it simply wouldnt work on my new main PC, Boot and hang, live disk, native the lot, wouldnt even load up, which is odd since on the same hardware i had OSx, win XP, 7 and now 8, but all distros crashed and burned without so much as a goodbye

              The support was its usual helpful self, which more or less told me to forget it with no reason why.

              Now tell me, how for someone with quite a head for these things i couldnt get it so how would average joe get it sorted? in all my years i have never had an issue installing windows like that, and since Win 7 ive never had an issue with drivers either.

              I dare say your thinking like a Linux user, which is fine since i gather you are one, or have been at some point but that is my point, if i picked any random off the street without experience they would be stuck, where as windows has the ecosystem around it to support those users.

              1. Vic

                Re: Not a chance @vic

                > how for someone with quite a head for these things i couldnt get it

                I move quite a few people onto Linux. The only ones that find a problem are those that believe themselves to be Windows "Power Users".

                > so how would average joe get it sorted?

                The "average joe" doesn't need to sort anything - things just work fine without any "sorting". It is those who think they know better that get into trouble.

                Vic.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Not a chance @vic

                  ok, thats absolute crud, and shows your living on another planet. i have a perfectly working VM since it wont install or even boot live and its not idiot simple, if i sit an elderly relative with minimal OS experience in anything in front of Linux and tell them to install a new device, lets say a graphics tablet input device, or a webcam, printer scanner combo etc they will not know what to do, if i do the same for Windows they may still have issues but there is clear and simple instructions on what and how to do it, in many cases you just plug it in (esp with win7). If you cant understand something as basic as that then theres no point carrying this on. I would like Linux to improve market share, because i happen to like it for some things but the fact remains, there is a very very good reason why its pottering around with 1-2% market share, its not user friendly to the masses and it doesnt have an ecosystem that supports in for the AVERAGE user

                  And as for the comment above, you prove my point EXACTLY as to the attitude of many (not all!) Linux users on various support forums, obviously IM doing something wrong the OS its self cant be to blame.

                  So lets see, burn a disk, installs on a VM no prob. reboot, pull other HDDs install new drive, remove all devices not essential, Boot DVD, depending on distro it hangs, i might not see anything, i might see a wee boot picture but thats it. The only thing that could potentially be the issue is the BIOS that i have control over, but lets be clear there are not that many options in a BIOS that should stop something booting, and ill point out again that any other OS works fine. But it doesnt matter, it must be me, perhaps i didnt pray to the Penguin enough before putting the disk in because heavens forbid that theres a hardware combo out there that doesnt work with it.

                  1. Chemist

                    Re: Not a chance @vic

                    If this had been a support forum I would have suggested using a LiveCD to check out the hardware/boot as a first step.

                    I am sick of unverifiable posters saying things about Gnu/Linux that I know to be not so. The list is almost endless - HD video doesn't work, 3G dongles don't work, hardware-assisted H264 video playback doesn't work. - They all do - not on just one machine but all the machines I try them on.

                    On another point the consumer as we know buys a Windows machine preconfigured - no option -hopefully all the snags are sorted. If they add any hardware the same problems crop up - many people will have no difficulty, some will. Linux is no different. All the people (mostly seniors) that I've installed Linux for have no difficulty using it

                  2. Vic

                    Re: Not a chance @vic

                    > ok, thats absolute crud, and shows your living on another planet

                    Your experience differs from mine.

                    I am doing those things that you say cannot be done.

                    Why is it I that is living on another planet?

                    > if i sit an elderly relative with minimal OS experience in anything in front

                    > of Linux and tell them to install a new device, lets say a graphics tablet

                    >input device, or a webcam, printer scanner combo etc they will not know what to do

                    The same is true in Windows.

                    But once you show them how to plug a USB device in, both systems work just fine.

                    The only difference is that the Windows user will usually have to root around for the driver CD (or download a driver off the Internet). The Linux user usually doesn't.

                    > in many cases you just plug it in (esp with win7).

                    Yes. Exactly the same is true with Linux.

                    > If you cant understand something as basic as that then theres no point carrying this on

                    I should be saying exactly the same back at you. You are claiming a problem that simply doesn't exist.

                    > there is a very very good reason why its pottering around with 1-2% market share

                    There is no such reason, as it has a much larger share than that - unless you claim that Ballmer is a barefaced liar.

                    > obviously IM doing something wrong the OS its self cant be to blame.

                    In this case, that is the cause of the problem. It's pointless trying to fix an OS that does not exhibit the problems you claim it does, and hasn't done for many years.

                    If I didn't know better, I'd assume you'd just heard a meme on the Interwebs and decided to parrot it without any first-hand knowledge, because you think it makes you look cool. But you're not doing that, are you?

                    > Boot DVD, depending on distro it hangs

                    Why don't you give us some details of this situation.

                    The only time I ever see such a thing happening is when you try to boot an image without the minimum hardware specified for that image (I got Fedora working on a Vortex86 - that wasn't easy. But Fedora doesn't support the Vortex86).

                    > it must be me

                    I think it probably *is* you. But I'd be perfectly prepared to revise that belief if you were to provide some sort of substantiation for your claims. Otherwise, they look remarkably like FUD...

                    Vic.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Not a chance @vic

                      Theres not much more to tell, Im sitting here with another box in the other room, with a Q6600, 4 Gig of RAM, (tried various combos of this and other RAM) an Nvidia 8800GT (512MB one) and a Asus P5k-E moby.

                      If i pop any distro in to that box it will not fully boot, live CDs doesnt work either, theres no error, theres no option to do or change anything, it just hangs, i have a feeling its to do with graphics, i had a similar issue with an old ATI 9800 years ago and ended up binning it. The BIOS has had everything fiddled with that might be a reason for failed boots, especially around ACPI, AHCI, EHCI, and CPU options.

                      The disks work fine in other boxes and on VMs as does the other hardware components in other OSs

                      But again, that is missing the point, the perception on forums is that if someone asks the question than that person shouldnt be there in the first place, the problem with Linux on the desktop to the average user is that its still seen and indeed thought in some places as an elite OS for advanced users. The stats on Linux market share are not from MS, or as far as i can tell there not but, depending on the site its all around 1 to 5%, most around 1-3% (Not including Android branches)

                      -old folks on computers, YES that is my point, the same can be said of Windows but the support for it from the moment you get the device to the moment you need help with it is that much more available to Windows users, from the most basic Windows compatible Logo to the manual to the support phone numbers. Take yourself out of your experienced shell which is obviously more than the average user and try and see it from a complete novices point of view, its not simple unless you know how, which is the same for Windows but as ive said before, Linux doesnt have the ecosystem around it to support novice ex windows users.

                      There is a simple fact which can be applied to just about anything you can think of, it doesnt matter what something does or doesnt do, what matters is the perception, To combat that you need to target things at the lowest common factor, the novice user, in Linux case, thats the Novice user moving from WIndows. Why do you think MS has been shafting power users over the years with hiding things? because that adds a level of percieved complexity which doesnt fit the Novice users mind set.

                      Linux has tried to keep this power user side, and in at least one case where a distro tried to do something to make it look user friendly (badly i might add) it was canned by the community, were they wrong to try change it, no i think it was exactly what is needed, they just cocked it up. Now, i cant comment too much on the UI over the last year on Linux because my VM doesnt support the fancies but the basic layout looks (to the novice) as unfriendly as it as always done.

                      Android is a great example of how to make something both simple and keeping the core function available under the hood, that too has suffered from a bit of and Identity complex but its a good start.

            2. Chemist

              Re: Not a chance @vic

              "These days, it's frequently easier in Linux than it is in Windows"

              Agree entirely Vic, if you can't get a good Linux distro to install then you are doing something wrong.

              Everything I've installed on in the last 5 years (~ 10 installs of OpenSuse) has worked without any problems and that includes all graphics cards, printers, scanner, 3G dongle, USB/serial converters, cameras, firewire devices.

              (I did buy a new Canon 55OD where raw mode wasn't supported on the resident version of OpenSuse but the upgraded packages were available and just had to be installed.)

      2. blondie101
        Holmes

        Re: Not a chance

        What if the tablet market keeps growing like it does now, how long will it take before more tablets than pc's are sold? I don't believe MS will have the same market share in tablets as they have in PC. MS has to reinvents itself to not become the next mainframe builder (you can still make shigloss of money with it, but you won't lead anymore)

        1. TeeCee Gold badge

          Re: Not a chance

          "....how long will it take before more tablets than pc's are sold?"

          Er, never. Those consumer sales figures that get bandied about are a drop in the ocean of corporate purchasing. As long as people sit at desks in offices, desktops/laptops will outnumber tablets. I can see the possibility of dockable tablets replacing some laptops, but that's about it.

          Deriving an IT trend from consumer sales is like deriving cosmological theories from soil samples.

      3. TeeCee Gold badge

        Re: Not a chance

        Er, no.

        Like most large corporates, we run a standard desktop image. We do not roll various O/S versions over time, we decide on the next strategic move and roll that to everywhere as rapidly as possible to maintain a consistant application environment across the world.

        As we're currently rolling 7, 8 is unlikely to see the light of day around here as we'll be sticking with the new standard for a few years and probably 'til it's beyond EOL (we don't do change for the sake of shiny, there's the little matter of cost justification to consider). That's exactly the same message I am hearing from everyone I know who works in a large company.

      4. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Linux has almost no ecosystem of its own

        The point being missed by Mr Sinofsky and his friends is that *right now* Metro has no ecosystem either. Therefore, the choice facing developers is where to port to.

        1) Make a one-way port from Win32 or .NET to Metro/WinRT, removing features in your app that depend on capabilities that haven't been included in the latter. (Functionally, it's a subset of the older API sets.) Unless you *also* continue to maintain the original source code (doubling your future development and maintainance costs) you've just slashed your potential customer base down to zero.

        2) Make a port to some cross-platform framework, again removing features that aren't universally supported. However, given the functional convergence of Windows, Macs and Nixes over the last decade, that's not much. Consequently, you probably can ditch the original code after the port is finished. Congratulations, you've not only just increased your potential customer base (albeit by a tiny amount, since Windows already had 90% of the market) but you've now got an insurance policy against the Sinofsky faction winning this absurd battle within MS. (If Sinofsky wins, you can be sure that Windows 9 will be positively eye-popping.)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not a chance

      They're not interested in the corporation upgrading at this time. Your still going to have to bend over and pay your licensing fees, even if it is to have a win7 as your desktop instead of win8. CAL's mean the corporation is stuck. This is a radical departure for M$ but the rewards are HUGE

      Applications being controlled, in what they can and cant do, more than we have ever seen before.

      Boot signature validation. Enforced on ARM devices.

      Ultimately if M$ gets this they win. Not just big time, but forever. You'll have a secure os. It will soon only run signed code, (self signing allowed, you just wont be able to easily market it). All they need to do is show that its more secure when run on ARM. x86 will become legacy and increasingly hard to get.

      Software devs will want to play the M$ game, cause there is more money in it, n its close to what they already know. Governments will suck it up, cause there is more control. Apple will still be different. Everyone will be happy in a M$ world, with most phones, tv's, tablets n more running M$

      Oh and that snotty little penguin will be road kill. Progress!!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    What?

    You mean, did Microsoft deliberately set out to piss people off in order to gain publicity?

    Well, I suppose it worked for Gerald Ratner.

    1. Hayden Clark Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: What?

      No, they reason that the people who are pissed off are those that post on-line, not people who actually pay them money.

      Remember - the really big bucks don't come from you or me - we are not the target market. The big retail buyers, the PCWorld customers, they probably like the ribbon on Office, as it is /no more/ confusing that the existing toolbar. They are used to being slightly confused by their computer, so these new interfaces are just more of the same.

      When the techy whingers have shut up in a year or so, there will be a massive population of ordinary people, who will see the new Nokia-Microsoft phones in Carphone Warehouse and go "that looks just like the screen on my Packard Bell laptop at home! I'll buy that!".

      That's the plan.

      1. Oninoshiko
        FAIL

        Re: What?

        Speak for yourself.

        Some of us buy for companies, multiple in some cases. I buy windows (well rent for all practical purposes, once you consider SA) in larger quantaties then anyone in a PCWorld. I forsee my downgrade rights being utilized on this one. If the experence at work is better then the one at home, there will be a backlash. It's already started, I'm seeing some of my clients moving to corparate deployments of apple kit.

      2. Keep Refrigerated
        Angel

        @Hayden Clark Re: What?

        Wish I could upvote you 10* for that.

        Case in point: On those rare occasions I emerge from my tech bubble to assist my mother-in-law who until recently I just discovered was still using IE6; it's all just confusing and the only reason they're using what they're using is because that's what it came with. After a bit of whinging they simply become conditioned to the new and then that becomes the old for them.

        Of course I find myself not knowing whether to laugh or cry when I hear things like "I like my old Skype, I don't understand this new Hangouts". At this point extolling the virtues of Linux over 'the computer' (because Windows is *the computer*) is a bit of a lost cause.

      3. trevi1900

        Re: What?

        To: Hayden Clark:

        Yeah, except that the UI on their Windows Phone is not going to look like the UI on their HP laptop unless they recently bought a new Windows laptop with the Metro UI; if they are using Windows 7 (or Vista) then your argument makes no sense---I assume you are aware of this and that you read the above article.. On the other hand, let me play Devil's Advocate here and refine your argument to make it more reasonable. Millions of Windows users around the world have purchased iphones and ipads and android devices DESPITE the fact that the OS is different from what they are used to (also millions of Mac users despite the fact that ios is different from OS X--although with Mountain Lion they are somewhat beginning to merge). Of course, consumers have not had much choice up until now if they wanted to purchase a mobile device; ios and android and not too much else. I have no opinion on whether or not Metro will be widely adopted on desktops and laptops or on phones. However, I think the only way a Windows tablet will be successful is if it can compete with the ipad and android tablets on price, weight, battery life and apps. I don't think people are going to buy a Windows tablet just because it is Windows.

      4. hplasm Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: What?

        So what you are saying is: Windows 8- by idiots, for idiots.

        That explains the backward compatibility...

        1. sabroni Silver badge

          re: by idiots, for idiots

          Hilarity aside, they're targeting the biggest market. Why do you think Apple's "it just works" is so successful? Because it appeals to clever people? Surely they all use linux...

    2. Leo Maxwell
      Devil

      Re: What?

      Oh yeah? See any Ratner's shops in the high street these days?

  14. zanshin

    I think this is going to be the next Vista...

    ... which is unfortunate, because it does have some significant improvements in the guts. But the interface is key for a desktop user, and I can't see business and technical users finding anything but net pain from this interface.

    I work for a multinational, and we're just now getting around to deploying Win 7 on user desktops. I won't be surprised if there's room to skip a generation here, the way many did with XP -> Win 7, so we can get to a more mature interface bridging touch and keyboards in whatever Windows 9 will be. Barring some major upgrade to Win 8 before then, of course.

    As a home user, I see no reason to upgrade. If I buy a Windows-based tablet, I might use it there, but not on a desktop or laptop.

  15. Dibbles
    Facepalm

    You credit them with too much sense...

    I think the problem is that for MS senior management, this has become a philosophy - having felt that they are missing out while Apple leads the field, their approach is to try to force their version onto consumers' machines in such a way that they simply can't avoid it. The irony is that internally they talk about "we don't want to force people to do it our way, we want them to WANT to do it" - they applied it to Bing, WinPho and so on. Yet externally they seem only too happy to disconnect common sense (such as it is in Corp) and try to ram this down enterprise's throat. The level of self-delusion is fantastic, but it's not exactly unusual from MS. It's just that until now it's been mainly seen within things like Windows Live, that the markets really don't care about.

  16. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Stop

    Will there be a downgrade programme, a la XP/Vista?

    If it is they haven't got a hell's chance of flogging the thing.

  17. Mr Nobody 1
    Thumb Down

    By the way

    Microsoft - please stop telling me it's Windows 7 'reimagined' - unless it's Mickey Mouse.

  18. Sil
    Thumb Down

    I hope MS will see the light

    When Windows 7 became available, I had it installed on all computers at the company I worked for, as well as recommended it to friends and family. I didn't have a single negative feedback, in fact people were very satisfied, especially those who had to endure Vista.

    If Windows 8 really come to market with an imposed Metro interface (and I'm a huge WP7.5 fan), I will have no other choice than to recommend people to forgo the many improvements of Windows 8 because the new UI is not useable productively for keyboard & mouse users. Metro should be like Windows Media Center: optional. Worst of all people are extremely satisfied with Windows 7 I'm quite sure it W8 won't be missed, which is a shame for all the hard work than went into it (battery life, startup time, file system, and so forth).

    If feel Microsoft is loosing its mojo. First it was abandoning Silverlight for an immature HTML 5 video tag where so much thought was put in silverlight for DRM, stream optimization, multispeed streams. Then it is the forced entry of Metro into Windows 8. And now the low-contrast monochrome ugly UI of VS 2011.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I hope MS will see the light

      "I didn't have a single negative feedback, in fact people were very satisfied, especially those who had to endure Vista."

      You do know that Windows 7 is basically Vista with a few removed application and a different UI don't you? Check the program files folder for the proof, there's still a Windows Mail folder in there which supposedly never came with Windows 7. Congratulations, you are another person that has bought into Microsoft's "sell the same OS twice" con.

      1. Paul 129
        IT Angle

        Re: I hope MS will see the light

        I originally thought win7 was vista with sporty fins, n the trash emptied out of the boot. But after seeing some nasty vista failures it seems to be more than that.

        Win7 seems to be the removal of registry redirects, and the reduction of the reliance on windows side by side. (both introduced by xp for xp-64, but heavily relied upon by vista)

        Have a look at how these abominations are supposed to work. Clever concepts, but not maintainable in the long term.

        I'm guessing they're responsible for the performance difference between the two as well.

  19. JDX Gold badge

    Sounds like exactly what I've been saying...

    ... sacrificing a generation of desktop upgrades and enterprise users in order to gain a part of the mobile/tablet world is acceptable. Especially given that enterprise is so slow, they are only just moving to W7 and therefore might skip W8 regardless.

  20. SiempreTuna
    Thumb Up

    Not that big of a gamble ..

    Enterprise remains on XP and it's not changing anytime soon. At least, not willingly.

    I haven't seen a single corporation that's upgraded from XP on clients and now that everyone's intent on shifting to VM clients, an 'upgrade' to anything as resource hungry as Win7 - let alone 8 - is never going to fly. Apart from anything else, it's an horrendously expensive upgrade that would only give you problems not benefits. Makes zero sense.

    MS will continue to get it's license cash from the enterprise for XP - support will just keep getting extended - office and server O/Ss.

    Win8 is all about the home user (plus the odd journo, but they're mostly Appleites anyway) and that battle's moving to tablets - finally. Just like Bill Gates predicted 12 or more years back. Even old foggies like myself don't believe we'll be buying laptops or PCs for home use in 2 years time. Given Win8s not going to be widely available in the next year, concentrating on tablets makes total sense.

    1. ozor
      Thumb Down

      Re: Not that big of a gamble ..

      SiempreTuna

      "I haven't seen a single corporation that's upgraded from XP on clients"

      Really? you cant get out too much, I would say about 30% I have seen are already mostly Win7 with another 30% in planning.

      "and now that everyone's intent on shifting to VM clients"

      I have seen more corporate users upgrading to Win 7 than implementing VDI solutions.

      "everyone's intent on shifting to VM clients, an 'upgrade' to anything as resource hungry as Win7"

      You know its not so bad as you would expect, at least using VMware's optimisation guide for windows 7 average user onjly requires 1GB of memory, this compares with XP recommended of 1GB normal and 512MB Low End.

      http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/view/Server-Storage-Sizing-Guide-Windows-7-TN.pdf (Page 6 has good overview of requirements)

      http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/VMware-View-OptimizationGuideWindows7-EN.pdf

      Re Windows 8. no way any corporate gonna upgrade to this unless Metro can be disabled, we all know it so its Microsoft's choice. Already at this stage most large corporations would have seen Windows 8 beta and made their opinion based on it.

      The only business customers who are likely to buy Windows 8 desktop now is SMB customers so it all depends on the revenue generated from that.

      Well thats my 2cents anyway, i expect to be stuck with metro which is a real shame as really like all the rest of windows 8 (desktop and server) but Metro will kill it for me :(

    2. Chika
      Coat

      Re: Not that big of a gamble ..

      I'm not so sure about that. My own work involves a certain amount of replacement and upgrade to W7 from XP as getting XP systems is too much of a chore. Yes, W7 is resource hungry when compared with XP, though not as much as Vista. Given that much of our oldest stock running XP dates back to the middle of the last decade, crawls along and is becoming too much effort to keep going, the most cost effective way to deal is to replace them with whatever the current metal is, and that inevitably means W7.

      As for the home user, I'm not totally convinced that they will budge from iOS or Android, but that will depend on the spec and, most importantly, the cost. As a bit of a journo on the side myself, I doubt I'll be shifting off my old Linux netbook just yet, but that's just me.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's something dodgy about Microsoft's customer research - too much consumer testing (isn't it pretty) and not enough focus on the volume end of it's customer base. Vista was a train wreck. I can't believe they're about to do the same thing a second time, just 3-4 years later. Obviously they have a strategic view - Metro is the UI to access the cloud and cloud-based services, from X-box games, to apps, to sharing, to bing. And that's why it'll be on phones, tablets and anything else - one consistent interface to your data and services. The thing is they seem to be deliberately ignoring all other users. Why? Is there something up their sleeve? They can't be this dumb twice in a 5-year plan.

    1. dogged
      FAIL

      Vista made 200,000,000 sales. I'd like that kind of trainwreck, please.

      So would Apple. So would Canonical and so would RHEL. Hyperbole is an easy thing to overdo, isn't it?

      1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        > Vista made 200,000,000 sales

        No. 200,000 PC were purchased and neither the OEMs nor the buyers had a choice of which OS was installed on it at the time of purchase.

        1. dogged

          because clearly, they'd never have actually chosen to install Vista. Every last one of those OEMs and buyers would have installed linux, right?

          Don';t you dare respond with "no they wanted XP" because if they wanted XP they could have it. That way lies the usual FUD.

          I ran it for a year or so and never quite understood what all the hatred was about. 7 is not so different, just quicker booting and with a couple less annoyances.

          I suspect the real "train wreck" about Vista was that it wasn't XP2. Which is a kind of similar situation to this.

          1. Richard 12 Silver badge

            @dogged - They were all sold Vista, whether they wanted it or not

            That's the thing - for quite some time, it you bought a computer from any OEM you got Vista pre-installed.

            Almost all corporates wiped it back to XP SP2 using the corporate image - and all of those rollbacks to XP were still counted as Vista.

            A lot of 'home' users probably did the same shortly after finding their hardware didn't work properly. Either that or they returned it as 'broken'.

            I would not be surprised if >50% of the "Vista" sales were actually running XP SP2.

            That said, the trainwreck was mostly the new driver model. MS changed everything about drivers so all existing hardware stopped working until the hardware people could update their drivers. That's a big job!

            7 had the advantage of more time - the new driver model had been out for a while by then - and also added a host of shims to let legacy hardware and code work.

            (Most of these shims don't work in the 64-bit edition, which is a pain but unsurprising.)

            1. dogged

              Re: @dogged - They were all sold Vista, whether they wanted it or not

              I would not be surprised if >50% of the "Vista" sales were actually running XP SP2.

              I would. Inertia is a very powerful thing. 20%, maybe. But say you're right. Say it's only 100 million sales instead of 200 million. That still makes Mac OSX look like WP7 so I restate my earlier sentiment. If 100,000,000 sales is a trainwreck to you, then only Microsoft have ever released a successful operating system.

  22. LDS Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    MS Flight and Windows 8? No, thank you.

    Both Windows and Games could make a lot of money, but they already lost a customer. The new MS Flight is joke compared to Flight Simulator X. Nice graphics, but nothing more. I'll skip it, and if nothig better comes, switch to another simulator. Same with Windows 8. I guess I'll keep 7 on my machines, at work I'll need to test my software on it - in a VM-, but at home I'll skip it as well. If nothing changes, I'll switch to another OS.

    It is funny that MS is ready to kill a large market it owns in the hope to gain - probably little - in the other it doesn't own. More Windows 8 users won't mean more WP users at all, otherwise Window Mobile should have been a big success. It wasn't because people choose phones and tablets the same way they choose their PC and its OS.

  23. jason 7
    Meh

    I'm seeing this as more and more cunning rather than outright stupid.

    Still a bit stupid though.

    MS knows that most corps are going to skip 8 and go with 7. It's the nature of things, it's the cycle.

    So they are getting Metro user training in via the back door of domestic usage.

    7 got some of this via staff upgrading their home PCs and laptops with Vista and 7 long before the companies pensioned off the old 2004 XP boxes.

    The real gamble is whether the domestic market just sticks with what they have got or...buy Macs instead.

    As a lot of them have iPads and iPhones already and Windows Tablets wont be around till Xmas. It's not a large stretch of the imagination.

  24. qwarty

    metro on desktop

    Same experience here as 'dogged'. After a week or so using the customer preview on my (non-touch) desktop PC 25% of the time, grown used to it. Personalized my start screen, learned a few keyboard shortcuts and only a few mildly annoying features remain. Fact is I'm in desktop mode 95% of the time so largely no change from Win 7.

    Metro style apps on small tablet size screens should be fine but attempts like the current Win 8 Kindle app on my 24" display simply leave their content hopelessly lost in space, many apps are not naturally full screen on a medium to large desktop monitor or laptop display. Point is that Metro style apps augment but in no way replace desktop apps. An obvious fact once you've spent some time with Win 8.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Win Doh's

    Don't get me wrong I think the Metro interface has some brilliant ideas. The idea of having all your information in front of you on those 'live tiles' is a fantastic one and I really wish there was an alternative for Linux distros, but Microsoft are shooting themselves in the foot by adding all the garish colours and it makes it look a total total mess.

    They could easily have kept the desktop / start menu and just added these live tiles to the desktop, but instead they are radically changing it and despite what they say about legacy apps with every release there's always something that someone uses which will be broken with a new OS and that's going to pee a lot of people off.

    This is one of Microsoft's biggest ever gambles and smacks of everything riding on Red. Personally I think they've done the wrong thing though and it would've made more sense to split the OSes so they had Windows 8 for Corporate users and if they wanted to copy the iFad they could've had Microsoft Metro 8 with the Windows 8 Kernel, but this sugar coated crap bolted on top

  26. edward wright
    Thumb Up

    Best analysis to date

    Well done.

  27. N2 Silver badge

    But its got to be different

    Microsoft have an extensive network of tuition establishments along with certification & licensing to prop up. They can only do this with change, if everything worked the same as XP there would be little need for training & re-certification.

    And if Microsoft dictate every things going touch screen with Metro, then you have to stick with what you know works or look else where.

    That said, im sure on shrink wrap release, a battalion of spotty yoofs in PC rip off wurld will be primed and lurking to tell the great unwashed that Windows 8 is brilliant & it runs well on their own PC.

    Coat - asbestos as the flames may be quite high!

  28. Nathan 11
    Black Helicopters

    Disable Metro UI

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Mic­rosoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\­Explorer

    Change "RPEnabled" value to 0

    you're welcome!

  29. Ascy
    Pint

    A full day's work?

    "...set about attempting to do a full day's El Reg work..." How does the Metro interface prevent you from dicking around in the pub?

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Disable Metro UI

      The beauty of Windows is never needing the command line... yeah, right.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Disable Metro UI

      You missed a step. First you have to replace your "Consumer Preview" with last year's "Developer Preview". *Then* you can switch off Metro.

      This has been mentioned in these forums about a dozen times in the last fortnight. Unless you've spent the last month on Mars, I suggest you need to brush up on your reading skills before posting.

      1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Re: Disable Metro UI

        Thanks Ken.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft became Nokia instead?

    We thought Elop was Trojan, now I understand Nokia board infected Microsoft. Those evil fins!

    Ask Symbian developers and advanced users, stuff like "adding touch without changing ui paradigm", "forcing everyone to use your needlessly reinvented things", "changing your mind every 6 months about core languages and expect everyone to follow" are all the reasons of Nokia and Symbian failure. Half of the company wants the other half fail? Nokia did it first.

    A company sized as Microsoft gets into panic mode because of a manager toy and alienates freaking billion desktop users. Amazing really.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can we say GuhNoEm - Three

    Smells as badly as the supposed 'improvements' to work flow that gnome 3 was to bring us, when it was originally released. Fortunately, the rest of the world developed extensions to correct most glaring issues. I expect it to be the same in M$-land. Good thing for free enterprise.

  32. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    What would Apple do?

    So, how does Apple attract users to its various platforms? I'm no Apple fan, but OS X isn't iOS from what I can see poking around with the Apple store demo models. They don't appear to have shoved one unified UI down their user's throats. And that doesn't seem to be hurting them* in terms of either platform's sales.

    *Admittedly, the Mac is a niche product compared to Windows. But they still have a loyal fan base around here. 'Here' being within spitting distance of Microsoft's Redmond campus.

    1. Ilgaz

      Re: What would Apple do?

      Apple didn't change the finder interface / ux except adding next's dock since 1984.

      All that other, added stuff are extras which they never, ever force you to use. Remember the desktop widget craze? They loved widgets but never, ever made awful mistake of putting them to desktop, visible by default.

      Microsoft still has lot to learn from them. Apple invents crazy things but they are damn conservative when it comes to basic desktop paradigm.

    2. blondie101
      Childcatcher

      Re: What would Apple do?

      Apple attracts people with nice products. They have to because they are not mainstream. What is MS doing: bullying people to walk their way. Someday this is going to fail. Will 8 be this failure? Place your bets, please.

    3. Sean Timarco Baggaley

      Re: What would Apple do?

      Let me put it like this: I have a Microsoft mouse that I used to use all the time with earlier versions of OS X.

      Since I installed OS X "Lion" last year, said mouse has been relegated to the status of "game controller". I haven't plugged it in more than a couple of times this year—both were when I had to work in my MacBook Pro's Windows 7 partition for work. Once you've gotten used to the multitouch trackpad and its power over the GUI, the reason for Apple's GUI changes in Lion make a hell of a lot of sense. And Apple sell rather more laptops than desktops these days, as even Apple themselves will tell you.

      The Window market is also moving away from desktop boxes and towards laptops. Some Windows laptops are also fitted with similar multitouch trackpads. In that context, Windows 8's "Metro" also makes a lot more sense. (Also, let's face it, the Metro UI is just another change to the Windows Start Menu. This is an element of Windows that has changed, sometimes quite dramatically, with every major release of Windows! It's a launcher on steroids, not the end of the bloody world!)

      As for your assertion that the Mac is a "niche product" compared to Windows: you might want to look at Apple's market share of the consumer PC market, as that's the only market Apple have traditionally cared about. (They're more than happy to let Microsoft deal with the big corporates.) Apple's share of the consumer PC market is a hell of a lot more than the 10% usually bandied around by the usual stat-munchers, because their statistics invariably include all those PCs rusting peacefully in every office block on the planet, rather than separating out the consumer sector from the corporate sector.

      Quite how they've gotten away with this deception for so long escapes me, but I suspect Apple don't really care: as long as they're making all the profits, they're more than happy for the media to think they're still the "underdog".

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: consumer versus corporate

        It's not a deception if all those rusty PCs were paid for. Steve Jobs would have sold his testicles to enjoy the market share that Bill Gates enjoyed. You have taken leave of your senses if you believe that Apple "don't care" about the corporate market. They just don't have a way in.

        Yet.

  33. Charles Manning

    Is this going to be the end of the Microsoft Tax?

    PC makers (Dell/whatever) have long counted on new Windows releases to give them a jump in sales. If you want a new version of Windows then you might as well just buy a new PC.

    But if people are not drawn to Metro, then Dell et al get no sales. Pretty soon Dell et al get grumpy and start looking at options to keep shifting kit.

    Perhaps we'll see naked PCs and Linux pre-loads becoming more mainstream?

  34. Jonas Taylor
    Stop

    Predictable

    It's sad to see another overly emotional tirade against Windows 8. The reality is that it really isn't all that different from Windows 7. Sure the Start Menu is now a Start Screen and fills the primary monitor but this allows you to more quickly and efficiently access applications, customise the experience and view pertinent information. It is an improvement over the Start Menu that Vista introduced, which was constrained to a tiny corner of the screen and which required considerable scrolling to find any application.

    While the Start Screen obviously benefits touch screen users, it is also of benefit to those with high resolution displays - 1080p to 1600p - as it finally takes full advantage of the screen. Also, people often only pay attention to the pinned items on Start Screen - which is what most of the screenshots depict - but accessing "All apps" shows you every application installed on your computer without having to click to expand a single folder.

    That's certainly not to suggest that the Windows 8 Consumer Preview is without fault. It is difficult to hit the functionality of the corners on multi-monitor systems, particularly the Charm bar and Start Screen. And when you hover over the Start corner if you go to click on the preview image that appears - which many people will do instinctively - it disappears. More annoying, the Charm bar is sometimes triggered when I go to change the system volume from the tray icon. But it is certainly not the disaster that many would have you believe and I have been using it as my default operating system since the Consumer Preview was released.

    It will be very interesting to see what changes are made between now and release, as though we will not see the Start Menu return we may see some worthwhile improvements that will mitigate or resolve many of the concerns currently expressed. There are more than enough improvements to justify an upgrade for enthusiasts - Storage Spaces; performance improvements; new Task Manager, file copy dialogue and multi-monitor improvements; cloud syncing and online storage; new unified drivers for hardware compatibility; etc.

    1. Levente Szileszky
      FAIL

      Re: Predictable

      ...to see some half-ignorant MS defender to show up with the usual false mantra:

      "The reality is that it really isn't all that different from Windows 7. Sure the Start Menu is now a Start Screen and fills the primary monitor but this allows you to more quickly and efficiently access applications, customise the experience and view pertinent information. It is an improvement over the Start Menu that Vista introduced, which was constrained to a tiny corner of the screen and which required considerable scrolling to find any application."

      It is PATENTLY FALSE and Orlowski properly described why it is a BS claim in his first paragraph.

      How about interpreting what you've just read first and hitting the MS KB titled "How to shill for us on online forums?" just later?

    2. Charles Manning
      FAIL

      I'll call your bluff

      If it isn't that different, then why make such a bloody big deal out of it?

      MS is doing all they can to tell people that it is different. As with WP8, they are pissing on their existing user base and doing stuff that might appeal to a completely different market.

      A tile system that focuses on Facebook and Twitter and hovering over Charm Bars might work in some bloody Pink Pony laptop for prepubescent girls, but it is going to be a tough sell to corporates.

      Corporates - Microsoft's bread, butter and caviar - want to hear productivity oriented sound bites.

      More than anything else, Windows 8 looks like trying to put the Kin UI on the desktop. And Kin didn't even work on phones.

    3. Mr Nobody 1
      Thumb Down

      Re: Predictable

      Not that different ? - tell that to Michelle in Accounts.

  35. shawnfromnh

    Big Change, Total Change?

    Seeing there are admins looking at this here and all over the internet this could be a big game changer.

    With so much retraining for the new OS needed, cost of the OS, and then having to tweak the hell out of it for all the users to make it more productive. I believe those costs alone could justify admins to push hard for Linux since they'll have to retrain anyways. Linux is also more cost effective, and from what I'm reading may also now be more productive also compared to Win 8.

    Microsoft might have just given Linux their biggest boost in users ever.

    1. Vic

      Re: Big Change, Total Change?

      > Microsoft might have just given Linux their biggest boost in users ever.

      Yeah - and then we get the Gnome3 Shell.

      Talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

      Vic.

    2. Levente Szileszky
      Stop

      Re: Big Change, Total Change?

      Whiel I agree - se my post below - it would also require big changes from linux too and quickly: a big backer to step up with a clearly marked product and support while rolling out a proper compatibility solution for legacy (Windows) apps including proper, HW-accelerated 3D and so on.

      It can be either a Red Hat/Canonical duo or maybe Google teaming up with someone like Canonical but I don't really see anyone capable of pulling out such a rabbit in such a short window of opportunity alone.

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Re: Big Change, Total Change?

        Cinnamon!

    3. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: Big Change, Total Change?

      > admins to push hard for Linux

      The latest Microsoft push is to the [Azure] cloud. By using the cloud for everything, enterprises can get rid of these unnecessary IT admins and those expensive 'legacy' applications (you know, the ones that run your business the way you want it run). The savings in IT staff and maintenance can be put to more productive use, such as more marketing types (said the marketing type).

      Of course they missed out the bit where they would have to pay for the cloud, and for the MS contractors who would then provide support by upgrading to whatever version they wanted to install, and for the new software and support fees, and the cost of retraining for every new thing that MS wanted to force down your throat.

      But it would get rid of those nasty IT admin types who would install Linux.

      1. Levente Szileszky
        WTF?

        Re: Big Change, Total Change?

        Oh, noes, someone again just hit the latest edition of "The Big Book of Current BS Buzzwords"...

        "By using the cloud for everything, enterprises can get rid of these unnecessary IT admins and those expensive 'legacy' applications (you know, the ones that run your business the way you want it run)."

        Well, if you are the weatherman then yes, perhaps you can use the clouds without any IT person.

        In any other case even a half-decent mid-manager would ask you politely to STFU until you are asked you if you would come up with this inane crap in a weekly meeting (I don't expect you to participate any higher level.)

        "The savings in IT staff and maintenance can be put to more productive use, such as more marketing types (said the marketing type)."

        Aye, marketing as "more productive use"... :D

        See, this is the usual hilariously clueless nonsense that always gives you away, you useless marketing monkeys - the fact that you guys are too stupid to even realize this clearly shows your level of understanding just about anything in general. :)

  36. Levente Szileszky
    Thumb Up

    The unmaking of an old monopoly - very good, Mr Orlowski, very good...

    ...and it was music to my ears to hear my predictions back: WINDOWS 8 IS SHAPING UP TO BE AT LEAST A VISTA-LIKE ROYAL SCREWUP, with much bigger things at stake.

    I'm saying this since the first Preview and people keep questioning it - but it is indeed a perfect storm in the making, Microsoft stands to lose a LOT on this, regardless of what stupid crazy crap the Big Bald Fart and his cohort believe.

    If you think about it it's quite clear that it carries serious, long-term implications: if the lunatics at the helm will indeed rejects any post-launch fix, even after such a spectacular flop it looks to be, then it will greatly help Google & linux to move in and finally *BREAK* the monopoly Windows always enjoyed on the desktop. And, mark my words, *if* and when that happens the castle will come down very quickly: 12-24 months after the release of W8 it will be clear if the head still refuses to listen to the members and then in a matter of another 12-24 months you will see new desktop offerings popping up left and right from linux/Android, perhaps even Apple will move in with OS X (though it's unlikely they will add anything for the sake of us, Windows 7 users, hah.)

    This won't effect us, steady W7 users but when an upgrade is due and if they can pull out a properly accelerated (hw 3D) GUI for our Windows apps then it will be just the question of time when a large number of Metro-disgusted user and CTO will start testing alternative solutions.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: The unmaking of an old monopoly - very good, Mr Orlowski, very good...

      Yeah, right.

      Meanwhile, in the real world, the sheep will use 8 and winge about it a bit while businesses stick with 7. MS will rework things in 9 to sort it out.

      Just like what happened with XP-->Vista-->7 in fact. I remember the mass outpourings of "what an opportunity for MacOS and LINUX!!11!!!" when Vista came out and yet we're now in a world owned by 7, so I'll stick with hindsight rather than wild prognostication for the eventual outcome.

      As I have said before, in the corporate world 8 was going nowhere even if it were a gem. Too many 7 rollouts going on, 7 support will be around for a few years yet and nobody's going to change more often than they have to. MS know this, so 8 is a "try it on the sheep" release with lessons learned going into 9 for corp use, where the real money is.

      Using Canonical's model, think of XP, 7 and 9 as the LTS releases......

      1. Vic

        Re: The unmaking of an old monopoly - very good, Mr Orlowski, very good...

        > we're now in a world owned by 7

        You think so?

        In my travels, I see more Win7 than Vista (although there's still to much of that), but most of the desktops I find are XP.

        Vic.

  37. ysth

    Making this make sense

    Karen Sandler's keynote at Linux.conf.au 2012 ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XDTQLa3NjE ) gave me for the first time some insight into *why* Gnome Shell/Unity/Metro are heading us in this direction.

    Still don't like it.

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Making this make sense

      But at least with all the Linux based Distros it's trivial to change the desktop.

      Harder with Android. But it's controversial as to if it's really Linux distro or a fork.

  38. Watashi

    March of the neophobes

    A lot of people here are displaying two dimensional thinking. Metro apps aren't for touch devices, they're for the cloud.

    Windows 8 is the world's first device-independent operating system. Throw in lots of cloud services and virtual desktops and you have a truly liberated computing workspace. Remember those dreams of carrying your OS around with you on a flash drive an plugging it in to whatever PC was handy, booting it up and having all your documents and programs there? Microsoft have created an operating system that does exactly that - only instead of needing a flash drive, you just need a Hotmail account log-in. Your XBox, mobile, tablet, PC, smart TV or even car computer console will all give you access to your personally tailored workspace at a moment's notice.

    Windows 8 certainly feels like it's a while away from maturity, but it is a big step forward from anything else on the market in terms of the way it integrates many different computing models. Windows 8 itself may not be the future - it's a big gamble and may even spell the end for MS operating systems - but whatever replaces it will be nothing more than a refined version of the new computing model Windows 8 is providing.

  39. fzz

    It is an ancient Metro fan,

    And he stoppeth one of three.

    By thy live grey tile and scrolling screen,

    Now wherefore stopp'st thou me?

    :

    Tiles, tiles, every where,

    And now the desktop shows;

    Tiles, tiles, not any where,

    Gawd, this OS blows!

  40. All names Taken
    Paris Hilton

    I wouldn't worry about it too much.

    Progress is progress and progress to some always equates meaningfully to pain and to others as gain?

  41. J. Cook Bronze badge
    Coat

    Yeah, this is gonna get downvoted by the fanbois...

    TO all that are going to tell the medium to large companies to go mac: Riiiiiiight.

    Where's the centralized user administration? The mac equivalent of Group Policies, Active Directory and Standardized desktop images? (SCCM/SMS/Sysprep)

    *crickets*

    Thought so. While It'd be something nice to see, we'd rather take the conex full of cash that it would cost my company and funnel that into something that actually works in our environment, like investigating VDI, and beating some of our enterprise application vendors senseless to provide a version of their software that runs on Windows XP and 7 properly without having to blindly grant local administrator access to every user of it.

    Mines the armored one with the "Every OS Sucks" patch on the neck/spine plate.

    1. Paul Shirley
      WTF?

      Re: March of the neophobes

      1st?

      I'm pretty sure UNIX was rather more device independent long before Windows stopped being just an app run over DOS. The cloud is more or less just a reimagining of the old mainframe+terminals days. Thanks to X UNIX has been rather good at decoupling display+input from execution for a very long time. And UNIX was a pretty late entrant in the computing world.

      There are very few things any version of Windows has ever been 1st to introduce. Even fewer worthwhile ones.

      Microsoft as usual are jumping on a bandwagon late and need to bludgeon users into submission.

    2. Mage Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: March of the neophobes

      "Windows 8 is the world's first device-independent operating system."

      Nonsense.

      BSD, QNX, VXworks, GNU-Linux

      Even NT Windows around the 3.51 & 4 versions supported MIPS, PowerPC, Alpha, Alpha64, x86(32bit mode only). There is an embedded "GUI-less" version of NT4.

      I had a Debian based VOIP 4G handset with touch screen and ARM cpu before iPhone was on sale.

      Have a look in the Arch directory of Linux Kernel source. MIPS, ARM, PowerPC, x86 (even on Geode), x64, and many more.

      Most Servers, Setboxes, HDTVs, Routers run Linux Kernel on a bewildering variety of CPUs and HW.

      Only the non-NT Win2.x, Win3.x, win9.x and ME was limited to x86 only and user computers (no server versions). There was an embedded version of Win3.x for Cash Registers and ATMs, but it was x86 only. WinCE ran on a variety of CPUs originally, only later it narrowed down to ARM on WinPhone version.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yeah, this is gonna get downvoted by the fanbois...

      Sadly, you have a point... unless there's some way of harnessing PAM in MacOS X, there's a problem with getting centralised user authentication going.

      Standardised images? There are ways of achieving that, but some better automation and central control is probably needed to harness the full potential. Network booting capability may help there too.

      Then again, perhaps people are confusing *personal* computers, with workstations.

      "Standardised desktop images", "Group Policies", smells like a workstation, not a personal computer.

    4. Levente Szileszky
      WTF?

      Re: March of the neophobes

      This is probably the most ill-informed crazy crap of all comments here...

      W8 is the first what...? Metro apps for the cloud...?

      Seriously, man... WTF?

  42. Jean-Luc Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Mayhap no one wants to tell the emperor he has no clothes

    I agree that a calculated gamble is one possible scenario. Certainly more plausible than "we really can't hear you when you say it sucks".

    But it could just be that the average exec at MS would be putting his career in jeopardy by contradicting the decisions made by wiser heads higher up.

    Wiser folks like Steve Ballmer and Steve Sinofsky, for example.

    I mean, I rarely hear people sing the praise of the ribbon. And it wouldn't take much to have ribbons AND menus in Office for example. But, despite the annoyance of many users (at least above the age of 35), ribbons are getting more and more pervasive. And Sinofsky is Daddy Ribbon apparently.

    So, if the big chiefs are singing Metro, what are the lil Indians working in UI design gonna say?

    "Yes, Steve."

    If only Ubuntu wasn't stuck in Gnome 3 and Unity, and instead aimed for stability and user friendliness, like the old Ubuntu :-(

    A Windows-themed Linux distro aiming at Joe Average may still have a wider window of opportunity in the coming years. Porcos potest fugere and I would like that. Then again, Apple may just reap the benefits.

    BTW, I rather liked the "everything on command line" article about Win 8 Server. Even if I don't like Powershell much. That may be their way of this s***hole.

  43. IGnatius T Foobar
    Thumb Down

    "Nobody I've spoken to wants Windows 8 to fail."

    The article says: "Nobody I've spoken to wants Windows 8 to fail."

    Well, consider yourself spoken to. I want Windows 8 to fail. I want Microsoft to fail completely, losing its unreasonably large market share.

    To paraphrase the eloquent and insightful Rush Limbaugh: "I hope it fails."

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Trollface

    consumer?

    maybe there is a creator version as well for people who do actual work.

  45. JeffinLondon
    FAIL

    Dumb and dumber

    Metro V1.0 will me mandatory on a non-touch computer. What are the MS execs thinking??

    We're watching a train crash in full 3D slow motion.

    Madness, pure madness.

  46. Gartal
    Thumb Down

    The main problem with Windows 8 slightly gayly named Metro on a desktop is that it is a POS. It is a remarkably bad piece of design, stupid design really.

    Microsoft spent BILLIONS designing and refining the Windows 95 interface and it has served very well for the past seventeen years, simply because it is a good piece of design.

    Every copy of windows sold after Windows 3.11 and NT 3.51 has had the by now traditional interface. The largest number of people in history use a single product and have invested untold billions, possibly into the trillion dollar realm in becoming comfortable with it.

    Vista with its big dumb blank screen consuming spaces was aweful, especially straight out of the box. They also decided that as everyone was now buying big screens, they should fill them with something. The problem was they picked the wrong aspect ratio so things were cramped from top to bottom and bare at the sides.

    Windows 7 refined the crappiness of the interface and became if not sublime, at least very good.

    Even if one had a touch screen on a desktop, Windows 8 does not work very well. In all of the offices I visit as a tech, everyone has the screen just out of arms length so putting aside the mouse and keyboard and then leaning forward to open an application is so unbeleivably stupid.

    The next reason it is a POS and a stupid design is the splatter you get when you finally figure out how to get to your applications. What fuckwit thought that I should scroll through every thing that is listed in a program group in order to get to the one I want? They should be shot burned and pissed on.

    A further reason that Gaytro is a POS is the method by which one now gets to an application. There is the wonderfull Windows Key then right click, select `Apps` (how twee!) and then scroll through license agreements and uninstall programs, sub utilities and lods of stuff you don't want to see just to get to a program. Ridiculous. Just plain ridiculous. There really isn't any other word for it.

    Into the next. I have to agree that Windows now gets to a login screen hugely faster than any version could previously aspire to. But it is a trick, a slight of hand. Once you get there and log in, you just wait for the rest of windows to start up so it really takes about the same time as Windows 7. There is really no net gain.

    What else is S*** about Windows 8?

    Steve Balmy, `The Shouty One`. Steve Balmer is a real problem. Windows 8 is entirely of his making, it happened on his watch as people are so fond of saying. It not only happened on his watch but he directed it, put in place the Ideology which (miss)guided its creation and he OKed it. I can hear lots of "People will just have to get use to it" going around.

    I have been a computer tech for twenty two years now working from DOS 3.2 to the present. In that time, I have been able to sell people Wintel machines every couple of years and not knowingly lost a single customer to the fruity ones. Since the release of the iPhone, I have seen about one sixth of my customers head off for the Apple diet.

    Steve Jobs was fond of castigating Bill Gates for not making Windows good enough, obvious when one looks at the sales figures (sarcasm). But Saint Steve let loose the iPork or whatever it was and followed with the iPhone, neither of which I like but for which I have a very deep respect. They are both technical masterpeices.

    The Mac is stylish but nothing special. For me it is a PIA but that is personal preference. What Apple did very very well was to make their devices pretty well seamless in the way they communicate and that is why I have lost clients. Yes they have one OS for mobile devices and another for desktops, but they make the applications work together better than MS do. MS provide numerous applications but offer cross platform data transfer and support for a limited number of them.

    MS on the other hand decided we required a desktop OS on our phones - WP 6x and it was wrong. I had a HTC Titan which I bought specifically because it had Remote Desktop Connection and pretty good VPN support so that I could access client machines if it was inconvenient by any other means. As it turned out, I rarely had to do it and the times I did, it worked well. But it really wasn't sufficiently necessary ultimately to have to put up with the weeniescope screens and titchy-witchy menues and plethora of buttons.

    Now Monseuir Shouty has decreed that we have to have a phone OS on our desktops!

    Finally there is the `Wait for it......` timer. It too is twee. And within about one and a half minutes of installing Windows 8, it had palled.

    In making this decision about this operating system and the necessity of having a consistent UI across all devices, Stevey Baby, the climatic one has reached into the magician hat and pulled out a three legged, four eyed, nine arseholed rabbit.

    I have never agreed with the Jobby one but now I do. Steve Balmer should be flayed with a maggoty cat and I am going back to Windows 7 and waiting for version 9. Or 10. Or Ubantu Cuddly Custard.

    1. Paul Shirley

      Microsoft are continuing their historic (and epic) attempts to lock all OUR data into their tools. But it's just data, with a little care it's not locked into specific tools and should never,ever be tied to an OS. There's no technical justification for having the same OS on diverse devices, I just need access to the same data in a useful platform relevant form.

      This 'same OS everywhere' crap is just their abusive way to invade the tablet market, launched from the safety of their desktop monopoly.

    2. hitmouse

      you lost me at gayly [sic]

      Can you only deal with a Hetero interface?

  47. Gil Grissum
    Thumb Down

    BALMER

    It's Balmer, I tell you? We went through this nonsense with Vista. I can tell you for a fact that the Medical School I work for shunned Vista and to this day, is still running XP on the majority of desktops. If Metro cannot be suppressed and the regular Windows UI brought to the forefront, my workplace will shun Windows 8 and upgrade us to Windows 7, which we'll be on for several years, just like Vista. Balmer needs to be done away with. He's sinking the ship. Is the board just asleep at the wheel, or wot?

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: BALMER

      No. It's Sinofsky. He put the ribbon on Office and probably more than anyone else has put alternative Office software on the map as millions of users screamed "Is there an alternative? Please tell me there is an alternative!"

      Then he moved to the Windows division. There he found Vista in a state of self-gravitational collapse. Realising that he couldn't screw this product if it died straight away, he produced a massive XPsp2-like service pack to bring it up to snuff. Which he charged money for. Then he set about screwing Windows the same as he had Office.

      Balmer's done nothing except sit and watch.

      1. Levente Szileszky
        Go

        Re: BALMER

        Both of you are right: Ballmer, being a clueless beancounter, is largely relying on these golden boys like Sinofsky, Belfiore etc.

        I'm not sure Sinofsky was as clueless as you've described here but Belfiore was definitely the guy who sank MEdia Center, only to be promoted to his current position, head of Windows Phone... aye, another "great success" in MS' books.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BALMER

      Vista has classic mode theme....which looks just like XP....WTF are you talking about?

  48. Simon B
    Thumb Up

    Excellent article, tells me exactly want I needed to know. Win 8 avoided then until touchscreen becomes part of ALL the software I use, that wont happen anytime in the next 5 years will it!! o costly to upgrade all our software; which btw don't exist yet, to touchscreen versions.

  49. Keith 72
    Holmes

    Start Menu Workaround

    A quick hack to get most of the start menu functionality when running Win 8 is to add a new Toolbar to the taskbar and have it point to the folder "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu". Then just remember when you're running your day to day apps to pin them to the taskbar and you can probably do a whole days work within the "Desktop app" without resorting to the pointless (unless you can point) metro start nonsense.

    Elementary my dear Watson. Not. ;-)

  50. johnwerneken
    Mushroom

    Win8 Question-Comment 3 15 2012

    Posted first http://windowssecrets.com/forums/showthread.php/144908-A-Windows-veteran-looks-at-Win8-Consumer-Preview/page2

    I happen to like Win8 and I have my old Start with the old behavior in the old place thanks to StartmenuX and Startbutton, which I also keep pinned to my task part as a refresh of the running win8 instance can still knock out my poor defenseless non-win8 button.

    That forum is a typical forum, full of defensive explanations by the perpetrator and the fanboys of the deed, fine whines by the victims, and if we are lucky (I refuse to read 28 pages on a relatively trivial issue, as my 3rd party tools fixed it for me (referred to above startbutton startmenyX)) MAYBE a tip on a real fix. Touch ready is one thing, touch orientation only is another and this is the future of our product's ONLY look is yet a third. I haven't figured out which of those MS intends but I am VERY curious LOL.

    As to why Metro in the first place, MS needs to be on tablets and phones and if they can get one OS to do both - and they have - they win, Apple and the evil ones lose. The tablet/touch ecology is inevitable, MS surviving without win8 or something like it (runs everywhere) is not at all inevitable.

  51. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Is it called Metro because it will be underground soon? (ie. buried).

    Make no mistake, Metro is Microsoft Bob 2.

  52. jason 7
    Unhappy

    It's not working...

    Been using Windows 8 now for a couple of weeks or more and I still find myself auto/muscle memory going to bottom left to switch off the laptop and other such things.

    Going to take a long time to get used to this after nearly 20 years of doing it one way.

    I do love the fast booting etc. but have yet to find a vaguely useful Metro app.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: It's not working...

      Really, you don't just close the lid or press the off button on the keyboard? You're more like 3 generations of Windows behind ;)

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