back to article Windows 8: Not even Microsoft thinks businesses will use it

Like Thelma and Louise, executives at Microsoft's Windows division have no doubts about which direction they want to point the car. It's pedal to the floor, and over the cliff as fast as they can drive. Last week the latest Windows 8 public preview confirmed what many had expected and feared: there will be no compromise on the …

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  1. mark1978
    WTF?

    WTF is "The Channel" which is always mentioned on this site but never explained?

    1. That Steve Guy
      Paris Hilton

      WTF is "The Channel"?

      I think it seperates Britain from France.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What has WTF (World Taekwondo Federation) got to do with "the Channel"?

      1. Thorne

        "What has WTF (World Taekwondo Federation) got to do with "the Channel"?"

        The World Taekwondo Federation need to channel their Kamehameha attacks. It's all perfectly logical if you think about it.

    3. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      RE: WTF is the channel?

      In a nutshell, the channel is the chain of companies linking vendors to end-users. From distributors with warehouses to resellers bundling extra services for business customers or to retailers flogging kit.

      C.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: RE: WTF is the channel?

        Thanks for that - I was also confused, but too scared to ask.

        There's an assumption made that we all understand what the channel is, now I do, I understand that it's the stretch of water that separates us from France.

        I have no wish to be in it and am thankful I'm not.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: RE: WTF is the channel?

        @diodesign: Pah! If they need it explaining they shouldn't be reading it.

      3. Brezhnev's Shadow
        Joke

        Re: RE: WTF is the channel?

        The Channel is obv where the Clay People live.

        Try here at 7:10 to check http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-12ZtRkMsms

      4. chebucto
        Paris Hilton

        Re: RE: WTF is the channel?

        More to the point, what distinguishes channelregister.co.uk from theregister.co.uk ? Why is this particular article on Channel Register rather than The Register? Surely most of the non-Science/Odds&Sods articles on The Register have to do with 'the chain of companies linking vendors to end-users' in some way.

        Trying to distinguish computer news from 'channel' news seems as foolish an errand as trying to distinguish the internet from 'the cloud'.

        1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

          Re: Re: RE: WTF is the channel?

          It's on The Channel because that's our dedicated sister site for channel news - in the same way hardware and consumer tech deserves its own site, Reg Hardware.

          C.

    4. Blitterbug
      Happy

      WTF am the 'channel'

      I was wondering about this myself. It seems the Reg is going all 'businessey', and having gone to the trouble and expense of setting up a new semi-site under the Reg umbrella, and coining a new bit of biz-jargon, are cleverly pretending it's been there all along and that we should all jolly well know what the hell it is...

      1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        Re: WTF am the 'channel'

        The Channel used to be called Channel Register, and it's been around for a while. :-)

        C.

        1. Blitterbug
          Happy

          Re: WTF am the 'channel'

          Channel Register... Hmm - honestly didn'y know that. I guess it just never carried stories I deemed 'clickable' ...?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When does thing launch again?

    ...and does anyone know how much puts run these days?

  3. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    Are there two teams out there who refuse to talk to each other?

    baffling "design decision." I will stick with Win 7 at home, unless I seriously want to tick off the missus (I really only boot to Linux).

  4. Robert E A Harvey

    irrelevant

    Given that some local authorities only migrated TO XP in the last 18 months or so, and that even the most forward thinking businesses are still qualifying W7, it may well be that Redmond expects big business to move to W7 after XP, and take 3 or 4 years about it, by which time the tablet wars will be won (or lost, supposing they even start. I reckon MS is too late to that party by a generation).

    The natural path for Corporates is XP -> W7 sometime in 2014, then W7 -> W11 some time in 2022.

    The success of W8 will not matter in the corporate market. They are not going to up sticks and go to Linux (much as I wish they would) because of W8. They will just stick with XP then W7.

    Microsoft is, I agree, looking like someone taking very careful aim at their own foot. But to shoot themselves in the other one they would have to prevent corporations migrating to W7 for the remainder of the decade, and past history suggests they won't do that.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Windows

    not new coke

    I have seen several commentators mention 'new coke'.

    But the difference is that Coca Cola didn't have the option to put both old and new coke in the same can. They had to pick one or the other. And their decision and design process was done in secret, so although they had blind taste tests, they really hadn't tested how the public at large felt about the idea.

    Microsoft on the other hand has made no secret of its intentions, and they must surely have noticed a lot of negative feedback, and general confusion, even on their own 'answers' site.

    And it is all the more ludicrous because they could easily avoid this by putting in a simple switch to let users revert to the familiar Windows 'classic' model of desktop and start menu.

    If MS goes ahead with this, then expect SP1 within a few months (with a handy tool to give users a choice to turn metro off)... or Ballmer's head on a plate. Or both.

    1. Jerome 0

      Re: When does thing launch again?

      More to the point, has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?

      1. Matthew 25
        Headmaster

        Re: When does thing launch again?

        "has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?"

        Speak English!

        1. dssf

          Re: When does thing launch again?

          Well, the question does fit with what I've been hearing about "The Thing" in South Korea... Apparently, "The Thing" adverts are being run on displays in coffee shops and train stations around the country, or at least in the Seoul area, hehehe. I understand they are running ad nauseam.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: When does thing launch again?

            User: Has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?

            Cleverbot: No, no one has really even far to go want look more like that, but I know what you are saying. Why would even want go as far more like that?

            : /

        2. Anonymous Coward
          WTF?

          Re: When does thing launch again?

          wtf are you talking about? Speak English.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Frank

            http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/has-anyone-really-been-far-even-as-decided-to-use-even-go-want-to-do-look-more-like

            In short, it started out as an utterly incoherent response to a post about a new video game and due to its ridiculousness has since become copypasta (i.e. CTRL-V for teh lulz)

      2. ed2020
        WTF?

        Re: When does thing launch again?

        Eh? In English please?

      3. Graham Dawson
        Holmes

        Re: When does thing launch again?

        You’ve got to be kidding me. I’ve been further even more decided to use even go need to do look more as anyone can. Can you really be far even as decided half as much to use go wish for that? My guess is that when one really been far even as decided once to use even go want, it is then that he has really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like. It’s just common sense.

        1. hplasm Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: When does thing launch again? @Graham

          Have one of these- even go want to do, like!

        2. Euripides Pants Silver badge

          Re: When does thing launch again?

          Looks like a few people have been eating off the floor again....

        3. Levente Szileszky
          Thumb Up

          Re: When does thing launch again?

          Great, I just spit my late evening kebab across the keyboard... :D

        4. Anonymous IV

          Re: When does thing launch again?

          You are amanfrommars and I claim my £5!

        5. Turtle

          @ Graham Dawson: When does thing launch again?

          "Re: When does thing launch again?

          You’ve got to be kidding me. I’ve been further even more decided to use even go need to do look more as anyone can. Can you really be far even as decided half as much to use go wish for that? My guess is that when one really been far even as decided once to use even go want, it is then that he has really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like. It’s just common sense."

          Well that's easy for *you* to say.

    2. TangD
      Thumb Up

      Re: irrelevant

      Couldn't have put it any better if I tried. A bigger question is will any home users bite...? As an aside, the tail is starting to wag the dog a bit in this enterprise (60k people globally) and if our incoming/incumbent staff get used to it at home they'll be even more annoyed with the systems. BYO is already on the table...

    3. bailey86

      Re: irrelevant

      Bit strange though.

      Who really wants to migrate to Windows 7 if it's already been superseded? Bit like upgrading the servers to WIn2003 and not to Win2008. If you're going to go through the hassle of upgrading you want to get the latest version to put the next damn upgrade as far into the future as possible.

      It would make sense if Windows 7 was called Windows Desktop 7 and Windows 8 was called Windows Tablet 7 - AND - they had separate development roadmaps.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: irrelevant

        not strange at all. XP and windows 7 have mature drivers, app fixes and patches. why would I want to migrate to the latest OS and play whack a mole with drivers, patches and weird issues for the next 6 months? In fact, why roll out a new OS unless there was a compelling reason? I.e. no more security updates, software that wont run in XP etc.

        Even our W7 machines are GPO'd to look as close to XP as possible. Saves on training the infidels.

      2. Robert E A Harvey

        @Bailey86

        At $MEGACORP the IT people have yet to get all our business applications and portals working in W7, they might run it out in 2013 or 2014. If they stop that and start again in W8, they lose 2 years, and then do they leave us still on XP while they throw that away and start again from scratch when W9 comes out?

        Of course, if windows were a stable, well-written platform with established and maintained APIs you could upgrade the OS without breaking the Apps. But it isn't, so you can't.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: not new coke

      But the biggest laugh is their belief that they're going to compete on tablets with Apple. I've no love for either company, probably disliking Apple even more, but faced with a choice of a Metro tablet, or an iPad, I'm afraid it'll be the real McCoy for me.

    5. Someone Else Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: not new coke

      Oh, please...please make it the latter....

      1. TheRealRoland
        Coat

        Re: not new coke

        Oh, please...please make it the (p)latter....

        There, fixed it for you :-)

    6. henrydddd

      Re: not new coke

      "Time to bet on an "Enterprise Edition" sometime early next year, perhaps?"

      Who knows. Maybe Windows 9 Alpha will roll out next month.

      1. thondwe
        FAIL

        Re: not new coke

        All a good theory enterprises to skip windows 8, but windows 2012 server also has the metro interface. Touch screen server consoles anyone?

    7. This post has been deleted by its author

    8. Lance 3

      Re: not new coke

      If you look at the reception that WP7 has had and the sales that have followed, it is quite clear that Microsoft is NOT listening. MS also thinks that what you use on the desktop dictates what is bought on a tablet/phone. This is not the case, so forcing Metro on your customers and expecting that they will buy a tablet with Windows 8 is just foolish. Apple is not using the same UI for the desktop and tablet.

      1. Greg J Preece

        Re: not new coke

        "Apple is not using the same UI for the desktop and tablet."

        Give 'em time. The LaunchPad menu that came in with Lion was utterly pointless fullscreen crap ripped straight from a mobile operating system. Sound familiar?

    9. Hardcastle the ancient
      Headmaster

      Re: irrelevant

      This may explain the good-bad-good-bad windows release cycle. MS managers know that letting the kiddies play with the UI and filing system in even-numbered releases won't bring the company down, and may stir up the market place and create new ways of locking-out the competition. They will then do a dull odd-numbered release to keep the business cash cow on side.

      Consumers have no chance to buy machines without the latest version of windows, so they are unwitting lab rats in some vast social experiment.

    10. Sceptic Tank

      Re: When does thing launch again?

      The Jive Dudes created an account.

    11. dssf

      Re: irrelevant

      Or, maybe it is "Corporealate Punishment"? They are probably foisting this MetroGradeRetrograde onto the public because the shareholders/"stakeholders" expect some of those billions in ms' coffers to be spent doing something, ANYthing.

      So, the question "When Will Thing Launch" could be a sly or subconscious piece of wit. This UI will be a shock, horror, and gahhhh to users as much as The Thing was in the 80s. Might be a sly way to look at Hand and Uncle Fester, too, hahahaha

      In any case, I thoroughly enjoy non-standard/ESL "cutting" on English. It is kind of refreshing, and it makes me dissect what I've learned and "re-learn" some things, even if only as short-lived humor.

      See all the kewl segues that arose from a dropped article/particle? Reminiscence through economy, I say!

  6. homercycles
    Happy

    Good thing for Linux

    Whilst many will probably just buy a Mac and empty their wallets in the process, this could be a good thing for Linux in the Enterprise. It might finally give them a chance to realise that much of their stuff is now in the cloud anyway, and the free Office offering is probably good enough for most. Bye bye, Windows. You won't be missed. Don't let the door hit you on the way out :-)

    1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Re: Good thing for Linux

      I wish it were true but if half of all enterprise users are in fact running XP there is little hope they will suddenly jump ship for Linux instead of just waiting it out until 2014 to see if MS comes to its senses. And I suspect if folks starting to switch to Linux as April 2014 draws near it would be an event which would likely smack some sense into MS. It will depend on how swiftly MS acts that which will determine what sort of foothold Linux might achieve.

    2. honkhonk34

      Re: Good thing for Linux

      I feel your post is somewhat narrow minded in it's approach.

      Many small businesses are running XP, running home made or small dev-made scripts and/or applications which support their businesses (that could be hosting, productivity, production or administrative, for example). Changing the core platform is the smallest part of the upgrade for companies that size - adapting, rewriting or even commissioning new scripts, applications and processes to either match the old or take advantage of the new core platform is the largest part of the cost.

      Linux is not a golden bullet to the problem of changing away from a heavily entrenched platform and the transformational costs incurred exist for XP to ANY other platform.

      The harsh reality is that XP is so entrenched because business owners and operators clearly believe it is more cost effective to retain than to replace. to say "it won't be missed" is simply untrue on that basis.

      I'm not arguing which is better in terms of running costs, reliability or any other factor because I would be agreeing with you over most of them, but you clearly haven't tried costing a SME IT upgrade during a recession. It's not something most owners/shareholders are at all interested in if the current system is delivering on it's core duties vaguely competently.

      1. sisk Silver badge

        Re: Good thing for Linux

        I second honkhonk34's sentiment.

        I got roped into being the computer repair go-to guy for a local jewelry shop that still has a Win98 server in the back. They have an XP incompatible database program on there that can't be exported to anything except a proprietary format by a company that went under sometime before Windows 2000 came out running on it. They can't update unless they're willing to loose 30 years worth of sales records. I'd be willing to bet that with XP ruling the computer world for as long as it did a lot of businesses are in the same boat.

        1. richard 7

          Re: Good thing for Linux

          The Linux crowd need to realise that it just isnt that simple.

          Ok, so my office app issues are easilly solved by using Openoffice or whatever this incarnation is called BUT (and this is a big but) We went over from openoffice to office 2011 because openoffice wouldnt open some of the documents sent to us by customers and suppliers. So I'll start that ball game again.

          No MPLAB ide on Linux and no suitable replacement

          No Delphi (yes I know) on Linux and no suitable replacement given we develop for windows

          No version of our bootloaders for Linux, and I cant rewrite them because of the above

          Bar the odd fart and hiccup Windows *just works* Linux isnt even close. its better than it was but I dont want to have to know how to mess with compiliers etc just to use an application. Again, its better than it was but I've still looked at Linux apps, said f??k this and gone and paid for a Windows app thats working inside 30 seconds.

          Till we get there it not home ready and not really close to enterprise ready. Although some businesses do = admin people and nothing else, many dont.

          For the record I'm not a Windows Fanboi, both of our servers here are Linux Boxen as are all of then in our overseas offices, Linux just doesnt have a place on the dektop .... yet.

          On topic, I can see this being the case but I'm not sure its a smart move. I dont think people will jump to Apple in droves I suspect they simply wont move on. That said a fair few of the people it upsets will be decision makers.

          1. Chemist

            Re: Good thing for Linux

            From the Microchip website

            MPLAB® X IDE is a software program that runs on a PC (Windows®, Mac OS®, Linux®)

            I've never had to "mess" with compilers just to run an application and Linux is all I use. From my 17 year experience of Linux, both at home and in research in a big pharma Linux has been a valuable desktop for years. Indeed at work, ~8 years ago, I only used Linux and Unix desktops as the extremely expensive protein modeling software programs were ONLY available for them.

        2. dssf

          Re: Good thing for Linux

          If it is running win98 as a server, try locating a copy of Lotus SmartSuite if you can figure out what format the proprietary db is able to export to. It would be tragic if nothing is usable, especially since Approach can import some 10 or more format types. Is that db GUI or DOS-based? Is it in Lantica/Sesame? Borland Paradox? Other?

          IWCTW, see if you can find a hacker/cracker who can get the db into RAM, then use a hex or memory reader to grab the data. Won't be cheap, but it could be costlier ($ and emotions) if that ancient machine decides to give up the dust and bite the ghost.

          1. thickasthieves
            Meh

            Re: Good thing for Linux

            The cost of _finding_ a skilled reverse-engineering developer who is willing to undertake the work on contract is a challenge for a small business owner, let alone budgeting for the legitimate costs that the developer will incur while doing the work.

            In addition, even if the base formats were to be reverse-engineered, if the original developer decided (for understandable IP protection reasons) to put in any amount of encryption (or even some well-placed obfuscation of critical code, parameters, or key data structures), then the reverse engineer would be faced with yet another set of hurdles, and the costs would go through the roof.

            I could easily see such an effort, undertaken by a single developer, to run to $10k or $15k, or perhaps even $25k or more.

            In my judgment, the best thing to do is to find some expert systems software assistance (which, while costly, will be far less so than an entire reverse development effort), and virtualize that Windows 98 machine so that it can easily, safely, and forever be run on a modern hypervisor.

            Alternatively, hire a cheap offshore data entry team (or put it up for Amazon's Mechanical Turk) to rekey all the data into a modern application.

        3. daveeff
          IT Angle

          Re: Good thing for Linux

          Doesn't the database have reports that (combine to) print everything? Print to file as generic text run a shitload of PERL, import into (insert DB here) and spend a whole bunch have time manually checking the data - for a huge fee I can even help out ;-)

    3. dssf

      Re: Good thing for Linux

      Might be nice if this were a sort of "digital shit on digital shingles". But, some corporates and consumers have no taste buds...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Being an iPad owner who does a fairly limited amount of things on it, I really can't see why anyone would want to operate a full blown computer with such a limited interface. I think Windows on ARM is going to suck and x86 tablets will run too hot to put on your lap or run slow to prevent this.

    To operate a tablet computer on your lap you really do need multi-touch and a touch screen UI. I've remotely accessed a Mac with my iPad and found it slightly frustrating to use to day the least. But touch screen interfaces can never be so powerful as a mouse and keyboard.

    Firstly the mouse and trackpad is the couch potato's friend, you can move a mouse pointer around a large screen accurately with very little in the way of movement. Physical keyboards are also loads better than on-screen keyboards as you can reliably use more than one hand and use multiple fingers too.

    The saddest thing of all in the computer industry right now is all the pioneers are dead or no longer involved in technology. Bill Gates isn't in charge of Microsoft, Steve Jobs is dead and Google are hardly innovate, choosing to replace Microsoft in the role of cloning and cheapening the competition.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      because ....

      Picture the scene at MSFT HQ.

      One thrusting young VP says that if Microsoft embraced the whole new tablet-cloud-mobile-multimedia scrumptious we could be just like Apple. And remember what happened when we ignored that internet stuff back in the 90s

      Another greybeard says - our core strength is in the enterprise desktop, don't change anything, just make things more consistent and easier to manage.

      Which button does Blamer press to drop one of them into the shark tank?

      1. danny_0x98

        Re: because ....

        We tend to overlook that Enterprise licensing is calendar-based. Which Windows os is merely an implementation detail.

        Integration over three screens is Microsoft's play these days. Correction, the promise of the best integration when all the kit is ready and purchased is today's message. When tomorrow arrives, we'll see if the world didn't know what it was missing.

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge
          Go

          Re: because ....

          and that they are probably dead right. Enterprise wont move to w8 anyway, they have just started (or have planned) a move to W7 so they wouldnt do 8. Then W9 will have had a right shoeing over metro and will be fine again (or a GPO to disable metro)

      2. dssf

        Re: because ....

        He whacks one or both with a BATON, THEN presses a BUTTON, for one praising Apple and the other for not whacking the other who advocated emulating Apple..

    2. dssf

      Sad?

      I think what is really sad is we don't have the tech to download all those brains into a hub for later "resurrection". But, imagine the pattern buffer/bit-muncher mixing up Jobs, Gates, and Ellis into one "stream". They might be one HELLUVA "Hybrid", producing the worst of "altered-egos"..

      But, maybe in 15 years, when brain-mapping is further along, we may once and for all reap or strip or sift brains of their unconscious 1s and 0s "brainary" equivalents...

    3. dmarkh

      So USE both hands; split your keyboard.

      Go down to the show/hide keyboard button, lower right corner, looks like a keyboard, and tap then hold it. An option to either undock/split the keyboard will come up. If you split the keyboard you can use both hands like a steering wheel.

  8. Gordon Fecyk
    Go

    Didn't this happen with Windows 95?

    Where'd my Program Manager go? How can I run Windows 3.1 again? The Start Menu sucks. Why can't I use Trumpet Winsock anymore? Microsoft's being anti-competitive again...

    How about Product Activation in Windows XP... remember that old chestnut? That was supposed to drive millions of ex-Windows users to Linux.

    Nine years from now you'll all be trying to save Windows 8.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Didn't this happen with Windows 95?

      likewise the dredded office ribbon bar..... its just about reached tolerable levels for most people now.

      1. JeevesMkII
        Mushroom

        Re: Didn't this happen with Windows 95?

        Not for me. I still despise the ribbon with every fibre of my being. The only positive thing about the ribbon is that it has forced me to learn the keyboard shortcuts for just about everything I'd ever want to do. Bloody thing is unusable.

        1. BristolBachelor Gold badge
          FAIL

          Ribbon

          Judging by this comment, I don't think that Andrew has ever seen the ribbon:

          "I cannot think of a change forced upon users that's quite so violent since xharacter-based terminals gave way to graphical user interfaces"

        2. David Jackson 1

          Re: Didn't this happen with Windows 95?

          The Ribbon is an abomination. Sadly, it's hard to get Office 2003 now.

          1. Thorne
            Pirate

            Re: Didn't this happen with Windows 95?

            "The Ribbon is an abomination. Sadly, it's hard to get Office 2003 now."

            The Pirate Bay is your friend

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Didn't this happen with Windows 95?

        Oh god...the f***ing ribbon. I don't think MS realise just how much retraining and redocumentation of procedures is required when they do shit like the ribbon (and Metro) especially when they don't make it optional. Funnily enough one of the most used ribbon add-ons is the 'classic menu' :-) That should have told MS something.....but nah! They know what's best for you.

        Both the ribbon and metro belong in the IT graveyard.

      3. ed2020
        Unhappy

        Re: Didn't this happen with Windows 95?

        likewise the dredded office ribbon bar..... its just about reached tolerable levels for most people now.

        Not for me it hasn't. Not even close to tolerable.

    2. the-it-slayer
      Facepalm

      Re: Didn't this happen with Windows 95?

      Do you not know the routine by now... good, rubbish, good, rubbish. I refuse to go through the list. It's the turn for rubbish.

      9 years from now, we'll be trying to save Windows 7. Sheeesh. Code activation doesn't drive users away; stupid UI decisions do though.

      1. The Tick
        Boffin

        Routine Now...

        I remember the routine - Win 3.11 for workgroups - win95a sucked - win95b was stable and had big hard drive support - win 95c was gui upgrade to make it look like win98 first edition - win 98 sucked was flaky - win 98se was stable and somewhat reliable after all the patches - winME was crap - win 2k was decent but they dropped directX support for it forcing me to winXP - Vista was crap I never used - Win 7 is crap I do not use - winXP in classic mode is now as stable as 2k was and with firefox or chrome, openoffice, and winamp who cares if the newest IE or media player or office will not work on the old XP?... I swear to use winXP until I cannot use it any more! <I should go buy a bunch of blank HD's and install/activate windows XP then put them on a shelf to use after the 'activation server' is taken down> I still miss win98se because I could set bootgui = 0 and go to true dos and run win whenever I wanted... (They killed the progman.exe in winXP, I tried copying the one from 2k but they went out of their way to block that...)

        On top of all these versions of windows I put LiteStep and never changed my interface / gui for any of the OS's they threw at me until VISTA came along and when I shut down it went 'OMG your shell has shut down what ever should I do now?!?!?!?' and that is why I never left XP.

      2. P. Lee Silver badge
        Linux

        Re: Didn't this happen with Windows 95?

        > Code activation doesn't drive users away; stupid UI decisions do though.

        Perhaps for the consumer market. For business, they'll either just skip Win8 or deal with it.

        What really drives businesses away is application incompatibility coupled with licensing issues. MS isn't daft enough to do both of those at the same time.

        Replacing applications is a major headache. App deployment and migration is a major headache. Compare the costs of lost productivity due to UI with a switch to a different OS with the same type of UI and you'll see why businesses will stick with MS, even of they don't go with Win8.

    3. Paul Shirley

      Re: Didn't this happen with Windows 95?

      The difference was: a small minority gave kneejerk howls of protest, the majority hated Program Manager with a passion. The exact opposite of Metro vs Start.

      ...and then the idiots noticed they could still run Program Manager, but didn't bother.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Didn't this happen with Windows 95?

      @Gordon - You are right - I remember running Win95 in "3.1 mode" for months until I was forced to admin that, actually, you know, this new menu thing is quite good. Ooh, did I slag it off at the time though. I'm not going to fall for that again, I'm going to try it out and make up my own mind, rather than listen to the vocal ones on the Internet, many of whom have a track record in slaging MS.

    5. Nathen Fredrick
      Trollface

      Re: Didn't this happen with Windows 95?

      Only Windows 95 wasn't reducing an expensive computer into basically a phone.

      The only way that it may drive users to Linux/OS X is when people decide that they don't like the look of 8 and wonder what else is actually out there. It might be like that scene in The Simpsons when all the kids go outside and play when the Cable is out.

      1. Gordon Fecyk
        Coffee/keyboard

        Re: Didn't this happen with Windows 95?

        Only Windows 95 wasn't reducing an expensive computer into basically a phone.

        Like Gnome 3 does? or HUD?

      2. Ian Johnston Silver badge
        Stop

        Moving to Linux

        Don't raise your hopes for Linux. They'll try Ubuntu (everybody says it's the easiest, right?) meet Unity and the HUD and run back to Windows as fast as their little legs will carry them.

    6. Captain DaFt

      Re: Didn't this happen with Windows 95?

      Win 95's UI wasn't the one that followed Win 3.11... Bob was. 95's UI was the retrenching MS did after that fiasco.

      (Seriously, if you look at all the promotion MS did for Bob back in the day, it mirrors their current enthusiasim for Metro.)

      1. daveeff
        Facepalm

        Re: Didn't this happen with Windows 95?

        this did happen with 95 - I never used it, skipped straight from 3.11 to 98.

        Good release, bad release - I went from DOS to WfW (3.11) to 98 to NT, to XP, to 7 (wow, did I not miss something between XP & 7?!)

        1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

          @daveeff

          "I went from DOS to WfW (3.11) to 98 to NT, to XP, to 7"

          You could have saved yourself a bit of time by jumping straight from 3.11 to NT. The only complaint that sticks with me about NT4 was its separation anxiety when the network went down.

    7. bailey86

      Re: Didn't this happen with Windows 95?

      I agree that Windows 95 was the beginning of the serious rot.

      Before that - Win3.11 did what it was supposed to do - and didn't crash. Also, a Win3.11 PC could be rebuilt by Format /s of a HD - and copying all the files back from a network backup. I know this as did it myself.

      Windows 95 came in - suddenly we had OS crashes (at the time, an original WTF?) and suddenly the only way to rebuild a PC was to re-install the OS from the CD (again WTF?)

      Windows were close to sorting themselves out with the fairly lean WIndows 2000 - but then in came the truly dreadful, bloated WinXP. (It still amazes me how people think XP is any good - have they not tried a decent Linux distro or a mac?)

      1. dssf

        Re: Didn't this happen with Windows 95?

        What I miss:

        IRQ conflicts in the middle of a error ding/bell. "Deeng-neng-neeng-neeng-neng-neeng-neeng... bmung-bmung-bmung-bmung-bmung-bmung....

        and, "DUNDT". Sometimes, it's funny to hear it on the BART terminals, when the ticket machine goes tits-up with the win logo on screen.

        Sadly, when BART upgrades its trains, it won't be hurling ms/win to the trash heap in favor of an OSS/FOSS/GNU OS...

  9. Captain Save-a-ho
    Thumb Down

    Conspiracy theory of the day

    While the "skipping the business cycle" theory does make some sense, isn't it more likely that Microsoft execs continue to suffer from business myopia where their products are concerned? It's one thing to innovate in ways that help users (i.e. Win3x -> Win9x), but forcing the tablet GUI on non-tablet devices makes no business sense at all for Microsoft.

    It sounds like they want to manage one client OS codebase for all devices, regardless of platform. That could make some sense, though I think it could be argued that it brings its own level of complexity that washes out any savings over multiple OSes. To take that leap one step further by defaulting to the tablet GUI and eliminating 15-year-old desktop conventions in the process is unthinkable. That's not innovation, that's just stupid.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Conspiracy theory of the day

      "isn't it more likely that Microsoft execs continue to suffer from business myopia"

      I wouldn't have thought so. Microsoft is itself a major corporate user of Windows. I had rather hoped this might save Windows 8 - Microsoft's internal users would decry it as unusable - but this doesn't seem to have happened. I don't get it.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    wow...

    Count And/Or Trollmaster Extraordinary making sense?! Whatever next...

  11. Allicorn

    Classic Shell

    Classic Shell beats Start8 IMHO. Once you log in and get to the desktop you have both a Start Button and a classic style Start Menu. Add Ribbon Disabler and Win8 almost starts to look like Windows again. Third-party hacks are hardly ideal for the Enterprise environment though.

    1. wirving

      Re: Classic Shell

      There's an even better hack--just don't upgrade to Windows 8.

  12. It wasnt me
    Happy

    Wrong

    Don't get me wrong, I hate Microsoft far more than the average man and have done since I was saddled with Vista. But Microsoft aren't choosing to skip a business cycle. They just know full well that businesses choose to skip MS Upgrade cycles. Whatever MS did with 8 the businesses were going to skip it anyway, so it seems like the right release to put the consumer shit into.

    On everything else though, I agree, it looks turd and will probably die a painful death. Thankfully I will never see it as the only place I use windows is at work.

    1. the-it-slayer
      WTF?

      Re: Wrong

      But surely they want to drag businesses away from XP at bloomin' well last? Okay, Windows 7 will do that job but if Windows 8 was a non-abrupt continuation, the choice to move away would be made easier.

  13. Miek
    Linux

    I think that article has really hit the nail on the head. I think that these start8 folks are going to have a rather large database of email addresses after all the Windows 8 users "fix" their start menu issue.

  14. Lazlo1313

    dumb

    this sky is falling editorial serves no purpose. i use metro every day and it is far better than groups of icons. you should just relax.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: dumb

      Yes, but this article is about Enterprise Windows -- not that smartphone you fiddle with all day.

    2. Richard Jones 1

      Re: dumb

      Interesting, for what do you use metro?

      I have no interest in the weather in small town USA, nor the USA stock market, I hardly ever watch a video on my PC and Win 8 cannot play DVDs natively anyway, clouds are something that rain on me. I do use outlook, word, excel, Firefox and the like in fact they and the TV are open and ON SCREEN now, but I never found a use for any of the dis-functional metro toys, which I could never close once I found them useless. Shut down was a nightmare till I found the big shiny button on the front did a nice rapid power off - was that the idea or not.

      My Windows (H)8 experience will draw to a close as the latest release has been crippled to not run on my spare, non production 3 GHZ pc.

  15. DavCrav Silver badge
    Holmes

    " "I believe that the software giant is taking a pass on businesses for this release, a calculated risk that enables it to more firmly focus on the consumer market that's on the cusp of slipping through its fingers thanks to Apple and, to a much lesser extent, Android," he writes. Well, you read it here first."

    Surely not, since you are quoting another website...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Metro On the DT is CRAP !

    Well said Andrew !

    Been running W8 preview for some time now and in it's current form it is the most disastrous UI decision MS has ever made for the DT environment. I don't know what idiots they employ to do market research but they clearly have this wrong.

    Should have two windows versions - Windows Metro and Windows Classic

    Where Metro is solely for touch and new hardware interfaces (can see it working well here) and Windows classic for DT use with the option of Metro as a bolt on layer.

    My advice to anyone on the current evidence is to avoid W8 at all costs, wait until W10 after MS has had a few kicks in the nuts and eventually listened to the market putting things right.

    This sort of crap from MS is one of the Major reasons I like Linux, I have plenty of UI's to choose from if I don't like something.

    1. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: Metro On the DT is CRAP !

      I think metro could work on the desktop and work pretty well with some fairly modest improvements. I have no issue with change but not change that gives mouse / keyboard / desktop users a truly second rate experience. And that's exactly what metro does.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      Re: Metro On the DT is CRAP !

      What you are missing of course, is by making Metro optional, nobody would use it, and then Microsoft couldn't cream 30% of apps sales.

      This is why Metro is being forced upon you are the default interface, so you can rebuy all your apps again, in cutdown crappy metro versions where Microsoft can cream of 30% each time.

      Windows 8 is just a vehicle for that.

      1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        Re: Metro On the DT is CRAP !

        > This is why Metro is being forced upon you

        I have seen a Microsoft message that was: 'Metro will soon be the most familiar UI'.

        It seems that MS has projected the growth of iPads and the decline of desktop PCs and of WP7 and concluded that in a few years everything will be tablets and/or smarter smartphones and will miss out because of Apple and Android.

        The only way forward is for users to demand a different UI. The way to do this is to get them familiar with Metro. Once they find that it is easy to use they will stop buying the clunky old Apple and Android way and will _want_ Metro on their tablets and phones.

        ie if it is forced down their throats then they will grow to love it.

        Having the option of turning it off, or not buying Windows 8, will not achieve this aim.

        Making desktop, tablet and phone all working the same way will ensure that users buy all 3 devices, plus want Metro on their TVs and cars.

        The alternative for MS, in their projections, is decline in PCs, more loss of mobile to Android and reduced revenue. As the business plan is using stock price rises to pay part of the staff costs then this would lead to rising expenses and loss of profits leading to a spiraling decline.

        Metro will save Microsoft, and only Metro will do that, there is no Plan B. OEMs _will_ ship it without the option. You _will_ use it, you _will_ like it.

        OEMs will also not ship anything else. MS has made HP dump WebOS like it made ASUS dump Linux Netbooks. Others will follow. Expect Dell to dump Linux ARM stuff (or lose 'loyalty discounts').

        1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

          Re: Metro On the DT is CRAP !

          I just realised that this is not exactly good marketing for Excel either, if that's how they have done that projection :)

  17. Dan Paul
    Facepalm

    Moronic Marketing Mavens Muckup Microsoft Maniacally.

    Andrew you hit the nail right on the head. Microsoft is stuck in reactive mode and cannot get out of it. They are trying to emulate Apple instead of actually thinking about what they are doing due to terror of lost market share.

    MS loses market share every time they do stupid things like Vista and Metro but they are too stupid to recognize their own shortcomings or learn from the past mistakes.

    Their corporate culture has been one of "Yes Men" and "Emperors New Clothes" for as long as I can remember. No wonder they cannot be the operating system leaders they once were.

    They have no real leadership or vision other than that offered by the likes of monkey boy Ballmer.

    1. John Sanders
      Linux

      Re: Moronic Marketing Mavens Muckup Microsoft Maniacally.

      "No wonder they cannot be the operating system leaders they once were."

      They never were...

      What you meant is: Micros~1 is not that good at competing is it?

  18. Chris Miller

    I can see why MS are desperate to have a meaningful presence in the smartphone segment (and Win8 is clearly their best shot to date). Their USP will be integration between the desktop and touchpad/mobile device, so they'd like to make it easy to develop for both platforms simultaneously and keep the UIs aligned.

    But I don't see why it need be hard to provide an option to turn the Metro screen off. I bet third parties will be offering this capability (probably for free) the day it launches.

    1. toadwarrior

      They have investors. They can't just be the best at one thing they must always be growing and expanding into new areas or they're useless.

      Tbh it's a good excuse to do away with the stock market

    2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      turn the Metro screen off.

      > But I don't see why it need be hard to provide an option to turn the Metro screen off.

      Microsoft will be making this as hard as possible because they want to force Metro down your throats until you grow to love it and then demand it on your tablet, phone, TV and car.

      One way to avoid it being turned off is to rip out of Windows any alternate mechanism, such as all the start menu code. Then they would have to write all new code to replace Metro.

      Then they would make Metro, or some core part, as part of the secure boot so it cannot be replaced without stopping Windows booting.

      Then they will only allow Metro style apps to be loaded from the app store, which they will control so a disabler or replacement will not be available.

    3. StooMonster
      Headmaster

      It's all about the money, money, money

      Metro apps (read programs) are only available from the Microsoft Store.

      Microsoft take 30% of the revenue of third-party apps sold from the Microsoft Store, ergo they earn at least 30% of the revenue of all Metro apps.

      That is why they will not allow you to turn off Metro, it is a revenue stream.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Errr what about Windows Server 2012?

    Are they planning on not selling a single copy of Windows Server 2012 with its metro hell as well if thats the case?

    1. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

      Re: Errr what about Windows Server 2012?

      "Are they planning on not selling a single copy of Windows Server 2012 with its metro hell as well if thats the case?"

      They are recommending that you use the Core (GUI-less) installation for Server 2012, and in the current preview version, that is the default installation method.

      I gather that their idea is that you use Remote Deskltop or similar from another system to actually get stuff done. Or get used to writing lots of stuff in PowerShell...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Go

        Re: Errr what about Windows Server 2012?

        The Reg really needs an icon for Irony. As in, oh the balls-out, stick-your-face-in-it irony of if being 2012 and GUI-less Windows server being pushed as the way to go. What next, bash on Windows and a getty on COM1?

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Errr what about Windows Server 2012?

      And what's wrong with a touch screen server?

      There are a whole range of finger based gestures I have come to associate with managing exchange

      1. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

        Re: Errr what about Windows Server 2012?

        "And what's wrong with a touch screen server?"

        When it's sitting in a server room, and probably running headless too. Server rooms aren't the most pleasant places to work.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Errr what about Windows Server 2012?

          >When it's sitting in a server room, and probably running headless too.

          That's what the Kinect's gesture recognition camera is for.

          You just stand outside the server room and gesture to the server you want to reboot.

          1. Thorne

            Re: Errr what about Windows Server 2012?

            "That's what the Kinect's gesture recognition camera is for."

            "You just stand outside the server room and gesture to the server you want to reboot."

            Isn't that represented by extending the middle finger?

        2. Steven Raith
          Joke

          Re: Errr what about Windows Server 2012?

          I think he may have been referring to some of the finger based gestures we all do with Windows Server - normally involving just one or two fingers, directed at the machine itself.

          Of course, the touch based interface normally involves a lump hammer...

          On a more serious note, I've managed to get Win8 working properly on a Macbook (use an MSI editor like Orca to dump the InstallConditions from the 32/64bit Bootcamp MSI in the Apple folder to get it to install) so I must pop Server 2012 in a VM on the OS X side and see how that goes. No doubt I won't be able to avoid it.

          The enterprise may be able to skip a generation, but SMBs and local outfits won't be so lucky unless MS allow Server2k8 downgrades...which seems unlikely.

          Steven R

        3. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: Errr what about Windows Server 2012?

          Working on servers will be by using your Metro based tablet or WP8 and using the touch screen of that to operate the headless Metro based server.

    3. Christian Berger Silver badge

      If I was Microsoft

      ... I'd get rid of that silly policy of charging that much more for the server version of their operating systems. And I'd get rid of the idiotic idea of charging for each remote desktop client access license.

      This would put Windows on par with Linux. You could suddenly have your applications on one computer while you have the freedom to choose what you use as a terminal. This would greatly extend the life of the Win32 platform and enable Microsoft to play with newer platforms for other uses.

  20. Matt Collins
    Mushroom

    I don't own a Mac...

    ...but I will be asking my boss for one when this PC wears out so I never have to use this turkey.

    1. Quxy
      Pint

      Ah, if only Steve were around to see this

      If the Windows 8 transition is as uncomfortable as AO anticipates, Apple might be able to peel away large numbers of PC users and trigger a collapse of Windows sales, especially if they were to create things like special Mac bundles with Windows emulators and file migration tools.

      The PC market is still worth about $300 billion in revenue a year, a huge pool of revenue. If Jobs were at the helm, I think he'd be sorely tempted to attack -- hopefully someone in Apple's new management has the balls.

  21. Jonathan 29

    unbind metro

    I don't think MS will take too kindly to attempts to remove Metro. It is so key to the new design philosophy they can't allow people an easy way of getting rid. I am pretty sure they will do all they can to lock in Metro and disable start menu 'fixes'. This is do or die and I suspect the later, but they are a big company and will have another chance if they are willing to admit their mistakes.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At the time of Windows 3.x ...

    People learned the interface on their work PC, and when they were ready to buy a personal PC were comfortable to use Windows at home.

    Now anyone who wants a new personal laptop or PC in the new era will get Windows 8. They'll take it home and get used to it, albeit with some pain. In a couple of years when business is forced to upgrade from XP or Win 7 the transition won't be as bad. The home users will even feel justified in the effort they spent.

    I remember in the early MSDos / MAC OS timeframe it was difficult to sell MSDos users on a new (MAC) interface, even if it was easier and more capable. Users were reluctant to throw away the experience they had painfully gained becoming familiar with MSDos and its applications.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: At the time of Windows 3.x ...

      Its a long time ago, but I seem to remember that the Win95 shell was regarded as a vast step forward by most who used it - thats definitely not been the case by the majority of metro users.

    2. Darryl

      Re: At the time of Windows 3.x ...

      "In a couple of years when business is forced to upgrade from XP or Win 7 the transition won't be as bad.'

      I don't think so. Considering business is mostly in the process of upgrading from XP to Win 7 right now, I think Andrew is right - we'll just skip over Win 8 in the business world, like we did with Vista. Also, when we were busy skipping over Vista, users were buying Vista computers at home, and there weren't any issues with them learning the two different interfaces.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Look's like I'll skip it thankfully

    IT dept has recently informed us that they are rolling out Windows 7 globally over the next 18 months.

    It is a pretty large multi-national with over 300k staff all currently on XP.

    we skiped Vista and I expect we wont look at 8 at all.

    Anon as I should be working.

  24. Boogie Man

    Consider this...

    Consider a Windows 8 hybrid device whereby it's a "normal" PC at work - using the windows desktop interface - then you detach the screen and take it home for use as a tablet - using the metro interface.

    No need to have two expensive devices, just one.

    Ok so it's clunky now, but a future hybrid device would work for me...

    1. mark1978

      Re: Consider this...

      Then you'll either have a screen which is far too small at work, or far too big to use as a tablet.

      1. Boogie Man

        Re: Consider this...

        Most people now have a large (and cheap) plug-in monitor for work, as well as the PC display, so I don't think this is generally true

    2. Jonathan 29

      Re: Consider this...

      Firstly, I would never use my work laptop for anything non work. Everything is too closely monitored in our company. Secondly, as the article says the split is just too messy. It is neither one thing or the other and not much better than dual boot. Desktop programs not designed for Metro will work badly with touch and Metro apps are just too few in number to be very useful yet. You would be better off with a completely separate device that has some developer support and excellent apps.

    3. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: a future hybrid device

      You are missing the point that such a hybrid would be a throw-back to the Tech Preview (which allowed you to avoid Metro on your desktop) and MS deliberately removed the option. MS are travelling in the opposite direction to you.

    4. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: Consider this...

      > Consider a [] hybrid device ...

      Consider a hybrid device that can fit in your pocket and has, say, a 4" touchscreen interface. It can be used as a phone, a webbrowser and does email. When plugged into a base station with screen and kb it can be used as a desktop for work. At home it can plug into the TV or a tablet sized touchscreen.

      Microsoft won't do this because it wants you to buy all 3 devices: desktop, tablet, phone, and a TV and a car computer. It will want 3 - 5 licences per user not just 1.

      The hybrid device will be Android/Linux not Metro.

      1. Thorne

        Re: Consider this...

        If it was me, I'd have single OS that changes the desktop depending on the application. You buy a phone or a tablet and run a touch based interface. When you get home, you plug in a screen (or two), mouse and keyboard and the display changes to a normal desktop application. Extra cores in the CPU activate and you run the phone just like a PC.

        This is what I expect M$ to make but instead they took the worst features of every OS out there and built a total shambles.

        Yes they might sell one licence but currently their only selling one now. People was windows on their PC and usually an android or iOS phone/tablet.

        If people bought a phone to replace their PC they'd buy one licence of M$ but then wouldn't buy a google or apple device, giving control and market share back to M$.

        Metro just means people will avoid upgrading their PC and won't touch metro devices losing M$ the one sale they did have.

        1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: Consider this...

          """If it was me, I'd have single OS that changes the desktop depending on the application. You buy a phone or a tablet and run a touch based interface. When you get home, you plug in a screen (or two), mouse and keyboard and the display changes to a normal desktop application. Extra cores in the CPU activate and you run the phone just like a PC."""

          That sounds exactly what Ubuntu is doing. Android has a Linux kernel (with extras that are being merged). When a phone it will run the Android UI, plug it into a big screen (HDMI) or a base station then the Ubuntu UI will start (preferably with the option of XFCE or LDXE) and run on the same kernel without rebooting.

  25. Seb123

    Even the fan boys say no thanks

    John Dvorak's review on Market Watch is quite an amusing read, since he is a bit of self-confessed MS fan boy.

    When the fan boys call your new product an unmitigated disaster, then you know you have a problem.

    'The real problem is that it is both unusable and annoying. It makes your teeth itch as you keep asking, “Why are they doing this!?” '

    'What is this departure based on? It’s based on the pipe dream that the unsuccessful user interface used by Windows Phone will turn into a success on the tablet — to such an extreme that people will also demand it on the desktop, so all the platforms can have the same look and feel.'

    'The public and enterprise users are going to demand Windows 7 throughout 2013 and until Microsoft gives up on this soulless Metro interface and gets a new design team, fast'

    That covers how I feel about it. I've tried using it myself and it's just cumbersome and annoying. The Metro UI looks like a web page. In fact, it reminds me of Active Desktop. Anyone remember that and IE 4? Good times.

  26. JDX Gold badge

    Considering so many businesses are still on XP/Vista, MS can still derive huge income from businesses upgrading to W7 - which is a great and well-tested OS. Cheap workstations are now able to run W7 with ease, etc.

    So I see no real problem bypassing enterprise.

    1. revdjenk

      Re: Even the fan boys say no thanks

      I think Paul Thurrott's response carries more weight than John C Dvorak's concerning Win8, which speaks even more of MS' miss on this DE.

  27. DrXym Silver badge

    Windows 9

    I think it's clear that Microsoft have given up trying to make this release appealing to businesss or indeed users of mouse / keyboard computers. The experience borders on the intolerable for "classic" desktop users. I expect Windows 9 will be turned around pretty fast much like Windows 7 appeared with 18 months of Vista.

    It's not that metro is a bad idea but that it makes very few concessions to the way people work. A typical desktop may have 30 or 40 programs installed - games, apps and whatnot. There are no folders in metro so Microsoft have kludged in some filter to strip out uninstallers and readmes and other detritus and present the stuff that slips through as an enormous horizontal flat list. It's just abysmal behaviour. Desktop users also may have multiple monitors and lots of pixels yet there is no effort by Metro to allow users to customize the scale or size of tiles to pack in more information or tone down the gaudiness.

    I think it will be a public relations disaster. The disaster could be compounded because Windows on ARM and Windows on Intel are two similar looking but incompatible versions of the same OS. One has the old desktop and one does not. It may even be the case that both versions are locked down to an app store so people cannot install apps except via the store. I can imagine the fun and games at PC world with people returning tablets when they discover none of their software works on it.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    *Very* big risk

    MS may very well be rushing to shore up the consumer space, but could open a far larger breach in its fortress by taking all focus off the enterprise space. Apple kit is increasingly seen as acceptable/viable in the enterprise space, and MS' panicked response vs Apple's well-measured approach to the tablet/desktop dichotomy might just provoke a significant backlash. We might even see the long-prophecied 'year of Linux on the desktop'...

    1. Justicesays
      Devil

      Re: Windows 9

      >"I expect Windows 9 will be turned around pretty fast much like Windows 7 appeared with 18 months of Vista."

      Nope, all the MS developers will be forced to use windows 8. We'll be lucky if they every manage to release windows 9.

      1. DrXym Silver badge

        Re: Windows 9

        Developers are getting a taste of awful GUI design too. For reasons that make no sense DevStudio 2012 will display all the menus in all-caps.

        Anyway I'm quite certain that a large whip will be cracked in Redmond to crank out Windows 9 to repair some of this damage. I hope and expect W9 to offer a far better experience for desktops.

    2. Paul Shirley

      Re: There are no folders in metro

      Androids home screen folder support will get copied to Metro eventually. Wasting a entire 'tile' worth of space makes no sense on small screen devices but would become more usable on tablets or PC. Will reinforce the absolute space wasting stupidity of Metros tile sizing but too late to fix that.

      I don't think it solves all the problems though. Nest folders deeply and that's a lot of extra clicks navigating them, leave them shallow and you're back to running out of screen estate. Only works on Android because they made launch icons small, not screen gobbling monster tiles.

      And you've still had to switch context from the classic desktop to use it.

    3. Captain DaFt

      Re: *Very* big risk

      'year of linux on the desktop'

      That's come and gone already. Those of us that want it, have it. MS's problem is that consumers have many choices beyond desktops now, and Apple, or some form of Linux, runs on most of the alternatives.

      So in typical panic mode MS is trying to expand out... by pushing a non-desktop interface on desktops? Oo-kaay...

    4. StooMonster
      Headmaster

      Re: Windows 9

      > It may even be the case that both versions are locked down to an app store so people cannot install apps except via the store.

      Windows RT is locked down this way, you can only buy software from the Microsoft Store on the ARM tablets.

      Similarly you can only buy Metro apps from the Microsoft Store in the x86/64 Windows 8.

      Only "classic desktop" allows running of program's not purchased from Microsoft Store.

  29. William Hinshaw
    Mushroom

    Off the Cliff

    Yeah MS is riding this thing right off of a cliff. If I had any stock in MS I would be selling it off and purchasing Apple stock. I hate Apple in the extreme. The point is that this is WILLFUL stupidity on Microsoft's part. Skipping an enterprise cycle thinking they will avoid another Vista like debacle is wrong. The enterprise will never accept the Bob 2 interface or any refinements of it though Start8 is a much better take on the interface.

    But I'm betting that the general end user will not like Bob 2 either. MS seems to believe that everyone must be treated like children telling us what we will like and must use. Making sure that we get a PLAYSKOOL interface with bright colors. I know that any computer I have to service that has Windows 8 will have a nice $40 surcharge added to it and I'll give it the line item "Dealing with Microsoft's willful stupidity. "

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmmm

    "Windows 8: Not even Microsoft thinks businesses will use it"

    Wonder why?

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why Windows Server 2012 then?

    If Microsoft are skipping a corporate release, why are they bothering with Windows Server 2012?

    The last preview I looked at also having the Metro interface forced upon us, which apart from being utterly pointless in this enviroment, also makes it tricky to use in a virtual environment of which the majority of server OS's now live.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Why Windows Server 2012 then?

      Server 2012 is a whole different kettle of fish. *Here* developers are being encouraged to make sure all their software runs on the "core" server offering, which is purely command-line.

      Offering Metro as the GUI on Server 2012 might, of course, be seen as "encouragement" for that transition to the command line.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why Windows Server 2012 then?

        So finally they've got the point that running a GUI is a waste of resources? That only took two decades.

        1. Tom 35 Silver badge

          Re: Why Windows Server 2012 then?

          They just want to sell more system center 2012 licences.

  32. jason 7
    Mushroom

    It's all about selling Apps.

    Nothing more nothing less.

    A last ditch attempt by MS to get into a market it's missed by miles. It doesn't care if you like Metro or not it just wants to make sure you cant hide from it in the hope you give in and buy apps...and more apps.

    Sh*t or bust basically.

  33. Robert Moore
    Linux

    Just finished

    I just finished rolling out Windows 7 here, if they think i am going throught that hell again with Windows 8 thay have another thing coming, and one more customer going.

    1. P. Lee Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Just finished

      Which is why the "testing" version of windows is being released no rather than when people want to upgrade.

  34. Andus McCoatover
    Windows

    Took a leaf out of Ubuntu's book, methinks

    *OPINION* Ubuntu shot itself seriously in the foot when they thrust that God-awful "Unity" interface down our throats. It CAN be removed, if you like leaping through hoops of fire, and maybe trashing a few apps. in the process.

    (Linux Mint/Mate for me now. Peace At Last!!!)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Took a leaf out of Ubuntu's book, methinks

      Cinnamon is quite a nice interface as well actually!

    2. Bruno Girin

      Re: Took a leaf out of Ubuntu's book, methinks

      I use Unity every day and I actually like it, a lot more than I ever liked Gnome 2.

      At least Ubuntu have done two things that MS don't seem to do: 1) they've made the whole Unity implementation consistent rather than the schizophrenic W8 behaviour described here and 2) they're not preventing you from installing Gnome Shell or any other window manager: you can still chose to run something else, it's all in the repositories.

    3. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: Took a leaf out of Ubuntu's book, methinks

      > if you like leaping through hoops of fire

      sudo apt-get install xubuntu-desktop

      How hard is that ?

    4. keithpeter
      Linux

      Re: Took a leaf out of Ubuntu's book, methinks

      "...if you like leaping through hoops of fire, and maybe trashing a few apps. in the process."

      I missed those; prey chronicle the quest

      I just did sudo apt-get install gnome-shell then rebooted into gnome classic (no effects) session. Nice to have the choice is it no?

      Unity actually works quite nicely on this Thinkpad X200s with the 1280/800 screen. I might try the metro thingy as a giggle

  35. Hilibnist
    Meh

    Like it really matters?

    The view from "the channel" (i.e. the middlemen who resell MS software) supports an opinion that corporate users won't be challenged by Windows 8 in a hurry. I haven't spoken to a single large organisation who has the slightest interest in Windows 8 for the first year of its life and still won't be interested until SP1 has been proven.

    Windows 8 won't affect existing Win XP/Vista*/Win7 desks so as far as business users are concerned, MS could cock up the whole of the launch version of Windows 8 (not just the UI) and it won't matter. And it will continue not mattering until the dust has settled after SP1.

    * yes Vista... check out all those poor souls administering to the Olympics

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/10/07/2012_olympics_vista/

  36. Andy Farley
    Thumb Down

    I like the Metro interface...

    on a phone.

    I'd even like the ability to have a live desktop I could pin tiles to...but to abandon the window based task model of all previous iterations is just insane.

    1. Tim Bergel
      Thumb Down

      Re: I like the Metro interface... but it's so UGLY!!

      I can't understand why any mobile phone user would want a user interface built out of those orange, purple, blue and green rectangles - I've always thought it looks horrible - don't get me started on putting this on the desktop....

    2. Mikel
      Happy

      Re: I like the Metro interface...

      It wouldn't sell on a phone so they figured the best solution to that problem was to force it on everyone everywhere - tablet, laptop, desktop and server too. That will help people get over it.

      Or... not.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Risky move for Microsoft

    I really don't understand what is going through Microsoft executives heads...many commentators and potential customers are saying no to Windows 8. What does Microsoft think it's doing? Let's force Windows 8 onto customers ? Sorry, that won't work...you will get businesses and intelligent consumers seeking alternatives.

    No 1 rule of success...give customers what they want or something as close as possible to it ! Many big companies have faltered when they ignore and disobey this rule. Is Microsoft going to be one of them ?

    1. Robert E A Harvey
      Happy

      Is Microsoft going to be one of them ?

      I sincerely hope so.

  38. James Gibbons
    Mushroom

    Metro SP1 for XP and 7?

    Come on Balmer. We must have Metro everywhere. Why not use Windows update to push a Metro SP out to all XP and 7 desktops. No need for users to have any say. After all, it's the future and it makes the computer more secure because users won't know how to run anything so they won't be able to break it anymore.

  39. Donald Miller

    No wonder the hotels are empty for the Olympics

    I keep reminding users that, no matter how many cores you have, calling main memory or (shudder) disk storage puts one call at a time on a ferry called the BIOS, moving at system speed, waiting at the other end to be reloaded, paddling back, whilst all other calls twiddle their thumbs. Metro sounds as if if will add a LOT of trips. I have 4 unopened copies of Win7 H&F and a bunch of Win7 Pro to get me through until my turn with Charon, or M$ comes to their senses (hopefully first.) And what about that irony icon? Ѳ, representing a light bulb?

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What do corporate box sellers think of this?

    I'm guessing they were all hoping to shift lots of new hardware, until Microsoft screwed them over with this bombshell.

    Consumers don't want Windows 8, business won't install it if it comes with new hardware.

    So Who is Windows 8 aimed at? Baristas? Internal Microsoft demo kiosks?

    Windows 8 is turning into Vista + Bob + WindowsME x 10

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Windows

    Metro IS the problem

    "the problem isn't the tablet-friendly Metro layer per se. It's the severe disruption to the everyday experience caused by integrating Metro front and centre."

    I think the author doesn't get it. The change from start menu to (Metro) start screen is hardly the problem, because in the end people may complain but eventually will adapt to the changes. Its not even a problem that MS pushes this down our throats because in all fairness; MS has a tendency to "stick with their ideas" when they got something between their ears. You'll have a hard time convincing them of their errors. It has happened before and believe it or not: sometimes this actually turned out for the better.

    No, being a very happy Metro user myself (on my Windows Phone, which use I really enjoy) I say Metro IS the problem when it comes to Windows 8. Especially for businesses, though I think also for end-users.

    Put differently: To go from a Windowed "multitasking" environment to a one-program-per-screen environment is simply preposterous. And the worse part is that MS belief in this concept seems to reach the edge of fanaticism; even in the trusty desktop app we are no longer allowed to see what other programs are up to: No more taskbars in icons, no more quick program previews by hovering your mouse over the icon; all of that which was Aero will also be taken away. The desktop, like Metro, will mean "concentrate on the current program and don't bother with the rest". Just like the Metro doctrine.

    THAT is your main problem. Metro basically means turning your back on everything which made Windows the specific environment it is today (Windows 7). This isn't about people needing to adapt, its about people who are no longer able to do the things they need to do in an (fairly) easy manner.

    Not to mention that Metro is by far ready for desktop usage. Music player? Has no volume control. Picture viewer? Can't even touch the ease of use one gets with IrfanView. All flakey stuff which MS probably hopes to get replaced with 3rd party programs.

    1. Jonathan Larmour

      Re: Metro IS the problem

      You mean a 3rd party app for which they get a 30% cut? Or, more likely IMO, have a "premium" version in their app store for people to pay to upgrade to.

  42. W.O.Frobozz
    FAIL

    Good God...

    At work my boss just asked me to set up a Windows 8 machine for testing purposes.

    All I can say is I've never seen a better example of a pig's breakfast than Windows 8's interface. This is truly every bit as awful as what I've read on the Register and has done nothing but make me very angry all afternoon.

    I find it amusing that Ballmer thinks people will "adjust" to this mess. My marginally computer literate mother can barely handle Vista with all it's charm...she will never "adjust" to this horror.

  43. b166er

    It's in the title of the article really: 'not even Microsoft thinks businesses will use it'

    IE, Microsoft don't care whether or not businesses use it.

    I'm glad about this because it leaves Microsoft free to concentrate on making desktops, Xboxes and mobile device work well together. I also like the Metro interface and I think the vast majority of consumers will also lap it up. It's certainly better than iOS' GUI.

    It's a bonus really, that they've kept Explorer as we know it and that therefore it's still accessible for those of us who need to get in there and fix computers for people et cetera. (LOL your spelling checker doesn't like et cetera (or etcetera))

    This ol' tech journal is read by geeks and therefore most people here won't like Windows 8 and it's new fan-dangled ways (I can only imagine the bashing it must get on /.), but it makes a good excuse for Andrew to gets lots of comments that agree with him for a change I suppose!

    This isn't a troll by the way. No need, Microsoft have already trolled you hard :)

  44. David Simpson 1
    Thumb Up

    This is Microsoft trying to use desktop/laptop Windows to fill their app store.

    Windows Phone 8 will share a kernel with Windows RT so apps will run on either platform, they are pushing metro on to everyone to try to push development for phones and tablets.

    Personally I think It's Vista all over again people will HATE the change I hate it and I liked Vista ! The UI is too disjointed and makes no logical sense - metro needs to be removed from desktop use, it is utterly pointless to use HTML/Java apps on X86 it is an utter WASTE of resources.

    Just wait till buyers of ARM based tablets and smartbooks start asking why their office/photoshop/browsers won't install, it's a mess a total mess because MS is flushing the desktop market and jumping head first into super profitable tablets and phones. I only hope Google can come up with a desktop version of Android and save us all from Apple.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm a Microsoft skeptic...

    ... but I thought I'd give it a go. I installed it as a virtual machine. Results of my quick trial:

    Runs pretty snappily, even in emulation

    Metro apps not that useful but I can't say that Metro got in my way much or left me mourning for the Start menu. Takes about 5 minutes to get used to the new world

    All in all, pleasantly surprised (he said grudgingly, through clenched teeth)

    So, I love bashing MS as much as the next bloke, but I can't quite see what all the fuss is about.

  46. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Coat

    Then 6 months after Win 8/Server 2012 is released

    They announce that as of 1May 2013 Server 2008 and Window 7 Licenses will no longer be sold.

    Back in Redmond, Balmer and his 'Yes' men start doing a jig and singing

    "The Job's not done until Windows 7 won't run"

    Mine the one with 20+ Server 2008 license keys in the pocket.Keep your hands to yourself!

  47. bazza Silver badge

    Strategy Speculation

    I've been wondering about MS's strategy for ARM for some time now. Here's some musings on the matter.

    Win8 is a tablet OS, and there will be an ARM version. So perhaps the x64 version is just almost coincidental, just because it's comparatively easy to do having done Win8 ARM.

    ARM is going to be very important to MS. They think so too; they bought a very expensive license from ARM, and it was something they didn't especially need just to do a tablet OS. I don't think that they're going to stop at Win8 ARM and tablets.

    Both HP and Dell are beginning to sell ARM based servers. Currently they're Linux machines. That sort of machine could get a real foothold in the server market place. I think that's a real possibility because of their impressively low power consumption.

    If MS hadn't got an ARM version of Windows Server they would be cut out of that market. I think they recognise that (they bought that ARM license after all), and are aiming on porting the whole Windows Server to ARM.

    So is Win 8 ARM is just an initial stepping stone in that direction (with Win 8 x64 a simple spin off)? Are they just testing the water, see what's what? Or maybe this is the reasoning they'll use when Win8 x64 flops...

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The less

    The less intelligent people are, the more difficult it is for them to accept change.

    I don't really care for Win8 either, but will probably give it a go once SP1 is released.

  49. Mikel
    Windows

    Sinofsky to pull an Allchin?

    http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/104805/Allchin_says_farewell_in_e_mail_to_co_workers

    Vista's launched. I'm out. Forward my mail via burro post to the Australian outback.

    1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: Strategy Speculation

      > Both HP and Dell are beginning to sell ARM based servers. Currently they're Linux machines.

      That is exactly the reason for WOA/WinRT, also tablets.

      I don't think that MS cares if anybody buys Windows ARM computers or tablets, as long as no one buys Linux ARM computers and tablets. WOA is to wave at OEMs and threaten to take away their 'discounts' if they make stuff without Windows that could use it.

      It worked with Netbooks. It has already worked with WebOS.

      MS would prefer to sell full Windows on laptops rather than XP or 'starter' on Netbooks because they make more money.

      With tablets MS would prefer to sell x86 because they would also get more licence fee and also sell full Office.

      For ARM servers there is an issue as typically they have hundreds, even thousands, of CPUs so that they can shut down many of them but bring them back when the load increases. The saving is in power. If WOA servers charge per CPU then no one would buy them. That's OK, MS don't care, they'll buy x86-64 Windows 2012 (they hope).

      "I don't want you to talk, Mr Bond, I want you to die."

    2. Chemist

      Re: The less

      "The less intelligent people are, the more difficult it is for them to accept change."

      The MORE intelligent people are the more they require progress NOT change"

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes, but...

      The intelligent people (who don't confuse the OS with Gnome or KDE) can *already* choose from a wide range of user interfaces for Linux. It's the "less intelligent", Best Buy and PC World consumer shoppers who use whatever is installed on their laptop that Microsoft is targeting with Windows 8.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it just me...

    ...I admit when I first saw a video of Win 8 my instant reaction was 'that's Frankenstein's cock' but it's beta. Then it became clear that Win 8 will be Frankenstein's cock. Unable to resist, I have been using it every day since the CP release and can spend 99.9999% of the time in the Win 7 look and feel and don't struggle at all with the jarring experience.

    Don't get me wrong, it jars, but it's not a struggle.

    With some good apps and a touch screen I'd even prefer it.

    I have no doubt Enterprises will not migrate in droves but the whole end user training issue seems massively over-egged.

    The majority of comments tend to fall along the lines of admins who justify their apathy but labelling their end users as morons.

    Let the flames begin, start the fans please!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is it just me...

      @AC: "I have been using it every day since the CP release and can spend 99.9999% of the time in the Win 7 look and feel and don't struggle at all with the jarring experience. Don't get me wrong, it jars, but it's not a struggle."

      Then why not forget about Windows 8, spend 100% of the time in Windows 7, and have no jarring experiences whatsoever? The requirements for Windows 8 should include "strong masochistic urges" in the list.

  51. Bagocolts

    My answer to Windows 8 and Microsoft

    I am a happy Windows 7 user, but the handwriting is on the wall. I am writing this on Linux Mint 13.0 (beta). I am impressed. It comes with just about everything that I need without a "store" and could most certainly make the jump to small enterprise client if required. Also, the codecs are there to do things people want to do without having to go fetch them. Big problem before-normal people expect things to work out of the box. Very familiar feel for Windows users and in contrast to Windows 8, you can readily find your files and apps. Compared to the Linux versions of long ago, I am spending hardly any time on the command line these days. The question is: Will mainstream software companies version it and will OEM's support it with drivers? Perhaps they will because the tablet market will be limited for add-ons and each OS vendor is going to provide a "store" to take a cut of the software profits.

  52. Doug Bostrom

    Internal injuries

    One Vista or 98ME per decade is tolerable but doubling or tripling the failure rate is not. W/this latest evolution the record of late for desktop OS at MS is "Late, late, fail, good, fail" or (including WinferFone) "Late, Late, fail, good, late, fail, fail."

    Cleaning up the mess inside MS after this confirmation of unfit management is going to be painful, or should be, If no pain the company is in even worse trouble.

  53. Phil_Evans
    Alert

    (not?) the beginning of the end...

    What a confusing post. Not the end of Windows 8 before it gets going? Or not the beginning of the ending?

    You can make that choice and tell me about it, but I for one see a final schism appearing in MSFT's desktop strategy. Desktop, of course is such an old-fashioned word these days, but according to Statcounter, it accounts for some 90% of internet usage today. The remaining 10% is growing for mobile devices (and growing fast!) but the heady mix of touch and mobility does not seem to have displaced the importance of the desktop/laptop OS.

    I'm talking about the 'forced' Metro interface for all installations, yet this seems lost on Microsoft, a company that virtually owns the business and home user PC operating system markets. To give you an idea of how important these form factors are, Windows is estimated to run on well over 90% of end-user machines worldwide (Statcounter, again). Enter left Windows 8.

    Microsoft's total dominance of the home and business desktop has not been eroded in a great way by Apple OSX or Linux, however the biggest threat would now seem to be itself. Windows 8 is a fork in the road - produced by the company not because of what they don't do well, but rather to attempt to exploit a space where they don't have a serious presence - mobile.

    It seems Windows 8 is a straight-faced attempt at splitting the user experience into 2 camps:

    1) It works on tablets

    2) What's a desktop?

    No amount of cool mobile interface changes the fact that a design for mobile devices is a move for 'cool'. Add to that the statistics outlined above, then add to that again Microsoft's inability to penetrate the mobile space (iPxx, Android, etc) and we are left with the key question - What about the established user base?

    If the Stats are anything to go by, the day of the desktop and laptop may be in decline, but not in a way that would fundamentally shift the production line to Canute-esque standards. The market for mobile devices is volatile and immature with Apple as the innovator that is already past the line. Again, though, Microsoft is in 'me-too' marketing gear and since Windows is the only answer, the question of beating a path into Pads and Slabs with Windows 8 seems a little pointless (at least from a revenue and ROI perspective).

    Personally, I like the idea of the Metro interface, even if it does shout MICROSOFT! at you. The devices I've looked at so far show a bit of promise and I'm sure that mobile is an important driver for its development. What is entirely unclear to me is why the company is seeking to alienate potential upgraders with a fundamentally different interface experience.

    Overall, I don't think it's the beginning of the end but it is the end of the Windows 8 beginning for Microsoft - Business at the very least will be expecting a 'switched' desktop interface that shows a familiar Win7 experience - Metro simply doesn't work in these environments. If Microsoft is waiting on its established Windows users to upgrade to the existing Metro arrangement, then I think that wait will be a long one. If I were them? I'd be remembering those 'home' and 'business' brands editions that split the windows experience into 'Flashy new Vista' and 'No thanks, for now'. In other words, get business users ready for the guts of Windows 8, but not the imposed Metro interface.

  54. David Strum
    Windows

    Monkey see, Monkey do!

    Ever seen a monkey in a field full of goodies, it keeps grabbing and chasing, never holding on to what it has. Microsoft is like wise chasing the Apple Mobile market (and any other “new-thing” that it missed for that matter) ignoring what it already has which is quite a lot. But let us, friends and fellow Windows users and certified Professionals, allow the money to chase after its imagined treasures. Microsoft has at least recognised its days are numbered, and is desperate enough to gamble with its user base loyalty.

  55. David Strum
    Windows

    Monkey see, Monkey do!

    Ever seen a monkey in a field full of goodies, it keeps grabbing and chasing, never holding on to what it has. Microsoft is likewise chasing the Apple Mobile market and any other “new-thing” that it missed for that matter, ignoring what it already has which is quite a lot. But let us, friends and fellow Windows users and certified Professionals, allow the money to chase after its imagined treasures. Microsoft has at least recognised its days are numbered, and is desperate enough to gamble with its user base loyalty.

  56. Bram

    Business users =! retards

    I just get a bit tired of hearing that enterprises will fall to bits if anything changes with Windows. businesses only care if it affects the cash flow.

    Using Metro isn't hard just different, if users find themselves confused and uncertain where to find a program when there is a big tile on the screen theres no chance for them anyway

    1. Doug Bostrom

      Re: Business users =! retards

      "Using Metro isn't hard just different..."

      Begging the question, "why?"

      "The new arrangement of the clutch and brake pedal isn't hard, just different..."

  57. Joe Montana
    Devil

    Business users

    It's not surprising MS is ignoring business desktops, they have no competition there and companies are hopelessly locked in... They can do what they like, and companies will still be forced to buy windows so they have no reason to cater to them.

    The home market on the other hand is far less locked in, so it's much easier for someone to decide that their next computer will be a mac or an android tablet...

    This is why competition is needed, no competition = you take what your given at whatever price they demand.

  58. Faszination

    All you doubters get over yourselves

    As the subject suggests! This is the price of progress, if anyone has actually bothered to try the Win8 CP/RP you'll know that with a few hours familiarisation, Metro and the traditional desktop go hand in hand together. The only people complaining about the changes are those retards still using XP and living in the dark ages smearing mud on their faces.

    Embrace the future!

  59. Jonjonz
    Linux

    Ugly Sharp Corners

    The razor sharp edges and corners of the Metro GUI are so bleedingly awful. It is like they asked some interns to design the worst GUI they could. Any side by side tests against Crapple in focus groups surely would inform MS is is a huge loser. I think the other comments about 'good, bad' release cycles is spot on.

  60. Gatt
    Go

    What a Mess

    Has anyone else noticed that the Metro Start Screen forms the rather appropriate Acronym of "MeSS"

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What if...?

    At one level I can't see Microsoft being this dumb, so is there a hidden story? What if, instead of this being a problem, it's part of a deliberate feature but they're just not releasing the full picture so far. What if, like Nintendo's new Wii or the Xbox Glass, the aim is to completely replace the mouse/mouses/mice with a touchscreen tablet device connected to control the PC?

    The tablet would run Metro and acts as the pointer controller for classic desktop in desktop mode - like a trackpad but much more. But you also get to pick up the tablet and take it with you where it runs in Metro mode with access to the same apps as the desktop. You might even then connect it to a different PC and it'll remember/recall all your settings from the tablet via Microsoft's cloud - the tablet becoming a security device at the same time - it becomes 'you'.

    As a strategy it would roundly screw Apple and Android (who would want to buy another tablet, when you've got one with your desktop) and the channel would by it because they'd get to sell more tin. It ties in cloud/Azure and it makes the tablet-y bit the one device you carry round with you - so it pretty much replaces your a mobile phone. It would explain the total weirdness that is othewise apparent in Windows 8. But perhaps this is being overly imaginative...

  62. This Side Up
    Holmes

    What was that you said?

    Shit-so-phrenic? Completely.

  63. Havin_it
    Holmes

    It's starting to crystallise...

    I've done the previews, shared Andrew's assessment and outlook (had to happen eventually), but now I think I'm starting to get it. They can't not shove Metro down everyone's throats.

    MS's biggest gamble (in terms of what they stand to win, if not to lose) right now is on WinPho. Tablets might still turn out to be a blip/fad in real terms -- I personally don't believe they'll ever become "the computer" when the desktop and laptop models are so entrenched, and rightly so -- but smartphones are not going anywhere, and after feeble efforts so far, MS have to get this right, and right now.

    It follows that Metro has to be put out there so there is automatic buy-in to a WinPhone. Otherwise, they lose out for the same reason Linux loses out on the desktop: they're a young UI compared to their now-well-established rivals. Odds are, your mates/t'Internet/somedamnbody will know how to sort your iPhone/Android phone's tech woes. Right now how many people could you turn to when you need help with your WinPhone?

    So MS need that knowhow to start permeating, and quickly, and it'd be madness not to leverage the desktop monopoly to that end. It has to be inescapable, because the git'er done brigade (most of us, in other words) need to be forced to learn its foibles in time for our grans and co-workers to go out and buy a WinPhone, safe in the knowledge that we'll have a clue when it needs our attention.

    Wish there was a lightbulb icon, this'll have to do. Sorry if it's already been said, too lazy to read 4 pages on a Friday!

  64. AriTai

    Forcing change, the horror

    re: no boot to desktop.

    It may be it's an OEM demand, not (just) a Microsoft requirement. They all want to be able to spend another $10 per system to ship with touch enabled screens. They don't want (can't afford to, will go out of business if they have) to compete with an OEM whose customers won't be asking for one (because the urge to touch metro is so natural, once it's in view). Similar to the "how do we move the industry forward?" issue in terms of peripherals have happened over-and-over again in the past. i.e. none will take the risk unless all have to take the risk.

    It could well be that if they (the PC industry) does not force the change to (high quality) touch-enabled screens in all settings (all screens, not just laptops and tablets), they (the entire PC industry) will fail (ref: "the PC is dead" articles). And yet, as is being argued here, if they do force the move to touch, maybe they will fail as well at of user confusion, revulsion, reluctance to change.

    It'll be interesting to see how this plays out. My guess is the OEMs are desperate to see hardware turn over again (since that's the only way they make money - unlike their AAPL competitor), and touch screens are certainly one mechanism to separate the "new and sexy" from the "old and busted."

  65. jim 45

    what happened?

    When did we all stop liking what's new and different, and decide we can't handle any more change?

    1. Robert E A Harvey
      Headmaster

      Re: what happened?

      new != good in every case.

      I like nice cars, e.g. my Alfa 156. The new alfa guilietta is horrid. I will look elsewhere.

      Or, consider the Stylophone. That was new and different when it appeared. Ditto the Sinclair C5.

      Sometime new is good (the new 4-cylinder Z4 for example, or from the same era as the Stylophone the miniMoog) but a new turkey is still a turkey

    2. Paul Shirley

      Re: what happened?

      When did we stop being disappointed when the new toy turns out to be a turkey?

  66. Jonathan Larmour
    FAIL

    MS innovations always FAILed anyway

    Pretty much everything MS has done which has been presented as good innovation has been stolen, copied or acquired from other companies. DOS, Windows, Word, Exchange, Kinect, X-box, they are all derived from work developed externally to MS.

    Equivalently, many of the "new ideas" which have been big failures have been the innovations developed in-house. And normally the louder the shouting, the worse the idea. MS has never been good at developing new tech. They have never really deserved their success, and most of their revenue came from ongoing dividends from past anti-competitive practices, on the back of the old decision to buy QDOS to put on the new IBM PC. It seems that finally, thank goodness, this is the beginning of the end and there will be space in the market for alternatives.

  67. coatesy

    Desktop Tablet Hybrid

    What I would like to see is a tablet locked down with metro which one could use around the house for multimedia, web, social and at the office for taking notes in meetings etc (maybe include a stylus). Then when I put it in a docking station it locks it down in to windows classic so I can use only the software designed for mouse and keyboard.

    That way when your sat at a desk your using a p.c they way it was designed and I can switch that P.C into a tablet and use the touch interface when i'm sat on my sofa.

  68. Stephen Channell
    Facepalm

    No worse than hitting “File” in Office 2010

    I can’t see this being any more irritating that the pissie office ribbon that hides my document when I hit “File”, just so “they” can say that it’s not really a menu.. trashing the “Start” is consistent with other daft decision that we’ve already accepted... except maybe…

    A tablet combines {processor, screen, keyboard, pointer}, but a tablet is now considerably cheaper than the original IBM PC Keyboard.. why should the tablet metaphor be applied to the screen and not to the keyboard/mouse?.. look at a Bloomberg keyboard, maybe the “Search”, “News”, “People” buttons are a simple example of how a metro UI should be applied to a business computer.

    Maybe the question should not be about the Ctrl-Esc/Start key, but the SysRq and other legacy keys that could be replaced by a metro-tab..

  69. Sil

    Trojan horse

    I can only assume the strategy goes like this:

    - consumers fall in love with Windows 8

    - In 6-12 monthes they come to the office with Windows 8 - based BYOD and ask the IT department why they can't have windows 8 at work

    - IT dep overwhelmed with request moves all IT to windows 8 or 9.

    A big bet indeed.

  70. sambob223
    Facepalm

    Even worse

    Windows 8??? Anyone remember windows ME? Or Microsoft BoB? and yes I am that old.

    I've got four computers only one Is running Win 7 the others are Win XP.

    I simply haven't seen enough Improvements to justify the upgrade, and unless there's a check box to switch to "windows classic view" and leave the metro UI behind I don't see myself ever upgrading

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does anybody really care....

    ....about Microsoft anymore (besides tired scribblers)? Microsoft is yesterday's newspaper blowing down Wall Street.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Does anybody really care....

      Outside the world you live in (your bedroom), yes.

  72. midlandman2012

    Smacking Microsoft and Apple

    My two cents worth.

    I use Windows and consequently am obligated to buy products made for Windows. Whether those products are made by Windows or third party is not relevant. However, being forced by new Windows O/S to only download (and pay for) applications from Microsoft is just pure business blackmail. Which is something Microsoft is good at. Some Windows products are quite good, their products for business are sometimes exceptional. I will not use their new products/OS. Currently my personal computers an older XP Laptop and a newer Win 7 Laptop are no longer allowed to go onto the Internet, because of Microsoft policies and their grip on your inability to stop them from downloading whatever they want (not what I want) to my machines. In the corporate environment I work in there is a little more control; but only a little. But in my personal world I refuse to be told how to compute and what software I will use. Consequently my Mini Mac and MacBook are now also forbidden to use the internet just because there is little difference between the two corporations. I don't care about touch pads and I don't care to watch jerky movies on my computers. I do not want to buy reams of ram just to write some email.

    I use a Linux box for all my internet activity because I can control everything on it, myself. I don't use Debian because they are just imitating Microsoft and Apple and they also install upgrades on your machine willy nilly.

    The last thing I want is a GUI that sucks up all my resources, records everything I do (This is supposed to be an asset but is in fact a liability) so that whomever breaches my machine can poke around and collect information about me and my habits, just as Microsoft and Apple do. In fact before you can use software or O/S from either of those companies you waive your rights and give them permission ti invade your computer domain at will.

    It is not that ALL their stuff is Rubbish, it is that all their stuff is geared to forcing you to buy more of their stuff. I know the analogy to "If they made Cars like they made computers, everyone would ride bicycles" because of abrupt shutdowns and halted systems demanding, demanding I say; that you upgrade.

    Tablets are here to stay no doubt. If you are a serious computer user, using the computer to do what YOU WANT to do then there is only one choice - basic Linux. When I prepare software for deployment in manufacturing operations that require the computer to connect and communicate with PIC controllers or any other one of a thousand electronic devices I do not want or need some corporate computer manufacturer demanding payment for a "seat" license for each pic that connects. So although I still use and like the Windows and Mac machines I own they operate in a closed environment. My Slackware (go ahead , laugh) box is the only box allowed to do REAL work.

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