back to article Business is back, baby! Hasta la VISTA, Win 8... Oh, yeah, Windows 9

There’s nothing tech companies like more than creating buzz. The more buzz, the less substance – as a rash of me-too tablet events a few years back proved. Tomorrow, Microsoft is scheduled to host an event on the West Coast that many believe will be the scene of the unveiling of the next version of Windows. Upping the …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    they can shove their TIFKAM back up their compiler

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Limited audience

      As quite clearly, they have no clue what people want anymore, so just show something and see what the reaction is (but given it's press and Microsoft are footing the bill, everyone will love it regardless).

      And therein lies the problem. Because the only way Microsoft know how to work, is buttering up the press with nice things, and nobody in the press dare upset Microsoft, as the nice things then stop, Microsoft have lost touch with what consumers want/need.

      They have created an army of yes men, but back in the real world, because everyone around them is now yes men, they have no clue what the problem is anymore.

      This is why Windows 9 will also fail

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Re: Limited audience

        but given it's press and Microsoft are footing the bill, everyone will love it regardless

        Ahem. May I kindly suggest you go to the hot place for that one. Some of us are perfectly capable of going on vendor-bought junkets and giving them not one iota of slack compared to the scathing examinations we'd give them if we had to buy the stuff ourselves.

        Which is why they don't invite me to these things...but we're not all so low on self esteem that a plane ticket and some bad conference food is enough to buy our loyalty, thank you very much.

        1. Gene Cash Silver badge

          Re: Limited audience

          "Which is why they don't invite me to these things"

          Er, I think you just made his point of the "army of yes-men"

          1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

            Re: Limited audience

            I've no truck with the "army of yes men" comment. Just the idea that all press become "yes men" when exposed to junkets. We do not.

        2. Ottis

          Re: Limited audience

          But, Sir, it is as stated to those who are invited, and thus the point is valid. Your opinion in the estranged wilderness is unimportant to them, as is that of their real world users.

      2. SQL God

        Re: Limited audience

        Microsoft's audience is management. (Think Pointy-Hair in Dilbert.) I'm a tech. Their SQL Server 2012 management console is completely graffitied-out in ridiculous end-user pop-up tools to the point that it is almost unusable to a hardcore developer like me.

        High level managers and goofy kids coming up through today's universities absolutely love all the superfluous flash, easy (and very basic tools) and sizzle of current MS product demonstrations. High efficiency information workers just suffer working around all that junk.

        As a MARKETING approach, Microsoft is (unfortunately) doing exactly the right thing. We're just bummed out that WE are not on the receiving end of all their billions.

  2. SteveK

    Autocorrect?

    Do I detect a whiff of autocorrect/autocomplete/rushed deadline?

    "...Windows 8 operation system..."

    "...Wind 32 apps on the desktops..."

    "...in their move from Widows XP."

    Or are these deliberate and I'm just behind the times on Microsoft-bashing?

    1. Hollerith 1

      Re: Autocorrect?

      As well as other typos. Tich!

      1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

        Re: Autocorrect?

        corrections@theregister.co.uk ?

        1. Fibbles

          Re: Autocorrect?

          hire_a_proofreader@theregister.co.uk

  3. Bucky O' Hare

    Getting excited about new Windows releases, do people still do that?

    1. TheFinn

      No. They fear it...

      1. Tom 13

        You say 'fear' he says 'excitement'. From a PR perspective, what's the difference?

    2. Buzzword

      I remember Windows 95

      It's hard to believe today, but back in 1995 there were iPhone-esque queues outside computer shops on the night of the launch of Windows 95. That was the last time consumers were excited about Microsoft products (not counting the XBox).

      1. Fibbles
    3. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

      Probably the wrong kind of excitement.

      Like discovering that W8 doesn't quite do background audio anymore - Metro-mode app can claim exlusive lock on all audio channels, including audio CD. How quaint.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time to rethink

    "There is a very real danger to Microsoft that more companies standardise on the desktop-oriented Windows 7 to avoid Windows 8 – and in so doing avoid Windows Next and Windows After That, too."

    I don't get how MS will avoid this. I work for a Fortune 150 with 50,000+ employees, and the org is still moving from XP to Windows 7, and has been for 3+ years. The complete rollout of Windows 7 will probably end sometime next year.

    Does MS expect IT to instantly start moving people from 7 to 8(or 9 or whatever)? There's no way that that's going to happen. Windows 7 is going to be around till 2020 at the very least, probably longer.

    The simple truth is that Operating Systems are no longer the sexy things they were in the 90s and early 00s. The vast majority of what people do needs nothing more than Windows 7 (and frankly, XP worked just as well for a lot of people). The new shiny stuff is great for sysadmins and IT, but the end user, perhaps not as much. Good enough is good enough - just like with CPU power, where a CPU from 2009-ish is vastly overpowered for MS Office (unless you're a real Excel guru, in which case you know when to upgrade).

    The future is really in integration and OS-agnostic management.

    Simply upgrading the box on the desk is not enough - MS has to sell a credible vision of mobile + tablet + secure remote access, along with easy management - and I think it needs to start managing OS X machines as well.

    The likes of Casper are used in my org today, and it's messy. Apple doesn't seem to want to do stuff with the enterprise, so if MS got some smart people to create a tool (or plug-in) that lets you manage OS X machines, and iOS, that would be $$$ in the bank.

    1. Wade Burchette Silver badge

      Re: Time to rethink

      There are a few reasons why I will use Windows 7 as long as I can.

      First, I hate the cloud, and by extension the "cloud first" idea. I do not like the idea of my OS wanting my to sign up for an account so I can use it. Sure, it is optional now (but also very hard to find out how not to), but will it remain that way? Windows 8.1 has a lot of settings centered around advertising, Bing, and location. Windows 7 has none of those things. You can turn those settings off, but will that always be true? Because of that, I will be keeping Windows 7 for a very long time. I view the cloud as nothing more than a way to extract money from you the rest of your life. I'm going to fight against it as best as I can.

      Second, to say Windows 8 is dog-butt ugly would be too kind. My eyes have a hard time focusing on anything. There is not enough contrast. This flat, square look is and always will be terrible. The new Windows logo is dumber than a box of hammers.

      I have read about an Aero mod for Windows 8, though I haven't tried it. Mods can make Windows better, but they can't take out the cloud/Bing/advertising junk.

    2. Censor

      Re: Time to rethink

      Apple is partnering with IBM for the enterprise.

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: Time to rethink

        "Apple is partnering with IBM for the enterprise."

        That's effin' SCARY! (and not in a good way)

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Re: Time to rethink

          @Ecofoco

          IBM have over 20,000 OSX machines deployed in active service amongst their workforce. They know OSX management better than anyone excepting Google.

      2. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: Time to rethink

        Apple should have partnered with SUN when they went OSX: killer workstations, also ready for x86.

        1. Tsiklon

          Re: Time to rethink

          that would have been a bit of a turn up for the books, i wonder how things would have gone if Apple bought Sun up instead of Oracle. Solaris with Cocoa interoperability? OS X & ZFS? Decent Apple Servers? OS X Sparc, Power and x86? Apple with a large and solid enterprise division would be quite a sight, at a purely academic level i think it would have been properly interesting.

      3. John Tserkezis

        Re: Time to rethink

        "Apple is partnering with IBM for the enterprise."

        This was outlined in the Speaking In Tech podcast.

        It appears they've commissioned IBM to write ~100 iOS apps to link with their equipment. They're by far most of the them are going to be simple one-purpose apps, but this is a bad thing regardless.

        Instead of BYOD, you're forcing kit that isn't quite suiteable for enterprise onto users who will most likely keep their own/other phones anyway becase the IBM/Apple kit most likely will only ever fit a narrower range of uses.

        Having more than one phone is stupid, it's a smartphone for feck's sake, it should be able to do everything, then why do so many corporations make it so much harder for their employees? Im guessing because liability is easier and cheaper to handle when it isn't your problem anymore.

        1. Tom 13

          @John Tserkezis

          Your start wasn't cringeworthy, but this is:

          Having more than one phone is stupid,

          As an employee I do NOT want my work phone to be my personal phone. I want them to be different because if I change jobs I want to take my data and my phone with me. BYOD is a marketing LSD trip. Businesses and government agencies don't want it because that breaks their security models, especially as it relates to data retention. I know HOW to configure my smart phone or home computer to download copies of my work email to my mail client of choice, but company/agency security policies prohibit that. The end result is you wind up with a business and a personal smart phone.

          On the iPhone front, yes they are a nightmare for companies to manage. Which speaks volumes about how badly MS fumbled their smart phones. With Management built right in, they should have swept Apple right out the door if the phone was fit for purpose.

    3. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Time to rethink

      Exactly AC. I've been saying this for months here and people act like I'm telling a fairy tale.

    4. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Time to rethink

      Those who believe an OS is just a GUI, usually fail to understand that hardware evolution needs OS evolution as well. There has been big improvements in the past few years - a large increase in the number of processing units, large memory spaces, sold state disks, now also directed attached to the PCIe bus which will need to become even faster, and GPU no longer limited to UI processing. Older OSes were never designed, nor could be retrofitted, to take really advantage of such hardware. Sure, non real need for browsing or the like, but there are a lot of users who perform complex and heavy tasks on PCs. They may not care much about UI widgets bells&whistles - but the do care their hardware is used for what they paid for it, and not by an OS designed mostly for a single CPU, 128MB of RAM, and 'slow' spinning disks of a few GBs only.

      The OS internals needs to be designed in different ways, using different techniques to handle larger and newer resources.

      But if all you care are shiny buttons, well, you don't need them.

      1. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: Time to rethink

        > Those who believe an OS is just a GUI...

        While true, Win7 does all this, as does Linux and OSX. MS' problem is not that 8.x is ugly (though that's true), but that after W7, nothing much of value is added by W8 and probably W9 too. Now the driver for OS upgrades is application support which will be mostly driven by MS' desire for an OS upgrade, not hardware changes.

        This may be slightly unkind to MS, but even if they did do a great job of rewriting windows for v9, I'm not sure its a job anyone actually needs done without serious architectural changes. How about the OS and apps not being mixed on the same file-system? A general, "this app is cleared for auto-update from this repository" for third-parties?

        1. LDS Silver badge

          Re: Time to rethink

          Under the hood Windows 8 has improvements over Windows 7. For example, its hypervisor is far better, and can take advantage of newer CPU virtualization support. Sure, you can use another one, but if your OS comes with a good embedded hypervisor, why not? Especially since they are a pretty intrusive kind of software.

          There's also better support for high DPI displays, and they'll become more common soon.

          As SSD disks becomes mainstream, the OS needs to change how the disk is used to maximize its life, or performance.

          What about DIrectX 12? Will be it retrofitted to 7 or will it be an 8+ exclusive? You may not need it, or you may...

          There's a difference between supporting new hw somehow - i.e. using SATA disks pretending they were plain older ATA ones - or exploiting its capabilities fully. New hw may present itself to older OS in a compatible way, but you're going to renounce to use it fully. Does it make sense to spend $$$$ in new hw, and use it only in a legacy compatible mode?

          Also, new release may start to drop old legacy features for many reasons, including security - and support new standards as well.

          Meanwhile, some applications start to remove support for older operating systems, XP and Vista. For example the latest Canon camera utilities don't support them. If you buy one of the new cameras announced at Photokina (i.e. the EOS 7D MK II or the Powershot G7 X), they are supported only by the latest utility releases (and some are 64-bit only) - if you have one of the older OS, or you upgrade, or you have to renounce to use their software. Lightroom already no longer supports older OSes.

          It's not always the OS to drive the adoption of new applications, sometimes it's the other way round. You may need a newer application because it does support something you really need, just to find it won'r run on older OSes. Supporting XP and Vista along 7 and 8 is becoming more and more time consuming, and since XP is EOLed, and Vista has a tiny share of the market, expect more and more new releases dropping support for them. If you're ok with older software it won't hurt you much, but if you need newer ones - and you could, if you need to support something newer, you will need a newer OS.

          1. Paul Shirley

            @LDS

            The reality is for almost all windows users the ui is the OS, a view Microsoft reinforce by packaging the whole thing as one monolithic blob and their take it or leave it choice of ui. Few are aware of improvement in the core post win7, few need those improvements enough to care. And crucially the businesses that should care know win7 is good enough already for their users needs.

            By tying the os to their ui so tightly Microsoft have tied their future to the ui. And the win 8 ui stinks.

          2. Steve the Cynic

            Re: Time to rethink

            "What about DIrectX 12? Will be it retrofitted to 7 or will it be an 8+ exclusive? You may not need it, or you may..."

            I'll observe in passing that DirectX 9.0c remains a strong (the strongest? the only?) contender for the title of most-demanded version in the consumer market - most games I've seen recently list it as the "required" version, sometimes with DirectX 11 as an option... Until this changes, then, I'd say that no, DX12 won't be particularly important. (YMMV in some specialised fields, of course, but that goes without saying.)

          3. King Jack
            FAIL

            Canon

            Canon always shaft customers of older kit. I have perfectly good scanner which they refuse to let me use on Win7. It's XP only but not because of technical advancements it's because they want to sell me a new one. It's just pure greed. I'll never buy a Canon anything again.

            Ps third party drivers work fine on Win7.

        2. Tom 13

          Re: nothing much of value is added by W8

          In fact I think from both the business and the consumer standpoint you can argue W8 has NEGATIVE value added. None of those default forced cloud connections are wanted by businesses. A fair number of consumers seem to not want them either.

      2. Nikerym

        Re: Time to rethink

        I disagree with this entirely. Sure you need a certain level of power, but with everything moving to the cloud in general including processing power as long as your local machine can handle the basics such as Office/Web Browsing/other client systems there is no need to increase power within the PC and as such the OS. Back in 95-2005 hardware was still scaling massively, going from 1ghz Pentiums in 95 to 3.5ghz with dual and quad cores etc. in 2005 but since 2005 we have had very little growth in the hardware space, the operating systems that ran then (XP) and their later versions are capable of running all the newer hardware, with windows 7 which was released in 2007 has no problem with all hardware today, 7 years later. there is no way 95 could handle the hardware from 2002.

        Hardware doesn't increase as fast as previous, and yet Microsoft continues the same 2-3 year lifecycle for release of products. It's not like 2004 where you could see a noticeable upgrade from windows 98 to XP. there will be little to no performance or productivity gain from a system performance point of view for the average business user from upgrading from windows 7 to anything within the next 2-5 possibly even 10 years (unless they discover and release true quantum computing or something else that leaps us forward again)

        With the move to the cloud for most processing this just reinforces the fact that we don't need high performance on the local client desktop anymore. All we need is Windows 7, and a browser that runs on it capable of rendering the served cloud application.

        1. Tom 13

          @Nikerym

          Minor nit:

          Hardware doesn't increase as fast as previous,

          I'd actually say hardware is increasing as fast as it use to, what has changed is that those increases use to translate directly to worker productivity. When I started work right after the discovery of fire one of my colleagues was doing automated circuit board layout. He'd do the initial placement work, then fire of the Compaq brand AT compatible. Three days later, he'd see what came out. We're not talking microprocessor layout here, just simple pump controllers. Move that to a 386 with a math co-processor and you could do it in half that time. These days you'd gain maybe half an hour from a 4 hour process.

          Personally I'm not a big fan of the cloud, but replace the cloud with the business LAN and the rest of your analysis still holds. The desktop doesn't necessarily need the latest gee-whiz toys from the boys in Q shop.

        2. Al Black

          Re: Time to rethink

          I installed a Win 8 upgrade on a tired Win 7 Core 2 Duo Laptop. To my surprise, Win 8 ran in Desktop mode nearly twice as fast as Win 7 had been running on the same hardware. Given that desktop mode is so easy to switch to, and that it is indistinguishable from Win 7, I don't see what the fuss is about. The OS is better than any earlier Win version for the user, although I understand that Corporates have major issues with verifying compatibility with hundreds of Apps, which means Win 10 will be out before they are ready to switch to 8. I don't think it is fair to say "a Windows 8 operation system companies avoid like a vial full of Ebola", but they do have to do due diligence before adopting a new OS, and that takes time: more time than a MS Version release life-cycle. Microsoft need to move to 5 year releases with free bug fixes in between.

      3. pie.slapper

        Re: Time to rethink

        There are a lot more people simply plonking numbers into a payroll program or an accounting spreadsheet that worked just as quickly and easily on hardware an OS 's 3 or 4 generations old.

      4. Tom 13

        Re: a large increase in the number of processing units

        You need to work on your reading comprehension. You skipped right by the line where he declared those types of changes moot for the median, mode, and probably mean user as well. These changes maybe critically important to Big Data users, but when you look at MS sales, Big Data users are an edge case. Their sales numbers center on Word, PowerPoint, and basic Excel users.

        And yes, that means MS has to rethink their business from the top down and the bottom up. The OS is now the commodity, and service is the where the money is. They probably need to transform themselves into what Novell was trying to become: The center piece of a semi-independent service stack. They work out the core details and supply the customizable software while the OEMs perform the engineering and customization.

      5. Daniel B.

        Re: Time to rethink

        Those who believe an OS is just a GUI, usually fail to understand that hardware evolution needs OS evolution as well.

        Oh, but we do understand that OS evolution is necessary. Every single OS has had to do some underlying tweaks during major releases due to this, hence filesystem changes, binary support changes (switching from 32 to 64-bit) and even low-level partition scheme changes (MBR to GPT). Even Linux has to move on to at least 64-bit and ext4 to avoid the awful year 2038 problem. Newer OSen are aware of SSD media and will usually be able to manage them accordingly; it would be even better if filesystems were SSD aware … wait, Linux has had JFFS2 since 2001, and there are at least other three SSD-aware filesystems out there. They'd be more in use if MS weren't forcing everyone to using its dismal NTFS or FAT for "everything else".

        So what does MS offer instead? No SSD-aware filesystems, a newer one that's yet again propietary and it's gimped as usual for consumer-grade OSen. Oh, and a fugly Fisher-Price GUI. So most users, consumer and enterprise don't see a real advantage on the new OS and a great disadvantage in using that ugly thing called TIFKAM.

    5. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: Time to rethink

      so if MS got some smart people to create a tool (or plug-in) that lets you manage OS X machines, and iOS, that would be $$$ in the bank.

      Hi, the latest System Center will do this. Cheers.

  5. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    IT Angle

    Windows 7

    The new XP

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its got a 'KILLER APP'.....

    ...its called 'START Button'...........i've genuinely got butterflies in my stomach.

  7. Matt 32

    >MS has to sell a credible vision of mobile + tablet + secure remote access,

    From the folks that bought Skype as a favor to the NSA so it could be redesigned to allow interception, good look with that.

  8. DougS Silver badge

    This is why there was no Win7 SP2

    They could see the writing on the wall with Windows 8 so they delayed and then dropped plans for SP2, because it would restart the clock on Windows 7's life. This way they can dump it in 2020, instead of 2021 or 2022.

    They will be about ready to introduce Windows 11 in 2020, so probably Windows 10 will see most of the upgrade action in the year or two leading up to that date. Otherwise, there is exactly ZERO reason for any corporation on Windows 7 today to update to Windows 9. That is a ton of work with no tangible benefit. Few care about running Metro apps, on the desktop or otherwise.

    There's really nothing they can do to change that, as Windows 7 is stable enough, secure enough, and supports 64 bits and SSDs well. The only thing it doesn't support is touch, which as predicted turned out to be something few people care about in a laptop and no one cares about in a desktop.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: This is why there was no Win7 SP2

        Given the percentage of the Windows user base likely to be Windows 7 from now until 2020, do you really think any drive maker would abandon a market of that size? I wouldn't expect to see 512e drives go away until after Windows 7 is out of support in 2020.

    2. Nikerym

      Re: This is why there was no Win7 SP2

      "The only thing it doesn't support is touch, which as predicted turned out to be something few people care about in a laptop and no one cares about in a desktop."

      And with cloud being so prevalent now for application development you can build touch into the cloud interface for access from a touch enabled device anyway

      http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/graphics/toucheffects/

      Above is an example of such released by Microsoft. so you don't need the operating system to drive the touch component, it can be driven by the site.

    3. D@v3

      Re: 7 doesnt support touch

      errr, yes it does. quite well actually.

      we have a deployment of Dell Lattitude XT laptops with swively screens. Came loaded with vista, which was upgraded to XP almost instantly (which had some touch suuport) and was then then re-upgraded to 7 as soon as that became available.

      Not sure about multi-touch, but the handwriting recognition is pretty decent, and really the most useful touch feature that I have found on a device with a built in keyboard and mouse

    4. Tom 13

      Re: This is why there was no Win7 SP2

      I think you've put your finger on the key problem MS need to fix right here:

      That is a ton of work with no tangible benefit.

      If you could perform the upgrade with minimal work and not a lot of extra cost would you do it?

      My guess is, if you really believed you could trust that they'd left the key bits your apps used alone, the answer would be "probably". That runs contrary to their current business model in which each "new" OS is radically different from the old one to justify the cost expenditure with productivity improvements.

  9. chivo243 Silver badge
    Holmes

    Windows 7 will last if

    Network firewalls are maintained, content filters in place, and end users educated about phishing and such. No one is immune, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

  10. Stuart Halliday

    Nothing wrong with Windows 8.1 that a few hours practice and a mind willing to accept change can't fix.

    Could it really be businesses don't want to spend money on training their Minions considering they got that free before when personal would train themselves at home?

    Course not..... :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Why the fuck should they have to spend anything on training, just because MS has decided it's time to crank the OS tax handle again? MS is forcing change just because they have to introduce change to justify making the latest WinNT interation a paid-for upgrade, not because their customers actually need any change at all.

      1. J__M__M

        Why the fuck should they have to spend anything on training, just because MS has decided it's time to crank the OS tax handle again?

        Holy shit that was well put.

        1. DaiKiwi

          Large Gov't department upgrading from, XP to 7 earlier this year. Very locked down desktops in both cases. The upgrade experience was:

          95% of staff: This is the new desktop. Click on 'all programs' to see your available programs. All your bookmarks in IE are still there.

          4% of staff: This is the new desktop, Please note that some of your Citrix programs are in different folders and you can use Firefox instead of IE if you want. All your bookmarks in IE are still there.

          1% of staff: not relevent for the purpose of this example - they're the non-outsourced IT staff.

      2. Hellcat

        "I'm very happy to spend $$$,$$$ on software assurance and receive zero new versions" - said no enterprise scale customer ever.

    2. Yugguy
      Thumb Down

      "Get used to it"

      That's what you all tell us. Utter rubbish of course.

      I have got used to Windows 8. Hovering the mouse around the 0.000000000000000000mm square area to activate the search bar. Windows-R, type in the name of the app, or at least the name I think it might be called.

      I can work my way around quite well now. Yes, I have got used to it.

      In the same way that I would eventually get used to it if all the car manufacturers suddenly decided to build cars with all the pedals in a different order.

      Which, like Windows 8, would be the most pointlessly annoying, unnecessary change.

  11. Censor

    Time for Linux

    Planning your upgrade? Or would need to replace your old deskstops just to get enough horsepower for M$-Next?

    Then plan with Linux now.

    1. Kanhef

      Re: Time for Linux

      Unless Windows 9 (or whatever it's called) goes back to a familiar user interface, I think this will be an increasingly tempting option for enterprises. If they're going to have to retrain users anyway, why pay an arm and a leg for Windows + Office licenses, plus the inevitably required hardware upgrades? In most cases it would be cheaper to hire an on-site migration assistant from a distro provider than to stay with Microsoft.

      1. BobChip
        Linux

        Re: Time for Linux

        Vista pushed us down the Linux road (about 6 years ago), and nothing MS has produced since has caused us to rethink that decision for even a moment.

        MEMO:- Discuss future options with your accountant / CFO before upgrade decision.

      2. Tom 13

        Re: Time for Linux

        I'd say the fly in the ointment here is that precisely because of the history of Windows security issues, there is at least the perception and possibly the reality that the security management infrastructure for it is better developed than it is for Linux. Note that I'm not saying Windows is more secure than Linux, I think the opposite is true although when Windows is properly managed it is now much closer to Linux.

        I say this because in my work environment we have a knowledgeable admin who has successfully leveraged Linux on the LAN, but whenever it comes to security issues, he is constantly confronted by a security environment that is Windows-Centric. So he has to prove that his system is as secure and that can be problematic.* Similarly I have heard from a manager in a different office that "security scans are a PITA because they've given us a tool for Windows but it doesn't work on Linux/Unix. So even though those systems are secure, because they can't be tested with the Windows Tool, they get marked unknown which is almost worse than failed."

        *I'd say that since he is actively proving the system is secure, it is probably more secure than the Windows systems where simply because the tool says "passed" it is assumed to be secure.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If I ran MS (and with ideas like this that'll never happen) I'd make Windows desktop versions free. It's a radical idea I know but I think the OS is largely becoming a way to sell other services so you want as many people using it as you can and as few barriers to entry. Combine that with the fact that you could kill off older versions quicker - it's free after all, you get what you pay for - and I'm sure you'd end up making more money. I can't see it happening any time soon, MS is too wedded to the 1990's idea of selling software, but I think it'll happen eventually.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "MS is too wedded to the 1990's idea of selling software, [...]"

      They are also reducing what you get for your money. Even "retail" Windows systems are locked to the life of one set of hardware. Office is also locked to the life of one set of hardware - and no more family packs of 3 users. Using their Office 365 is uneconomical - with no option to stay on older versions in the future if you want to access your files.

      Repairs and diagnostics are often stymied by the software licence refusing to recognise changed hardware.

      Instead of buying MS Office Home and Student the policy now is to install LibreOffice etc - they do what most home users want.

      They think they have a captive user base - they are wrong!

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Libre Office, Open Office, Kingsoft Office and even Google Docs does 98% of what most people need.

        1. SolidSquid

          My office actually has started using google docs for a lot of their stuff purely because it also integrates with google drive, making it much easier to share the documents with clients. Being able to work in the browser bypasses any issues with whether they have compatible software to read or edit files in

          1. Tom 13

            Minor nit

            Being able to work in the browser bypasses any most issues

            Because some versions of IE don't work properly with Google Apps and many of the offices I work with see the warning when they start IE. Yes, I tell them Firefox and Chrome alleviate the issue, but their accepted baselines don't necessarily include either of them. Yes, it's dumb, but I don't get to make the rules. In fact in most instances I don't even get to give feedback saying how dumb they are.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Subsription service and/or Open Sourcing Windows required.

      Windows XP lasted 10 years. I think people who expected free support after the initial purchase (whether with a PC/laptop or purchased separately) for that amount of time expect too much.

      Either giving Windows away, or having a low starting price (£10), then only paid for support would be the way to go. Then we could go on with Windows 7 almost indefinitely if M$ had a regular income stream for support/developers.

      Alternatively Open Sourcing Windows and allowing the community to have much greater input, plus paid for support could be another option.

      As a side note, IMO M$ need to unbundle the browser (i.e. IE) from the OS too & support newer versions on older OS to plug browser bugs, which are a major risk these days (according to articles in the press such as el Reg).

      The thing is though, all this discussion is pointless, as M$ push out new OSes regardles and we generally don't get a choice when to 'upgrade' or what is in the release. Even worse, hardware manufacturers force newer versions on us too as required by M$. At least with a Linux distro like Ubuntu, you can choose a Long Term Support version or upgrade gradually every 6 months with the latest and greatest changes.

  13. ecofeco Silver badge
    Facepalm

    It will be a tough sell

    No matter what they do, it will still be a tough sell to get businesses to upgrade to 9.

    Why?

    Most businesses just upgraded to 7 THIS YEAR. Yeah, 6 years into its existence, most companies are just now finishing the upgrade from XP to 7. Again, why? ONLY because they were forced to.

  14. enerider

    Windows 8.1 Pro...I used it

    I wasn't hating it either - everything seemed to work.

    Then one of my hard drives needed replacing. Which I did, and the PC rebooted fine and loaded Windows fine.

    Then the very next reboot: POOF! Boot sector ninja vanished.

    At that juncture, I took a FUKITOL and installed Debian, which worked without much hassel.

    After this, I decided to give Mint 17 a go. So far I survived a LAN gaming weekend without any real issues. PlayOnLinux let me play: ET:QW (tried the native installer, it wouldn't work, even with ia-32 libs in place. So I installed it under PlayOnLinux.), COD4, BF:Vietnam, StarCraft Broodwar, The Ship.

    I still am making using of my Windows 8 licence though. It now lives in a VM under Mint 17. Mainly for my amusement.

    1. BobChip
      Linux

      Re: Windows 8.1 Pro...I used it

      That'll be Mint 17 with 5 years of free Long Term Support - compare with MS "we will 'upgrade' everything annually, or more often if we want the money, for a fee which we will decide on at the time, whether you want us to or not". With Linux I can change or upgrade any of my hardware, whenever, without crashing the system. Tough decision.

      And yes, it is simple to run an older Win version in a virtual machine if you want to.

      A PC is a tool which I use to do productive work. My choice of OS (Mint 17) is determined by what enables me to do the most work for the least effort and cost.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Windows 8.1 Pro...I used it

      Yup, Microsoft is know for mangling boot sectors since Windows 2000, at least for me. Repeatedly.

      I run my Linuxen in another complete separate PC ever since.

  15. Chris G Silver badge

    They should know better

    When you consider MS has about 93000 employees you would think they would have a good idea of how much work is involved in changing everybody over to a new ' washes whiter than white' incarnation of something that like a new 'planned marketing' detergent introduction is often more about packaging than genuine improvements.

    You would also think that MS would learn from past mistakes, needing only the one screwup to get the gist of things, instead of turning out alternate good and bad systems.

    XP good did most thing well; Vista, took too long to finish was rushed to market without being fully operative so in spite of it having some benefits was overall a pain in the arse, then 7 which to me was what Vista should have been followed too soon by Win 8. Once again brought to market too soon, this time without fully understanding the market/s it was aimed at, almost immediately updated to 8:1 to make it a bit more user friendly and now threats of 9 to come soon and why because selling new OSs is the raison d'etre for MS.

    How about an OS that is designed to be infinitely upgradeable over time with the equivalent of Service Packs for significant moves forward at reasonable prices.

    As for office, I went over to OpenOffice and now Apache a decade ago and it just gets better and does all that I need.

    1. elDog Silver badge

      Re: They should know better

      "How about an OS that is designed to be infinitely upgradeable over time with the equivalent of Service Packs for significant moves forward at reasonable prices."

      Gosh. There aren't any OS's like that are there? I hope they come with my spanky-new box I bought @WorstBuy or Appppple.$$$

  16. dan1980

    The truth is that, for 95% of all users, installing a new OS simply isn't desirable.

    People only do it when there is a compelling reason to and, for most, that coincides with buying a new PC. The goal, then, for MS, is to release new OSs that are better but don't change things too much such that the new OS forms a barrier to people upgrading.

    MS just can't handle that.

    They want new sexy features and interfaces that they can crow about in self-indulgent press releases and industry events.

    Apple have it right in this instance: their updates to OS X are cheap and install easily, which means that it is a non-brainer for users to upgrade. Many skip a version or even two, of course. Further, the updates do not change the Interface and OS is hugely noticeable ways - they add functionality and generally improve things without making anything worse.

    I am no Apple fanboy but I very much wish MS would learn something from them. Of course, Apple control their hardware so there is a crucial difference but that doesn't mean MS can't take the lessons on board.

    The simplest advice one can give to Microsoft is to keep that wonderful medical admonition in mind:

    First, do no harm.

    1. J__M__M

      Must be a different OSX than mine...

      No, Apple has become just as Microsoft as Microsoft. We don't think you need that 2nd display anymore, so we'll just throw a towel over it for you. Maybe we'll take it off in 2 or 3 years so you can have your dual displays again, but then again maybe not. You don't need to save as anymore, so we'll just get rid of that option for you. We want your scroll wheel to go the other way now, so... and so on and so forth.

      1. dan1980

        Re: Must be a different OSX than mine...

        @J_M_M

        Yes, OS X 10.7 was a step in the wrong direction as the annoyed quite a few desktop users in their goal to make OS X more like iOS, with reverse ('natural') scrolling and other features as you have mentioned. Thankfully, in OS X 10.8 they make it easier to disable the auto-save and bring back the save-as.

  17. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Remember when "Windows NT" was the KILLER OF EVERYTHING™??

    The danger for Microsoft is that if everybody standardises on an operating system that's three versions old, it will have lost its raison d’être as a tech firm.

    GOOD!

    When the x-th malware outbreak, info exfil and other uncontrolled wild crap and cancer occurs on Windows machinery in the tower of disorganization that you inhabit, the realization that "Windows in the Enterprise" will forever be a fool's errand and a clusterfuck of epic proportions shall enlighten you like a magma blast from a 10'000 year old Icelandic volcano. I don't know what the solution is but it sure cannot be found in the House of UsherSaddam Nutella.

    The whole abortion of "Microsoft shall provide you with a reliable, manageable, understandable, and usable-for-all-kind-of-users system ... for a small fee" has to be flushed, killed, strangled, crushed, enterred, disenterred and incinterated. Then deposited into Chernobyl sarcophagus.

    1. AndyC

      Re: Remember when "Windows NT" was the KILLER OF EVERYTHING™??

      Hmmmm, I hate MS as much as anyone, but what about the two biggest bugs to bite the IT world in recent months, Heartbleed and that recent bash one? Weren't they Linux/OSX only?

      I know I'm going to get downvoted for this, but, unfortunately for us Linux fanbois, MS is pretty good on security now.

      I regularly use Win 8.1. I deliberately chose it for my laptop (God alone knows why) and I hate it! As soon as I was able to, I set it to boot to the desktop. I've even got a Yoga, with an intermittent fault on the touchscreen, and I mostly use that in the laptop mode.

      Metro? I see it when I'm searching for Control Panel, or Paint.

      I'm just about to get a new office setup, that will be running CentOS and will have a Linux loving HP printer. No MS in that system!

      But, back to the main point. MS is very good on security now, and the latest bug to strike Linux and OSX will only help MS sell it's version of security to businesses, large and small. We may not like it, but no-one ever got sacked for choosing Microsoft.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Remember when "Windows NT" was the KILLER OF EVERYTHING™??

        @AndyC

        Conversely, the recent "Hearbleed" & "Shellshock" bugs were openly revealed and the Open Source fixed quickly and publicly. Whereas with proprietary software, most users blissfully unaware of any critical bugs until the next bach of patches released, unlike the crackers who have a window of opportunity until said patches turn up.

        No humanly designed OS is bug free and never will be. Just how buggy is the question.

        Free Classic Shell on Windows 8.x makes it much more traditional desktop friendly by providing a start menu. That's all most users need in my experience.

      2. SolidSquid

        Re: Remember when "Windows NT" was the KILLER OF EVERYTHING™??

        Heartbleed was in the OpenSSL libraries, which were cross platform, not linux/osx specific.

        Shellshock was a bug in bash, which is mostly *nix (although I think cygwin lets you install it in Windows), although there are alternatives to bash which are also available on *nix machines and don't have the same vulnerability.

        Also, as pointed out, when the bug was found it was publicised quickly and had patches out within days. Compare this to Microsoft, who in the past was known to hold back patches so they could be incorporated into a scheduled update because they were concerned that too many updates would worry customers

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's about time MS gave the corporate market some love

    Because I sure as hell wouldn't use their stuff in my own time.

  19. Yugguy

    Touchscreen doesnt work in an office

    Unless you want your entire workforce off with back trouble.

    Can you say 6 months off sick?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The more buzz, the less substance.

    I know about another company that is all buzz upon release of their products...

    Can you generalize that bad?

  21. Terry 6 Silver badge

    said it all

    "Good enough is good enough - just like with CPU power, where a CPU from 2009-ish is vastly overpowered for MS Office ".

    An OS is just a way to make the things work. So if the things work it doesn't need to change. In reality once people were on to Win 3.1 the only need for a new OS was a new development in computing - like networking or USB.

    To most users the OS is no different from the buttons on their remote. You press them to make the thing you want happen. It needs to look nice and be easy to press. (Win 8.1 on a phone is brilliant, but not on a laptop btw ).

    Think how many users fail to distinguish between the monitor, PC, OS and software.

    (Hands up anyone who hasn't had a user call and say "The email isn't working" when the PC has just crashed. If your hand is up you either don't work with any users or you're lying.)

  22. MrRoland

    some visual polish and not a lot else

    My god the apps look terrible still. Its a joke that calculator is pretty much unchanged since windows 95. The interface where a window opens another window and another. UX is terrible. Even microsoft have white papers on why you should never do this. And yet they still do it.

    What a shame from a company that used to be so innovative. They have failed to realise that an OS is more then just something to get you from the BIOS to a GUI. Infighting killed many a fantastic project internally. Microsoft *get* the internet, but alas many powerful voices dont want to change from the win / office model.

    1. DaiKiwi

      Re: some visual polish and not a lot else

      "Its a joke that calculator is pretty much unchanged since windows 95"

      It emulates a handheld calculator. How much does it need to change? Though Win7 has added programmer and statistics skins as well as standard and scientific, meaning it is as useful as a Casio fx-82.

  23. rndSheeple

    Good points all,

    I like the points about the hidden powers of win8.x, quite frankly our 2000+ pc's organization couldn't care less. But the point was well presented that there are improvements here and there, but I believe most companies dont need that power on their boxes, otherwise would not use 3y leasing cycles.

    However, given that, we have loads of win X requiring apps, which run seemingly ok on win7, but with the personnel we have being what they are, the decision was made to skip win8 due to the training requirements. We run near 100ish offices and maybe a dozen sales points (just necessary due to company structure), and most personnel don't give a flying F about their computers as email, document management etc and then a few tools are all that is needed to do the work.

    This given, we ARE I believe finally at a point when linux on the desktop should be seriously considered. We run office2007 due to the fact we don't like cloud for security and governance reasons, and newer office versions have F* all to offer above 2007. So given the upgrade path with training to win9 + latest office versions + upgrading all our infrastructure maybe a 50ish servers with crap win2003r2 software that wont run on newer, I believe the time has come to look at alternatives. Just 1500 or so office licenses to latest with SA has a certain cost to it.

    There has never been, nor does there now exist, to the best of my knowledge, a good, working, cheap migration path for applications from Win (anything say XP) to Win (anything say 8 or 9), nor on the server side.

    This just forces into a constant upgrade path, which is utterly pointless unless you actually want something new but the area we are in does not require anything new for most operational needs.

    So a service based environment with linux boxes would probably be quite cost efficient as compared to the client and server side winNt versions 9 - 12 cycle say of 5 years.

    So a very good series of Commentards, and quite interesting from the CIO office point of view. Truly MS may very well be losing it's relevance as a tech company.

  24. Chris2812

    I think Microsoft should release an Operating System that is always upgradeable via a service pack or some other update feature. Surely we are at a point in time whereby they can create an OS and upon update, it changes many features, including the OS's GUI. We are going through a transitional stage whereby we no longer are buying software just for its functionality but essentially the users experience. MIcrosoft are therefore trying to create a 'similar' experience across all forms of devices, whether that be tablets or desktops. This in my own opinion is the wrong way to go about releasing new OS's. What's wrong with having an option during the Windows installation screen asking the user if they want to install the 'Desktop' version or 'Mobile' version?!

  25. Eddy Ito Silver badge
    WTF?

    For reals???

    Windows 10!? What a way to make an April Fool's gag real.

  26. bristolmoose
    Coat

    I'm skipping Windows 9....

    ..waiting for Windows 10 to come out..oh.

    1. Zot

      Re: I'm skipping Windows 9....

      Yeah, it must be a jinx removal naming system. "Every even numbered MS OS is cr.. oh".

      Well I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

  27. Kepler
    Facepalm

    "Enterprises" vs. "Consumers"?

    Though valid in other contexts and for other purposes, the dichotomy this article maintains between enterprise customers and consumers is highly artificial as far as Windows 8 and Metro are concerned. "Consumers" hate Windows 8 and Metro just as much as businesses do!

    Which is hardly surprising, since consumers — like the people that make up business enterprises — are human beings. The features that make Metro and Windows 8 annoying and unattractive to enterprises make them annoying and unattractive to everyone! Including consumers.

  28. Frank Rysanek

    why upgrade; OS maintenance over the years

    In terms of the underlying hardware architecture, for me the last true HW motive that would warrant an upgrade was the introduction of message-signaled interrupts. MSI has the potential to relieve us all of shared IRQ lines. It required a minor update of the driver framework - and I'm sure this could've been introduced in Windows XP with SP4. Well it got introduced as part of Vista (or let's discard Vista and say "seven") - and was a part of a bigger overhaul in driver programming models, from the earlier and clumsier WDM, to the more modern and supposedly "easier to use" WDK. Along came a better security model for the user space. With all of these upgrades in place, I believe that Windows 7 could go on for another 20 years without changing the API for user space. No problem to write drivers for new hardware. USB3 and the like don't bring a paradigm shift - just write new drivers, and that change stays "under the hood". Haswell supposedly brings a finer-grained / deeper power management... this could stay under the hood in the kernel, maybe catered for by a small incremental update to the kernel-side driver API.

    Linux isn't inherently long-term unmanned/seamless either. An older distro won't run on ages younger hardware, as the kernel doesn't have drivers for the new hardware, and if you replace an ages old kernel with something much more recent, you'll have to face more or less serious discrepancies in kernel/user interfaces. Specifically, graphics driver frameworks between the kernel and XWindows have been gradually developing, and e.g. some "not so set in stone" parts of the /proc and /sys directory trees have also changed, affecting marginal stuff such as hardware health monitoring. Swapping kernels across generations in some simple old text-only distro can be a different matter (can work just fine within some limits), but that's not the case for desktop users. Ultimately it's true that in Linux, the user has much more choice between distroes, between window managers within a distro, gradual upgrades to the next major version generally work. And, your freedom to modify anything, boot over a network etc. is much greater than in Windows. Specifically, if it wasn't for Microsoft pushing the UEFI crypto-circus into every vendor's x86 hardware, you could say that Linux is already easier to boot / clone / move to replacement hardware than Windows 7/8 (the boot sequence and partition layout is easier to control in Linux, with fewer artificial obstacles).

    I'm curious about Windows 9. It could be a partial return to the familiar desktop interface with a start menu, and legacy x86 win32 API compatibility. Or it could be something very different. I've heard suggestions that Microsoft is aiming to unify the kernel and general OS architecture across desktop / mobile / telephones - to unite Windows x86 and Windows RT. From that, I can extrapolate an alternative scenario: Windows 9 (or Windows 10?) could turn out to be a "Windows CE derivative", shedding much of the legacy Win32 NT API compatibility, legcuffed to your piece of hardware using crypto-signed UEFI, and leashed to the MS Cloud (no logon without IP connectivity and a MS cloud account). All of that, with a "traditional desktop" looking interface... You don't need much more from a "cloud terminal". I wouldn't be surprised.

  29. h 2

    So what's happened with Windows 9?

    Have MS lost the ability to count or have they given up with it as it was such a bad non starter.

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