search
top

What Microsoft is Doing Wrong

Knowing how defensive people can get about their favorite companies and OSs, let me start by saying, this is an opinion piece. Using news and facts yes, but my conclusions are my own. If you don’t agree, think I’m misinterpreting, leave a comment.

Way back in August, I wrote an article discussing why Windows tablets have a chance. At the time, we’d seen images of the new Windows 8 operating system, and I predicted that Microsoft would offer transforming devices, which would use the new interface on tablets but move to full desktop Windows when plugged into a mouse and keyboard setup. I predicted that that extra capability to use full Windows would give Windows Tablets the ability to succeed where the iPad has failed, namely, enterprise.

Now that the Windows 8 Consumer preview has been out for a while and I’ve gotten a chance to use it, I’d like to revisit the topic. Not to review Windows 8 specifically, there are numerous reviews out there already. Rather, we’re going to take a general look at where Windows is headed, what Microsoft is doing right, and more important, what Microsoft is doing wrong.

~Past Predictions~

My predictions last August were close, but unfortunately not spot on. I predicted the Metro interface would be default on tablets, switching to the full desktop given a docking setup. Microsoft decided to go one step further, giving the user the ability to switch between both, at any time, on any setup. I also predicted that applications would work and carry over between interfaces, just using the different look and feel of the given interface. That prediction seems to have been off oppositely. While most big applications will work on both interfaces, it will be different program instances. And with the ARM version of Windows 8, all current desktop applications will have to be re-written just as completely as their metro counterparts. Goodbye smooth transition.

The Good

Offering users the ability to switch between user interfaces on whim is a victory for customization. Users get to choose which system they are familiar with, and stay in it. And hopefully Microsoft will give us the ability to set default start mode as well, so that desktop users won’t have to go through Metro to get to the desktop every time they reboot. Additionally, the numerous desktop optimizations that Microsoft is throwing is should be enough to draw out non-touchscreen enthusiasts. That said …

The Bad

Back when I predicted that having both desktop AND metro would be a good thing, it was because I assumed that the metro would ONLY be used on touchscreens, while the desktop would ONLY be used on desktop/laptop setups. The way it’s currently set up is utterly unnecessary, and in fact overly confusing to many desktop users who aren’t techies.

The traditional Desktop interface is almost perfect with a keyboard and mouse setup. Microsoft and Apple have been optimizing and perfecting it for nearly 2 decades. Yet just as it’s great on that setup, it’s a failure on a touchscreen. This it’s prediction; it’s been proven time and again whenever Microsoft tried to sell a Windows tablet. They are falling into the very same mistake as before. People don’t want Windows (desktop) on a touchscreen.

Metro is beautiful, and on a touchscreen it’s incredibly intuitive. It works well, and it’s the first major touchscreen UI that is both easy to use, and not a copy of iOS (sorry Android fans). But yet similarly to the desktop, as great as it is on touchscreens, it’s not great at all using a mouse/keyboard setup.

We have two different user interfaces, built for two completely different input devices. Microsoft is trying to ramrod them together, unnecessarily.

The Fix?

While I might be biased, I do think that my original predictions would actually be smarter for Microsoft than the path they seem to be one. Namely, stop trying to force separate UIs into places they don’t belong. Best case scenario: Take Metro out of x86 Windows 8. Let it be the next version of the regular desktop/laptop Windows. Then Windows 8 on ARM though, should default to Metro, because it’ll only be on tablets or transformers. Either leave it as solely a Metro interface, and go the Apple route, or offer the desktop as a separate mode, but only when attached to a mouse/keyboard. Without those, it’s unneeded anyway.

Enterprise and non techies still get all the desktop enhancements of Windows 8. Tablet users get the beautiful new Metro tablets. Microsoft gets the profits from both, and goodwill of users who actually get a choice.

Learn more the author of this post:

Andy Mercer
Andy Mercer is an undergraduate Civil Engineering student at Purdue University. Currently employed by ITaP (Information Technology at Purdue), he is interested in web design and programming. In his spare time he enjoys killing zombies and playing his 360.
  • Kylepaddock

    I am running it on my laptop as a main. It do not like it for a desktop OS but for a tablet it is the best. You have full desktop support on a tablet. I hope that they will have 2 versions. Both compatible with ARM. One like it is now for tablets with the desktop part. And a just desktop for main non-touch screen users.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/OZN6E7DBLPBZTILGODIVPAIZLU Cole R

    You aren’t looking at their philosophy Mr. Mercer…
    They have both the Metro and the Desktop in Windows 8, you can pick to use either one whenever you want. Some tasks are better done on the desktop, some are better done on metro…its the users choice.
    The thing about your beloved iPad, is that it’s an iPad… it’s running iOS, it is made for low level computing. Think about it Andy, when you iPad came in stock (no applications on it, besides the ones built in) was it as powerful as your mac? Sure you could type up a few things on Notes and whatever else but the answer is no.
    Having desktop and metro is a great idea. For example, i walk around with my tablet all day, using the touch interface, using touch apps, whatever else…but wait a minute! I forgot I need to finish a report! So, I plug in a mouse and keyboard either by usb or by bluetooth, select the desktop and get to work.
    Can your iPad do that, compute like a computer? Or run a mobile os that is enlarged?

    Oh and your probably about to make the comment that tablets don’t have as much space as a real computer does so a tablet cant support a power user…well the fact is Microsoft has you beat out again, 25gbs free space…you get what? 5? And lets not forget that soon SkyDrive will be introducing paid upgrades, so for about 60 bucks you can get your free 25gb + 100gb= 125gb! Holy hell! And what can your iPad do again?

    I realize that my comment may be hard to read exactly, since you are biased as hell to Apple (Compare Al Qaeda to Osama Bin Laden and add in the overrated part too), so if you have any questions about my comment ask and I’ll answer sir!

  • Kelderic

    My “beloved iPad”? I mentioned iPad once in the entire article, when I said that I’d predicted Microsoft was going to try to tackle enterprise, where the iPad has failed. Discussion is great, but putting words into my mouth is unneeded.

    “its the users choice”. To a degree. Users on the desktop are forced to start with Metro and go through it. I disagree with the premise though, that some things are done better on each. On a desktop/laptop setting (with mouse/keyboard), NOTHING is done more easily on Metro.

    “Oh and your probably about to make the comment that tablets don’t have
    as much space as a real computer does so a tablet cant support a power
    user” – Nope, yet again putting words in my mouth. Though to be fair, every single major tablet released so far has had a max of 32GB. I’m not sure where you got the 5GB thing from, most low ones have 8. Also, Skydrive doesn’t count, because it depends entirely on the internet. If I want storage, I want it on my device.

    I do love the “since you are biased as hell to Apple” comment though, since I didn’t mention Apple a single time in the article, and mentioned iPad once, to say where it was failing. Did you even read the article?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/OZN6E7DBLPBZTILGODIVPAIZLU Cole R

    “Nope, yet again putting words in my mouth” Notice I did say “Oh and your probably about to make the comment that…”5GB is the free amount of iCloud storage you get. With tablets going in the direction of 4G LTE SkyDrive could very well count as, well, you’ll have connectivity.It’d be sort of stupid to remove the desktop from a tablet (you said the desktop was unneeded) as Microsoft is pushing that the tablet will also be a PC if you choose to attach your Mouse and Keyboard. Convenience, no comprimises.When you talk about the degree of the users choice, Microsoft put the desktop front and center on the starting Metro Interface. In the future, you will be able to choose which interface you would prefer to boot from (and what situations,if you would like to customize that). Example, on my laptop running Windows 8, if I would rather it start at the Desktop…well it’s all possible.And the “biased” comment, well that came throughtout the entire demeanor of this article and the way you run this site. Also this, “While I might be biased…”

    Also, the “putting words in your mouth” was (mostly) assumptions, especially the iPad one. I gathered these rather life-like assumptions from again, the way you write and express yourself about Microsoft.As I haven’t read the article since last month and frankly don’t feel like reading shit again, I’ll leave off with the criticism that I have already displayed and wish you good luck. This article and how obvious you are about your bias are the only things I do not enjoy about TekGoblin.

  • Kelderic

    “With tablets going in the direction of 4G LTE SkyDrive could very well count as, well, you’ll have connectivity” It’ll be years yet until you we have 4G access across the country. Verizon is doing well in it’s rollout, but even so is still only in cities for the most part. ATT and the rest are even further behind. Even if I have 4G access though, I’m paying for the connection. Every time I want to use a file, I pay, again.

    “It’d be sort of stupid to remove the desktop from a tablet (you said the
    desktop was unneeded) as Microsoft is pushing that the tablet will also
    be a PC if you choose to attach your Mouse and Keyboard” Almost correct. They are pushing that it will also be a PC, whether you have a keyboard/mouse or not. Plus just because Microsoft is pushing something doesn’t make it right, given that the article is About what they are doing wrong.

    “In the future, you will be able to choose which interface you would prefer to boot from” Do you have proof of that? Because if so, then I’ll yield that point. They haven’t mentioned anything about letting users choose which mode to boot to that I’ve seen.

    “And the “biased” comment, well that came throughtout the entire demeanor
    of this article and the way you run this site. Also this, “While I
    might be biased…” ” I don’t run the site, I’m a guest writer.  And my biased comment was a warning before stating potential fixes, given that I’d already said them in a previous article.

    “As I haven’t read the article since last month and frankly don’t feel like reading shit again” Glad to know that you’re lazy as well as insulting.

    Also to Matt, the script that you installed adding the Read More at Tekgoblin, every time I copy a line, is getting really annoying.

  • Pingback: Gclub

  • Pingback: electrician melbourne

  • Pingback: Leyendas de terror

  • Pingback: here

  • Pingback: Villa Alanya

  • Pingback: useful source

  • Pingback: Hammonton

  • Pingback: cigarette electronique

  • Pingback: justcloud complaints

top