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October 26, 2012

Microsoft's Bet Against the Desktop

After trying Windows 8 for a few days, I realized that Microsoft's new operating system is not that bad. The weird dichotomy between the desktop interface and the touch-optimized Metro interface might drive you away, but Windows had to start over again with a new software paradigm: the app software, sandboxed apps, consistent interfaces, integration with online services.

For the first time, security is no longer an after-thought, at least if you're using Metro apps. For the first time, you can find apps, buy them, rate them and update them from a single place. Some might say that this takes away user choice, that Metro apps have nothing to do with Windows and they're too limited, but Windows 8 is actually Microsoft's bet against the desktop. Smartphones and tablets changed the tech industry and made desktop computers and laptops look outdated. Most of the great new apps are developed for mobile devices. For many people, tablets are better than laptops: they have better displays, better battery life, better cameras, a user-friendly interface, they're silent, fun, lightweight, instant on and can be used almost anywhere. They don't require concentration, maintenance and people can focus on their tasks, instead of fighting with a complex computer.

Apple sold 100 million iPads in less than 3 years and smartphones outsold PCs last year. The same will happen with tablets in a few years.

Windows 8 doesn't feel right on a laptop or desktop because it was designed for tablets. The Metro interface encourages users to buy tablets or smartphones and pushes developers to create apps for Windows 8. The desktop interface is still there, but is now a relic for legacy apps. Mystery meat navigation makes people think that their computers aren't cool enough to run Windows 8 well, so they try new computers, like the Surface RT tablet.

The contrast between the Metro interface and classic desktop is striking. It's like switching between two operating systems from different eras. One of them is there to make the other one stand out. Beautiful vs clunky, personal vs unfriendly, simple vs complicated, fun vs boring, secure vs vulnerable.


  1. I don't agree with the conclusion.

    Classic desktop is a must in enterprise environments, Microsoft sells ton of windows licenses to enterprise clients, and Metro is not enterprice at all, is shiny but useless.

    Clasic enterprise desktop with active directory are SECURE !! why you say that not ?

    Metro is personal like you said, a ton news, pics, facebook, but in the enterprise we must to fight with that, more work and less useless time :)


  2. I don't know about everybody else, but to me, tablets and smart phones are good supplements to laptops and desktops, but will never be a full replacement, at least not in the near enough future for Windows 8 to fit in well. There are things that just can't be done on such devices, and penalizing people who still need or want to use standard computers is the wrong way to go about doing things. You know how so few people updated to Vista because of how broken everything was? I predict the same for windows 8, regardless of hardware.

    Plus, I'd love to see them try to really break into the tablet and smart phone market which is basically owned by Google and Apple.

  3. I think there is only an interesting thing about this new system branded microsoft: "Javascript Application Development". There are many html5 developers and web designer with many interest in developing application for microsoft now.

  4. One should read this >

  5. The main problem with Metro is, that it's designed for showing pictures and small amounts of textual information, and for being shiny good looking while doing all that. Now imagine applications which are not like that. Word? Excel? Visual Studio? I think Microsoft just shouldn't have ignored the desktop needs.

  6. God knows why they called it Windows 8 and not Windows Tablet or Touch. If you want to design it for the touch screen, good for you, dont force none touch screen users to use a rubbish design.

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