Windows 9 Could Erase Windows 8′s Biggest Mistake

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Microsoft apparently wants to put Windows 8.x in its rearview mirror. Or, to choose a more extreme analogy, bury it completely.

“Regardless of how usable or functional it is or isn’t, [Windows 8] has become Microsoft’s Vista 2.0—something from which Microsoft needs to distance itself, perception-wise,” ZDNet’s absurdly well-connected Mary Jo Foley wrote in a new article about the development of Windows “Threshold,” the codename for the next version of Windows. “At this point, Microsoft is going full steam-ahead toward Threshold and will do its best to differentiate that OS release from Windows 8.”

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The next version of Windows could arrive sometime in 2015, three years after Microsoft released Windows 8 to mixed critical reception and less-than-stellar sales. According to Net Applications, Windows 8.x market share stands at roughly 12 percent of the desktop/laptop OS market, lagging well behind the aged Windows XP at 25.27 percent and Windows 7 at 50 percent. If that wasn’t bad enough, Windows 8.x has failed to make much of a dent in the tablet market against Apple’s iOS and Google Android, despite Microsoft retooling the operating system to better operate on touch screens.

Mary Jo Foley suggests that Windows “Threshold” will auto-detect the type of device it’s running on and adjust the user interface accordingly; for example, a user on a traditional PC will see a desktop environment, whereas someone on a tablet will see the Windows UX for touch screens, which features colorful tiles linked to applications. Hybrid devices such as Microsoft’s Surface tablet will have the ability to jump between both types of environments, depending on whether a physical keyboard is plugged in.

In theory, that active adjustment will counter one of the biggest criticisms leveled against Windows 8, namely that its use of dual interfaces—users were dumped into the “Modern” interface, and could only access the desktop by clicking or tapping on a tile—was confusing and annoying. Windows 8.1 attempted to rectify some of the problem by allowing users to boot directly to desktop. But if Mary Jo Foley’s information is correct, Microsoft’s next step isn’t slapping further Band-Aids on the current OS—it’ll launch a full-on reset with Windows 9 or whatever the company ends up naming “Threshold.”

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Image: Microsoft

Comments

  1. BY Rob S says:

    Although I haven’t tried Windows 8 yet, from all I’ve read, their biggest problem is that same thing that is plaguing so many tech companies: refusing to understand their clientele.

    In MS’s case, they build an O/S that assumed that everyone wanted a tablet computer. In 10 years, that might be fine, but right now, clearly, millions still like their desktops. To arrogantly force people to use a tablet interface on a desktop was a major mistake. Apparently they’ve finally fixed things with their latest service pack release, but nobody cares any more. (FYI Yahoo did the same, abandoning their desktop e-mail system so that it works on phones and tablets. That might be a safer bet, but after 20 years with them, I’m on the verge of using an e-mail system that works correctly on desktops and I wonder how many others have already left for that reason.)

    Anyway, I suspect that people are getting tired of companies trying to shove their version of technology down their throats. MS may have another shot with Windows 9, but the shots are starting to run out. They’d better get it right for a few versions in a row or they will be a thing of that past. BTW Apple, watch out because you’re starting to go down that same path. Your 10% fan followers will be there, but the other 50% you got with your iPhone are starting to notice the holes in your business model and are migrating to O/Ss that actually let them work the way they like. Right now that seems to be Samsung’s version of Android, but could easily change if they screw up next. Stay tuned as I suspect the next 10 years will see a major shift in technology leaders.

  2. BY Ken Sturrock says:

    Agreed about vendors cramming their vision down the user’s throat. Microsoft got away with the ribbonification of Office and just let the other shoe drop with Windows 8. Rather than try to enhance your accumulated IT skills and knowledge, Microsoft tried to sweep it away. The latest patches to Windows 8, while subtle, are a step in the right direction.

    Unfortunately, Samsung is just as bad. My Verizon Samsung tablet running Android is filled with unremovable bloatware (no easy rooting on Verizon….). Each program reflects the vision of either Verizon, Samsung or Google and they are different visions. It’s like having three incompatible ideas jammed down your throat at the same time. This tablet reminds me of the kind of product that companies like Packard Bell sold to the masses in the mid 1990s.

  3. BY John F says:

    Windows 8 makes Windows Vista look good. It’s the worse OS Microsoft ever released and it’s only going to get worse. I’m an MCSE and I’m going away from PC products and running the Mac and Linux. Do yourself a favor and starting learning about Macs or Linux or your going to be even more dissapointed with Microsoft products. Windows 7 and Office 2010 is great and if Microsoft stuck with that then users would be much happier. Microsoft is a bully and dictating what the customer gets’ instead asking users what they want.

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