Windows 8: Embrace Or Reject?

Windows usage

Before jumping into trying to make sense of Windows 8, let’s understand that Windows as an OS is used by users across the entire spectrum of intellect and familiarity. From the basic user who never changes default browser, home page, desktop wallpaper, etc. to the power user who has scripts for every single task and is absolutely picky about where the icons are on the desktop and the taskbar. As a result, there is no single “user” of Windows, and also that means, for any change that is made in Windows, there is going to be some type of users who will feel they have been short-changed. It is futile to look at it from a user perspective, and it is better to view it from a usage perspective:

  • Simpler devices: There is no doubt that we prefer to use simpler devices like iPad for our common uses. Not only are such devices simpler to use in general, they are also touch-enabled. Touch as a gesture is intuitive and easy to learn. Two or more years from now, there is a good chance we will do more on such simpler, touch devices than on “regular” PCs. These devices will tend to be cheaper, and as a result be changed/upgraded more often than PCs have been. Having an ecosystem lock-in, therefore, is crucial.
  • Consumerization of IT: In businesses, with advancement in virtualization and fueled by smartphones, there is a growing trend to allow employees to bring their own devices to work (also referred to as “Consumerization of IT”). Sometimes it is not about being allowed to, it is about employees taking control of it, and living with self-supported devices at work. I am a prime example of such a trend: A few years ago, I ditched by company-supported Blackberry for an iPhone 3GS and after constant emails to IT, was able to get support and connectivity to Exchange. Last year, I did the same thing with my Windows Phone 7 device. The bottom line being, employees are bringing what they like, and IT is forced to oblige and allow such devices to connect to the network.
  • Enterprise upgrade cycle: Finally, enterprises are typically always at least one revision behind when it comes to large-scale deployments of operating system upgrades. Most enterprises have only just implemented the Windows 7 upgrades, or are in the process of, or considering it. Going to Windows 8 across the enterprise will not be a trend for at least a year after Windows 8 launches. Enterprise usage of Windows 8, therefore, is not going to be worth discussing until late next year.

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Romit Mehta

Romit writes about mobile news and gadgets, and is currently a Windows Phone owner (Nokia Lumia 920).Find him on twitter @TheRomit. Personal site is

  • Good one.

  • A new Metro-style interface has been added that was designed for touch screen input in addition to mouse, keyboard, and pen input.

  • The day Microsoft makes a working, logical, user-intuitive/friendly, and stable environment is the day I will consider (note that word) being back in their camp. However, 30 years of experience tells me not to hold my breath. If Microsoft had to compensate me monetarily for all the years of frustration their products have put me through, I would be as wealthy as Bill gates himself.

    I even, recently, dumped Microsoft Word off of my Mac and started using Apple’s “Pages” to finish a book I am working on. Literally, formatting a picture to do what I wanted took 7 mouse clicks in Word. Pages takes only 2 for the same operation. I was amazed. Also, it was not uncommon for pictures, once Word reloaded the book for another work session, to ignore their settings and randomly be moved anyway. So far Pages has been flawless…. way too many “Microsoft Moments” in my history to not be skeptical.

  • Micro$oft is doing to windoze what Canonical did to Ubuntu…forcing users to new UI and making users fight their OS just to get things done. The purpose of the OS is help get tasks done not force you to waste so much time trying how get tasks done efficiently.