Five Reasons Windows 8 Could Be a Success

Windows 8 has been in beta for almost a week now, and after having read countless blog posts and user comments about the pros and cons found in the consumer preview, it became clear that Microsoft is doing everything it can to reinvent the way people think about desktop and mobile operating systems.

Whether or not you agree with the Metro UI being added in parallel to the Aero interface we experienced in Windows 7, it’s hard to overlook the potential impact this change could have on the consumer market.

For one, Metro offers a different take on security, app integration, and a new way to download and run software on Windows. Instead of traditional Windows programs that may or may not utilize the Windows registry system or have an obvious method of being uninstalled, apps in Windows 8 go through a centralized app store which guarantees consistency and reliability.

The very nature of how these apps operate has changed considerably from the legacy Windows programs currently being used in the traditional Aero Windows environment.

Combining this new app structure with a dramatically different UI may be a jarring experience for die-hard Windows users, but what about the average user? Could Windows 8 bring people back to the fold, or will it drive them further away from the Microsoft ecosphere?

Here are five reasons Windows 8 could be a success.

The Metro UI is Simple

The Metro UI is incredibly simple. In fact, I’d consider that to be an understatement. Metro brings the simplicity of a mobile operating system to the desktop environment in a way that allows you to get to the programs you need in as few motions as possible. You no longer need to navigate through various menus to get where you need to go.

Bottom line: As different as the Metro UI may be, it is a leap forward in terms of simplicity and usability. Click-and-drag touch-screen functionality coupled with the power of a complete desktop-class operating system makes the Metro UI a platform capable of delivering some serious bang for your buck.

The question is whether or not average users will like what they see in Metro. If first impressions are not absolutely perfect, this dramatic shift will deal a serious blow to Microsoft’s chances of success.

Apps Are Inherently More Secure

Microsoft has been wrestling with the problem of security for decades. Windows has always been the biggest target for malicious software, and part of the reason for this is the relatively open infrastructure that has accepted software from a wide range of sources. By bringing a new apps platform that passes through a trusted hub before reaching the open market, users will have a more dependable source for new software.

Furthermore, each Windows 8 Metro app operates as an island unto itself. This means that scripts are less likely to cross-contaminate multiple programs, leading to a potential security risk for the user. Once a particular program has been put aside, it goes into a form of suspended animation, freeing up vital system resources for other important tasks.

That isn’t to say that you can’t still run legacy apps through the existing Aero desktop. With anti-virus and other important features now baked directly in to Windows, even this process has a little boost in terms of security without hindering functionality.

One Interface to Learn Across Desktop and Mobile Devices

Switching from earlier versions of Windows to Windows 8 comes with a learning curve. This is inevitable and a given with any operating system crossover. That said, Windows 8 will work the same way on a tablet as it does on the desktop. Phones will also benefit from the same basic user interface, making it easier to learn one UI and stick with it from the start of your day to the very end.

We all know someone who prefers something because it’s what they know, and they don’t do well with change. While this may cause some initial backlash from the greater Windows user base, it may ultimately result in a wider long-term acceptance from users over time.

App Stores Make It Easier to Find Good Software

In addition to bringing a new level of security to the Windows platform, a built-in app store makes it easier to purchase and download programs and apps that you may need. Instead of heading to a wide range of different sites to download programs directly from each developer, you can find (eventually) almost anything you could need in one central location.

This method has worked wonders for Linux and OS X, and as long as Microsoft plays by the same rules, it should do quite a bit to improve the overall Windows experience.

App stores give you the ability to find and easily install vetted software that has passed the Microsoft sniff test. This isn’t to say that it will all be particularly good, but at least you’ll be free from the phishing scams out there promising the world to you and delivering little more than a headache.

Less Confusion in the Long Run

Chris Pirillo, LockerGnome’s founder and long-time customer experience advocate, put it best when he stated that Windows 8 takes the term “dumbing down” to a whole new level. While OS X has been widely applauded for its simplicity over older versions of Windows, Microsoft’s latest operating system makes great strides towards simplifying virtually every operational task you could imagine.

The Task Manager, startup settings, customization options, privacy tools, and even the process of adding and removing software has been entirely revamped and simplified in a way that makes sense to the user.

If there is one takeaway from the entire Windows 8 experience, it should be that Microsoft is finally listening to the user’s demands for less hassle. It would appear, at least on the surface, that Microsoft is acknowledging the pundits out there who are declaring the desktop computer a dinosaur in the world of modern computing.

During a keynote held by Apple on March 7, CEO Tim Cook declared that more post-PC devices have sold than PCs in the last quarter. Marketing spin aside, this is still a strong indication that more people are turning to smartphones and tablet computers to handle everyday tasks than their desktop counterparts.

Yes, there will always be a place for the desktop and laptop in the world of business and consumer computing. The question is, are we at the point where blending these two very different worlds together will be a recipe for success, or simply a last-ditch effort on the part of a software company to make an impact on a market that has already moved on?

In my opinion, Microsoft may very well have a big hit on its hands with Windows 8. The success of this operating system depends greatly on good word-of-mouth and excellent timing. Whether or not it’s too early to blend the world of desktop computing to the emerging mobile platforms is up to the users to decide.

What do you think? Is Microsoft on the right track with Windows 8, or is this destined to be another example of the software giant biting off more than it can chew?

33 comments On Five Reasons Windows 8 Could Be a Success

  • Matthew Cheung

    I really enjoy using Windows 8 and its new Metro UI ūüôā

  • Windows 8 is fine if you are willing to experiment and learn the new UI but not many average users are. I think that this could be the downfall of Windows 8, Joe Pirillo was willing to experiment and he started to understand it but the older the generation the less¬†likely¬†they are to experiment in my experience. Also a lot of the younger generation may feel lost if they are just getting used to Windows 7 or XP (Hopefully not Vista :). Otherwise Windows 8 is great and the UI will seep in but maybe not at the¬†adoption¬†rate that Microsoft is hoping for. I think they would be better off staging it so that they make one change at a time, maybe the App Store, then they remove the start menu, then add the tiles ect. It would take a lot longer but people would find it easier.

    • Well I’m the older generation (late sixties) and I love the new METRO Start screen and also the way it all works! Okay, took me about a day or so to get to know how to use it all, but then it does take us oldies more time to learn anything new. None of us like change but we have to move on and so does Microsoft. They are condemned for not being inventive enough one minute and then criticised when they are.¬†¬†

      • I know what you mean and the New UI is great and inventive but is the best move for the average user? I really don’t know and only time will tell if it is going to be a good or bad move for them. Just got one question though, do you like the constant changing and irregular feel? I was basing my older generations comment on my family and¬†friends¬†family’s. The real point is that unless they aren’t willing to get used to it they won’t. They being anyone here. What do you think to the possibility of Microsoft loosing customers due to the changes?

        • I am not sure what you mean by ‘the constant changing’ Joe. If you are determined to use the new UI¬† and STAY in it by pinning all the programs that you tend to use the most in it, there is no changing. Of course over time, more and more programs will be ‘Metrofied’ so they are downloadable from the STORE and won’t just be desktop orientated. I would honestly have preferred that they were bolder and I find it no more changeable than going to and fro from desktop to internet.
          To give an example of this, one of the programs I tend to use a lot is Windows Live Writer. At this time, its still in its 2011 incarnation and therefore is basically a desktop program but, by pinning it to the METRO start screen, its now only one click away to use, the fact that I have to access it from the desktop makes no difference to me in usage, I can still zip back and forth from either with just one click, in a similar way to clicking on a link in an email for example and then changing to a webpage to view it.
          There is no difference and we all do that every day.

          • Joe Izzard

            Didn’t think of it like that. Good way of¬†explaining¬†it but for someone who is used to XP or Win 7 the adjustment time may not be too pleasing, that’s what I’m really getting at. It may put some of computers if they have to learn it again. Again I have said that the new UI is great just maybe not for everyone.

  • I think the new windows ui is something positive and why that? because they are migrating the xbox experience to the pc , its easier and more practical than the rest … it will be easier for the elderly. One mistake that microsoft is making is leaving the aero experience… the two alone are awesome but together not so much¬†

  • Its my defaukt desktop ap with ie10 set to run as a esktop ap not a metro style, a stasrt button, and all my game stuff and browser user sripts on chrome, plus office 2007 ultimate with outlook 2010. rocks, boots quick runs fast bullet proof my box runs with VIDEO CARD CPU HEAT SINK FAN TITALLY DEAD which NO other GUI OS will let me do…its almost perfect, except on each boot I have to hit “desktop” once to hide metro. I set up a second win8 con prev on a vhdx and plan to rename the shell dll that will prtobably be RIP Metro lol than IT WILL BE PERFECT. ON THE DESKTOP.

    You could not pay m,e to use a portable computer I don’t give a damn what size it is or what it can do I just refuse. If i’m gonna be somewhere ,ong enough to use a compouter there will be a computer there for me with me set up as I like as a user, or there I will not go or at least not stay longer than it takes to weipe my rear end.

    WTF I want nuissances to follow me around anyway the avoidance of that is just about the only reason I leave the building….

  • I think anything new¬†especially¬†if it makes things easier can win people over. Now I am a Mac user but I’m mainly a PC user at work, I also have a PC at home that I connect to my television. I think your comment about word-of-mouth and timing as well as aethestics is what could hurt this. It looks great on a Windows phone but I’m personally not impressed with it on the desktop. Also I feel Microsoft still needs to push their phone. What’s working for Apple is that they considered the Mac when they made the iPhone as opposed, at least it seems this way to me, to Microsoft trying out the phone game and then thinking later maybe we should change our PC software experience and hey why not incorporate what we did with the phone. It also has to be noted as most of us know one is a software company and the other mostly hardware. But back to the point I was heading to, I feel Microsoft came to the phone game late, dropped and is still dropping the ball with promoting it and maybe should have incorporated this Window * experience within the XBox 360 to at least minimize the shock to some people who are not ready for a completely new setup. I guess I’m saying handle your phone business before thinking it’s so great to bring it over to the PC – Just my opinion ūüôā

  • I’ve tried win 8 on a laptop and I hate it. I’ve downloaded a program to give me back my beloved start button. I will stay with my win 7.

  • “Windows 8 will work the same way on a tablet as it does on the desktop.”
    This statement is wrong. Windows 8 on ARM will only run third party Metro Apps sold via the Metro store. It will have desktop mode specifically for Microsoft apps such as Office and IE 10. Developers are split on this issue. Some really love the direction MS is going and others are very upset for many reasons. ARM Win 8 machines are going to be no better than iPads and Android tablets, but with one huge but. The Metro apps used on an ARM tablet can be used across metro regardless if it is metro on X86 and ARM. 

    X86 tablets are going to be more expensive and offer the full Windows 8 experience with full use of Metro and Desktop apps.  

    • Let’s not call something absolutely wrong until we see it. While I understand Microsoft is promising something for its ARM version, current tablet users working with beta are seeing the Aero desktop. Until I see it, I can’t report on it. Microsoft has killed Windows editions in beta before, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it did it again.

      • Very true they are putting all these resources in to ARM machines and could just kill it before release. Crazier things have happened. Good Point.¬†

  • I don’t like it at all, it’s confusing and unintuitive. I don’t own a tablet so I’ll stick with W7.

    • Probably best that way. Windows 8 is only a compelling upgrade if you really like the way it works. Windows 9 will undoubtedly respond to the resulting customer feedback.

    • Ya know, there will be those who would willingly help you understand how to use the UI and what to do, so that you can use your system and see for your self how it works.

      Though It’d be suggestable to try and not let ‘it’s a different way’ cloud your thinking while you are evaluating how it works for you. ¬† While different can be bad or good, it should mean nothing without other information, like how it works, does it run what you need it to, are programs easy to use it in, do said programs preform like they use to, do they preform better or worse, do the new features support how you use your machine, do they get in the way (even knowing how to use the UI), do they not even matter. ¬† These are questions you should try to answer before you just give up on it.

      Also, When all you see is the metro menu it would be like¬†judging¬†windows 7 on nothing more then it’s start menu and not mentioning anything else good or bad about it.

  • Microsoft have really just forgotten about their loyal desktop users that have supported them for many years.¬† I agree that metro will be good on touch screen but for most people using a desktop or Laptop top there seems to be very little point in upgrading.¬† I wonder if they will release a second edition shortly after the first called Windows 8 sever for desktops, can you imagine people in offices using their spreadsheets in Metro?¬† I don’t think so.

    • It’s hard to say a company is forgetting about its users when it innovates. Not to disagree with your example, but do we really want to use the same UI for 20+ years? Windows 95 was a long time ago, and not much has changed since then. If anything, Microsoft is recognizing that touch (including multi-touch track pads) are becoming increasingly popular in the consumer computing market.¬†

      More tablets sold in the last business quarter than PCs, which is a very telling sign about where people are investing their money. Microsoft is taking a huge risk by dedicating its primary operating system to chasing this market, though if it pays off it could be one of the bigger wins Microsoft has had yet.

  • ¬†If I work on 30 – 500+ meg photographic files using win 7 64 / 6 core cpu, good graphics card and 16 meg of ram, will win 8 improve what I can do???¬† No, I don’t want to do this on a tablet unless it has a 27″ monitor and stylus.

  • I really think if Microsoft wants to make Windows 8 a success – particularly with PC users, they’ll have to target users who aren’t deeply embedded in the old Windows experience. Kids in elementary and older adults who are just buying their PCs for the first time will be more willing to learn the interface opposed to users who know nothing but the .NET UI and have been using Windows since that UI was introduced. Of course the UI will be ‘unintuitive’ to those who have been using XP/Vista/7, but fresh PC owners will have an easier start (if given a tutorial on first boot up and perhaps little help boxes that pop up in the Aero?) and learning curve. For non techies, traditional Windows UI is all kinds of confusing with so many icons, menus, and folders without an experienced user there to explain everything. It may be an insult to experienced users’ intelligence, but the key to computer literacy is dumbing things down for the lowest common denominator (i.e. everyone else who doesn’t care about how their computer works, how to maintain it, etc. and just want it to work to do basic stuff like type in Word, get to youtube/facebook/email). Windows 8 is their first attempt to do this dumbing down bit by bit. I completely agree that they need not alienate veteran users, but the goal of any company is to always get the next generation of users. How to do that? Make things easier to do and safer to do.

  • You may be right about MS having a hit. But I will not be returning to look. I think there are a lot of other people out there like me as well. For me I am just tired of paying over and over for what I will call crap operating systems. Look at the track record. Ok this is fantastic operating system. If MS follows the pass track record we now look forward to many upgrades and new generations that will just suck. We will buy them and then go back and reinstall xp. ……. er I mean window 8. I have moved to apple iMac and iPads and my wife and I found the learning curve to switch was not that big. We are in our 60’s and new is hard to learn. So it comes down to left windows and I don’t think I will go back for the abuse that windows has demonstrated in the pass. Thank you for your show I do enjoy you and your dad.

  • If you do have to learn something new so that you can apply it to a tablet, might as well move to Mac and iPad. ¬†The UI, the integration between the desktop / mobile devices and the ecosystem (iCloud, iTunes, Appstore, etc‚Ķ) are all proven and tested already. ¬†I wonder if this will not cause a lot more users to defect.

  • I’d be happy sticking with Windows 7 but I made the mistake of getting a x64 machine so I might as well get all new apps that work correctly.

  • The same sentiments echoed when windows xp was released. There are always people who gonna resist changed. LOL

    • he he, true dat. ¬†Though what you may not be noticing is that Mike forgot to mention if his laptop had the power-hardware that benefited better from windows 8 then it does from windows 7, and if he had any help in knowing how to get where etc. etc.¬†

      Though I say if your hardware is older then 12-15 months, windows 8 may not be worth it for you, but if it’s newer then 12 months, ¬†it could be worth it.

      Though all said and done, it’s always worth seeing for your self, and being sure that you look up guides so that you can¬†experience¬†windows for your machine, and not confusion and being lost in a OS that you don’t understand (which is something anyone can learn I believe, no matter the OS they use)

  • So… If I have this right, instead of having a start menu, you have a bunch of boxes on the screen that the User can click/touch to start an App.¬† I suppose you could also group one or more of these Apps together into a group.¬† For example, take your Micro$oft office apps and group them together in a box called Business Apps.¬† Clicking/touching the box will open into a new box with more boxes that can be touched/clicked to start the App.

    Maybe I’m just old and senile – but it sounds a lot like Windows 3.11.

  • I suggest you try it out, (on a VHD, or seperate physical HDD would be my suggestions) and see for your self if it gives your computer increased¬†performance¬†to the work you do.

    Though, I think it would,  it does for me and you system specs are better then mine ( my a margin)

    While increased¬†performance¬†seems to depend on the hardware, and tends to gain benefit from hardware that is¬†literary¬†6-12 months old or less (sandybridge & later) there is improvements that can be seen with hardware that’s above it’s recommended specs.

  • I do believe that there is far to much judging going on base on looks, and basic UI that anyone could learn given 20-30 minute at the most with help guides. ¬† ¬†I think that the features and functionality of the system should be what is used to judge it, along with other issues such as stability, speed,¬†resource¬†management, power usage (For non-desktop units),¬†compatibility, trouble shooting ease, problem reporting/management, etc.
    -=-=You know the things that make up the real computer experience after you learn how to navigate though the system, aka how well it preforms doing what you need it to do.

    There have been some …. ¬†rather backwards (along with massive room for improvement) interfaces in OS’s, programs, mobile applications, Gaming consoles, security devices, etc. but the main reason those programs and devices did well was NOT because of the interface (despite how it could be better, and how confusing it was to start with), but because of how well they preformed what there were made for, along with a few market factors (including price,¬†availability¬†& support) and this shows, that despite some UI or interface being awkard and new, or confusing it’s not why you should buy or not buy it.

    I’ll be honest about the Metro Menu and how I feel about it.1. It’s a glorified full screen start menu, and in that something that I’m not going to spend alot of time looking at, because.. why would I get an OS to stare at it’s start menu (which is basically a quick launch list of programs, that can be¬†organized¬†in unique ways)
    2. While, metro menu is great for touch screen it does take alittle getting use to with a mouse, but that said it’s nothing but full screen launch menu that enables a better security design.
    3. While users who do NOT have a touch screen or attached tablet to their system could easily use ‘touch tablet devices’ such as the nook tablet, ipad, etc, and an app like ‘Splashtop Remote desktop’ and suddenly be able to experance the metro menu though the computer, and not have to be limited to what is a weaker hardware and could easily use this to retrieve files from their home pc that is already connected to the net.
    4. That despite it being … different, I¬†applaud¬†it for being quicker & easier to use and get to things, without¬†sacrificing¬†any stability, functions,¬†performance, power,¬†compatibility, or features that window 7 had, improved on it. (unlike OSX, where features and compatibility {programs from previous mac OS versions} and even at times power and functionality as well were weakened as OSX changed)

    Though one of the more important things for me is that I can still choose my own hardware and where to get it from, while yes that would take a bit more know how and research, enabling computers have some form of competition & keep prices lower, along with giving a need for computer stores to add value with customer service instead of just having the lastest model.

    The power and usage of the computer should NEVER be limited to what someone who doesn’t fully understand computers can do, it should be allowed to preform to an absurd level if the user is good enough, and has it set up right.¬†
    Though with that said, the usability & features should never punish users that are not able to fully understand or who are new, and should enable the user to not only learn how to do things at their own pace, but do so in a way that it doesn’t confuse it’s users.¬†
    –Though I admit windows 8 should come with some basic guides, and how to navigate though the Metro UI, and use the features on a desktop without a touch¬†interface, along with some basic tips and tricks so the computer can be more¬†organized¬†for you, while retaining it’s new functionality.

  • ¬†I prefer Windows 7’s UI and Gnome Shell over Metro. W7 is familiar, and GS is so easy and intuitive… And both are visually appealing. WP7 looks good when most of tiles are the same colour. But W8’s colorful mosaic looks ugly.

  • I’m on the fence.

    If MSFT doesn’t deal with the criticisms regarding Metro, I think they may have a gigantic dud on their hands, and yet another version of Windows that business pass on.

    I’m very tempted to wait and see if Windows 8 turns into a fiasco before I invest in MSFT, but there is the tablet side of things. If tablets are the future, MSFT could see some great Win8 sales.

    As somebody who used the Windows 8 preview and didn’t enjoy it at all, it made me realize my next phone and tablet purchases will not include Windows/Metro. I find it unintuitive and extremely hard to look at. Reading the reactions from other people regarding Metro, I can’t be the only one who’s future purchases will be affected by Win8…

  • Basically, I cannot wait for the day and hour that the sun emits a giant blast of EMP supplied radiance towards Earth and wipes out ALL electronics and all of this technological nuisances!

  • My two requests for Microsoft next’s windows 8 updates are 1) Default touch optimised file manager (otherwise available as thrid party free and paid apps in app store) 2) A better touch optimised version of Office similar to Kingsoft office on Android or IOS. I don’t think that Microsoft has made its MS Office 2013 as much touch optimised as it should be. Thats the reasion touch optimised Kingsoft Office like those for IOS or Android should be also be made available for Windows Store. I don’t see any other reasion why not to use WIndows Tablet rather than an iPad or Android tablet,other than mainly the MS Office issue. WIndows RT and Windows 8 Tablets are incredibly fast,quick and fluid,as fast as with Android. SO,Windows 8 and WIndows RT would be a great success if minor changes about what I have discussed are made .

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