Windows 8 – The beginning of desktops demise?

I’ve been reading a lot of hype concerning Microsoft’s evolving new operating system and I must say I am not liking what I am hearing. Of course, there is no way of knowing if the reports are indeed 100% accurate, but there is enough coincidental information to make some early assumptions:

  • Windows 8 will be very much a hybrid operating system with the traditional desktop environment relegated to a secondary position and the primary interface resembling that of mobile devices – such as the iPad.
  • The emphasis will accordingly shift away from traditional desktop programs in favor of lightweight web style apps.
  • With a more touch screen orientated interface across the board, touch screen technology will play a much bigger role.

I’m not sure Microsoft have got that first one the right way round, I’d  much prefer if the desktop remained primary and the Metro (phone style) interface were made secondary; after all, it is supposed to be a desktop operating system isn’t it! I suppose that’s a pretty selfish attitude but, from my point of view, there are already more than enough devices running mobile style interfaces to satisfy demand and I like my desktop the way it is. Some are saying it’s ‘the best of both worlds’ but I don’t see it that way. Mobile Operating Systems are designed specifically for hand held devices and, in my opinion, that’s exactly where they belong… not on desktops!!

One can understand why Microsoft would be adopting this approach though, their primary consideration always has been and always will be all about profits and they are obviously feeling threatened by the burgeoning popularity of mobile devices in general, and Apple in particular. Plus, failure to take advantage of the younger generation’s predilection for mobile computing could be viewed as financial folly.

Microsoft is also insisting that touch screen technology is an absolute must, and while that may well be true for mobile devices, how is that going to enhance my desktop experience? It’s fine for hand held devices with a relatively small viewing area but with my 24” monitor sitting almost 2 feet from where I work??

Yes, one can still choose to utilize the good old keyboard and mouse but am I then paying for something which I am never going to use and never even wanted in the first place? Plus is Microsoft going to subsidize the purchase of my new touch screen enabled monitor? I don’t think so!!

And that my friends is my biggest gripe – the cost. Windows 8 is reportedly scheduled for official release some time in 2012, barely 3 years after Windows 7 hit the shelves. It feels like I only just forked out for Windows 7 and now the new operating system is just around the corner. And new versions of Windows have not tended to get cheaper each time! I am all for progress but I sincerely hope Microsoft is not going to continue with its recent release policy:

  • Windows Vista – January 2007
  • Windows 7 – October 2009
  • Windows 8 – Some time in 2012
  • Windows 9 – ????

Microsoft representatives have been quick to refute that Windows 8 is the initial step in a strategy which will see their traditional desktop operating system phased out to extinction; “There is no new conspiracy here”, said Steven Sinofsky.

Well, I’m not so sure!!

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About the Author

Jim Hillier

Jim is the resident freeware aficionado at DCT. A computer veteran with 30+ years experience who first started writing about computers and tech back in the days when freeware was actually free. His first computer was a TRS-80 in the 1980s, he progressed through the Commodore series of computers before moving to PCs in the 1990s. Now retired (aka an old geezer), Jim retains his passion for all things tech and still enjoys building and repairing computers for a select clientele... as well as writing for DCT, of course.

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