The Trouble with Gerrold: Let’s fix Windows
January 1, 2013 —
(Page 1 of 3)
Related Search Term(s): Windows 8
Apparently, Windows 8 is failing the Vista test. Let’s recap:
Vista was a rugged improvement over XP, but a lot of manufacturers did not have drivers ready when it launched, so this created the illusion of a troubled start. And while Vista had a lot of significant under-the-hood improvements, customers didn’t see anything in the front end to justify the upgrade.
Windows 7 was built on the Vista kernel. It addressed most of Vista’s issues, and it offered useful and compelling improvements to the user interface. Users fell in love with it, and the public perception hardened that Vista had been a flop.
Now, here comes Windows 8. It’s a rugged operating system, and it’s supposed to provide consistency across a wide variety of platforms. It is intended to generate some serious competition to the iPad’s dominance of the tablet market.
But there’s little in it for those who use keyboards and mice. Those users are still a majority of the PC market, and they see the lack of integration between the tile interface and the desktop as a stumbling block. So the widening perception of Windows 8 is that it’s another Vista.
Call it the “Star Trek” phenomenon. According to the fans, only the even-numbered “Star Trek” movies are any good. The odd-numbered ones are dreadful. Microsoft does it the other way around. The even-numbered releases of Windows are frustrating; the odd-numbered releases are worth the upgrade.
Redmond-watchers say that Windows 8 is a (necessary) stepping stone toward the next iteration. Windows 9 will be the operating system that finally pulls it all together. The user community is giving Windows 8 mixed reviews. Some like it, some don’t. Some say they’ll wait for Windows 9. Others are even more taciturn, saying they see no need to upgrade at all from an operating system that works just fine to one that will certainly require an uncomfortable change in their work habits.
In the meantime, there’s a niche opportunity here. Companies like Stardock are producing products like Start8 to address some of Windows 8’s shortcomings. (Start8 restores the Start button to the desktop, and also provides some customization options.) That Microsoft hasn’t fully addressed the usability issues of the tile interface creates a lot of opportunities for talented programmers to create add-ons and fix-ups.