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June 1, 2012, 2:38 p.m. EDT
Microsoft reinvents the wheel with Windows 8
By John C. Dvorak
BERKELEY, Calif. (MarketWatch) I am writing this review on a computer that runs Windows Vista. It's not that bad.
Generally speaking, I like Microsoft Corp. and what it has done. Over the years, I've even supported the idea that Microsoft's Bob interface was mismarketed and actually was unique and interesting.
That said, Windows 8 looks to me to be an unmitigated disaster that could decidedly hurt the company and its future.
The Windows 8 Consumer Preview presentation in February.
This opinion is based on using the new release candidate beta that is pretty much what will finally ship after some bug fixes.
It's not that the product out-and-out stinks. It is refreshingly slick-looking and modern, albeit without any charm whatsoever.
The real problem is that it is both unusable and annoying. It makes your teeth itch as you keep asking, Why are they doing this!?
First of all, the system-software product is mostly divorced from all the thought and trends developed by Windows over the years, as if to say that they were wrong the whole time, so let's try something altogether new.
No business will tolerate this software, let me assure you. As a productivity tool, it is unusable.
Most applications cannot even be scaled down and so take up the whole screen. To even get out of these apps, you have to ram the cursor down into the lower left corner and click. That puts you back onto the vapid Metro start screen, where you can begin another miserable adventure.
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Do you work on a huge 27-inch or bigger monitor? You know, so you have room to organize your programs and files? Well, imagine everything running full screen on that. It's a joke.
There is an old-fashioned desktop you can visit, but whenever the OS gets the chance, it throws you back onto the Metro interface. For those of us who thought we could avoid Metro and live on the desktop screen, we are going to be sorely disappointed.
This is a problem for Microsoft investors. The potential for this OS to be an unrecoverable disaster for the company is at the highest possible level I've ever seen. It ranks up there with the potential for disaster that the Itanium chip presented for Intel Corp. It's that bad.
I have no idea why Microsoft would take such an enormous gamble on its cash cow like this. Incremental changes were a theme at Redmond, Wash.; this is a radical departure.
What is this departure based on? It's based on the pipe dream that the unsuccessful user interface used by Windows Phone will turn into a success on the tablet to such an extreme that people will also demand it on the desktop, so all the platforms can have the same look and feel.
This is insanity, plain and simple. It's even more nuts knowing that nobody is waiting in line to buy Windows Phone in the first place, and the tablet is untested in the market. So the company jumps ahead to the desktop?
I admit that I did not like the Metro interface from the minute I saw it. But the early developers' beta of Windows 8 did show some promise of letting me hang out on the desktop and avoid Metro completely. This no longer looks to be the case.
Microsoft and Apple Inc. have trained their users and penetrated the market (especially the enterprise market) to the limit. Now Microsoft wants to take all the habits and workflows and new skill sets we've developed and toss them into the bin for this? Who at Microsoft signed off on this? Do they even use computers?
The public and enterprise users are going to demand Windows 7 throughout 2013 and until Microsoft gives up on this soulless Metro interface and gets a new design team, fast.