IDC claims Windows 8 will be ‘irrelevant’ on traditional desktop PCs

By Tom Warren, on 6th Dec 11 1:37 pm with 117 Comments

USA Today Windows 8 tablet app

Analysts at IDC claim Windows 8 will launch with a split success and be largely irrelevant on traditional PCs.

Research analysts at IDC released their “Worldwide System Infrastructure Software 2012 Top 10 Predictions” on Monday. Prediction number 10 is: “Windows 8 will launch with split success,” according to IDC. “Windows 8 will be largely irrelevant to the users of traditional PCs, and we expect effectively no upgrade activity from Windows 7 to Windows 8 in that form factor,” said an IDC spokesperson.

Al Gillen, IDC research vice president, questioned Microsoft’s value proposition for traditional desktops and laptops in an interview with Computer World on Monday. “Customers will be asking ‘What value does Windows 8 bring to my desktops and laptops?’ and the only real benefit I can see is that it provides access to the Windows app store,” Gillen said. Gillen believes Microsoft will suffer from application compatibility issues due to their push to Metro style apps. “Windows 2000 Pro required developers to upgrade their applications, but they didn’t do it,” Gillen said. “So Microsoft was forced to release Windows XP, with better application compatibility. Then Vista came along, and ditto, it was short on application compatibility. Windows 7 improved [application compatibility] because Microsoft had to.”

Microsoft is planning to unveil further details on its Windows Store for Windows 8 during a developer event on Tuesday afternoon. The software giant sent invitations to the event last week. Microsoft previously detailed its Windows Store efforts at its BUILD developer event earlier this year. The Windows Store is a Metro style application. The application is built on the same WinRT APIs that developers can use themselves across their Windows 8 Metro apps. Windows Store takes advantage of HTML5 and JavaScript to provide end users with a portal for secure, tested applications.

IDC’s predictions mirror concern from Forrester Research who published a report last week warning that Microsoft’s tablet strategy was too late. Microsoft unveiled its tablet Metro style user interface at the company’s BUILD event in September but has not yet revealed when we can expect to see the first tablet offerings at retail. “Forrester is bullish on Windows 8 as a product for consumers,” explained Forrester Research Director JP Gownder last week. “On tablets, Windows 8 is going to be very late to the party.” Forrester claims only 25% of U.S. consumers are interested in a Windows 8 tablet.

  • http://www.mainstreetchatham.com/ JimmyFal

    How can it be irrelevant if it is going to come pre-installed on ALL new pc’s. I’d say that’s pretty relevant. We’ll see I guess. Or Fore-see.

    • Seth_p

      Exactly – although OEM partners ‘could’ pull the XP game again, giving customers the option of Win7 for years on end lol Either way, Microsoft wins

    • Anonymous

      I really do think MS will cave on this issue and provide a trigger to boot to the desktop with the traditional start menu.  If they did that, then I couldn’t see why anyone would want Win 7 over Win 8 if they have to pay the same price anyways.  Win 8 desktop is Win 7 desktop with a lot of great improvements (task manager, file transfer, ISO mounting).  I know MS wants to promote the new metro paradigm, but a user choosing Win 7 is worse than a user choosing desktop of Win 8.

    • Anonymous

      Windows 8 is all about the app store. And almost all apps there will be Metro apps.

      The old Start menu will only be available in the server version.

    • Anonymous

      @tN0:disqus I know all that but it doesn’t really respond to my point.  MS needs to prevent another embarrassing situation like they had with Vista where OEM’s were selling PC’s with XP installed.  Even though MS would still make money from OEM’s selling Win 7 machines, it’s still an embarrassing PR nightmare.  Some customers will be resistant to the new metro look and they will want the good old Windows 7 feel.  They probably also do not think they need the new App Store.  For these customers, MS should provide an easy way to automatically boot to the desktop and unlock the old start menu (because we all know its still there).  Eventually these users may end up trying out metro and liking it anyways, but the important thing for MS is that they do not impede Windows 8 adoption with Win7 hold outs.  I guess my best attempt at an analogy would be parents who dress their kids vegetables up in cheese or even chocolate.  Sure they want those kids to just eat vegetables without that stuff, but its better they eat them with cheese all over than to not eat their veggies at all.  The hope is one day they will learn to like their vegetables.  Granted, when I’m a parent I’m just going to force the little bastards to eat their veggies, but MS cannot exactly force anyone to use Windows 8.

    • Guest

      the problem with that is it’s a catch 22: boot to traditional and developers will be less interested in writing for MRT; boot to Metro and many customers will avoid the product.

      I’m not sure why they don’t allow a version that boots to traditional but still allows you to easily launch the Metro start panel. This is effectively how Apple has handled the same challenge in Lion via Launchpad. That’s much more familiar and less jarring. I assume it’s because MS is desperate to get developers making MRT apps and they think if they don’t force a Metro start, those devs will be less likely to embrace MRT or do the work to move their W32 apps over.

    • Robin Ashe

      I think largely the reason that happened was netbooks, and Microsoft would rather have people using XP on Netbooks than Linux. In this case, Windows 8 has lower system requirements, so it’s completely different.

    • Anonymous

      This!  Another thing to consider is that the OEM’s are selling less desktops and more laptops.  I think you will see some innovation with the track pads on Windows 8 laptops which will let the user do gestures through the pad to navigate the start screen.  This should help a lot as I think 99% of the apprehension about Windows 8 is with the usability of the start screen with mouse and keyboard.

    • http://www.mainstreetchatham.com/ JimmyFal

      Good point on the laptop thing. I can’t wait to see a laptop with a keyboard and a touch screen. But I still have a problem with only being able to swipe from the side for multi-tasking.  I think something like the Alt-Tab with a way to touch the app I want would be neat.

      I really think it’s important for Win 8 to NOT be a Win ME or a Win Vista.

      What I really want to know is where the hell is my Xbox update today?

    • Robin Ashe

      I didn’t run into any problems with the Xbox dashboard preview, but maybe some other people did and they’re fixing those bugs.

  • Martyn Metalous

    Think it depends on how good the UI is for mouse and keyboard, since its not even in beta yet, I think they are jumping the gun a bit…

    • J A

      Tablet UIs are not meant for mouse and keyboard, in other words, they are better with touch. The good thing is that is not all what Win8 is about because you can use the regular desktop. The people at IDC are drunk for saying all this nonsense with all the desktop improvements for almost no boot time, high performance, storage maintenance (to kill HDD fragmentation), etc.

    • Martyn Metalous

      More memory as well for apps, so better performance.

      The touch UI is ideal for Tablets but I install Win8 on an old laptop and it worked really well, the performance was much better than Vista and worth upgrading just for that

    • Seth_p

      The ability to “reset” your PC would be a huge selling point for average consumers or even IT Pro’s.. oh and Win8 on USB drive, freaking sexy!  gimme!

    • Guest

      Yeah, but not exactly the “magical” item you want to lead with in your marketing. “Hey, for all the times that Windows gets totally borked either due to bugs, malware, or user incompetence, W8 has reset”.

    • Anonymous

      Metro is the new thing for mouse and keyboard as well! (At least this is what Microsoft is thinking.) When will people realize this? You have to use it on Windows 8. The desktop is still there but more and more apps will be distributed over the new Windows Store and therefore be Metro style apps.

    • Guest

      It has little to do with the Store, and a lot to do with what MS sees as the future of Windows development in order to keep the OS dominant. WinRT is that play. Not Win32. You may disagree with that, but that’s their decision. And WinRT by definition means a Metro first UI.

  • William Moore

    Is Microsoft going to have to prove every analyst wrong?? lol I dont think they will have a hard time doing so.

  • Ronit Kumar

    Well, Microsoft is going to sell millions of Win 8 copies even for traditional desktops, with native support for USB 3, UEFI etc. and the millions of fine tunings to the traditional interface, it may be that many will feel contended with Win 7, as some still feel with win XP and IE6, but Win 8 will be spectacular.

    • http://twitter.com/laserfloyd Lewis McCrary

      Exactly.  Stay with a current OS if you want to stay in the dark ages of computing.  It’s as big of a jump as 3.1 was to 95.  Even I was reluctant to switch back in the day so I understand where people might come from.  Once you get into it and start using it, you’ll wonder how you survived without it.  At least, that’s the idea. :)

    • Anonymous

      I can’t wait to hear the same idiots as always say “why upgrade to the new Windows? its just the same thing but with a new number”.  Of coarse when I show them the new metro start screen they will say its just Windows 7 with an app launcher.  I would try to follow that up with a discussion of the new WinRT framework for metro apps, but that might go over their heads.

    • Robin Ashe

      Just show them the new boot times.

    • Guest

      That’s a reasonable argument. The issue for MS and the PC OEMs is that like Vista,  a bad reaction to W8 could lead to a further acceleration of defections to Mac (or even iPads or Android tablets).

    • Windows8Rocks

      IDC Can maybe Suck it. They Will never Make Windows 8 Incompatible for desktop PCs.

    • Robin Ashe

      Microsoft knows this. The thing is, Vista’s UAC caused hassles. The Windows 8 App Store in Metro will make things easier. If you don’t have to approve the installation of Metro apps because Microsoft has already vetted them, the process is much easier.

      The UI might throw people off at first, but if they get the general experience right, people won’t mind.

    • Guest

      If the UI throws people off at first, then it’s a fail. Many won’t bother investing the time to go deeper.

  • Anonymous

    Well, come on, Microsoft’s market is not just US!

    Asia is fast adopting Microsoft’s Technology.

  • Seth_p

    Oh, geez.

    If Windows Vista was irrelevant then how did they get to Win8? Microsoft has done most of it’s plumbing work in Vista which resulted in our great ‘consumer release’ of 7. Even if Microsoft grabbed 10% of the PC market with Win8, I don’t see how that’s irrelevant with the magnitude of Window’s market share %. And for petes sake, we don’t even have a Beta to give a more accurate judgement. Instead why don’t they do a study on the developer tools or new opportunities Windows 8 could/will bring.

    • http://www.mainstreetchatham.com/ JimmyFal

      “Microsoft has done most of it’s plumbing work in Vista which resulted in our great ‘consumer release’ of 7″

      That is a great analogy, let me tell you. My calls for virus infections came down dramatically when Vista came out. It introduced start search which pretty much changed the way I used my computer altogether as well. But the instability and range of other usability nightmares that existed were definately apparent. (right click the start menu to launch explorer and get buried like 10 folders deep into explorer, who’s idea was that?). Then along come the Apple commercials that turned Vista into this whole other animal that didn’t exist in my experience.

      Windows 7 fixed so many things “under the hood”. I was impressed. I mean that fact that you could plug in a printer, and it would go online and get the software and install it, whereas with Vista, it seemed as though it wanted to do that kind of stuff but it never really worked. That’s just a tiny example there were so many to choose from.

      MS has a big job when they change entire operating systems, and a lot of people opinions are in the mix. I give them credit where it is due, and I try to tear them apart when necessary. Like on Skydrive-Mesh integration, that is my biggest beef at the moment with MS. I’ll give them a pass on the OS until I see it and play with it some more.

    • Robin Ashe

      Yeah. The interesting thing is largely Vista and 7 are the same OS, and nowadays Vista is just fine – once software has been designed with the UAC model in mind instead of demanding unnecessary permissions as in XP and earlier. 7′s definitely better, but Vista is a good base.

    • P. Douglas

      To people who buy traditional PCs, Windows 8 is more compelling than Window 7, because of the new set of apps which will be available. These apps will be modern and compelling – unlike the old, stale desktop apps. There is no application compatibility issue with Windows 8, because Windows 8 essentially has Windows 7 built in, and can run desktop apps as well as Windows 7. Therefore buyers of traditional PCs overall gain by choosing Windows 8 over Windows 7. (Also finding apps will be easier much easier, more secure, and will be an overall much better user experience.)

      As for why would developers want to convert their apps to the metro style? To modernize their apps; take advantage of a bigger market (including computers with touch screens); take advantage of a better software distribution system (in the way of the app store) than which currently exists; etc.

      Therefore even for those who buy Windows 8 on traditional PC hardware, there will be significant advantages over what is available today with Windows 7.

    • Guest

      Not in its current form. There’s needs to be a lot of UI work done. If I handed the current product to ten people I know, eight would throw up their hands in frustration and never bother looking at it again. Don’t get me wrong, I think it has a lot of potential. But the DP is very rough and the beta better not be.

    • Robin Ashe

      It’s a developer preview. It’ll be much more usable when it hits beta, and even moreso when it hits RC.

      Windows Phone is very usable, the new Xbox 360 Dashboard is very usable. Windows 8 will be equally usable.

  • http://twitter.com/OldCongress Gamer

    Here comes the fortune teller.

  • Guest

    I am strictly speaking from my experience with the beta version that was offered several months ago – I can certainly understand the concern. Everything that we’ve seen regarding Windows 8, for now, focuses on tablets. The Metro layout is really ineffective for desktops, and it was cumbersome to switch to the traditional desktop version. So, unless they make a seamless way to switch between the two, I cannot see this being very popular on desktops. For now, the way it stands, it would definitely be a tablet-friendly OS.

    • http://profiles.google.com/carlosrfonseca Carlos Ribeiro da Fonseca

      It’s not a beta, it’s a developer preview :P

      And the reason it doesn’t work yet is that besides the toy apps that come with WDP and IE 10 “Metro” there aren’t any other “Metro” apps, so one is forced to use “Desktop” apps. Also, there being no way to actually kill “Metro” apps except via the Task Manager (itself a “desktop” app) is a bit confusing.

      On the other hand, I have to say that I find navigating the new start screen with the mouse pretty easy and intuitive, and having all the important apps front and center really handy.

    • GP007

      That’s not a beta version, it’s a late M3 developer preview and meant for dev testing for apps with the new APIs and WinRT, the UI is long from done and only gives you a basic understanding of where they’re going with it.   

      By the time we do hit beta and then RC after that the keyboard and mouse support will be fine, and the start screen will have enough customization options that you’ll be fine with it over the default, and old, desktop we have today.

    • Anonymous

      Personally, I’d like to get rid of the old Start Menu. I really don’t like clicking on programs and seeing a huge column of programs pop up that I have to scroll through. Hopefully, Windows 8 will clean this mess up.  I am ready for something new.

    • Anonymous

      Judging from the DVP, your wish has been granted.  You cannot access the old start menu without a registry hack.

    • Emi Cyberschreiber

      @sniperboy:disqus 
      @AaronDotNET:disqus 

      well… on mdl someone asked
      “Wouldnt even windows 8 Beta have the same feature that the Developer Preview has, to de-activate the metro start menu via a registry tweak? I have done that on my WDP version.”

      Faikee responded “The registry tweak doesn’t work any more on the latest builds, so it should be a no-go for beta. But I guess you may be able to use the 3rd party software “Classic Shell” and get the XP-StartMenu.”

      so as you read Microsoft seem to be doing that.
      im the one that thinks they should get rid of old start menu, for this new start menu/screen, and not even a reg hack should allow it. and im glad when i read this from faikee some days ago.

    • Robin Ashe

      I agree, it’s only really good for the search (now that it has it integrated). If you’ve got a touch interface, Metro makes more sense, and if you have a keyboard, you just hit Win and start typing the name of the program. Bam! Mouse users might be left out a bit though, but I prefer typing the program name than navigating with my mouse anyway.

    • Martyn Metalous

      Wasn’t even a beta, beta starts in February, I think people and IDC should level judgement then.

    • Anonymous

      what you’ve been experiencing was a developer preview. That barely qualifies as an Alpha version. It is nothing close to a beta. Your experience is hardly a glimmer of what the final RTM version will be.

    • http://twitter.com/laserfloyd Lewis McCrary

      I’ll reiterate what people have said.  That wasn’t a beta, it was almost pre-alpha.  Even for what it was/is I still run it on my cheap laptop and it puts Win7 to shame honestly.  I hope it stays that fast…

  • http://reinnovate.asia Kit Yeung

    Mark my words: “IDC was never relevant to general consumers”

    • http://twitter.com/nn_hung Nguyen Ngoc Hung

      It’s Jake Long. Wow time flies so fast :) 
      Anyway faster, smoother, lighter, more secure, app store, esier to use, apps connected with each other, with the system and the cloud, more efficient,… That’s not enough. Mother of god. You must be high expectations Asian father
      http://9gag.com/gag/784559

    • http://reinnovate.asia Kit Yeung

      Last time I checked, I considered myself as a MS fanboy.

    • Llort SM

      Hmm, to trust IDC or not to trust IDC. That is the question.

      http://www.winrumors.com/idc-windows-phone-7-to-beat-iphone-sales-by-2015-cement-2-position/

    • http://reinnovate.asia Kit Yeung

      Even with Nokia’s help, I sincerely doubt that WP can capture that much of market in 2015. Much due to the hardware restrictions and localisation. (My HTC Magic has 5~6 diff Chinese input method preloaded, handwriting is pretty much the only relevant method for HK users.

    • Anonymous

      Wow!   You are able to see 4 years into the future and know what hardware restrictions are in place!!

    • http://reinnovate.asia Kit Yeung

      I am not predicting like what they do , it’s my opinion. 

    • Sheriff Bird!

      these same nut-jobs that said Win7 will be DOA (dead on arrrival)

      -brrrrrd

    • Guest

      Link?

  • Aydsman

    I’m pretty sure IDC is partly right. Apart from the Metro UI & Windows Marketplace there won’t be too many compelling reasons for upgrading from Windows 7 on the traditional desktop.That is pretty much the point, however, and not (as they seem to cast it) a downside. Microsoft has said they want Windows 8 & Windows 7 to co-exist, in the enterprise at the very least.

    Windows 8 is hitting hard at the capability Windows 7 just doesn’t have; touch-first UI. This makes it a must-have upgrade for any user with a touch-enabled device and the default on all new touch devices.

    • Martyn Metalous

      More memory, better performances, fast boot times, app marketplace.

      Buy yourself a touch screen monitor, big market there that no one except Apple is looking at.

    • Robin Ashe

      Gorilla arm. There’s a reason iMacs don’t have touch screens.

    • Guest

      I’m pretty sure that someone who thinks IDC is partly right, based on no knowledge of the final product, is at least partly wrong.

  • Anonymous

    Dear Al Gillen, there is so much more to Win 8 than the Marketplace. Secondly, Metro apps are a whole other paradigm. Win 8 still supports legacy apps much like Windows 7 did, thus I fail to see how it would cause compatibility issues (except for ARM processors, of course, where Microsoft could decide to do Hyper-V emulation)).

    Windows 2000 did not force people to upgrade their applications. Unlike Vista, it had a straight backwards compatibility with earlier versions of Windows. Windows XP certainly was not aimed at being more compatible than Windows 2000 (if anything, it became more strict). The only time I remember having to upgrade my stuff between Windows 95 and Windows 7 was during Windows Vista. Maybe I had to download signed drivers for Windows XP, but that was pretty much it.

    Not sure if I really value IDC’s opinion here since this Al guy doesn’t seem to have his facts straight.

    • http://thounsell.co.uk/ Thomas Hounsell

      In fairness, XP did improve compatibility – with certain types of 9x and DOS applications (and then, we’re talking froms something like 99% compatibility to 99.9% compatibility). Windows 2000 was being marketed at people who wouldn’t be using those types of app, so of course that didn’t encourage anyone to migrate. With XP finally taking over from 9x, of course that had more success in this area.

      I think we all agree these ”analysts” are a bad joke.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t remember having many program not work when I switched from xp to vista. Had to wait for new drivers for some hardware. The hardware still worked on generic drivers but some functions weren’t there. Within a year the programs that didn’t work had update for vista.  I’m sure people in the tech field lost more programs, but I think the average consumer probably had buy a new antivirus and that’s it. Office, Acrobat, and games worked and that’s all I cared about.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nikolaskhan Niko Khan

    *uses Windows 8 Developer Preview*
    *predicts the future based on an Alpha Build**ignores touchscreens, touch mouse and kinect integration in 2012*
    *runs and buys Mac*
    *gets excited about fullscreen windows*

    • Guest

      Or any of the Live products. I would expect Zune music to feature prominently, for example. And for most people who have never used that (read Apple users), they’re going to be blown away.

    • Deathmore34

      I definitely agree, Mac OS X lion has bought a few new things, however the most “exciting feature” was full screen apps, the apps that I use most on mac are web browsers, and their full screen still has chrome on it!

    • Guest

      Yeah, finally getting a maximize was both magical and revolutionary /s

    • Robin Ashe

      The fullscreen implementation in Lion was pants. I was really looking forward to it, thinking I’d finally be able to like OSX, but overall it’s pants. I’d rather stick with Snow Leopard. Of course, that could be the same thing with Windows. Vista = Leopard. 7 = Snow Leopard. 8 = Lion. Maybe Microsoft will learn from Apple’s mistakes.

  • Entegy

    Upgrades were always a small part of Windows anyway. It will be on millions of computers pre-installed, just like every other version of Windows.

  • Anonymous

    Have to be honest.. the only reason MS is pushing the metro UI onto desktop is the app drive.. they want to use the desktop popularity to drive developers into making metro style apps for their tablets.. which is not a bad idea but I feel it might hamper the growth of windows8 in general. I say stick with on tablets and phones and leave desktops to be what it is but with all the win8 imporbements. 

    • Guest

      That’s not just a tablet desire. They need to keep Windows itself relevant and W32 is not where new developers are spending their time. By going to web standards, exposed through the Metro UI, they’re hoping to appeal to an order of magnitude greater development community (i.e not just hard core W32 professional developers, but a world of web and casual developers).

  • http://twitter.com/oolong2 oolong2

    I guarantee you that touch screen manufacturers will immediately respond to Windows 8 with form factors perfectly suited for having a hybrid environment between touch and mouse/keyboard input.

    • Anonymous

      New form factors, new displays new laptops, new tablets.. its going to be crazy.

  • http://twitter.com/laserfloyd Lewis McCrary

    A broad assessment concerning a product that isn’t even in Beta.  Way to go IDC.

    • Anonymous

      Also remember they decided that Win 8 tablets will fail because consumers “have low interest” in the un-released and un-finished product that they have never seen before and don’t know about.  How much “consumer interest” was there in Android before it was released (or hell, even after, the first phone was kind of a flop).

    • Guest

      Sure, but how risky is it for them? MS will be three years late to the tablet market. At launch there will probably only be a few Metro apps available that fully show off the new environment. You’ve got an OS that’s trying to appeal to two distinctly different audiences with two separate interfaces. You have Mac share continuing to grow, iPad outselling Dell, and Android tablets everywhere else. And of course for MS, anything less than 90% share of any OS market is considered failure. So IDC isn’t going out on much of a limb here. The odds are in their favor that they’ll at least be partly right.

  • Anonymous

    1) lower memory foot print and better performance. how is that irrelevant?
    2) the new file copy manager is freaking awesome. how is that irrelevant?
    3) the new appstore will finally provide a good source to get apps instead of hunting for them on questionable download sites. how is that irrelevant?
    4) cloud storage with skydrive will finally let you migrate apps and settings across machines without having to put up with the settings wizard that never works. how is that irrelevant?
    5) the new and improved task manager alone is worth upgrading to thanks to its use of heat maps to better monitor problems in today’s 6 – 8 core systems. how is that irrelevant?
    6) the new ribbon shell exposes tons of functionality that was previously only available if you knew obscure key combinations that were impossible to discover. how is that irrelevant?

    in summary, a lot of work has gone into the touch UI, yet upgrading to windows 8 is a no brainer if you want a faster systestem that uses less ram and has tons of more usability and features. Even if you don’t even use the metro UI, it win 8 wipes the floor with win7.

    • http://twitter.com/alexh2o Alex H

      Exactly! Im running the developer preview on my laptop. I barely touch the metro side and just use the classic desktop (mainly due to there being no metro apps yet). I find the laptop faster and more responsive. The classic desktop works better than Windows 7. And there are no compatibility problems at all!

      All from a pre-beta…

    • Guest

      There don’t appear to be any, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get some when a few million different legacy apps actually get run. In fact it’s inevitable some will have compatibility issues despite MS’s efforts. He’s probably thinking more of Metro vs W32 apps, not being able to pin Metro apps in desktop view, IE9 in desktop vs ie10 in metro, not even being able to copy and paste a URL from IE9 to IE10 without using CTRL V, which is hopefully not a feature of the final product, etc.

      More than what IDC or even Forrester are predicting, why isn’t MS out defending the product? These kind of stories are buzz kill for a new product.

    • Anonymous

      I’m on your side, but I will play devils advocate.  Keep in mind the analyst is specifically referring to Win 8 success on laptops and desktops that already have Win 7.

      1) Desktops and laptops have 8GB or more of RAM these days, so saving 10-20MB is only relevant for the tablet market.
      2) Would only be noticed by power users.
      3) He said the app store was the only real feature
      4) Again, only noticed by power users as most regular users only use one machine anyways
      5) Power users
      6) I can see a lot of people balking at the use of Ribbon throughout Win 8.

      Again, I’m just playing devils advocate and telling you how critics would respond.  I actually think all these features will work together to create a better experience for users, but the critics will always be skeptical.  It’s our job to convince our friends and family of the new features.

    • Anonymous

      That’s exactly how I think about this as well.

      Metro UI is great for novice users on tablets and they have a lot of very useful features and technologies for power users and admins on the desktop. But what about the mom’s and dad’s, the average users? Windows 7 had so many features for them. Windows 8? UUhhm, nope! The Ribbon in Windows Explorer will be the most hated feature ever. In many blogs and forums it already is.

    • Anonymous

      Thing is, I think the Ribbon UI is the right direction.  The only reason a lot of people hate it is because they are already use to the traditional menu system.  However, the more you use it, the more you like it, because the Ribbon UI is inherently more intuitive due to its use of graphics.  You can call that a dumbing down, but humans are graphical by nature.  Heck, I would hate to go back to the old Office 2003 after using 2007 and 2010 for so long.  people will always resist change though.

    • Guest

      Many blogs and forums have a disproportional audience of enthusiasts and power users. Ribbons are designed for the masses. Not really surprising that the former wouldn’t love them, but they’re a relatively small part of the overall market.

    • Anonymous

      @AaronDotNET:disqus I was never talking about the Ribbon in Office! I love the Ribbon UI there and I always was a big supporter of Office 2007 and 2010. But Windows Explorer is a completely different thing. You don’t spend a lot of time in Explorer and creating documents. You want to go in and out fast and there is only a very limited feature set that you use every day. The Command Bar was pretty good but it needed keyboard shortcuts and some features that where hidden in the classic menu.
      The Ribbon adds more complexity to a simple program like a browser or file viewer. And you can see that the concept doesn’t work: some tabs only have two buttons in them. Almost all frequently used tasks like ejecting a drive or expanding a ZIP file will need more clicks compared to Windows 7. On top of all that: the hit targets are much smaller than in Windows 7.

      Microsoft is only using the Ribbon because they already have the technology at hand. It was never specifically designed for such a program as the creators have pointed out way back in 2006. (see Jensen Harris’ blog)

    • Robin Ashe

      The only reason it seems that the Ribbon is so widely hated is because the people who like it are to busy using it to spend time singing its praises. Whenever I talk to an average user, particularly someone who uses Office at work, they love the ribbon. The office circle in 2007 was the only confusing point, and that has been fixed.

    • Guest

      Yeah, those are all valid. And then add the new start menu which some will love but others hate. A lot will depend on what changes the beta brings. If the UI is mostly as it appears in the DP, then there’s certainly potential for a lot of people to just stick to W7. I generally like MS, and there are aspects of W8 that I really like both for desktop and tablets. But even I would admit that right now it’s quite a confused jarring environment. That’s okay for a DP, but a non starter for a beta or eventual RTM.

    • Robin Ashe

      1) This actually makes it more relevant for upgrades. Someone with 512MB on their XP machine who really doesn’t want to buy new hardware could get by upgrading to Windows 8. Same with someone who has an older Netbook kicking around. Admittedly almost everything has 1GB, but Windows 8, and Metro apps, will be expecting that 1GB limitation.
      2) True
      3) He’s wrong about that, yes it’s useful, but so are other things.
      4) Sorta-kinda. It’ll make buying new hardware easier. Of course that’s only useful once you have Windows 8, but that is another reason to buy an upgrade. Now whether normal users realise this or they have to be told is another question, but it’s an advantage nonetheless.
      5) An improved task manager is useful to everyone. Power users mainly yes, but it still tips things in favour.
      6) Given how popular Office 2007 and 2010 have been, I really doubt this. It’s more likely to be the other way around. Ribbon haters are a vocal minority.

      While the features are most interesting to power users, they’re still relevant to everyone, and that’ll add up to being of some interest.

    • Robin Ashe

      You’re absolutely right, however I don’t think it’ll see quite as rapid adoption on the desktop. Windows 7 saw a lot of purchases largely because Vista was so unpopular. You’ll likely see a lot of people wanting to stick to Windows 7 because it’s something they know and there isn’t a particularly strong reason from the Windows 7 side to stop using it. Windows XP is going to be EOL, so there will be some reason to upgrade from XP to 8, and someone on Vista might want to just go straight to 8 as well, but I think everyone on 7 is going to be pretty comfortable with it for a couple years.

      With Windows 8 ARM tablets not hitting until late 2012, and likely mid 2013, I’d say at the earliest in 2013 do we start seeing enough Metro only apps to necessitate upgrading, and it probably won’t be happening with much significance until 2014.

      Obviously, new systems will ship with Windows 8, so anyone upgrading their hardware will be running Windows 8, be it a Netbook, Tablet, Laptop or Desktop, so Windows 8 doesn’t really need upgrades to be widely used.

    • http://twitter.com/NickWalters0 Nick Walters

      agree they’re some good features but i think they’ll have problems getting people to shell out for the upgrade. I haven’t seen anything in Windows 8 that makes me want to upgrade from 7 for my home PC.

  • http://twitter.com/RobertCFP Robert Wade

    IDC is irrelevant.  Putting together what we know so far: Win8 will be touch-first and much better suited for mobile platforms; Kinect integration will be built in to the OS; Win8 will run on the same or even less hardware than Win7.  Now, add to that the growing availability and market for touch screens, the quickly growing demand in the tablet market, and you have the perfect makings for where this is going.  Laptops and desktops (or possibly monitors) will have Kinect built in.  You’ll be able to utilize a much more integrated and responsive experience with the Metro UI capitalizing on the live tiles & hubs.  Most will likely find that their primary way of interfacing with their PCs will not be the KBM, but rather a combination of voice, gesture & touch.  As a musician, I can easily grab a hold of being able to work on tracks to an arrangement and not have to move from my keyboard to type commands or use the mouse to control my studio software, but rather give a voice or gesture command.  And after seeing the proof-of-concept for the Zune Phone app allowing you to control your Zune player on your desktop via voice commands from your Windows Phone, the possibilities are astounding.

  • Anonymous

    It is funny how you can’t please everyone. The Windows UI has been the same since Windows 95.  It is about time Microsoft made a major change in the UI. 

    • Anonymous

      Yes. But that is not what they are doing with Windows 8. They introduced ANOTHER UI. The many drawbacks of the “old” thing are still there. Two words: Control Panel!
      Many, many dialogs are unchanged. If you ask people why they switched to the Mac, it’s most likely about the many dialogs and complicated settings.

    • Guest

      What’s wrong with control panel in W8? It’s definitely simplified across all categories AND you can access the full old one if required. And that’s in the DP. It should get more refined from there. Your incessant and inaccurate criticisms of W8, all based on the DP, are getting tedious.

    • Anonymous

      “If required”. That’s the problem. 90% is still unchanged.

    • Guest

      @tNo:disqus 

      What part of this are you having trouble reading or refuting?

      “It’s definitely simplified across all categories”

    • Robin Ashe

      No, the reasons they switched to the Mac was because Vista had a huge jump in system requirements, which made it run poorly as an upgrade and even on hardware it came pre-installed on, and the UAC was really confusing and frustrating for a lot of people.

    • Guest

      The #1 reason was the Get a Mac commercials, which absolutely destroyed Vista’s image and painted MS as your parents OS. But yeah, Vista’s system requirements and the fact that many hardware makers didn’t bother jumping on new drivers due to the product’s many previous delays, and that effected reliability and support, basically killed it.

  • Emi Cyberschreiber

    yeah it will be irrelevant. thats why im using Win8 developer preview /s

    stupid claims from stupid people… what do they know about millions of millions of people. some will like it some wont. but it will sell good, since it has amazing improvements like memory usage and really faster boot.

    live tiles are amazing, but of course we wont see anything important on metro UI apps, until store opens and we can get nice software, not an uncomplete twitter app, and a bad Facebook app… these apps are no more tan examples. and well, i like everything about win8, of course it needs improvements and with leaks and oficial blog posts i think beta will be amazing!

  • Anonymous

    the average consumer doesn’t update. They get the new OS when they buy a new computer. I don’t think many chose to have xp installed instead of vista. Business generally wait several years to make sure it won’t disrupt their business. Once they know that their critical software functions, I think businesses will upgrade because of all the new improvement. The ability to switch from desktop, to laptop , to tablet and have all your setting follow you is great selling point. I really don’t the learning curve will be that big. 

  • Anonymous

    I agree. I see absolutely no reason to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8. They’re essentially the same OS with some slightly new additions in the Windows 8 side of things. It’s not worth the purchase (yet, at least). Should just be Windows 7: Tablet Edition.

    • Anonymous

      Windows 8 has a lot of new featuers. ReFS would be a huge reason for many people to upgrade. New instant boot/secureboot, new memory management, better  virtualization, further enterprise features, the list goes on and on and on

    • Anonymous

      Disqus generic email templateFor those particular users who will take advantage of those things, then sure, Windows 8 is completely relevant. The instant boot feature is nice to have, but I’m perfectly fine with the bootup times on my high-end gaming PC. I’m perfectly fine with Windows 7. So, I guess to some people, Windows 8 could potentially be worth it, but to me, it isn’t.

    • BadManDuke

      Sometimes I get the impression that PC gamers seemingly embrance being stagnant.

      The expectations of the majority of people and how they interface with PC’s is changing, and Windows must change with it to remain relevant. New form factors such as tablets are going to force this. The desktop isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, but its role in both the home and business is starting to change.

      If Windows remains as it is (Windows 7), it WILL become irrelevant.

  • http://twitter.com/clindhartsen Chris Lindhartsen

    To an extent, IDC may have a point, but the problem is that we’re still a year out from this being released, not to mention possibly days from apps staring to appear for the devices.  The problem with the premise, as well, is the point that people generally don’t update Windows anyway, they buy new hardware with the new OS.  Unless something absolutely horrible happens, people will get Windows 8, possibly/hopefully use some new applications, and install the ones they know well from the past as needed.

  • http://twitter.com/joepann Kitab

    IDC’s claim that Windows 8 will be ‘irrelevant’ on traditional desktop PCs is silly, period…!!!

  • http://twitter.com/JustEriksTwits Erik Oegema

    Really not. The UI is not the only thing Microsoft is changeing. 

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  • Guest

    Winrumors predicts IDC will be history in end of Q2011

  • Anonymous

    Windows 8 has a lot to offer but I think it almost puts too much focus on touch. I think there should be more focus on the desktop, or at least an option to make the desktop more prevalent. Metro looks like it’ll be great for tablets but, so far, not so hot on desktops. It’s too early to be making wild assumptions on where MS will take Windows so we’ll just have to wait and see

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=694461618 Dan Uff

    Why is Microsoft trying to make a “one size fits all” operating system?  Even smaller Linux companies and Apple have two different operating systems for a desktop and a laptop.  Isn’t Microsoft smart enough to do what has already been proven by other companies -> One operating system CANNOT be used for both types of platforms….

    Or don’t they think that a customer would be smart enough to be able to use the two?  Apple and others have already proven that users ARE smart enough (i.e. OS X, iOS and Ubuntu).

    I’d say that if Windows 8 continues in its current form, that even MORE people will be heading to Macs and Linux not even a year after Windows 8 is officially released.

    • Anonymous

      Well…in that respect, MS has the same thing as Apple and soon to be Google…and thats an OS that works for x86 and one that works on ARM. Just because MS is tying them together in ways Apple or Google hasn’t been able to achieve thus far doesn’t some how make it a bad thing.

      You make very little sense. Why would anyone leave Windows 8 for Mac or Linux when Windows 8 is every bit as capable (even more so) than Window 7 was, plus can do so much more? Its interesting hearing people try to come up with things to knock. Isn’t Google gunning to make Android x86 compat? Isn’t Apple gunning to bring more iOS to Mac? Sounds to me like your theory is nothing more than wishful thinking on your part. Windows 8 will be the Super Windows 7 (which is now the most popular Windows yet).

    • Guest

      He’s a troll. But W7 is losing share to Mac (and iOS) now. So unless W8 arrests that or turns it around, the available options are it continues or it escalates further.

    • Anonymous

      True…but then again, iOS has lost shares (very little) to Windows Phone. Its not enough for Apple to get scared just like Macs market share isn’t enough for Windows to get scared. Mac has about 6% WW market share vs Windows 94%…WP has about 2% vs iPhone 20+…no need to get frazzled.

      Sent from my Windows Phone Mango

    • Guest

      @timotim:disqus 

      Not sure iOS has lost any share to WP. WP has just collected a little share from other and maybe former WM (combined WM+WP share has actually continued to decline through October). Nokia may start changing that.

      Mac share is 6% WW, but 10% in North America, and growing about 20x the PC market generally. Bigger concern for MS is iPad, which shipped more units last quarter than Dell did PCs. 170% growth.

      I’m not frazzled. I have no dog in this fight.

    • Guest

      I guess you forgot that iOS is in fact based on OS X, huh shill?

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  • http://circuitsoft.tumblr.com CircuitSoft

    the only 2 things irrelevent in this world are arrowsmith and IDC

  • Anonymous

    Metro on desktop is so inefficient to such a great extent. I literally can do some things several times faster with Win 7 than Win 8, that’s what happens when the focus is on touch.

  • http://twitter.com/APSN910 Aaron Stark

    Uhh do you even pay attention to the tech industry?  Last I saw OSX Lion was bringing iOS features in to make OSX more iOS like.  Also OSX is used on both laptops and desktops and iOS is used on their tablet, phone and mp3 player.

    • Guest

      iOS is a variant of OS X. Apple just decided to rebrand it and distance themselves from the original message that OS X ran from phone to server, which was pretty smart actually. It would have been harder to keep the post-PC meme alive if you were forced to admit that your post-PC device runs your during-PC OS. And yes, they’ve been bringing features first popularized on iOS to Lion.