Succeed or Fail – Windows 8 will be a Game Changer

You may be thinking how a failure can be a game changer. Yes, it is easy to understand that if Windows 8 succeeds then the tablet and smart phone computing would be changed forever, but how can it change the game by failing?

Well – if Windows 8 fails then it would be an official endorsement of the end of an era – the era of the supremacy of the personal computer.

Some of you would argue that the era has already ended and the failure of Windows 8 is already a foregone conclusion. But, you will probably be in the minority.

Others may argue that every alternate version of Windows release has been a failure and even if Windows 8 fail (like Vista), we will still have Windows 9 which will be a success (like Windows 7). However, I think the situation is different now.

What is the main proposition of Windows 8?

Actually, there are two propositions.

  1. User will prefer to interact with all computing device irrespective of the screen size and method of interaction in a consistent manner
  2. Metro UI Tiles is a better way to interact than the traditional Icon based interface

Microsoft had tried using the PC interface on tablet and smartphone and it has consistently failed. Now Microsoft is attempting the reverse. It is obvious that Metro UI is primarily designed for touch screen and Microsoft is attempting to use it for traditional PC & Laptop.

I think the underlying assumption is that most screens of the future will be touch enabled. There is also an assumption that the gap between a Laptop and a tablet will narrow or even disappear.

For once Microsoft is not copying Apple

Yes, the Metro UI is innovative and the credit goes completely to Microsoft. It is distinctly different from what Apple has to offer.

Users may accept the Metro UI or users may reject it but the credit or the blame will rest solely on Microsoft’s shoulder.

What happens if Windows 8 succeeds?

Obviously, Microsoft would definitely have reestablished its supremacy on the OS market. Nokia, Dell, HP, Intel and many others will heave a sigh of relief.

Metro UI would have been accepted by users as a better way of interacting with touch screens. Apple and Google would need to come up with a response.

People who claim that the future belongs to Apple, Google and Amazon will need to revise their opinion – and yes, it would be game changer.

What happens if it succeeds only on Tablet and fails on PC?

It would be an official endorsement of the end that PC and Tablet are different. All those who depend on PC and Laptop sales will need to reinvent themselves or perish.

Metro UI would have established itself as an alternate way of interacting with touch screen. There will be serious competition to Apple and Google.

You will have a new kid in the block, the Metro UI, who will get all the attention of the developers and UI design would be altered forever – a game changer on its own right.

What happens if it fails?

Then it would definitely be the end of the PC era – and a game changer.

PC and Laptop will not die overnight but it would slowly loose its significance and along with it many big names of today will find themselves in a similar boat.

What is the time frame to judge the success or failure?

One year is too short a time and five years is too long. I think 3 years is the right timeframe to pass the judgment.

If by end of 2015, Windows 8 (or 9) has not become the de facto standard, or at least become a strong alternative we can consider the game to be over for Windows.

13 Responses to “Succeed or Fail – Windows 8 will be a Game Changer”
  1. Dezefan says:

    Yeah. I kinda agree with the rest say. If 8 should fail, it will not necessarily signifies the end of PC-era, but maybe, it’s simply signifies the end of Windows instead.
    I have both tablet and PC, and I gotta admit, there are some things you can never do on a tablet, despite the hardware spec hike these days (dual core mobile processor? how about that!). For leisural use (a.k.a DATA CONSUMPTION) i used tablet quite a lot, but for work (a.k.a DATA PRODUCTION), I can’t help to turn to PC for it’s spec and accessibility on software

  2. Grady says:

    I’m sorry, please show me Photoshop CS5 running on a tablet?.. oh wait, right.

    I’ve said it a thousand times, but I’ll say it again and again until I’ve told enough people that I stop hearing this rubbish.

    Tablets are..
    .. lightweight, portable, low end, touch based, sensors-stuffed, wireless computers designed primarily for DATA CONSUMPTION.

    Desktops are
    .. heavy, stationary, high end, mouse/keyboard based, sensor-less, wired computers designed for both DATA CONSUMPTION and most importantly DATA PRODUCTION.

    Tablets sacrifice usability for data production, making them unwieldy for doing things like word processing, data entry, image editing, sound editing, movie editing, software development, file management, multitasking, etc.. in return for portability and easier data consumption, such as web surfing, reading emails, viewing pictures, watching movies, reading books, etc.

    Tablets are not a replacement for desktops, they aren’t even close. They compliment the world of computers, they aren’t the center of it. If you think desktops are coming to an end, you clearly haven’t been in a school, hospital, design studio, bank, software development firm or corporate office lately. Nor have you met a PC gamer recently.

    And frankly, PC != Windows. If Windows fails on an scale epic, and dies off, then if any era will die, it’ll be the Windows era. PC still has Linux and Mac, and those people aren’t going to care about a crappy Windows release. And disheartened windows users will go to Linux or Mac if Windows for desktop becomes horrible enough.

    • Udayan Banerjee says:

      Well said.

    • Federico says:

      Have you seen the sheer amount of finger-painted works art that is being created on phones or tablets? It’s amazing. Or have you checked the Flicker stats? account for the vast majority of the content. The largest majority of twitter content is published from phones. This means that content may not be the key telling the PC and tablets apart, but sheer processing power and availability of proper touch based alternatives to popular software. Tablets can use keyboards. By the way, there’s Photoshop for iOS. While you can only do a fraction of things of the desktop counterpart, this is just the first version. The reason they are needing to create it is the vast amount of image manipulation software that is being created for tablets, some of which are becoming extremely popular and replacing the need for Photoshop altogether.

      If tablets are not a replacement, then why do my mother, and wife, ditched their PCs? My 2 years old already manipulates images, does quizzes and trains with memory games and many other educational apps.

      Tablets will replace 90% of desktop use (rough guess). And when that happens, innovation will shift to tablets (with or without keyboards). But they will be the “New PCs” really.

      • Grady says:

        Yes, I have seen finger painting done on a number of touch screen devices. It’s always wonderful to see creative people using new mediums to create art. Fantastic stuff. I’ve also seen people create photo realistic drawings using only ballpoint pens, and create sculptures from wet sand. It’s fantastic, I love it!

        But try to see things from my perspective. I have 2 jobs, in one of them I work as a graphic designer for a company that prints materials for events, such as tickets, wristbands, lanyards, identification cards, and promotional stuff like cup holders and mousepads. Usually the clients have specified what they want to go on the final product, they supply the logo, body copy, and other graphic elements, and give me a rough idea of what they want, and I have to make it happen. (My other job is web design, something you definitely can’t do on a tablet!)

        I have to create the artwork as per their spec’ as quickly as possible, I can’t afford to take anymore than about 30 minutes for something simple like a lanyard or wristband, and no more than 3-4 hours for something like a mousepad. I have exact printing specifications/templates to work within as well, such as the mousepads which needs to have all text content exactly 5mm’s away from the edge to avoid getting cutting off by the printer, and a 3mm bleed on all sides.

        I tend to do a lot of vector work since a lot of products the company offers are printed by outside suppliers who only accept vector graphics, and when I do use raster graphics, it’s always at least 300dpi.

        When I’m not doing that, I’m emailing approval forms for artworks off to customers as quickly as possible to get their signed approval, and at times I’m getting artwork done, approved and sent to the printer only hours before it’s deadline. Sometimes I’m given an order to complete and told I only have 2 hours to finish it before it has to go to the printer.

        Sometimes I’m literally working on 3 or more orders at once. It’s possible for some orders to have 50+ artworks associated with them which I may have to be quickly switching back and forth between to make last minute alterations while on the phone with a customer.

        While finger painting on iPads may be another fantastic example of people using other mediums to create art, that’s of little to no benefit to someone like me and doesn’t in anyway make an iPad a replacement for a workstation, it doesn’t even bring it close. That’s like offering a calculator to a finance manager and telling them to use that instead of their accounting software.

        For the work I do, I need a large screen (24inches minimum), one that’s in front of my face on a stand. I need a mouse and a full keyboard, a lot of RAM, a fast multicore CPU, and an OS with the ability to hand window management like Windows 7, Mac OS, or Ubuntu. And without doubt, I need proper file management. Even little things like being able to do a printscreen of something are important.

        And with respect, your point about your mother, wife and child is invalid. I could use the same argument, no one in my family even owns a tablet, and every friend and family member I have owns a PC in the form of a desktop or laptop. Some of them own smartphones, but not all. There’s one person at work who owns a tablet, that’s the only person I know with one. But that doesn’t prove anything, since that’s just my personal family/friends circle, and not an example of the wider community.

        To date, I’ve not seen tablets “replace” PCs in any respect, only provide partial functionality of a PC. But there are a number of devices that offer partial functionality of a PC, such as game consoles, smart phones, eBook readers, handheld gaming devices, mp3 players, media centers, etc. None of those are going to replace PCs either.

  3. James O says:

    ‘if Windows 8 fails then it would be an official endorsement of the end of an era – the era of the supremacy of the personal computer.’

    Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
    So untrue it hurts.

    Maybe you should give up on computers altogether.

    • Udayan Banerjee says:

      End of PC era does not mean we give up using PC. We will still continue to use it for foreseeable future but …

  4. Ion says:

    I won’t buy a OS designed for tablets and phones and use it on my PC.

    I will vote with my wallet them Microsoft just created a new Vista fail.

  5. Mahadevan.p says:

    There is a big difference in comparing a PC and Tablet…the first one being a Content Creation and Content Consumption device..whereas the second is Content consumption mainly…unless we don’t see lot of change happening on these lines..the PC will not phase out so easily..

  6. Udayan,

    You might also keep in context – Amara’s Law – We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run. I think maybe Windows will just about last beyond 2015…..

    • he98nw says:

      agree with Badri. Window will continue, so is Linux.

      • Federico says:

        Linux lives in more phones, tablets and embedded devices now (and for many years has) than desktops. The real question is…will multi-touch interfaces completely replace the way we interact with computers? This might very well be the era of the multi-touch interface and context aware and mobile PCs than anything else. After all, the iPad or Android devices are hardly NOT personal computers.

        My guess is that the PC cannot die. And Linux cannot die. What can die is Windows if Microsoft gets it wrong.

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