Microsoft has released Windows 8 on October 26th. This new windows is a major re-design of the operating system since Windows 95. I
speculated Microsoft’s win amongst the other tech giants Apple and Google in a post earlier this year in April. Time has come for
Microsoft to show some real game or become a loser in this battle and fade away. I think Microsoft is ready for a long term play.
Windows 8 will likely be the software that determines Microsoft’s success over the next few years. I have the privilege to experience
Windows 8 Pro before its official release as part of its availability for the Microsoft Software Assurance customers. I did test the Windows 8 Developer Preview version and Window 8 Consumer Preview version as and when they were released.
The new Start screen looks completely different than the traditional Desktop, although the interface still exists on just a click. And
that’s the beauty that will take Microsoft a long way. A whole new UI experience that connects Microsoft users to the tablet and smartphone world while keeping the confidence of prior windows user experience. At least for me it was the biggest motivation factor to upgrade to Windows 8 from Windows 7, specially after having the assurance that applications working on Windows 7 will work fine on Windows 8. By the way, I’m also running applications designed for Windows XP with the compatibility mode feature.
Coming back to the Start screen, it is entirely chrome-less, even the standard taskbar items like battery indicator, clock and network
indicator are hidden until you click or touch the settings button. As a part of fact, Windows 8 is designed for the connected user
experience. In the past, the role of the operating system was to save a file created by an application into a folder and opening that file
later on. The only source of connecting to the internet was a browser.
Microsoft revamped that old user experience. On the new Start screen, apps now have live tiles that serve the updated information and give a connected experience instead of dead app icons as on other platforms like Android and iOS where the icon just represents that the app is installed. For instance, the People app in Windows 8 connects with the social networks and provides the user latest activities, notifications and photos. The News app keeps the user informed with the latest headlines. The Metro UI lets the user arrange two windows at once, so you never miss an important email while watching a movie or browsing the internet.
The Windows Store is another Microsoft step that will provide its consumer to install and run apps on laptops, tablets and smartphones
at the same time. Again, this is an edge that Microsoft has over its rivals who are yet to provide cross-platform apps as Google still
finding it hard to run the apps on tablets that are designed for smartphones.
The corporate world is also seeking a pc-tablet combination that can handle their business and mobility needs, only Windows 8 tends to meet these requirements in the form of a full-fledged operating system. As far as the hardware is concerned, I suppose that the traditional PCs and Laptops will phase out and the convertibles and hybrids will take the place of business computers eventually.
I still predict that Microsoft will get over its past experience in the mobile and tablet market if they follow a sensible and long-term
plan. Let’s see what happens in the days to come.