Software // Operating Systems
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5/8/2013
07:19 PM
Mike Feibus
Mike Feibus
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Windows 8 Users See Red: Is Microsoft Listening?

Microsoft's Windows 8 update, Windows Blue, must give PC users a more familiar way to work. Microsoft used to manage transitions better -- instead of opening the door for its rivals.

8 Things Microsoft Could Do To Save Windows 8
8 Things Microsoft Could Do To Save Windows 8
(click image for slideshow)
For more than a month now, the unrelenting flood of news, gossip and opinion surrounding Windows 8 has been focused on Windows Blue, the code name for the upcoming Windows 8 refresh, and what it can do to repair the ailing PC platform.

This week, finally, Microsoft formally acknowledged Windows Blue and confirmed that the Windows 8 follow-on, which comes closer to a service release than an all-new Windows version, will make its way to the market by year's end.

Bloggers already have spent weeks combing through the various leaked builds of the upcoming refresh and exposing new features, performance enhancements and UI improvements. Company representatives haven't yet confirmed any of those discoveries, saying only that Microsoft has been listening closely to customer feedback and will be giving a full-on demonstration at Microsoft's Build 2013 developer conference at the end of June.

[ What else can Microsoft do to mollify Windows users? Windows Blue: Restoring The Start Button Isn't Enough. ]

The tech press has been fixated on discerning just how closely Microsoft has been listening. Indeed, it has written so much lately with so little to go on from Microsoft that the coverage has taken on the tenor of an Access Hollywood report before a Kardashian wedding.

I'm making light, but in many ways the onslaught of articles is justifiable. Certainly, it underscores just how much is riding on Windows Blue. With all the hype and glitz surrounding smartphones and tablets, it's easy to lose sight of how critical a role the PC still plays in many of our lives. No, it's not the same role it played last year, or the year before. But for many of us -- certainly for most of us in IT -- a Windows PC is still a go-to device in our quiver of electronics tools. And because of the pace of change in the enterprise segment, Windows is guaranteed to play a central role for several more years at least.

In that sense, Microsoft isn't just gambling its own fortunes. It's messing with how many of us get things done every day.

That's why the anger over Windows 8 has been so palpable, and why fixing it has become so important. Forcing us to take longer, more circuitous routes to what we do every day feels like starting breakfast one morning only to find that your roommate has rearranged the kitchen. The more often you reach for a fork in what's become the towel drawer, the angrier you get.

If Microsoft is really listening to customers, then Windows Blue will give users a way to do things the way they're used to. Microsoft understood that wisdom back in the early days of Windows, when it used a two-step process to woo Lotus users over to Excel. For years, Microsoft gave diehard Lotus fans their old menus and keystroke combos. So those users came over to Excel. And eventually, those users got to know Excel and they dropped their demands for Lotus commands.

In the same way, Microsoft needs to let customers do things the way they've always done them if it's ever going to engineer a successful migration to its Modern UI. Apparently, though, that institutional knowledge has been lost at Microsoft. When the incumbent forces customers to change in ways they don't want to, as Microsoft has been doing, it opens the doors to competition. Of course, the Mac is always welcoming frustrated Windows users. Some Linux bundlers, successful in the server space, increasingly are setting their sights on the PC client. And now Google is readying an assault on Windows' turf with a new generation of Chromebooks due out in the second half of the year.

A larger desktop tile on the Start screen, as Windows Blue reportedly has, won't placate long-time Windows users. Microsoft will have to give folks who have no use for tiles a way to work the way they do now. If Microsoft doesn't do this, users will keep seeing red -- until, eventually, this issue won't be important to them any more.

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CopyingAppleIsDangerous
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CopyingAppleIsDangerous,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/22/2013 | 2:58:01 AM
re: Windows 8 Users See Red: Is Microsoft Listening?
Please. I live in Texas. That means that, by law, I have the right to record any conversation that I have, with anyone in the world, at any time, for no reason, without notice, as long as one of my feet is on Texas soil.

I am inclined to call Dell, have the salesman/saleswoman admit to me what they at first admitted circuitously, and now admit without hesitation or provocation, and post that junk up on YouTube so the whole world can hear the truth about what Dell thinks of Microsoft's Windows 8 stunt.

Let me ask you this: True or False:

Dell had several meetings with Microsoft after the beginning of this year basically gently-but-firmly stating to Microsoft that Dell will continue to sell Windows 7 machines whether Microsoft liked it or not.

True or False?
Terabyte Net
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Terabyte Net,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/21/2013 | 7:07:32 PM
re: Windows 8 Users See Red: Is Microsoft Listening?
So when you go to Linux and the first time something breaks who are you going to call? Also, talk about usability issues. There are tons of builds of Linux out there and most are not compatible with other builds so you're forced to buy software for your particular build of Linux. Enjoy that.
Terabyte Net
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Terabyte Net,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/21/2013 | 7:05:51 PM
re: Windows 8 Users See Red: Is Microsoft Listening?
It's called Classic Shell. NO need to e-mail him.
Terabyte Net
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Terabyte Net,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/21/2013 | 7:03:39 PM
re: Windows 8 Users See Red: Is Microsoft Listening?
So when the microwave was introduced to the masses in the 80's we should have all ignored them? I guess electric stoves in the kitchen or dishwashers should all go too? Come on, sometimes you have to remodel the kitchen to make it more functional. The kitchen analogy is tired and illogical. Or perhaps you all still cook over an open fire pit, not even on a wood stove.
Terabyte Net
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Terabyte Net,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/21/2013 | 7:01:07 PM
re: Windows 8 Users See Red: Is Microsoft Listening?
There are no viable business alternatives to Windows. 95% or more of business software is written for the PC. You cannot run a business on an iPad, it's really an expensive toy with a 40 year old GUI. Most point of sale products are written for PC. Yes there are some business apps for Apple and Linux, but they're generally much less mature with far fewer features.
Terabyte Net
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Terabyte Net,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/21/2013 | 6:49:17 PM
re: Windows 8 Users See Red: Is Microsoft Listening?
Might be a wonderful world, but have you read the Apple EULA? You're likely breaking the law. Gotta love Apple and their draconian EULAs.
Terabyte Net
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Terabyte Net,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/21/2013 | 6:47:48 PM
re: Windows 8 Users See Red: Is Microsoft Listening?
You're comparing apples to oranges. Vista was Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, Ultimate, Enterprise. Certainly not 9 versions. Win8 has 3 "real" versions, Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, Windows 8 Enterprise, and Windows 8 RT (essentially an embedded runtime version without a lot of options). Win7 also had 4 versions (though no RT). If you don't like or have the touch screen option install Classic Shell and you then have the version for non-touch devices. Reducing the # of builds Vista had was a smart move as it reduces the amount of testing that has to be done for compatibility for patches, programs, drivers, etc...
Terabyte Net
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Terabyte Net,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/21/2013 | 6:43:24 PM
re: Windows 8 Users See Red: Is Microsoft Listening?
I'm not sure what hardware you're running these OSs on, but every test I've seen and done says Win8 x64 is much faster than XP and marginally faster than Win7 x64.
Terabyte Net
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Terabyte Net,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/21/2013 | 6:42:32 PM
re: Windows 8 Users See Red: Is Microsoft Listening?
Couldn't disagree more. As a consultant in the Dell Consultant Network I've not heard what you're claiming either from customers or from my reps at Dell.
Terabyte Net
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Terabyte Net,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/21/2013 | 6:41:28 PM
re: Windows 8 Users See Red: Is Microsoft Listening?
Install Classic Shell and you problems are over. It's 5 minute download/install and you have your classic desktop back along with the speed, security, and stability of Windows 8. Best of both worlds.
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