re: Windows 8 Learning Curve: Two Customers Speak
You bring up several great points. For someone like you, Windows 8 doesn't offer any benefits. But I think the OS serve a particular niche already, and if Microsoft handles WIn 8.1 properly, that niche could get a whole lot bigger.
Part of the reason Windows 8 tablets and Ultrabooks are gaining traction with schools and governments involves the value proposition these devices offer: ultra-mobility (important for both students and field employees) and x86 compatibility, all for less than the cost of a laptop. For customers in these spaces, the fact that touch-enabled devices are actually better than laptops for certain applications (collecting data in the field, or in a lab) only amplifies the appeal of devices such as the Latitude.
Most consumers don't work in a field or lab, of course.
Nonetheless, I think Win8's versatility will become more evident in devices this summer and fall. By then, we'll not only have UI refinements from WIndows 8.1 but also more plentiful device varieties, better prices, Ultrabooks with tablet-ish battery life, and performance gains all around, especially graphics. Will these devices inspire the devotion that iPads do? I doubt it. But just like the Latitude 10 is both cost-effective and useful to schools and governments, the next wave of Windows 8 tablets could be cost-effective and useful to consumers who need one device that can be both a tablet and a laptop. Would some people prefer to have both, or even just a laptop? Probably but people can't always afford what they prefer, and the new, improved batch of Windows 8 device might finally offer the price-to-compromise ration that consumers want.
That's not to say Windows 8 criticisms aren't valid. But Windows 8 serves a certain market, even now. By the fall, I think that even though Windows 8 might not be perfect, its "jack of all trades" versatility will, along with improved devices and cheaper prices, make that market even bigger.
Windows 8 will probably never achieve Windows 7's adoption rate-- but it doesn't have to. Businesses still have WIndows 7 at the moment, and until Apple or Google does something dramatic, Windows 8 will be the only device for people who need a tablet that runs x86 apps. By the time businesses are ready for a new OS, Microsoft will have had a chance to demonstrate its value as a desktop OS, or to have moved on to WIndows 9. Other companies - namely Google - could put pressure on Microsoft, but enterprises' current reliance on Microsoft gives Redmond a certain amount of wiggle room.
People will still keeping buying Android and iOS devices. They'll probably buy a lot more of either than they do WIndows 8 devices. But there's a market for Windows 8, and that market could get bigger. Right now, the reasons not to settle for Win8 might outweigh the reasons to go for it. But soon, a lot of the reasons to avoid the OS will have been removed. As long as Microsoft makes the Live TIles usable in Win 8.1, all the conditions are right for adoption to accelerate. If they actually show desktop users some meaningful upgrades along the way, so much the better.