Menu
Has Microsoft finally realised PCs are different than tablets?

Has Microsoft finally realised PCs are different than tablets?

Windows 8's tile interface is fine on mobile devices, but Microsoft may have just figured out it's terrible for traditional computers.

If recently published reports are to be believed, Microsoft is finally realizing something I've been saying ever since Windows 8 first reared its ugly head: the so-called Modern (formerly Metro) tile interface may work fine on smartphones and tablets, but it basically throws traditional computers under the bus. The Windows 8 start screen is just plain silly on traditional computers.

The situation gets worse the larger the screen of the device in question. Ever look at Windows 8 on a 27-inch monitor? What about on a pair of big-screen monitors? Despite features that let you organize the tiles, the bottom line is that the bigger the screen, the more Windows 8 turns it into a jumbled, confusing mess.

Word is that next year's Windows will present a traditional, Windows 7-style desktop interface on traditional desktops and laptops, while still showing those tiles on smaller, touch-screen devices.

Thank heavens!

Horrendous failure?

On the one hand, this could be seen as a horrendous admission of failure for Microsoft. It bet the company on Windows 8's radical new interface, hiding the traditional desktop and start menu behind a wall of cryptic touch-centric tiles that may have seemed "modern" but never made sense for traditional computing tasks. Making computer users pretend they're working on a tablet raised the ire of rabid commentators and scared off traditional consumers ever since.

Competitors like Apple and Google, meanwhile, offer separate operating systems and interfaces for computers vs. phones and tablets. They, like almost everyone outside of Redmond, seemed to understand that while smartphones and tablets are technically computers, people use them in very different ways for very different tasks. If I'm sitting at my desk working, I have completely different needs than when I'm checking my Facebook feed on my phone or watching a video on my tablet.

While Apple's Mac OS X and iOS are getting more similar all the time (as are Google's Android and Chrome), they still look and feel very different from each other. Which is a good thing.

Promising sign of humility?

Still, I prefer to see Microsoft's possible move in another light. Rather than a failure, let's call it a recognition of reality and a demonstration of a willingness to change and adapt. That's exactly the kind of thing that Microsoft had trouble doing under its previous leadership (I'm looking at you, Steve Ballmer).

There's no shame in getting things wrong. Even Steve Jobs made plenty of boneheaded blunders. The key is to recognize your mistakes and make them right. If Satya Nadella has the maturity to admit Microsoft's mistakes and find a way to fix them, those mistakes are less likely to be fatal.

In this case, I believe, that means forking Windows to create an operating system (or several) that's optimized for the different things that people do with smartphones, tablets, and traditional computers.

I, for one, won't consider using Windows 8 on a traditional desktop until that happens (I do sometimes use a Surface 2, and I've long been a happy Windows 7 user). And judging by the latest operating system usage figures, I'm not alone.

Subscribe here for up-to-date channel news

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Windows 8MicrosoftWindowssoftwareoperating systems

Featured

Slideshows

Tight lines as Hooked on Lenovo catches up at Great Barrier Island

Tight lines as Hooked on Lenovo catches up at Great Barrier Island

​Ingram Micro’s Hooked on Lenovo incentive programme recently rewarded 28 of New Zealand's top performing resellers with a full-on fishing trip at Great Barrier Island for the third year​ in a row.

Tight lines as Hooked on Lenovo catches up at Great Barrier Island
Inside the AWS Summit in Sydney

Inside the AWS Summit in Sydney

As the dust settles on the 2017 AWS Summit in Sydney, ARN looks back an action packed two-day event, covering global keynote presentations, 80 breakout sessions on the latest technology solutions, and channel focused tracks involving local cloud stories and insights.

Inside the AWS Summit in Sydney
Channel tees off on the North Shore as Ingram Micro hosts annual Cure Kids Charity golf day

Channel tees off on the North Shore as Ingram Micro hosts annual Cure Kids Charity golf day

Ingram Micro hosted its third annual Cure Kids Charity Golf Tournament at the North Shore Golf Club in Auckland. In total, 131 resellers, vendors and Ingram Micro suppliers enjoyed a round of golf consisting of challenges on each of the 18 sponsored holes, with Team Philips taking out the top honours.

Channel tees off on the North Shore as Ingram Micro hosts annual Cure Kids Charity golf day
Show Comments