Tuesday, May 07, 2013

The tech world is quick to forget history - Windows 8's growing pains

I just finished reading an article today about the upcoming Windows 8.1, codename Windows Blue, release. It irks me that people are so quick to judge the new user interface without even giving it a chance. Yes, it irks me, a Mac fanboi that the press hates Windows. Why does it, do you ask. Well, the criticism is unfair, that's why.

Microsoft made the bold move of casting Windows, it's flagship product, into a new mould. It spent millions on research to ascertain how people will use computers 10-years into the future, and set the ball in motion. This is not very different from how Apple recast Mac OS into the X dye about 10 years ago. The first few releases of OS X were universally panned for being unusable garbage. But in 2013, I can't think of anyone that would want to go back to Classic; in fact, the new crop of Mac OS users are actually iOS users that bought Macs. These folks wouldn't know what to do with Classic at all.

Similarly, I cannot think of any Windows 8.5 user (launched in 2017) that would interact with Windows using the Desktop. It's a matter of helping the current Windows users adapt how they interact with a PC; it's about changing their muscle memory. Anyone that tells me that affecting such change can be done in tiny increments is kidding themselves. Windows 8 is the way of the future - you can argue with the drastic nature of how Microsoft brought this change to its user-base, but you cannot argue with the need for a change. For once Microsoft took a chance, and its paying the price. But it took a chance, and that is a huge cultural change for the company.

Now, if only Apple had the balls to give a much needed facelift to its core platforms...