Fear and Loathing and Windows 8

Epic 8,000-plus-word piece on Windows 8 by Michael Mace. At this length it’s more like a short book than a long article, but it’s packed with thoughtful criticism and praise.

I’ve spent the last several weeks asking myself why Microsoft chose to remove some Windows 7 features and exaggerate the prospects for Windows 8. There are many possible explanations. It could just be arrogance — they believe they can force customers to do what they want. It could be an excess of designer zeal — designers always think people will fall in love with their creations once they try them.

But it could also be insecurity. To me, it feels like Microsoft is in a quiet panic. When Apple says the era of the PC has ended, I think Microsoft may believe it even more than Apple does. Smartphones eat away at messaging, tablets compete for browsing and game-playing, and who knows what will come next. In the new device markets, Microsoft is an also-ran. I think Microsoft feels it must find a way to leverage its waning strength in PCs to make itself relevant in mobile.

Mace’s central premise is that the tech world is underestimating just how big a change Windows 8 is going to be, and how big a bet that is for Microsoft as a company.

His 13-minute video review is worth watching, too.

Thursday, 31 May 2012