I predict it's going to have a brief splurge of popularity, followed by its tanking severely, only to be rescued once Microsoft relents on Metro and allows non-touch devices to default to a more familiar desktop again.
All this nonsense is being driven by Microsoft's desire to establish its own closed ecosystem and run a company store just like Apple does.
The reason why this isn't
going to fly is because Microsoft is not Apple
. PC users tend to be a more cynical and less starry-eyed crowd than Apple users.
And virtually all of the business/corporate IT crowd doesn't need, like, or want Metro on their desktops. Same goes for the people they have to report to.
And...IT managers still remember how Microsoft just about threatened
them at CeBIT to get onboard with Microsoft's new "experience" - or get dragged along by their end-users if they didn't. (That did not sit too well with either them - or their bosses.)
Besides, both IT and PC users have far more thrifty spending habits when it comes to tech - as the increasingly difficult task of justifying MS Office upgrades has shown.
Now maybe this is all just a trial balloon to see how much Microsoft can get away with. It may also be a smokescreen to shift attention away from how Microsoft wants Secure Boot to work - to say nothing of the threat that represents to competing products down the road.
So yeah...Ballmer & Co. are going to play this new puppy up for all it's worth. Initial sales will probably be ok if
they can keep the price of Surface just north of the iPad. Figure around $700-$800.
Then, about three or four months down the road, sales will drop off and some heavy spin-doctoring will go on for about another two or three months with Win8 sales figures being propped up by heavily discounted corporate/government purchases of customized managerial "tote along" appliances for use in airports, warehouses and similar environments.
Finally, about six months out from product launch, a service pack
will be released that allows Win8 to have a persistent
boot into either the 'standard' desktop or Metro environment. Possibly, even some species of start button will reappear.
And then it will get very interesting indeed. Especially since some of the Linux majors have broken ranks with the larger community by moving away from totally open software; and have since attempted to come to some sort of accommodation with UEFI and Microsoft. With some quick dev work, they could possibly give Microsoft a run for it's money in business circles. Especially considering how Linux will soon be more "Windows like" than Windows 8 once Metro is formally out and being pushed as the new standard.
Reason enough to sell off all your Microsoft holdings? I'd wait until shortly before the launch (if the price holds steady), dump it and take some sort term profit; wait for Win8 to tank; and then buy back about 50% of my former stock shares and wait for the desktop to be brought back as an easy and persistent boot option. Then I'd have to decide if I wanted to continue holding.
If Gates comes out of retirement (and removes/replaces Ballmer) I'll hold. (Hey! It worked for Apple, right?
If not, I'd just do some market timing and take whatever profits I could.
"Legal" note: 40hz's comments above are purely for hypothetical discussion purposes
and are not
intended, nor should they be taken, as investment advice.