IMHO the place where Win 8 was a disaster was with its public relations - which could best be summarized as Microsoft (through the lens of Mr. Sinofsky) thinking the time had finally come when Redmond could tell it's customer base that the new law of the land was "our way or the highway.
And that unique variety of hubris came from a belief that Microsoft was well liked
- or at least sufficiently feared - that Microsoft (like Apple) could now get away with it.
That would have been bad enough. But then Microsoft doubled down on it with two pieces of technology to ram it home. The first was SecureBoot, their proprietary and totally unnecessary 'fix' to UEFI that served no real purpose other than to hamper alternative OS deployments. The second was Metro, forerunner of a hoped-for 'walled garden' future where Microsoft could control - and collect tariffs - on its entire ecosystem like Apple currently does with their i-Whatever
Both were mistakes that were quickly seen for the power grabs they were by anyone whose knowledge and uses for a computer extended beyond collecting LOL cats, schmoozing on Facebook, and browsing the web.
Unfortunately, Microsoft then doubled-down again
and told their professional IT constituency to get with the program
or plan on getting a new job.
Because corporate end-users (so Sinofsky said) would DEMAND
the Windows 8 "experience
." And if IT didn't provide it to them, Windows 8 would make it possible for the end-user to do an end run around IT.
That was the threat heard 'round the world. And it put Sinofsky, Microsoft, and Win 8 on virtually ever IT manager's shit list.
Now Microsoft is starting to realize a few key things:
- Microsoft is not Apple and therefore can't behave like Apple
- Microsoft's customers don't love Microsoft itself or Microsoft products
- Microsoft's customers don't like, see the need for, or want Metro
- Microsoft can forget about setting up a walled-garden or lock-in app store
- Computer manufacturers don't like being threatened or dictated to
- Corporate customers (and their IT managers) don't like being threatened or dictated to
- The BSD/Linux/FOSS community is not going to sit quietly by while Microsoft attempts to make installation of anybody else's software difficult or impossible for the average end-user
- Like it or not - the START menu is here to stay - and is not negotiable
Notice something funny? None of the above realizations really revolve around the technology. And that's because the Windows 8 OS - stripped of all the nonsense - is a perfectly fine OS.
Yup! It is. It's extremely stable and smooth. Once you scrub all the cruft off it.
So I think Thurrott completely missed the boat in his analysis. (But he wouldn't be Paul Thurrott if he didn't would he?)
No...there's no disaster looming for Microsoft. Windows 8 is fine. It's just the additional crap they've loaded it up with that's the problem. All they'd need to do is:
- Back off on SecureBoot
- Go back to a traditional desktop metaphor and ditch Metro once and for all
- Stop thinking they can dictate at will
And they will...eventually. But it's gonna take some time. Because admitting you're wrong
has never been one of Microsoft's strong suits.