Microsoft at War: Grading Redmond's Battle Record

Microsoft sits on the edge of a product launch that is plainly among the most important in the company’s history. Windows 8 is the largest paradigm shift for the company since Windows 95. There is no way to exaggerate the critical nature of this product. The new OS, alongside Windows Phone 8 represent the company’s biggest GUI bet since the Start Button. It comes at a time when the company’s traditional hardware partners are facing ferocious market pressure from the commoditization of their products, and of course, the juggernaut known as the iPad. Windows 8, and more broadly, the GUI formerly known as Metro is Microsoft’s play for the next decade.

As can be expected, the company’s many cheerleaders and haters are out in full force. Pundits can and will pontificate on the new operating system’s chances. However, what might be more useful is looking at Microsoft’s other make or break moments. The upcoming launch is far from the first time that Redmond has fought with its back against a wall. A backward glance at these moments, and careful evaluation of them, may provide a better, ahem, window into the company’s chances this Winter.

Read: Microsoft at War: Grading Redmond’s Battle Record

These articles are brought to you in partnership with TechSpot.

Image by Michael Gillett via My Microsoft Life

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Why people are so obsessed with the start screen is beyond me. you click start... jump to the program or program menu and then launch the program. The start screen has it right in front of you. If you don't like the metro apps, it is very easy to move your desktop apps to the front and launch any program with just one click. Like any new OS, a 5 minute tutorial is a handy way to start learning what is new and different. Just like you had to do when Win95 was launched (if you're that old). The reason for Metro is that the content is more important than the "noise" surrounding it. For example, why have a huge arrow pointing me to show more information, if at that moment I am not interested in more information. when I do want to see more, there is one standard location I go to (Swipe from the bottom or right-click). If I want to change the behavior of the program that shows my content, I swipe from the right (or WinKey + C) or move my cursor to the right edge of the screen and select Settings. If I need to search for content, I press WinKey + Q or move my cursor to the right edge of the screen and select Search.
What I am trying to say is that every Win8 app is consistent. The Desktop apps are not. Microsoft only came close to this consistency with its Office suite, but most other vendors didn't. And Now that same consistency is also on tablets, large screens and Phones. Again nothing to (un)learn when switching devices. The fact that all my devices work in all these environments is testament to Microsoft long and deep thinking about putting the consumer's content first, and all the other things will be taken care of.
That for me is a war that Microsoft WILL win

I have now been using windows 8 since its official release and i do not feel limited at all. It works great, and fast. I don't really use the start screen for much yet. I haven't really found a need for it. Some things have been moved, but i think an opened mind will help with this.

seta-san said,
i just wonder when apple is bringing back the "Mac and PC" ads to illustrate ****ed off windows users.

I dont think they will do. If you feel ****ed off on windows. try moving to Os X.
Finder is the worst file manager i ever used. Besides that, it behaves a lot like 8, but its slower.

8, for 30euro was a steal! Also it have one of the best virtualization technologies available, comparable in management to an ESX server, for free!
people always are reluctant to change, even if the change is for better.
It happened to XP, and to Vista (when they had support from the rest of the world, they give out vista sp3 (aka 7) to the world, and world embraced.
8 works better than XP on old netbooks also. It is really a software masterpiece.
And if you cant think of a start menu... well try moving to OS X... and you will realize 8 approach is still better than that. Also, NT has become a clockwork piece of software engineering much more stable than any unix or linux variant out there, its pretty incredible!
Stop whinning and install classic shell for god´s sake. U dont know what are u lossing in terms of performance and new features by not moving on! Really

Bought Windows 8 Pro
Disabled the Metro Start Screen
Installed Start8
Very pleased so far!


Messed around with Metro apps in the first few days... but honestly, I can't imagine myself using only Metro apps in the future.

myxomatosis said,
Bought Windows 8 Pro
Disabled the Metro Start Screen
Installed Start8
Very pleased so far!


Messed around with Metro apps in the first few days... but honestly, I can't imagine myself using only Metro apps in the future.

at least you can recognize that you get the same option of a desktop.

Well they could have easily avoided this situation by creating an OS only for tablets (still based on the NT kernel but not taking anything else from desktop Windows), and then moving that exact same ecosystem compatibility to Windows Phone, while leaving the Win32 APIs and desktop shell alone. In the end we would have had a desktop-only Windows 7 like OS and a Windows RT-like OS for tablets and smartphones (no need to keep the desktop on Windows RT). Instead, they chose to cripple the desktop GUI by creating a common product that makes compromises.

MsftGaurav said,
Well they could have easily avoided this situation by creating an OS only for tablets (still based on the NT kernel but not taking anything else from desktop Windows), and then moving that exact same ecosystem compatibility to Windows Phone, while leaving the Win32 APIs and desktop shell alone. In the end we would have had a desktop-only Windows 7 like OS and a Windows RT-like OS for tablets and smartphones (no need to keep the desktop on Windows RT). Instead, they chose to cripple the desktop GUI by creating a common product that makes compromises.

this wouldn't be an effective approach. I don't think I need to explain why, I'm sure you're smart enough to think about it.

Enron said,
Last time I checked, my desktop can still run everything it was running in Windows 7.

Wow what's so fu**** hard about going to the desktop? it's the same one you used prior to 8 and works the same way. Why are people so attached to the old start menu and if you are use a 3rd party utility like start8 and be done with it.

ctrl_alt_delete said,

this wouldn't be an effective approach. I don't think I need to explain why, I'm sure you're smart enough to think about it.

Care to elaborate.

Breaking the link between Windows Phone and Windows RT alone is enough to make the Windows 8 story a sad mess of compromises that seem to defy logic.

I too would have preferred that the phone and tablets shared an OS instead of tablets and PCs.

Thats the worst thing for me, as WP7 is better than RT for stupid LCD user scenarios.

i like metro but only as start menu. i don't like been forced to it on boot up and metro app's been full screen if they ware like normal desktop apps i would use them. i think majority off people are like me on this one. sorry for bad English.

Bitaljus said,
i like metro but only as start menu. i don't like been forced to it on boot up and metro app's been full screen if they ware like normal desktop apps i would use them. i think majority off people are like me on this one. sorry for bad English.

Geezus... how hard can it be to just click on the desktop once you log in... Geez people get a grip... But I am sure many DOS advocates were angry when the GUI came to be.

Bitaljus said,
i like metro but only as start menu. i don't like been forced to it on boot up and metro app's been full screen if they ware like normal desktop apps i would use them. i think majority off people are like me on this one. sorry for bad English.

Starting on desktop would negate the purpose of the start screen to begin with. It's your hub for updates: email, messages, scores, weather, updates, trends, etc. A quick glance over and a tap of the windows key (or click on desktop) and it's over. Painless.

Nah, those DOS Adovates always crucified the Mac users over the GUI. Same hate nowadays from MS advocates to anything that is not from Redmond.

nickcruz said,

Geezus... how hard can it be to just click on the desktop once you log in... Geez people get a grip... But I am sure many DOS advocates were angry when the GUI came to be.

Bitaljus said,
i think majority off people are like me on this one. sorry for bad English.

Only techies who fear giving up their dominance on the prior platform.

lets just hope that within 6 months steve ballmer announces a patch will be released to allow users to disable metro and use the start menu. This would result in a large increase in sales of windows 8.

torrentthief said,
lets just hope that within 6 months steve ballmer announces a patch will be released to allow users to disable metro and use the start menu. This would result in a large increase in sales of windows 8.

Only in your dreams. I don't think they'll allow users to dump their ecosystem that easy.

Well keep hoping.

Windows 8 is a step forward in the right direction and even though the lack of start menu is a little jarring at first, you soon realize the ingenuity behind the start screen and all the other improvements in Windows 8. Initial figures haven't been discouraging at all but sales will eventually increase when awareness grows and more people start adopting Windows 8, if for fear of not being left behind. For those of you who're afraid of change, there's already a patch with no metro and start screen called Windows 7.

torrentthief said,
lets just hope that within 6 months steve ballmer announces a patch will be released to allow users to disable metro and use the start menu. This would result in a large increase in sales of windows 8.
There are already many alternatives/patches that "fix" this.

torrentthief said,
lets just hope that within 6 months steve ballmer announces a patch will be released to allow users to disable metro and use the start menu. This would result in a large increase in sales of windows 8.

Oh do be quiet. It's not going to happen.
Either learn the new system, stick to an older soon to be ancient system, use a third party app, or even use a different OS. You see that's what's good about Windows, the choice is always there.

gzAsher said,
Well keep hoping.

Windows 8 is a step forward in the right direction and even though the lack of start menu is a little jarring at first, you soon realize the ingenuity behind the start screen and all the other improvements in Windows 8. Initial figures haven't been discouraging at all but sales will eventually increase when awareness grows and more people start adopting Windows 8, if for fear of not being left behind. For those of you who're afraid of change, there's already a patch with no metro and start screen called Windows 7.


Even for the metro haters i'd suggest to upgrade to win8, its a minute work to make it boot into desktop and have a start menu.

torrentthief said,
lets just hope that within 6 months steve ballmer announces a patch will be released to allow users to disable metro and use the start menu.

I know you are just trolling, but I have to say this: I didn't use or try any of the release previews of Windows 8, but installed RTM last Friday. To me, the new UI is the best Windows UI I have ever used and it was only a few moments to realize: I won't need start menu at all, ever again. Plus, it took me less than a week to fully embrace the new UI features and invoking the charms menu has become totally natural.

torrentthief said,
lets just hope that within 6 months steve ballmer announces a patch will be released to allow users to disable metro and use the start menu. This would result in a large increase in sales of windows 8.

Embrace it.

They won't. Also, start menu is gone. Learn to live without it. They will never put it back into the OS now or the future.

torrentthief said,
lets just hope that within 6 months steve ballmer announces a patch will be released to allow users to disable metro and use the start menu. This would result in a large increase in sales of windows 8.

I thought choice is about not locking your end users into Metro and give them the ability to use the start button from the start. The current way offers no choice! So maybe you need to be quiet instead of him.

Mikeffer said,

Oh do be quiet. It's not going to happen.
Either learn the new system, stick to an older soon to be ancient system, use a third party app, or even use a different OS. You see that's what's good about Windows, the choice is always there.

torrentthief said,
lets just hope that within 6 months steve ballmer announces a patch will be released to allow users to disable metro and use the start menu. This would result in a large increase in sales of windows 8.

I am sure even sooner desktop UI customization softwares such as stardock will comeup with a solution for it. Its a feast for them.
Edit: its already here: http://www.stardock.com/products/start8/
I am actually buying it. its just 5 dollors

CRage said,
To me, the new UI is the best Windows UI I have ever used and it was only a few moments to realize: I won't need start menu at all, ever again. Plus, it took me less than a week to fully embrace the new UI features and invoking the charms menu has become totally natural.

I believe everyone outside of certain technical aptitudes will resonate the same message. For those who have invested 30+ years in the old way will have trouble moving forward.

Mikeffer said,
Oh do be quiet.

Nice answer, very mature. If you don't like something about Windows "be quiet"...Don't worry I will, with my wallet

Sonne said,

Nice answer, very mature. If you don't like something about Windows "be quiet"...Don't worry I will, with my wallet

Thanks for that, not that i actually care.