Windows 8 Will Succeed, Even If It Fails
All indications now point toward an October release of Windows 8. And ever since the beta was released on Feb. 29, the critics have been descending. The No. 1 complaint, by far, is that the new OS feels cobbled together; that by trying to build Windows 8 for both touchscreen and more traditional devices, neither version feels complete and "finished." It's the worst of both worlds, some say. Some are even bringing up the dreaded "V" word.
"I know Windows 8 will be a Vista-sized fiasco," lamented ZDNet's Steven J. Vaughan, among many others. So, are the naysayers correct? Is Windows 8 destined to be a punch line in the not-too-distant future?
To quote the eminent philosopher, Emperor Kuzco: "Don't know, don't care. How's that?" I honestly don't know how well Windows 8 will fare in the market. Based on the beta, it's likely to be a strong OS out of the gate, even if it retains some rough edges. Of course, that's no guarantee of success.
As for the second part, the "Don't care" aspect: I don't care how well it sells, because it's a step Microsoft had to take, whether it wanted to or not. Microsoft is going to learn a tremendous amount from Windows 8, whether it's a small, medium or large success, or a small, medium or Titanic-sized failure.
Windows 7 is a great OS, thus Windows 8 could suffer in the same way that Windows Vista suffered by following Windows XP. But don't forget that Windows 7 took the lessons from Windows Vista, applied them, and became a star.
Microsoft couldn't sit back and admire the success of Windows 7, and not plan for the evolving technology marketplace. I see Windows 8 as a foot in the pool. If it sells like gangbusters, great. If it falls flat, it'll still lead the way toward Windows 9.
Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.