Does Windows 8 Have Staying Power?
Microsoft has had a number of game-changing (for both better and worse) OSes over its long history. In which category will Windows 8 fit?
Microsoft has had a number of game-changing (for both better and worse) OSes over its long history. A few examples of each:
- Windows 95, when desktop OSes finally went mainstream
- Windows XP, an OS so good that it refuses, even today, to go gently into that good night
- Windows 7, with the kind of features, stability and security out of the box that made it an instant global hit
Of course, Redmond has also suffered its share of horrific OSes:
- Windows Millennium Edition (ME), Microsoft's version of the Hindenburg and Titanic all rolled up into one buggy, insecure package
- Windows Vista, which wouldn't run almost anything upon release and got the leper treatment from users and businesses alike
And now comes Windows 8, led by two new Surface tablets that will run different versions of the OS, along with Windows Phone 8. The question for Microsoft: Will Windows 8 fit into the first or second category on this list?
Judging from the very early reports coming in, I'm feeling good about the prospects of Windows 8. The Surface announcement was met with surprise and oohs and aahs in the industry, rather than yawns.
How Microsoft pulls off this strategy is another matter entirely, of course. But it seems to this nerd that Microsoft has a chance here. Windows 8 is truly a different -- and better -- breed than the iOS/Android look and feel, and the Surface adds built-ins, like a kickstand and cover/keyboard, that the other guys don't.
What all that means is I feel confident you can start learning about and developing Windows 8 apps, and not fear that your investment will be outdated in a year or four.
Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.