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Intel CEO: Windows 8 Needs 'Improvements'

Is anyone else bothered by this Bloomberg report that quoted Intel CEO Paul Otellini as saying that Windows 8 isn't ready for release?

Otellini allegedly made those comments to employees at a meeting in Taiwan. "Improvements still need to be made to the software," he was quoted as saying.


Remember that Intel isn't some obscure third-party developer making tower defense games for WinRT; it's Microsoft's most important partner. And its CEO says Windows 8 isn't fully baked? The point is that there's a strong desire to treat Otellini's comments as credible, given who he is and the company he runs.

I get the desire to have Surface, and other WinRT tablets, out before Christmas. And I get the need to not fall further behind the iPad, new Android tablets that are finally starting to catch on, etc. Yeah, Microsoft needs to get in the game.

But given the quality of the competition, this is very risky. Consumers will be comparing Windows 8/WinRT tablets to mature tablets from the Other Guys. The old saying about not getting a second chance to make a first impression is relevant here; if Windows-based tablets suffer by comparison, by being incompatible or buggy or insecure or whatever, then those consumers may give up on Windows for anything but desktops and laptops.

(And it could potentially spill over into Windows Phone 8 as well. "Hey, if WinRT stinks, how good could Windows Phone, based on the same technology, be?")

Microsoft sort of responded in the story. Here's what a spokesman said:

"With over 16 million active preview participants, Windows 8 is the most tested, reviewed and ready operating system in Microsoft's history," said Mark Martin, a spokesman for Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft.

That's not a statement that fills me with confidence. Martin did say, specifically, that it's ready, but he didn't say Otellini was wrong, or that his comments had no substance. In my opinion, he used numbers (16 million) to try and obscure the main point -- that Windows isn't ready for release one month from today.

All this could work out, of course. Windows 8, as mentioned in the story, will be updated -- probably frequently -- in the early days of its general availability. But the potential flood of bad publicity that could be coming its way, if those flaws end up being major issues, could seriously suppress sales. This isn't an iPhone, after all, in which tons of negative reviews about the new maps application have no effect due to iPhone's impenetrable public perception of near-perfection. Windows 8 is brand-spanking-new, and Microsoft doesn't have a history in mobile computing yet.

If those issues are minor, on the other hand, they may have no effect on sales at all. But if they were minor, one would think Intel's CEO wouldn't have said what he said.

Posted by Keith Ward on 09/26/2012 at 1:15 PM

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Reader Comments:

Sun, Nov 4, 2012 Grady Atlanta

The true experience can only be had using 27 inch HP or Sony Vaio Touchscrean. Go buy one with Windows 7 on it, install Windows 8 for developers on it. Then install the touch screen device driver from the Manfactuers web site for WIndow 7 Touch Screen. We did this on 5 Sony Vaio's and everythings good. It a rather bizarre environment in which to write code but you need to ween youself from the external keyboard and the mouse to really lean how to manauver arond in it. I actually locked up my mouse and keyboard a forderd myself to write code in VS 2012 using the onscreen kb. It wiered at first but after a couple of weeks it starts to become normal. One negative about it is that it seem much like a toy like Android rather that a true LOB computer. That primarly becuase all the apps sell for less than $10, hundred are free, but the apps store contain nothing like we business folks generally relate to. The apps are dazzeling but once you get beyond that there isn't much there. It almost an XBOX full of Entertainment galore movie and mushic. Yet no Media Center. Oh well time will tell.

Thu, Nov 1, 2012 Todd Dallas, TX

"Not ready" is a pretty vague statement. The core OS is very solid. Yes, the WinRT out-of-the-box apps need improvement, but they work fine and can easily get updates. At least they don't crash hard and disappear like my iPhone apps do every single day.

Thu, Nov 1, 2012 David Ching

Who remembers when iOS lacked a clipboard? Not too long ago! All OS's are immature at first.

Wed, Oct 31, 2012 Jon Davis

"Windows 8 is brand-spanking-new, and Microsoft doesn't have a history in mobile computing yet." This article lost all credibility with this statement. Was its author born yesterday? Microsoft, not Apple, pioneered mobile computing with Windows XP Tablet Edition and Windows Mobile from a decade ago. Apple had the upper hand only because they had a greenfield opportunity to learn from Microsoft's dismal failures, as Microsoft clung to its existing architecture, design, and user base for too long. No history in mobile computing?!! Such words make me want to hurl my Android I'm reading from at the wall!!

Thu, Oct 25, 2012 Kevin

Even if it is not totally ready for prime time, It has to be an improvement over Android and iOS. And with the large number of seasoned developers in MS platforms, the number of totally worthless memory consuming apps will catch up with Android and Apple in no time. On another note, having started coding on MS-DOS 1.25, the complexity and ease of today's operating systems make putting up a with a few bugs not real concern for me. Take the mouse away and very few people could even run a computer these days. I find it incredible that these buggy MS operating systems run over 80% of the worlds servers. I'll take buggy Windows Server over Unix any day!

Tue, Oct 9, 2012 Greg New England

Well we should be used to buggy MS releases by now. Only been happening for nearly 30 years. In my short experience with IPAD, I still see a huge opportunity for something that is a computer and actually acts like one. IPAD while handy is little more than a toy. Too many Applized got to do it my way things. No file system, no built in usb, no easy way to emulate a mouse when RDP'd to a lap or desktop. Maybe MS will get it right enough to force the Applers to be more flexible.

Sat, Sep 29, 2012 David R Atlanta, GA

I've been running the RTM of Win 8 for a couple of weeks now. From the desktop perspective, once you make it a bit more like Win 7, it works great. However, on a desktop/notebook without a touch-screen, the Metro UI is pretty lame and just gets in the way... although I look forward to trying it out on a tablet. The built-in Metro apps, while not buggy, are certainly lacking in functionality and I hope they get updated very quickly.

Thu, Sep 27, 2012 Brian USA

There may be a difference in readiness between PRO and RT. The 16 million users aren't using RT. Intel is frozen out of the RT market, and sour grapes may be part of what we're hearing.

Thu, Sep 27, 2012 Dustin

@Giammin - I wouldn't call Windows Phone 7 a fiasco by any means... nor would I do so with Compact Framework since there is a lot of good technology built on top of or derived from it.

Thu, Sep 27, 2012 Deepak

Windows 8 "modern" interface sucks big time with mouse/keyboard interface. So if that's what Paul Otellini is trying to say, then I fully agree with him.

Thu, Sep 27, 2012 Kenneth Southern USA

Just remember WinRT devices are NOT Intel and will be out first. Sure they dont want to loose all those sales ;-)

Wed, Sep 26, 2012 giammin

[quote] Microsoft doesn't have a history in mobile computing yet. [/quote] unfortunately it did! and they all were a big fiasco windows mobile, compact framework, windows phone 7

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