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Windows 8? Big Yawn

Have you seen all the upcoming changes in Windows Explorer for Windows 8? Most all the world's techies have by now. Microsoft's blogging about it on its informative new site. There's a lot of cool new stuff in it; new functionality that'll certainly improve the Windows experience.

And you know what? I don't care.

This isn't to imply that Microsoft isn't doing good work; it's clear that they're listening to customer feedback ("telemetry" seems to be the phrase du jour regarding Windows 8 now. It's used time and again as a stand-in for "the data we get from users who allow us to log information on how they use Windows".) Results of that feedback are showing up on the Explorer's ribbon interface, right down to the percentages of folks who use Copy, Rename and Edit.

I still don't care.

I don't care because people want to know a few simple things about Windows 8, and these plumbing updates don't answer those questions. The real questions to which they want answers are things like: "How will the OS handle touchscreen gestures?" "What will the tablet interface look like?" "Will there be an app store with it?" In other words, how iPad-like will it be?

Developers have different questions, that also don't have anything to do with telemetry. Things like: "What about this HTML5/JavaScript partnership?" "Is Silverlight finished?" "Did I hitch my wagon to the .NET Framework for nothing?"

Frankly, I don't think most folks are wondering about mundane functionality like how the file name collision experience has been overhauled. Again, good, important stuff. But answers to questions that aren't being asked.

Another factor seemingly lost in all the hype over Windows 8 is this: Windows 7 is great. It's Microsoft's best-ever operating system, by a pretty wide margin. And it hasn't been out that long, either. Users are taking to it in much the way they did Windows XP. For Redmond, that's a very good thing. It also means that most of us, me included, won't be looking to upgrade for some time yet.

No matter how awe-inspiring Windows 8 is, the vast majority, having recently upgraded to Windows 7, will view Windows 8 with interest, maybe even enthusiasm. But not buying-level excitement.

Not yet, anyway.

Posted by Keith Ward on 08/31/2011

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