I do have some advice for the Windows team. And it’s as obvious as it is necessary.
I always accepted the messy bits of Windows in the past because the system addressed such a large audience. But given the way things are going, Windows should evolve into a system that is laser targeted to the customers who will in fact continue using it regularly. That’s mostly business users, but even when you look at the consumers who will use Windows, that usage is almost entirely productivity related. Windows should focus on that. On getting work done. On an audience of doers. Job one should be productivity.
Everyone likes to compare Apple or the Mac to BMW and, you know what? Fair enough, and if that’s true then Windows is obviously GM, the overly-big messy GM of a decade ago. But Microsoft can’t afford for Windows to be like GM anymore—just like GM couldn’t, for whatever that’s worth. Maybe Windows needs to be more like GMC, the part of GM that only makes trucks (and truck-based SUVs). After all, while many people choose to use a truck for basic transportation, they’re really designed and optimized for work. You know, as should be Windows.
You can’t please everybody, Microsoft. So stop trying. It’s time to double down on the people who actually use your products, not some mythical group of consumers who will never stop using their simpler Android and iOS devices just because you wish they would.
Well, you know. I always slammed Apple and Android as being toy systems, entertainment OSes. And I said that for real productivity you wanted Windows, and its vast store of legacy software.
I still feel that way. I don’t use my Samsung smartphone for productivity, and so Android and its gigantic app store (of which I will never use more than the tiniest fraction of its offerings) works fine for me.
But I do use my Asus hybrid tablet for productivity, and so I really like the ability to switch between the Metro GUI (for use as a tablet consumption device) and the traditional Windows desktop for actual work using applications that aren’t available in any other mobile OS.
I haven’t found it terribly difficult to adjust to Windows 8, or 8.1. Of course, I’ve been adjusting to new OSes, and new generations of OSes, since the days of CP/M, and DOS. I use a couple of add-ons to make that separation sharper between mobile and desktop. Classic Shell gives me the start menu I’m used to, and Stardock’s Modern Mix opens Metro apps on the desktop – not a critical function for me, by the way. I don’t mind leaving the desktop to use Metro apps for consumption.
In short, I’m not as upset about Win 8.x as Paul Thurrot seems to be. Nonetheless, Thurrot and a couple of others are good windows (ahem) into the thinking inside Microsoft itself. If he’s talking like this for public consumption, I can only imagine what is being said behind closed doors in Redmond.