Windows 8 – Tiles are nice, but alas!, it doesn’t run X86

Windows 8 Unveiled. – Years after MS have hired some nice guys to do their new Windows 8 UI. The Tiles ( Metro Style ) are a nice concept (for a tablet), novel, intuitive and innovative, pundits already touts an iPad killer Windows 8 tablets in the works, except one big problem they don’t see, that it ain’t run any of X86 legacy code yet. (Normal Windows Apps).

The UI is nice, but what if when the user looks for the famous Office™ icon here?

Microsoft is struggling to remain in relevant with the promise of another new edition of Windows where everything about its core legacy is now covered up with an animated web-based distraction layer called Metro. Inherited from the Windows 7 Phone interface, it’s nice in rival concept, if Apple can turn Mac OSX into iOS and iPad apps, so can Microsoft, right?

Except one fundamental flow in their new concept which pundits fail to see. Companies make blunders in many forms, Microsoft has many references on this regard. Anyone remember Tablet PC, Windows CE, Windows Mobile, Kin, Zune like me too copies? Nokia’s current situation is another, here I have written another. These seemed good sound business decisions at once. It’s not that you can’t try new and success. It’s that if they are flowed from start due to wrong intentions or lack of analysis. They are “destined” to fail anyway. Company’s should invent itself and initiate new risks looking at their own core strengths rather than looking at others’ success on a particular field. This is where they are doomed.

Microsoft surely need its presence in mobile space now. Runaway success of iOS and Android made anyone envy. But MS trying many things since Palm Pilot days to copying others’ success but without any significant success, or a real road map. This novel App Tiles idea is nice for different a start, for ripping off and copying anything else in iOS success. But it directly contradicts MS’s own core efforts to preserve its Windows and MS Office legacy which is still their cash cow. Holy cow, MS now suggesting the top way to build apps is pure HTML seems MS eats its own dog food. Since when HTML 5 became stronger app platform and MS new motto? Forgetting something Microsoft fought and learned from the Netscape/ IE days and introduced Silverlight as an Adobe Flash-like alternative and HTML5 (Chrome Desktop) to make sure Windows remain dominant in desktop space. It’s again like MS is trying to paint itself in Apple’s shoes now. It is like that the desktop is no longer relevant. Or is it? The desktop wars were long ended and MS had won it. It has to preserve the legacy Windows was built upon while driving it to the future. The problem is, unlike in the history that initial MS’s Mac Office did bring in actual Windows success later. (Anyone questions please do read how MS Office and Windows came to be)

Apple even didn’t bring Mac OSX desktop apps to its iOS, it only merged the core technology behind and invent itself a new category of multi-touch applications commonly refers as Apps where no Mac OS X user expects iPhone or iPad to run their conventional Mac OSX desktop apps on them. The beauty is if Apple ever wanted them to be, technically they can do that since this is all the same Coca APIs and Touch Frameworks out of the Xcode. In software perspectives this is “All new ball game” and much easier to convince developers!

Microsoft on the other-hand, naming this web-apps only layer for tables as Windows 8 gives a BIG false hope for the user that they will run their typical Windows Apps. When they find that they DON’T here goes another MS vaporware down the drain. Announcing this without ever getting ready to port it’s Windows native APIs for developers or at least without showing much interest in bringing its own cash cow Office Apps to the Windows 8 tablets MS is again digging itself down. In contrast Apple released redesigned multi-touch enabled iWork alongside the first iPad launch even though iPad buyers did not initially except iPad to run iWork, when it did they found it as a bonus surprise!

Why has Microsoft been so slow and lame in seeing or showing any benefit to bring in its all successful desktop class software titles to the Win 8 tablets is anyone’s guess. Doesn’t it sees MS Office does make good money in Tablets and lock on the enterprise? The real issue is here that even for the biggest software maker on earth it takes enormous amount of time, resources and money. MS can not port it’s all legacy Windows APIs to ARM chip (the processor found on 99% tablets) and beyond (remember Intel, sluggish Atom Netbooks anyone?) and let developers to build successful Windows native applications for these ARM based new world of energy efficient multi-touch devices.

People who tout Adobe Flash too, remember Flash was developed as single input device platform in mind (mouse). Adobe now can’t run back and redesigned it as multi-touch finger friendly energy efficient platform. These are dead platforms on mobile.

Egg before the hen issue here, any potential buyer who buys these Windows 8 tablets will expect them to run Windows applications (Native). So let alone buyers, why on earth any manufacture agrees to build such a tablet device instead of loyalty free Android is the real question, on the other hand if you take iPad, which already has the economy of scale, apps and these already runs all Windows applications by the form of Citrix like remote desktop, visualization or by some other form of software. (For Eg: Documents to Go, QuickOffice)

Windows 8 will shatter the tablet market, oh.. yeah YOURS truly!

Looks like Windows is heading to the wilderness to me, a road to oblivion?

The only thing Windows 8 will do for tablets is to fragment non Apple fans between Android and Windows 8, making it easier for Apple to lead the tablet market even further. It will also fragment the efforts of companies like Samsung and HTC (HP and BB now out) as they are trying to decide which platform makes most of the sense for them. Most of them will stick with Android for obvious reasons.

Microsoft’s experiments with a web-apps-tablet by the name of Windows (it sounds full pledge Windows PC to (me) the people. Except that it isn’t. It  confuses many and add evidence to the already Dead-On-Arrival HP’s WebOS Tablets and BlackBerry PlayBook lukewarm interest. Remember those webOS and Google’s Chrome OS devices were similar but mature (Actually shipping devices!). Both are another two ways of delivering a non-Windows, web-based experience on low power devices which hasn’t shown any commercial success yet.

So here we go, while Apple only faces a single credible competitor in smartphones, it appears there will be multiple disjointed efforts among tablets partners to prevent any one brand generating enough muscle to challenge the original iPad. Microsoft’s hoax “animated web-based Windows Metro distraction layer” wowed some pundits, but it’s just another skin of Kin, Zune or Windows Vista.

Even my 2 year old little is so obsessed with post PC multi-touch devices I can clearly see that the iPad credibly challenges the conventional PC market for certain tasks, she will hold no resemblance to our “beige boxed PCs” with attached keyboards nor she will ever make sense of it. But there will still be much life left on the PC platforms at least till my keyboard loved generation dies and as long as enterprise love the PCs. So Microsoft has to paint that future for Windows without trying to do all-in-one soup.

Funny Microsoft tries to make a web-application device in 2012 (out by when?) by sacrificing its core strength of Windows and it’s Office Suite in it. Plam tested this and now Rests in Peace, HP is in flames of shame. BlackBerry still digs their burial, Nokia is just figuring out what hit them, when and how. And now I guess MS is just started of seeing the deadly ghosts of AppStore sans first iPhone feature presentation of Steve Jobs in 2007. If they think of AppStore and Android success I am sure they pee on their pants!

Whether Microsoft can deliver Metro Office apps interesting enough to spur demand for Windows 8 tablets, or whether Windows 8 tablets will find a market without critical apps such as Office, are important issues Microsoft leaves completely unanswered.


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