SmarterBits

June 12th 2011

Windows 8 is Fundamentally Stuck in the Past   

There is no basis for comparison of the two tablet strategies and neither approach is necessarily wrong yet because we are talking about a new category of computing that is currently a fad and will evolve into a mainstream category over time – and that will be shaped soley by consumer demand, not by what companies like Apple and Microsoft want us to think.

The above passage is from Aaron Holesgrove, in a post attempting to discredit John Gruber’s reasons why Windows 8 is fundamentally flawed as an iPad comptetitor. Whether you agree with Holesgrove’s petty semantic arguments or not (I don’t), he is right that both Microsoft and Apple are taking different approcahes to their mobile computing platforms. It’s unfortunate that he doesn’t realize that’s the flaw.

Gruber’s argument isn’t that Microsoft has a problem because it choose not to “copy” iOS; there isn’t anything wrong with having a different idea of the future of computing. The problem is that Microsoft sees the future of computing looking exactly as it does today and as it has for the last two decades. The Windows 8 demo showed just how attached Microsoft is to the Windows Operating platform going forward. Holesgrove thinks the iPad is merely a toy, but that’s because he -presumably- doesn’t enjoy Apple’s view of how computing ought to look like in the future. Holesgrove, both mistakenly and short-sightedly, believes that Windows 8 tablets aren’t trying to compete with the iPad, but rather against iPad and Mac computers together because he believes iOS devices are only complimentary to the Mac platform, while Microsoft is trying to create tablets that are “full screen computers”.  For Apple however, iOS is the future.  We’re already seeing that belief creep into Mac OS with Lion. Whenever Windows 8 actually ships, iOS and Mac OS will be well on their way to being indistinguishable from each other. Whether that’s the right approach or not is irrelevant. The point is that the folks at Cupertino believe a paradigm shift in computing is possible.

Conversely, Microsoft is unable to perceive the possibility of something, anything, beyond the status quo of computing today. That’s the fundamental flaw. 

For better or for worse, Microsoft leadership thinks Windows, as it is, will still be the best, most approchable computing operating system five, ten years down the road. Wherever big picture decisions are made in Redmond, it’s agreed that Windows Phone OS and the Metro UI are second class citizens to Windows. Merely compliments.

Too bad consumer demand has shown it’s time for a change.

Posted at 8:20pm and tagged with: tech, windows, 8, apple, ios, ipad, win8, readlater, one column,.

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