Monday, 29 October 2012

Why do I want Windows 8 to fail?

I catch myself going through forums and postings and checking all the reactions to Windows 8.  I can feel myself tightening up when I see positive postings about Windows 8: I want it to fail for some reason....but why?

In the dim and distant past I took against Microsoft after they "killed" Netscape Navigator.  At the time it was the techies browser of choice: and I blamed MS for its demise: probably correctly.  I felt that MS saw that it was superior to IE and rather than improve their own product they attacked the competition.

These days its Apple who are attempting to kill all opponents who threaten their hegemony: come on can you really patent square boxes with rounded corners?  In an American court, apparently yes: but that has more to do with protecting US firms from international competition than anything else. Of course Apple are not the only ones playing this game: most of the big players are either trying to buy up patents to head off the threat of the courts: or bringing cases to court under patent law to attempt to block competitors.

Microsoft are no great exponents of free competition: but there are far worse offenders these days.

How come I feel more negatively towards them than say: Apple or Google?

Apple are the ultimate "walled garden" where you do it their way: or its the highway.  In terms of software you never really "own" anything any more: you just rent it from some mega US corporation: not that many people realize this: how many read the small print on the licensing agreements?  The new approach seems to be that everyone wants to create an "ecosystem" where you are stuck with their products: all of which work very well with their other products: and not at all with those of the competition.

Why do I,  for some reason,  prefer Google?  I don't go round looking for reasons to dislike Android: in fact I usually favour it over alternatives such as IOS or Windows Phone.  There are some good reasons: I do tend to use their services more.  I prefer Google+ to Facebook,  for example.  Lots of people think that G+ has "failed" because most people still prefer Facebook: I tend not to agree on that point: I think if google play the long game with this they could still win out.   This worked for GMail which was way behind the competition at one point: and these days its out ahead: I prefer it and now use it more than my regular E mail (SMTP) even though I have my own domain so that I can use personalised E mail addresses.  Its just so much easier to have the same mail on your computer,  work PC,  phone etc.

Bill Gates has given more money to charity than anyone else in history: I read somewhere that he is close to defeating some diseases on his own.  I strongly approve of the way he has used his earnings: he's an example to the others out there.  This still does not make me like Microsoft.

The competition is not as good as it should be: certainly in the mobile sphere.  Android is a great platform: in the eyes of myself and many others its not out ahead in terms of functionality and speed compared to IOS or Windows Phone.  However: there's an issue with Android: its almost impossible for people who already own an android phone to upgrade it to the latest version.  Around a year or 2 ago android started running ahead of the competition in terms of functionality: but that is no good to anyone if most people cannot get the latest and greatest versions.  If your phone supplier does not release an update for your particular phone you are stuck.  Take Motorola for example,  they are now owned by google and yet they recently greatly reduced the number of their handsets that would get android upgrades.  People had bought Motorola phones on the promise of future upgrades: but Motorola decided that since they would not directly profit from doing so: they would not bother.

I bought a £50 handset a while back to help with keeping in touch with agents during my jobsearch and interviews.  Unsurprisingly it came with a very early version of Android and was underpowered and underwhelming: not that I expected much more for £50 to be fair.  Now that I have time on my hands I've rooted it,  flashed it with Cyanogenmod and overclocked the hardware.  Its still no speed freak: but its so much better than it was : there's just no comparison: and that only took it up to gingerbread!  How many non IT people are going to take a chance with bricking their phone to achieve the same: very few I would suspect.  They will be stuck with all sorts of bloatware supplied by their telco: probably loads of adware selling their personal information and taking up their bandwidth and an operating system so old that it runs almost twice as slowly as the latest versions.

I had an iPhone 4S for work (had being the operative term here,  of course) : never liked it much.  I hated iTunes on any machine: buggy and very slow.  I did not like the app store.  I did not like that you could not add to the memory using a cheap card.  I did not like that I could not replace the battery myself.  For many people,  having an iPhone is great: we don't all want to play around with our hardware/software: for many something "that just works" (excepting their maps post IOS5 of course) is the correct answer.  However,  for many of us,  the price would be a huge issue: you can get a Nexus for almost half the price of an equivalent iPhone: in these times of austerity its hard to argue the iPhone is a good financial investment.

So after all that rambling: back to Windows 8.  I still want it to fail.  In one sense,  it really can't totally fail.  I use linux at home: but would I suggest it for laptops and workstations in a work environment: of course not: and for good reason.  Ever tried mapping a drive in a linux distro?  How about if you have "unusual" wireless hardware?  You are stuck.  Is there really a market for apple workstations in the enterprise: I would suggest that history would say "no".   So it will still be MS on your work PC or laptop.  There are no good alternatives to active directory or group policies which would make installing an alternative OS in the enterprise remotely realistic.  If there are and I'm just plain wrong: please let me know: comment on this posting.

I do think that Windows 8 is going to struggle though.  Are enterprise users really going to use/need "modern UI" : surely not.  It has to be a mistake to foist this upon them.  These days its fashionable to foist a tablet UI on everyone: this is where all the growth in the market is,  right?  OK: up to a point,  Lord Copper: but all those business PCs are not going away just yet.  Can you see yourself stabbing away at a touchscreen at work in the near future,  no,  neither can I.

I suspect that windows 9 will be much better: people will move on and stop worrying.  By that time,  I would suspect that Nokia will have gone bust,  the people who bought windows 7 phones and then found that they could no upgrade to windows 8 and were stuck with obsolete hardware will have moved to apple or google: and windows 8 on phones will be a distant memory.

Microsoft will still be with us,  but they are struggling.  For some reason I want them to struggle: but logically I can't really justify my position.  Does anyone have any thoughts on the matter?


Soul Brother No. 7 said...

It's 100% emotional. Like sports teams, the platform wars have become an emotional attachment space.

Phil Mulley said...

You could be on to something there

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