Windows 10: More Desktop Less Mobile Device

Windows 10: More Desktop Less Mobile Device

Wesley MurchisonMonday,27 October 2014

The Snap:

Microsoft as launched the next installment of its Windows Operating System. Called Windows 10, the new platform doesn’t much offer new features as bring back old ones. The start menu is back, though it looks more like a hybrid of the start screen, and the desktop is more prominent with the ability to us mobile apps in windows next to regular programs.

The Download:

With the announcement that Windows 10 will be released sometime next year, it has become officially accepted that Windows 8 was a flop. The fact that Microsoft felt compelled to skip a number in the serious is indication that the company wants to hit the reset button and start fresh.

The headline from major technology news sites sums up the consensus. Ars Technica claims that “Windows 10 doesn’t fix the desktop—it fixes Window 8’s reputation.” Venturebeat agrees, but goes a step further with their article’s headline reading: “Windows 10 is Microsoft’s big fat apology for Windows 8.”

But truly, the changes between Windows 10 and 8 are mostly superficial. The return of the start menu button and an emphasis back on the desktop is hardly a return to the pre-Windows 8 area of Windows 7, Vista and XP. The changes the Redmond-based company made are here to stay. At best, they can minimize the hybridization between mobile and desktop, but the need to compete, if only for strategic value, prevents Microsoft from turning the dial back to the good old days of PC dominance.

To be fair, it was a bold move by Microsoft to experiment in adapting its flagship product for the mobile age. Unfortunately, too many businesses and power users were in love with the desktop and start menu, not to mention the keyboard and mouse, to go in for the touchable start screen and tiles, no matter how animated. The problem was that they didn’t anticipate the blowback from changing such a core component of the PC. Truth be told, Microsoft learned a hard lesson: they aren’t Apple, nor Google, for that matter. They cannot influence the market or force a user’s behavior, at least not anymore. Partly it’s because they don’t have the lifestyle brand identity their competitors do. But actually they’re mostly a victim of their own success that’s compounded by a shift in the market.

Since the release of Windows 95 and the culmination of Windows XP as the most popular operating system, the PC and Windows OS have become synonymous terms. Windows pioneered a new level of business and home office productivity. The amount of work that people can do with a keyboard and mouse isn’t replicable with only a touch-screen, and sometimes stylus. Instead of recognizing that fundamental fact, Microsoft attempted to reuse an old play. Just like how they integrated Internet Explorer into an earlier version of Windows to supplant Netscape, Microsoft figured they could revamp Windows and parlay current desktop users into their mobile devices. Instead, the maneuver alienated their most loyal customers. (Users who’ve already settled on the Android OS as the mobile device platform of choice).

To rectify the damage done with Windows 8, Microsoft is skipping a number and releasing the next OS as number 10. Their reasoning has something to do with what they learned from another OS fiasco — Windows Vista. Even after bugs were repaired, driver software updated and hardware specs improved, the stigma against Vista couldn’t be cleansed. As Ars Technica’s Andrew Cunningham elaborates, Microsoft’s Mojave Experiment ad series attempted to convince users that using Vista dispelled the negative perception of the operating System.

“The point that the company inadvertently made was that Vista’s negative first impression had stuck, regardless of how much the operating system had improved since launch,” Cummingham wrote.

By putting some distance from Windows 8, Microsoft hopes to regain lost ground and assuage fears among CTOs that it’s safe to upgrade from Windows 7. This is even more apparent in not just the return of the desktop and start menu, but also how Windows 8 style mobile apps can be opened in windows like regular desktop applications. All together, these changes allow traditional Window users to dispense with the mobile features, almost completely, and recreate the desktop experience.

The next question is what’s in Microsoft’s mobile future. The market has essential convalesced around Android and Apple. There’s little room for a serious third player.

 

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Hat Tips:

Ars Technica, Venturebeat, Image Credit: Flickr



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