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Gartner: Windows 8 is a Necessary Risk for Microsoft

By - Source: Gartner | B 68 comments

Windows 8 is a necessary risk, says Gartner.

Analysts at Gartner said on Monday that Microsoft is making a big gamble with Windows 8, but a necessary one if the Redmond company wants to stay relevant in a multi-screen world.

The news arrives as the release date of Windows 8 grows near. Microsoft has received a lot of criticism for the new operating system's new touch-based focus, seemingly pushing aside the typical desktop user that has fed it millions for decades. Even Microsoft's own Steve Ballmer has admitted the importance of this launch, calling 2012 the company's most epic year.

As Michael Silver, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, points out, Windows was once a powerhouse for Microsoft when the PC platform dominated personal computing. However, smartphones and tablets, led by the iPhone and iPad, have changed the way people work. The PC is now one of many computing devices – a peer with several other gadgets that are more user-friendly on-the-go.

But with Windows 8, Microsoft is trying to play on the same level, to feed off the "excitement" of the tablet market by adding its own tablet-friendly features. "Microsoft's approach is very different from Apple's and Google's, where phones and tablets have much more commonality than PCs and tablets," Silver. "This plays to Microsoft's strength in PCs, leveraging it not only to enter the tablet market, but also to improve its share of the smartphone market." 

Steve Kleynhans, research vice president at Gartner, said the release of Windows 8 isn't your normal low or even high impact major release of Microsoft flagship platform. Instead, it's the start of a whole new era – an era that includes the launch of a new non-x86 platform for Microsoft: Windows RT. This ARM-based OS follows the NT era which began in 1993 and is just now starting to fade out. That said, Microsoft "eras" seem to last 20 years, so the foundation of Windows 8 should last for a long time.

Making radical changes to Windows poses a risk for Microsoft as organizations like to reduce technology risk by deploying mature, stable, well-supported products, the firm said on Monday. There's also the controversy surrounding the Modern UI – it looks appropriate on new form factors like tablets, hybrids and convertibles, but people are questioning its appropriateness for traditional desktop and notebook machines, which comprise the majority of the existing PC market.

Gartner believes that if Windows 8 on tablets is successful, it will have many impacts on organizations. It may also force IT to establish additional bring your own device (BYOD) programs, as it will be harder for IT to buy and support PCs the way they have for the past 20 years. Many workers will still want to use an iPad and a traditional notebook and others may want different, new devices.

"Windows 8 has been released to manufacturing and will be formally launched in October, but the reality is that most organizations are still working on eliminating Windows XP and deploying Windows 7," Silver said. "Organizations will need to decide whether they continue with Windows 7 and or consider Windows 8."

Additional information is available in the Gartner Special Report, "Is Windows 8 in Your Future?" which can be read here.


 

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Top Comments
  • 23 Hide
    phatboe , September 25, 2012 2:08 PM
    I think I am going to stick with the old era's OS. The new era's UI sucks badly.
  • 18 Hide
    Old_Fogie_Late_Bloomer , September 25, 2012 1:58 PM
    "Instead, it's the start of a whole new era..."
    More like the end of an era... :-(

    And yes, I know that one era has to end before another starts. "Start of a whole new era" makes it sound like what's coming is better than what's past..."end of an era" characterizes the situation much more accurately.
  • 17 Hide
    dark_knight33 , September 25, 2012 2:05 PM
    The issue isn't Microsoft's use of a touch centric UI for phones & tablets, the issue is forcing that UI on to a platform that is by a vast, vast majority dominated by a peripheral (kb & mouse) use. I don't know anyone at all that uses touch for interaction with an office or home PC. More-over, touch can in some instances slow down productivity. Copy/paste on android, iOS, and especially webos is a damned nightmare compared to selecting text with the mouse, and ctrl-c & ctrl-v your done. If Microsoft stopped trying to force a UI change, and allow it happen organically, the new OS would go from "a disaster" to another mediocre product. Nobody wants to be force fed changes, and so people will just cling to W7, like some still cling to XP, until the bitter end.
Other Comments
  • -5 Hide
    kensingtron , September 25, 2012 1:55 PM
    Nope
  • 18 Hide
    Old_Fogie_Late_Bloomer , September 25, 2012 1:58 PM
    "Instead, it's the start of a whole new era..."
    More like the end of an era... :-(

    And yes, I know that one era has to end before another starts. "Start of a whole new era" makes it sound like what's coming is better than what's past..."end of an era" characterizes the situation much more accurately.
  • 17 Hide
    bucknutty , September 25, 2012 2:04 PM
    I have been using windows 8 since the first consumer preview. I use almost every day on my laptop, and I have not grown to like it. I figured if I just used it enough I would like it, but that has not happend. The new resource manager is sweet though... i wonder if there is a way to port that to win7.
  • 17 Hide
    shafe88 , September 25, 2012 2:04 PM
    Quote:
    "Is Windows 8 in Your Future?"
    Nope, as I don't plan on buying a tablet any time soon.
  • 17 Hide
    dark_knight33 , September 25, 2012 2:05 PM
    The issue isn't Microsoft's use of a touch centric UI for phones & tablets, the issue is forcing that UI on to a platform that is by a vast, vast majority dominated by a peripheral (kb & mouse) use. I don't know anyone at all that uses touch for interaction with an office or home PC. More-over, touch can in some instances slow down productivity. Copy/paste on android, iOS, and especially webos is a damned nightmare compared to selecting text with the mouse, and ctrl-c & ctrl-v your done. If Microsoft stopped trying to force a UI change, and allow it happen organically, the new OS would go from "a disaster" to another mediocre product. Nobody wants to be force fed changes, and so people will just cling to W7, like some still cling to XP, until the bitter end.
  • 23 Hide
    phatboe , September 25, 2012 2:08 PM
    I think I am going to stick with the old era's OS. The new era's UI sucks badly.
  • 8 Hide
    braitBR , September 25, 2012 2:13 PM
    If it fails on the desktop, port every under the hood improvement to Windows 7
  • 11 Hide
    killerclick , September 25, 2012 2:25 PM
    The problem is not that Microsoft is focusing on handhelds and touch interfaces, they problem is they're forcing desktop users along the same path. Why wouldn't thy allow desktop users to completely bypass Metro if they want to? Not open the "desktop app", not switch back and forth between two incompatible halves of the same OS, but bypass it completely. Why not?

    Of course it's about the app store, the fact that Microsoft is looking to get 30% from every app sale, and they're willing to throw hundreds of millions of desktop Windows users under the bus to improve their bottom line.
  • 14 Hide
    killerclick , September 25, 2012 2:26 PM
    herbsthewerdDoes anyone believe that electronics manufactures will be producing products that DON'T have touch in 5 years?


    Sure, but it won't become a dominant interface for non-handheld devices. My screens are three feet away from me, I can't reach that far.
  • -2 Hide
    neiroatopelcc , September 25, 2012 2:32 PM
    bucknuttyIt may also force IT to establish additional bring your own device (BYOD) programs, as it will be harder for IT to buy and support PCs the way they have for the past 20 years.

    Couldn't be more true. We're looking at hdx based terminal servers with hardware passthru (directx powered software on servers), we've got email stored on outlook.com, we've got skyprinting and I've recently heard we're considering some apps for ios for one of our customers so they can access the sharepoint and stuff from their own crapple device.

    Centralized systems (appearently called clouds nowadays) and byod stuff is getting more and more popular.

    I foresee a future where users pxe boot a raspberry pi like thing to connect to a virtual desktop like citrix or vmware offers now, with usb passthru and hardware accelerated software running on shared hardware, and where everyone who pleases will use their own hardware with a little software client up the arse instead of those bricks provided by us.
    I'm talking 2-3 years or so tops here.
    A few more years in the future, and I think all highend gaming systems will be in clouds with some sort of payment plan or will be lowend casual gaming on consoles and via web browsers (html5, flash etc)
  • -2 Hide
    thecolorblue , September 25, 2012 2:52 PM
    "Michael Silver, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner"...

    stopped reading right there... scanned down for the inevitable link to Gartner's Sales website... found it.


    In conclusion... this entire article is an advertisement for Gartner.
    FAIL
  • 2 Hide
    Northwestern , September 25, 2012 2:58 PM
    It's understandable for Microsoft to enter the tablet market with a touch-friendly OS, but also using that very same OS in desktop environments?

    I can't bash too much on Windows 8 as I have not tried it but I don't need to test it in order to see the problems when you try to combine a physical mouse and keyboard with a tablet-oriented GUI.
  • 0 Hide
    hannibal , September 25, 2012 3:04 PM
    braitBRIf it fails on the desktop, port every under the hood improvement to Windows 7


    Not likely. The win 7 support will be security upgrades only when win 8 comes out. Maybe some small tinkering, but win 8 is so much more important to MS at this moment. It will allow commong core, common UI and common aplications in all possible platforms! It can be huge money mill to MS if and when win 8 brokes trough. Does it hapen with win 8, or a little face lift version of it as a win 9, does not matter to MS. If they make win 7 too good, it will slow down the movement to win 8 and eventually to win 9, so there is very little reason for MS (economically) to make win 7 much better.
    It is bad to us, but when you think how all the previous windows versions have developed after the new one did come to market, we can see that the old OS sees very little love by upgrades (the security upgrades are/have been quaranteed though).
    The win 8 includes some good upgrades over win 7, and win 9 will include more of them, so eventually we will move to new "tile age" if we want it or not...
  • -5 Hide
    Zetto , September 25, 2012 3:14 PM
    Just don't see your points guys, the UI is still the same, just a start screen instead of a start menu.
    Been using it on desktops, tablets and laptops, touch is just an option. It works the same as always with a mouse / kb, better actually. Desktops will go gesture, with kinect, not touch btw.
    Your comments make it sound like you haven't even tried it for more then a couple minutes.
    The start menu is gone in favour of a much better UI, get over it.
  • 1 Hide
    Nightsilver , September 25, 2012 3:19 PM
    The hell does Windows 8 have to do with "a multi-screen world"?
  • 7 Hide
    Old_Fogie_Late_Bloomer , September 25, 2012 3:27 PM
    herbsthewerdDoes anyone believe that electronics manufactures will be producing products that DON'T have touch in 5 years?

    They'd better still have products without touch in five years. Like I want to smear my fingers across a wide-gamut, matte display.
  • -4 Hide
    computernerdforlife , September 25, 2012 3:30 PM
    WIN8 CP runs great on my desktop. My credit card awaits this purchase.
  • 8 Hide
    Anonymous , September 25, 2012 3:34 PM
    Two potential marketing slogans for Windows 8: 1) From bicycle to unicycle, enjoy the commute. 2) Finally! An operating system more confusing than Linux.
  • 9 Hide
    camel82 , September 25, 2012 3:37 PM
    herbsthewerdDoes anyone believe that electronics manufactures will be producing products that DON'T have touch in 5 years?

    Do you believe humans will undergo to genetic engineering to fit the insane vision of Ballmer of meters long arms to use a large TV/desktop monitor by touch?
    Do you believe screen manufacturers will stop developing large entertainment displays so people can use smaller, more comfortable touch screens?
    Do you believe people will stop watching a large screen from the couch to enjoy premium HD content holding a 10" screen in their arms?
    Do you believe MS will stop selling/developing Kinect so the UI can stay touch centric everywhere rather than movement tracking centered when it needs?
    Do you understand your vision implies all those absurdities to happen at once? Someone please call the Ballmer-mobile!
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