It's not clear why Microsoft has no true Metro version of Office. Perhaps it's afraid that a Metro version -- which would be priced much cheaper, as mobile apps always seem to be -- would undercut its highly profitable Office sales and staunch one of Microsoft's big income flows. But the lack of a realistic mobile version of Office only depresses demand for mobile Windows, which will depress Office sales as people adopt other mobile OSes running other office productivity apps like Apple's iWork or Google's Quickoffice. Microsoft needs to bite the bullet and build Office for Metro. On the Windows Desktop, Office 2013 is great; Office for Metro needs to be great, too.
Microsoft did create one compelling app for Windows Phone that it wisely brought to Windows 8: the People app, which runs in Metro. It combines contact management and social networking, so you can go to any contact and participate in their social conversations in one place. It's a smart idea that originated in the defunct Palm WebOS, was adopted by the short-lived Microsoft Kin, and performed well in Windows Phone.
Although the Metro People app could run in Windows Red Pro's Desktop, we believe the app deserves to be a native Desktop app because it is so useful. As a Desktop app, it could be enhanced with capabilities such as group messaging, support for multiple simultaneous conversations, and perhaps some sort of Google Hangout-like video clustering. Integration, or at least symbiosis, with Skype and Microsoft Lync is also a natural Desktop extension.
Windows Red should be Windows 9
Microsoft almost never admits a mistake -- it's even more arrogant than Apple in this regard. Microsoft doesn't change its public plans either; for example, despite nine months of growing concerns over Windows 8 and Windows RT before official release, Microsoft shipped its new OSes as is, with zero adjustments to the chorus of criticism.
Fine -- Microsoft will release Windows 8.1 "Blue" this fall, with all signs indicating merely cosmetic changes. Users will again avoid Windows PCs and Windows tablets, ceding even more ground to iOS and Android. It's inevitable that 2013 is a lost year.
But Microsoft could aim to adopt Windows Red in 2014 -- maybe by spring -- and call it Windows 9. It need not say Windows 8 was a failure, just as it never admitted the Vista fiasco. It can simply move on to the "even better" Windows, as it did with Windows 7's release.
Sooner would be better, given Apple's continued work on iOS and Google's on Android -- the only two operating systems whose adoption is growing in any real way. At some point, it will be too late even for Microsoft despite its vast legacy user base, as BlackBerry discovered in a similarly disastrous slide.
Microsoft, please swallow your pride and take off your blinders. Take InfoWorld's Windows Red plan seriously, and save Windows for the long term.
Related stories: Windows 8 hands-on
- Watch out Apple, Windows 8 could trump the iPad
- Windows 8 review: Yes, it's that bad
- Windows 8: Yes, it's that bad, part 2
- Windows 8 book authors on Windows 8
- Deathmatch: Windows 8 vs. OS X Mountain Lion
- The 20 Windows 8 features you'll love most
- The hidden danger of touchscreens
Related stories: Windows 8 tablets, Windows Phone, and Metro apps
- Why Windows 8 tablets won't threaten the iPad (or Android)
- Surface Pro reviews are in, and the results are sobering
- Review: Microsoft's Surface RT will make even a fanboy cry
- App wars: Windows 8 Metro vs. the iPad
- Top Metro apps for power users
- Review: It's strike 3 for Windows Phone
- Mobile security: iOS vs. Android vs. BlackBerry vs. Windows Phone
Related stories: Alternatives to Windows 8
- Unhappy with Windows 8? Here are your options
- How to "downgrade" to Windows 7
- 9 Windows Start menus for Windows 8
- 10 must-have features for Windows 9
Related stories: Windows 8.1 "Blue"
- Windows "Blue": Microsoft blows it
- Forget about Windows "Blue" -- stay focused on Windows 7
- Windows "Blue" will leave Microsoft customers seeing red
- The Windows "Blue" burden: Saving the PC itself
This story, "How Windows Red can fix Windows 8: The right strategy for Microsoft," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.