Since writing my first real critical piece on a Microsoft product, about Windows 8 Consumer Preview "Frankenstein," in my three years with InfoWorld, I've received a slew of feedback and criticism. Many readers have asked if my remarks on Windows 8 were a prediction on the future of Microsoft. I'm not saying Microsoft is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions, with human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, and mass hysteria. No, it's my honest feedback to both Microsoft and readers.
First off, let me officially say I haven't turned my back on Microsoft. I love Microsoft and continue to be a loyalist. But I'm also a journalist, and it's my responsibility to present to my readers what I see as truth. In this case, I classify myself as a voice of reason.
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To me, Windows 8 has the "Star Wars" problem. The original three movies were awesome. The galaxy far, far away took on a life of its own, and its fans were committed. Then years later, George Lucas came out with episode 1, featuring tons of special effects, as well as Jar Jar Binks, midi-chlorian organisms, and an Anakin with no father (implying by his mother an immaculate conception) -- I can go on. The community erupted with anger. If only someone had told Lucas ahead of time that these things were a mistake! Maybe they did. Maybe he just didn't listen.
That's the role I find myself in now. How many flatterers surrounding Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Windows president Steve Sinofsky are saying, "Metro looks great on my desktop! Ignore the naysayers!"
These people are not true friends. A true friend stops you before you go out the door with your fly down and tells you to zip up. A true friend says, "Hey, those pants are too tight." I am a true friend to Microsoft. I'm willing to say, before the final release of Windows 8, that this is a mistake, and here are some ways to improve the product.
We need a tablet OS. Windows 8 is just that. It's also a solid upgrade to Windows Phone 7. But in much the same way my wife (who owns an iPad) wouldn't want the iPad's iOS on her desktop, I don't want my tablet OS on my desktop. And though touchscreens are all the rage in some environments (such as conferences, hotels, and hospitals), I don't want them in my office. I like using a mouse, and I prefer horizontal scrolling to vertical scrolling. Yes, I know it means two different OSes, but if Apple can pull that off, so can Microsoft.