Corporate IT departments were looking to Microsoft to produce a tablet OS that supported integration with their existing desktop and device security policies, not to release a one-off product that only offers management benefits if you happen to use a cloud service. This is a complete non-issue for consumers, but it's a huge miss for enterprises. Couple this with the huge architectural change in the Windows 8 user interface-no start screen; a "redesigned" touch-based, no-chrome UI lacking menu bars, scroll bars or other options; putting the tablet-friendly Metro interface first and the desktop a distant second, and so on. Business users want consistency. CIOs don't want to have to purchase licenses for a new OS that it will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to train employees to use properly.
These are just a few examples of how Microsoft is tilting to the consumer and away from the business users that have made it a cash cow for so long-all while maintaining that enterprise is the bread and butter of the company.
3. Windows is driving many decisions across Microsoft -- and not just with the OS.
Along with the huge consumer focus, I submit Exhibit C for your consideration: the early decision to cripple Visual Studio Express, the free version of the development tool, from producing any standard Windows applications.
To be fair, this decision was reversed last week when (yet another) new SKU of Visual Studio 2012 Express was created for desktop developments. Originally, though, the plan from Redmond was that you'd have to pony up several hundred, if not thousands, of dollars per developer to create standard Windows applications based on the .NET Framework, Windows Forms, and so on.
I found it amazing that Visual Studio Express, which historically has been able to create most applications-albeit without the bells, whistles and accoutrements that beefed-up Visual Studio versions have had- was going to be restricted to developing only Metro-style apps for Windows 8, Windows RT (the tablet) and, presumably, Windows Phone 7.5 and whatever the next version will be called.
The message, regardless of the decision's reversal? Please write apps for our consumer products, not your next line-of-business custom program. This move would have been a huge swing. Microsoft has always been about making it as easy and as fast as possible to develop for Windows in any way, shape or form. Think back to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and his hooting and hollering about "developers, developers, developers!"
The Visual Studio Express decision is such antipattern that it had to have been driven from the Windows division, headed by Steven Sinofsky. It seems that the Developer Division, where all the developer tools come from, basically had to fall in line. Ultimately, the Windows client rules the roost at Microsoft these days-and the results aren't always pretty.