Microsoft takes big gamble with Windows 8

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Microsoft campus Seattle

No one cares about operating systems any more

There are some who take the view that Microsoft software – whether that be operating system or Office – is now far less relevant and the company itself seems to have its doubts too.

Our story earlier today shows that UK resellers appear to concur with this view.


Quite simply, the universe has changed. The inevitable rise of tablets and smartphones means that very many people access the web using these devices, rather than using a notebook, a netbook or an Ultrabook for that matter. And to many people the operating system doesn’t matter in the slightest, whether it’s an Apple OS, an Android phone, or Windows 8.

It also, of course, means that an X86 CPU isn’t needed either and that must have some effect on Intel and AMD too.

That’s just one element of the equation. It’s clear that many large enterprises have still to move to Windows 7, never mind Windows 8 and shifting an operating system on a large scale is a headache for large companies. Add to the mix that Microsoft has introduced a tablet interface and it just adds another headache for support people. And as yet it’s not clear just how “instant on” a machine fitted with Windows 8 will be.

The economy is also another factor that has to be taken into consideration. With a continuing lack of confidence, large enterprises just don’t want to spend money while the public sector and government are also bound by the girdle of austerity.

The resellers we talked to today make another point about Windows 8 too – and that is most people prefer to wait a little until they’re sure that the OS is stable. One source told me last week that while his enterprise had shifted to Windows 7 as the corporate OS, it had a legacy Oracle application it had written and had to load a virtual copy of Windows XP in order to run that.

So that all took a little time to boot up and get going. Not all “legacy” applications run with Windows 7, as we’ve found out personally, and to our cost.

While it’s true that Microsoft needed to do something, and fast, on the tablet and smartphone front, it remains to be seen whether it’s been quite as nimble on its feet as it should have been.

I’ve tracked Microsoft for decades now, and despite its strengths in marketing, it’s not particularly good at inventing stuff – or innovating in the modern jargon. It just can’t play the monopoly game any more and handset manufacturers are not completely happy about using Intel chips and Microsoft software for their smartphones.

The fact is, they just don’t have to any more.

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