Windows 8 Concerns

Win­dows 8 con­cerns me great­ly.  It’s not that it’s the next thing that Microsoft wants to shove down our throats: I suc­cess­ful­ly avoid­ed DOS, ear­ly Win­dows and Vista.  That may seem like an odd list, but Microsoft cre­at­ed a fair­ly open plat­form in XP after it had beat­en every­one out of its var­i­ous pro­tect­ed areas (the office suite) and Win­dows 7 has been sim­i­lar­ly good to most peo­ple.

But Microsoft is run­ning scared again.  They’re loos­ing con­trol of the office and desk­top suite from every direc­tion.  There is, of course, Google and Apple, but there are also Valve.  The impor­tance of the “desk­top” is even giv­ing way to the impor­tance of enter­tain­ment (the flag­ship of which are games).  Run­ning scared brings out the worst in things.  Microsoft run­ning scared, with it’s enor­mous reserves of cash, is some­thing to be ner­vous about.

Microsoft has already led with a strate­gic casu­al­ty with Win­dows 8.  Nokia, which used to be a fine mak­er of phones, has near­ly col­lapsed with their bet on Win­dows 8 phones.  Microsoft has a his­to­ry of destroy­ing com­pa­nies with phones, but Nokia tried it any­way.  This dis­as­ter has tak­en Nokia from a top spot in the phone indus­try as a leader and mak­er of inno­v­a­tive prod­ucts to a last place fin­ish whose only strong prod­ucts are about to be obso­lete and for­got­ten in every mar­ket.

The suc­cess of Android (Google) and the ‘i’ devices (Apple) has been dri­ven strong­ly by their use of an inte­grat­ed store to allow easy pur­chase of “some­what” safe soft­ware by con­sumers.  Pur­chas­ing soft­ware has tra­di­tion­al­ly been dif­fi­cult and this prob­lem, in part, has aid­ed the rise of inter­net appli­ca­tions — that don’t require pur­chas­ing or instal­la­tion.  While many appli­ca­tions sold in these stores could be deliv­ered on the web, the option to go out­side the brows­er and deal with a more inte­grat­ed, pow­er­ful and fea­ture­ful plat­form has led many devel­op­ers to cre­ate prof­itable appli­ca­tions.  This surge is pushed for­ward not just by con­sumer pref­er­ence, but by the infor­ma­tion that can be data-mined from the con­sumer while they use these appli­ca­tions.

While sto­ries of these devices being hacked make the big head­lines, the pri­va­cy vio­la­tions and carte blanche offer­ing of con­sumers as prod­uct to busi­ness­es hun­gry for their data are the real sto­ry.  And while win­dows has been a open plat­form on which the indus­try (and pos­si­bly even soci­ety) has indeed prof­it­ed, Win­dows 8 marks Microsoft’s desire to join this par­ty.

Giv­en Microsoft’s past record and Win­dows 8’s fea­ture set, I am very con­cerned.

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One Response to Windows 8 Concerns

  1. dgilbert says:

    Just to add some­thing per­ti­nent, Slash­dot post­ed a link to an arti­cle today detail­ing how Sam­sung has over­tak­en Nokia as the top mobile phone man­u­fac­tur­er. Top­i­cal.

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