My beef with Windows 8 goes beyond just the limitations imposed by Metro. I am very unhappy with how Microsoft has handled criticism. They have played the “it’s just a beta” card several times. When that didn’t work, they moved on to it’s for our own good, followed by if you don’t like Metro there’s always the classic desktop.
Yes, the desktop is still available in Windows 8, but for how long? Out one side of its mouth, Microsoft tells us that the desktop will be a first class citizen, and out the other Microsoft limits its entry-level development tools to Metro-only.
Metro is clearly the favored child; and with good reason. Metro provides a unified interface across all devices, something Microsoft has made very clear is critical to their strategy.
In the face of this, I believe that it will not be long before critical applications start appearing in Metro-only versions. This statement triggers an instant attack by any fanboy: this is speculation and thus invalid. Arguments must be restricted to what exists today and what has been said in official statements by Microsoft.
Sorry, but no. The real world doesn’t work like that. I am a systems administrator, and a significant portion of my job is planning the infrastructure of today in the face of a plethora of information about the future. What I buy today impacts what I will end up using tomorrow.
At this point, everything boils down to trust. Microsoft fanboys the internet over are quick to point out that we are not forced to use Windows 8. Windows 7 will be around for a long time; should we dislike Windows 8, we can just exercise downgrade rights and stay with 7.
Try as I might, I cannot see the logic in this argument. “Staying with Windows 7” implies continuing to purchase Windows 7 licenses to meet future needs. But to what end? Microsoft has given no indication that they care about my concerns regarding their desktop interface. I see zero reason to have blind faith that it will somehow be addressed come Windows 9.
For me to continue to buy Windows 7, continue to develop new applications for the Windows platform and continue to invest in applications that run exclusively on Windows I need to have a great deal of trust that Microsoft will continue to produce a product that meets my needs well into the future.
Operating systems may refresh every few years. But accounting packages, industry specific software, custom middleware and so forth can last decades. I am no longer prepared to bet my business on Microsoft’s magnanimity, especially when their attitude towards legitimate criticism from their user base is at best dismissive and arrogant.
When the accounting package gets creaky and we start looking for a replacement, “requires Microsoft Windows” will be a deal breaker. Instead of investing in the next generation of Windows, it makes a lot more sense to spend the same money moving the last few Windows-only applications I have to something standards-based and cross platform.
Anything else just seems like gambling.