The Great Windows 8 Debate: Will It Fly or Fail?

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To say Microsoft has a lot riding on Windows 8 would be an understatement. Everything is riding on the launch of this OS, which will run on everything from tablets and laptops to desktops and all-in-ones--not to mention a whole new breed of hybrid devices that will combine aspects of notebooks and slates. Why is it such a big bet? Because even though the traditional Windows desktop will still be present, the Modern-style, Live Tile interface will define the user experience. 

Receptivity among consumers for this new look and feel will be absolutely paramount, not only because it could make or break the Windows franchise but because it will need to have a halo effect on Windows Phones to sell more of those devices. To weigh in on the merits of Windows 8 and the challenges it faces I put together a video roundtable starring renowned Microsoft watchers Mary Jo Foley and Ed Bott, as well as Laptopmag Online Editorial Director Avram Piltch, who wrote our Windows 8 Review.

Here are the video highlights of our wide-ranging conversation.

Microsoft Surface Rumors: Is $199 Realistic?

It sounds too good to be true--and probably is. A couple of sites have reported that Microsoft's Surface tablet will be priced the same as the Nexus 7. Could it happen? Maybe, if certain services are bundled.

Windows 8: What Microsoft Has Done Right?

Ed Bott argues that Windows 8 is much faster than Windows 7, so Microsoft deserves credit for the performance boost. Syncing with the cloud is also seamless via services like SkyDrive.

Modern Interface Pros & Cons

According to Mary Jo Foley, consumers will gravitate towards Windows 8 but business users are going to be very surprised and lots of training will be required. 

Multitasking: Too Hard or Minor Learning Curve?

Switching between apps in Windows 8 is swift on touchscreen devices, but not so much on the desktop. Avram Piltch sounds off.

Windows 8 vs Windows RT

It's clear that Microsoft is targeting two different audiences with these two flavors of the new windows. Think of RT as the direct challenge to the iPad.

Hybrid Hype: Do Consumers Want Tablet-Laptop Combos?

Microsoft and its partners are placing a big bet on devices that combine touch and keyboard. Will consumers bite?

Author Bio
Mark Spoonauer
Mark Spoonauer, LAPTOP Editor in Chief
Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.
Mark Spoonauer, LAPTOP Editor in Chief on
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  • Deb B Says:


  • Mike Says:

    I'm a Mac switcher. In fact, my last 5 months on my previous notebook were spent on Xubuntu Linux - which took some work to get running, but nonetheless.

    I found it INCREDIBLY easy to learn the Mac interface (in the eyes of a switcher). Yes, I've had experience with it before, but everything is just so easy. And yes, I used to "LOVE" Windows. When I was younger, I was almost bursting to get Windows XP - now, after 8 years, using is just like: "Oh. Another Day. Another glitch on the network..."

    Windows 8 doesn't seem to look like it will swim. I saw one of the RC releases, thanks to a friend. Metro really looked dumb. I saw a post on an aviation forum. They showed a screen-snap of an AOL service from the early 90's (Early internet days) with a remarkably similar Metro style interface. Really makes you think, doesn't it?

  • Doug W Says:

    I think you have done a great job of reviewing Windows 8 and organizing the analysis. My opinion is Microsoft has also done a very good job of blending two worlds and the concept of detachable screens "tablets" from the Ultrabook or larger all in one replacement desktop is bold but will prove to be very useful.

    Change is hard but innovation when its evolutionary is practical and positive. I applaud Microsoft for taking these design steps and innovating for us. As business professionals we all us Office and we need phones that are well integrated and better content consumption devices shouldn't require a different OS or device.

    I have used and owned them all, iPhones, iPad, Android, Windows PCs, and MacBook, etc. I am looking forward to an integrated and convenient and entertaining but business productive computing experience. So far, Microsoft it looks really promising.

  • Mark Says:

    "Mary Jo Foley, consumers will gravitate towards Windows 8 but business users are going to be very surprised and lots of training will be required. "

    How much does Microsoft pay Mary Jo to be a proponent for Windows 8.
    Her arguments and rationalizations just don't make sense.

    Windows 8 is an attempt to compete with the iPad. Microsoft has already failed miserably with the Zune as an alternative to the iPod.

    The decision to ram Metro down the throats of all Windows users is suicidal. Metro on the desktop is a load of crap.
    Users do not want Metro on the desktop. They want a stable product that gets incremental improvements.
    Windows 8 offers the desktop none of that.

    Users want to invest in a platform that is consistant and they can trust will be there for the long haul.
    With Windows 8, Microsoft has lost all credibility and it starting all over as a company who is looking to a new revenue stream from tightly controlling their customers.

    The beauty of Microsoft over Apple was it's open nature which did not lockup its users.

    Apple will crush Microsoft if they don't retreat and support their customers.

  • Phil T Says:

    I agree 100% with what Avram Piltch had to say about the obtrusiveness of having to use two different interfaces. It's as if Microsoft was uncertain on whether or not the metro (tile) interface would work, so they just decided to be safe and throw the desktop interface in the background to do all the work. Having two different interfaces makes absolutely no sense. Would have loved the "Metro" only interface with all the programs simply working from that single interface. With my experiences with the consumer preview, I would say:
    If you are in the market for a PC, buy an Apple or make sure to have Windows 7 on hand. If you're in the market for a tablet, buy an ipad (for now). If you want an inexpensive tablet, wait to see how much the surface is going to cost.

    Another thing I want to say is that Microsoft's way of doing business it terrible. I have a Microsoft computer and even a WP and I love both (not an Apple fanboy by any means), but the way they handle pricing is criminal. Buy an Xbox and pay monthly for online services, pay monthly to get a zune pass, and yesterday I found out that I have to subscribe to Skype platinum (or something) to use Screen Sharing again! Microsoft does bad business.

  • Peter Bayliss Says:

    Metro is just plain ugly and clunky on a desktop i will be sticking with Win 7 on my desktop and Android on my phone. Microsoft are making a mistake forcing Metro and the walled garden approach on users. Linux will be my next desktop o/s if this is all Microsoft can do. Abdroud for desktop anyone?.

  • Jim Falllon Says:

    Love this format of debate and conversation. This is the web 2012 in action. I think its Microsofts job to educate at this point. They can't just throw the baby in the pool and expect it to swim. There should be a tutorial button on ever app screen, after all there is plenty of room on those swipe bars!

  • Vikrom Says:

    Looks like Avram Piltch has very basic knowledge about windows 8

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