Is Calling Windows 8 The Next ME/Vista A Fair Comparison?

Windows 8 has often drawn comparisons from skeptics out there, that range from calling it another “Vista” or even referring back to the awful disaster that was “Windows ME”.

If you liked Windows ME (I know there are a few of you out there), that’s okay as long as you recognize that for most people it was a bad experience filled with bugs and crashes.

It really is frustrating to me, personally when they make comparisons to either of these. It isn’t because I’m some huge Microsoft supporter, because I’m not. It is simply that it doesn’t make for a very good comparison.

Windows Vista did poorly because it was slow, had several annoying bugs, and really brought nothing to the table that XP couldn’t do. Windows ME did poorly because it attempted to improve on Windows 98 but only ended up bringing tons of new bugs out to play, additionally because it was built on a dying kernel.

Yes, Windows Developer Preview might have some bugs, but it is a pre-BETA.

It really is unreasonable to compare pre-BETA software to fully released products like Windows Vista and ME. Additionally, even basing WDP in its current state versus Vista/ME it still runs rather fast and in a stable condition especially when you consider its pre-BETA status.

For a preview version, the stability present in WDP is very good. So, there is no way it will go down the tubes because of speed or stability if they keep things up as they have.

So what are they really complaining about in these comparisons? They are probably talking more about how ME and Vista were flops, and that changes in Windows 8 (like METRO) will make it a flop, too. Still, I think it’s just way to early to make such a call.

That being said, is it going to be a guaranteed runaway success? No matter how we look at it, Windows 8 is a gamble. It takes Phone 7’s less-than-proven interface and drags it over to the desktop. With Windows 8, desktop-style users are being forced to make a change in the way they do things, probably the biggest change since Windows 95 hit the market.

So why put all your cards in one basket? Couldn’t Microsoft have minimized risk by making a tablet-version of Windows 8 that uses Metro and then leaving Metro out of the desktop? Yes, they could have. The problem is they wanted to attract its loyal base of developers.

If METRO was only a tablet product, it wouldn’t get the developer app attention. By allowing METRO apps in the desktop, it means that a huge arsenal of developer interest in desktop/laptop apps follows.

It is an interesting strategy, and probably the best that anyone could have come up with. Again, does this mean its going to be a success? I do not own a crystal ball and will not make such wide assumptions. I can tell you that IF it fails, it will not be the next Windows ME or Vista. It may have the POPULARITY of these versions if it fails, but a better comparison would probably be Windows CE (and Windows Mobile) at this point.

Looking at the bigger picture, drawing in all the developers it can to make Metro apps will only help its mobile market. This makes Windows 8 a bit of a Trojan horse, designed to inspire app development that can in short be taken back to the tablet/smartphone scene, and even possibly Xbox apps as well.

So what do you think of Windows 8 so far? Is it better to compare to Windows CE/Mobile or is the Vista/ME comparisons out there fair? Share your thoughts below.

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