EXCLUSIVE – Windows 8 Interview with PCWorld’s Tony Bradley

Tony-Bradley1

The best part of owning this blog is getting to meet and interview some of the smartest minds in technology today.

I met Tony Bradley at the Windows 8 MVP Nation conference  in Seattle a few weeks ago. I was extremely impressed by his depth of knowledge of Windows at the enterprise level.

For those of you who don’t know, Tony Bradley is a technology and information security writer. His primarily role is the Network columnist and blogger for PCWorld.

He is an experienced information security professional, author, and speaker. He’s also the author/co-author of 10 books, and hundreds of web and print articles.

In addition, he has been awarded the Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional) award in security for five consecutive years, and he has been a CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) since 2002.

Tony was gracious enough to give me some of his time for an interview as part of my Windows 8 Interview series.

The transcript is below:

Onuora: Tony, thanks for making some time to do this. First of all, could you tell us a bit about your background?
Tony: I am a freelance tech writer, writing primarily for PC World with my Net Work blog and column. I have been using PCs since I taught myself BASIC on my Commodore 64, and I have been using Windows since installing Windows 3.0 over DOS. In a former life, I’ve done tech support and help desk stuff, been an IT admin, and worked as a security consultant. I am an MCSE, MCSA, and CISSP-ISSAP, and I have been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for six consecutive years.

Onuora: I assume you’ve had a chance to see and play with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, what were your first impressions?
Tony: Honestly, my first impression is that it seems like Windows 7 with a flashy, but annoying layer on top of it. I love Windows 7. Since Windows 7 launched, I’ve wondered what Microsoft could do next to top or improve it. I’m not sure Windows 8 will do it.

Onuora: What do you think of the Windows 8 Metro interface?
Tony: My previous response notwithstanding, I like the Metro interface. I appreciate it on Windows Phone, and I like it on the Xbox 360. I think it will be great on Windows 8 tablets, and it could work if OEMs make ultrabooks with a touchscreen display. But, on my existing Dell XPS M1330, I’m not really a fan. I feel like it just gets in the way of using Windows.

Onuora: What do you think of the overall Windows 8 vision?
Tony: I like it. I think it is a bold direction for Microsoft, and I commend Redmond for having the conviction to make such a dramatic departure from its established model and move toward an OS that embraces mobile devices and works on across more platforms.

Onuora: Have you had a chance to check out the development tools – Visual Studio etc?
Tony: No. Not yet.

Onuora: What role do you see Windows 8 playing in the enterprise?
Tony: Most organizations just finally got on the Windows 7 bandwagon. Microsoft just announced the two year countdown to the end of Windows XP support, so many companies will be scrambling just to test and deploy Windows 7 by 2014. On the desktop, I think it will be a while before enterprises are deploying Windows 8 in volume. However, Windows 8 tablets could change mobility in the enterprise. IT admins will appreciate tablets that can be joined to and managed from the domain network, and users will appreciate a consistent interface and applications between the desktop and tablet.

Onuora: What do you think about having Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8 on the market at the same time?
Tony: Well, XP is on its deathbed (finally), and Vista support is winding down. I understand that with the vast majority of consumers, businesses, government agencies, and everyone else in the world relying on Windows, Microsoft can’t simply pull the plug. There would be riots. That said, I do think Microsoft supports legacy operating systems much longer than it needs to.

Onuora: What would you change about Windows 8 if you had the chance?
Tony: Even though it effectively makes Windows 8 more like “Windows 7 2.0″, I would implement an option that lets users on existing desktop and laptop PCs default to the desktop mode. Metro can still be there for use with Metro apps, but Metro just gets in the way on hardware that isn’t designed for a touch interface. I would also change the pricing. Microsoft generally relies on having the OS bundled with new hardware, and makes the OS itself too expensive for most users and businesses that may just want to upgrade the OS. When Apple launches a major update of Mac OS X it costs $30, while new versions of Windows cost $200. Apple gets a much higher adoption rate, and you can see why. If Microsoft would offer Windows 8 as an upgrade for $50 or so, it would see much wider and faster adoption.

Onuora: What is your view on the use and deployment of tablets in the enterprise?
Tony: Personally, I think the tablet will eventually supplant the PC as the primary computing device. I spent 30 days last year using my iPad as a replacement for my laptop just to see if it can be done. I set it up just as I do my laptop while sitting at my desk—physical keyboard, external monitor, etc. The tablet is capable of performing the majority of tasks and functions users normally perform on the PC, but it is generally cheaper, uses less power, requires less cooling, has longer battery life when away from the desk, and it is more versatile on the go.

Onuora: Do you own an iPad?
Tony: Yes. I had the original iPad, upgraded to the iPad 2, and bought the new iPad on launch day.

Onuora: What do you think of the iPad as an enterprise level device?
Tony: The iPad is great because it just works. How many tech gadgets come with no instructions, yet can be used by virtually anyone right out of the box? On the enterprise side, though, IT admins have to deal with compliance, securing data, protecting intellectual property, and basically managing the hardware. Apple has made strides to make the iPad corporate-friendly, but it’s nowhere near the level of management and control IT admins have with Windows devices. Apple’s air of secrecy and “walled garden” approach work on some level, but aren’t really conducive with the oversight companies need for mobile devices. Despite its shortcomings, most companies are using the iPad in some capacity, or exploring it as an option.

Onuora: Do you feel that you and your peers have had enough opportunities to give feedback about Windows 8?
Tony: Yes and no. I’m sure Microsoft gave some group of Windows experts an opportunity to work with earlier builds and provide feedback. However, even as a Microsoft MVP in Windows, and a journalist writing on Windows topics, I was not given any access to the OS until the Windows 8 Consumer Preview went public like everyone else. That was a departure from Windows 7 where I was running a beta version for months before Microsoft made any builds available to the public. At this point, I feel like Microsoft basically feels the OS is feature complete and ready for prime time, which is concerning given that there are still some things I think they need to change.

Onuora: Assuming Windows 8 came out in Q4 2012, when would you recommend use and deployment?
Tony: Based on the Consumer Preview? No. I wouldn’t tell anyone NOT to use or deploy it. If a business was ready to refresh or upgrade anyway, then I would probably say it makes sense to get the most current OS, but I wouldn’t recommend that any business go out of its way to switch to Windows 8—especially if they’re already running Windows 7. Now, if the OEMs come out with some compelling tablet hardware at an attractive price, I would wholeheartedly recommend that companies seriously consider Windows 8 tablets.

Onuora: Thanks again for making the time.
Tony: Thank you.

NOTE - If you would like to find out more about the next version of Microsoft Windows - Windows 9, here are some links you should probably check out.

  • David Tam

    I think he made a lot of great points. Great interview Onuora!

    • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

      Thanks…

  • David Yu

    I love the fact that everyone has an iPad. Seems to me that Microsoft is in trouble long term…

    • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

      Funny… but true…

    • CompUser

      I know three people who own iPads, two people with Windows 7 tablets (I’m one), and six or seven people who own Android tablets. All three of the iOS users have Apple tablets (that’s all there is), and the Windows 7 users both have Samsung Series 7 Slates although there are a few others available, but among the six or seven Android users, I don’t think any two of them have the same brand/model. So although Apple is at the top of the tablet heap (among my sampling, anyway) based on brand name, Andoid is way out in front of the pack based on operating system. I suspect Android would also come out on top over iOS in overall U.S. market share, and it would be by a large margin. Maybe I’d be wrong, but I don’t think so.

      By the way, did you know that someone has already developed an application that puts the Windows 8 Metro UI on iPads? It’s intended for Windows 8 application developers, but I thought that was interesting.

      • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

        You mean Splashtop? http://www.windows8update.com/2012/04/12/splashtop-lets-you-run-windows-8-on-your-ipad/

        • CompUser

          Yep, that be it. Imagine, using an iPad to develop Windows 8 Metro applications. What’s this world coming to?

          • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

            I guess you’ve got to go to where the developers are I guess…

          • CompUser

            No, nothing exciting like that. There was a story about it in today’s ComputerWorld Rap-Up.

  • Daniel Gray

    Sorry David Yu, that is just your opinion and not based on any factual data. Yes the iPad has more sales only because it has been out longer. But with the other pads coming out that are not locked into using one set of overpriced programs without unlocking your pad and taking a chance on screwing it up, then Apple is the one that is in trouble. According to Ruters and the Wall Street Journal, Apple’s share of the pad business has fallen by over 30% since they started selling. The reason is that the costs are too high as there are cheaper pads out there that do as much if not more then the iPad does-you are locked into only one company’s software when there are cheaper software packages that again do as much if not more then Apple’s-the myth that Apple products cant get viruses, as was proven as much by the recent virus that turns apple products into bots for DOS attacks; and even the patch that Apple put out does not fix it as the patch is for java, it is NOT for a virus. That is like trying to use an AV program to do what you can with Photoshop or Final Cut…it just does not work. So if I were you I would not be so smug in your statements

    • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

      3 million pads in one weekend. If that is declining sales, may I have that kind of decline…

      • CompUser

        In fairness to Daniel Gray, he didn’t say there was declining sales. He said “Apple’s share of the pad business has fallen by over 30%”. And I have to wonder what percentage of those 3 million pads in one weekend (was that the first weekend the new iPad was available?) were actually sold to people trading in their 6-month old iPad 2. I suspect it’s a pretty large percentage, but of course I have nothing concrete to base that on. Just speculation from various news stories I heard about people putting their iPad 2 up for sale as soon as the new iPad release date was announced, and then camping out and standing in line for day waiting for the big moment when they could get their hands on the new version of what they pretty much already had.  :-)

        • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

          That’s a great point. I traded mine in immediately I knew the new one was coming soon. I got 85% of what I paid for it new.

          Resale value = Bananas!

          • Daniel Gray

             See Mr.Amobi, CompUser made the exact same point that I was making; he just went to it from a different angle. My whole point is that Apple products are not the “end all to be all” that some here seem to think. There are cheaper alternatives that can either match an apple product or beat it by a large swath. For instance I travel overseas quite a bit and want to make sure I can call home. You dont know how many people tried to sell me that iPhone…cost almost 800. I found the Motorola Droid Global 2 that does the exact same thing that the iPhone does and a whole lot more, and saved myself close to $500. Why? Because overseas they use the GSM frequencies format, and here in the US they use the CDMA frequencies format, and one cannot work on the other. My droid has the ability to work on both, something that the iPhone cannot do. So again why anyone would want to lock themselves into an overpriced badly restricted (use only their software) company when they can do it cheaper and faster and quite probably better with other companies, is beyond rational thought. Oh and if you do like CompUser suggested and remove all the people who traded their iPads in on the new thing instead of buying first time…your 3 million number is now cut to less then 700,000 according to Apple’s own financial report. You have to look at all the facts, not just the smoke and mirrors that Apple tries to sell you. Like the myth they are somehow the most profitable company ever. PUH-LEAZE! Any first grade math student will tell you that there is no way possible that a company that has at best 8% share of the computer market is somehow worth more then a company that has 90% of the computer market, is well beyond reason and rationality. Dont get me wrong I do like some Apple products, like Final Cut. But I run them on my windows platform using a program called “Soft Mac” which allows me to run Apple programs on my windows platform.. So again why get boxed into a company that is darn near a proprietary company for software and hardware. it just does not make any sense no matter how you look at it.

          • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

            OK, you and Compuser have to get one thing straight. 

            I owned an iPad 2, I sold it and got an iPad 3. I am a new customer and it DOES count. You can’t say because I had one before it doesn’t count.3 million units is 3 million sales of $599+Thats all that counts…

          • Daniel Gray

             I am sorry but I and others will have to disagree, if you already owned an iPad, then you are not a new customer. You are a return customer. And yes I can say returning customers dont count as Apple is the one that made that first statement that was repeated by CNN-MSNBC-and about 4 other channels that have financial reports on them. So I am taking the words directly out of Apples mouth.

          • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

            If Apple and CNN and MSNBC and 4 other channels said you were  green, it wouldn’t necessarily be the case would it?

            What does logic tell you?

  • CompUser

    “I would implement an option that lets users on existing desktop and laptop PCs default to the desktop mode. Metro can still be there for use with Metro apps …”

    That’s exactly what I said several weeks ago. Brilliant minds do think alike (just kidding). One of your best interviews Onuora.

    • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

      Thank you sir/ma’am

      • CompUser

        You’re the “Sir” here, and I bow to your intellect.

        • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

          :-)

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