Opinions regarding Windows 8 have to be some of the most mixed and scattered I’ve ever seen. People say they love Metro, people say they hate it. You hear about how Windows is too late for tablets and then you hear that a burst of tablet sales will arrive in 2012 sometime and that the Windows release is right on track.
Sorting through all the bi-polar news regarding Windows 8 can be a little confusing but you have to understand why. Windows 8 is very different from past offerings thanks to Metro and their idea of unifying platforms through ARM/x86 support.
This means that Windows 8 is a gamble, and like any gamble the odds can often be about 50/50 (unless you are at a casino, in that case the odds are much lower). Calculating the odds of Microsoft’s chance of success with Windows 8 isn’t easy and this is likely why there is such a large variety of opinion surrounding it.
Now here comes an article from PC World that states we shouldn’t be worried.
Unlike the other article I reported on today, this article doesn’t claim Windows 8 will be a wild success, it simply says Microsoft isn’t too late to the party.
Here are the reasons he states:
People Are Clueless
This doesn’t apply to tech-saavy types like those reading Windows 8 Update and other similar publications, but the average man on the street has no idea what Windows 8 is all about. When you ask them about a tablet running Windows they likely will think of the same plain old version of Windows slapped onto a touch screen.
This isn’t what people want and so no wonder people with their narrow understanding of what Windows on a Tablet looks like, don’t want it. The average person doesn’t understand Microsoft is rebuilding the entire interface to make it more touch friendly, app friendly, and a great mobile experience.
When tablets running Windows 8 finally arrive and people check them out, it seems likely their opinion could change.
Windows is Huge, and So Is the Market
Those who argue that Windows 8 is running out of time are overlooking the vast number of people who have yet to adopt a tablet.
Microsoft has license over 450 million copies of Windows 7 versus Apple’s iPad 40 million sales. If you add in the few million that own Android tablets you still see that there is a vast untapped market that Windows could reach out to.
Late to What Market?
“Windows 8 looks like it’s going to be a good product,” Gownder told the New York Times. “It’s just going to be so late to the market.”
According to PC World, Gownder’s comment implies that being early to the market is an advantage, but this isn’t necessarily true. As an old example, the Dreamcast reached the console party for its generation in 1999, and the rest of its competition (Playstation 2, Xbox, Gamecube) didn’t arrive for another 1-2 years. The Dreamcast failed horribly in the market, and so being first means little.
The market is still growing and offering a solid product is what is really going to matter.
Cheap Tablets Are a Different Product
Forrester notes that cheap tablets like Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble’s Nook Tablet have reshaped consumers’ expectations, and this is honestly true. Still the iPad was also initially a consumption device and blossomed into a powerful computing device.
Kindle and Nook will NEVER be powerful laptop replacement units. PC world contest that Windows tablets will more than likely go up directly against iPad and not the Android options. This is likely true and although Apple fans will stick with iPad, Windows fans will likely flock instead to W8 tablets.
Windows 8 will certainly have its place. Android is starting to settle in as a budget option thanks to the success of devices like the Kindle Fire. If Microsoft can dominate the mid-range and compete in the high-range with the iPad as well, it will have a place in the market.
Will it be the number one king like it is in PCs, desktops, and even netbooks? No, probably not. The mobile market has too many solid options, but Microsoft is far from down on the count.