Windows Blue largely continues the mobile-centric path that Microsoft forged with the creation of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. This means that Windows Blue sees an even bigger push towards the new Modern UI, that includes the addition of new settings that make it easier to adjust PC options without going into the desktop.
These changes could easily be argued as simple changes that make things easier for tablet users, as going into the desktop isn’t exactly a great experience for touch-users. Of course that doesn’t stop doomsayers from saying the end of the desktop is near.
So is there any truth to the idea that the desktop is on its last leg?
Short answer, yes. It is a bit more complicated than that, though. Microsoft understands that the mobile market is the future. They also understand that the cloud, experience syncing on different devices and other changes are also part of the future.
Microsoft is trying to build a version of Windows that can work the same no matter the device: TV, PC, tablet, phone, Xbox, etc
Windows 8 and Windows Blue are both steps in that direction. Killing the desktop is also part of the process, I’d wager.
Now Microsoft hasn’t confirmed their plans to phase out the desktop, but it is hard to deny at this point.
That said, Microsoft isn’t a fool, despite what people are saying. The enterprise world will not be able to switch to a Modern-only approach for a very long time, they need power user features.
The mobile market is growing at a rapid rate, however, and Microsoft is likely trying to weigh how important the desktop market is at this point. Will they roll over on it completely? For consumers, yes.
While this is all mostly speculation, if Windows Blue is the first of many yearly OS updates, each one will likely see a slightly harder push towards Modern and away from the desktop. Eventually, a new version (maybe marked Windows 9?) will arrive, and the desktop will be gone.
Still, that doesn’t mean it is happening tomorrow. This desktop-less version could be 5-10 years away, and by then we might very well be ready for it.
If Microsoft kills the desktop, what does that mean for power users?
I have no magical in-house knowledge of Microsoft’s plans, so everything in this article is based purely on opinion and speculation, as already mentioned above. With that out of the way, here is my theory on the future of Windows:
I find it hard to believe Microsoft would abandon power-users completely. Microsoft’s future could have two distinct flavors of Windows (perhaps each flavor would also have its own set of SKUs). Windows Modern and Windows Classic.
Windows Classic would still have the Modern UI and would work with everything Windows Modern could handle. It would just also happen to have a legacy desktop workspace for running your power-user apps and programs. This would be the version sold to the enterprise and on premium home computers. Everything else would probably come with the desktop-less Windows Modern.
Is Killing the Desktop Really a Big Deal?
Really depends on who you ask. Many of us that are falling in love with Microsoft’s new mobile-like approach feel that the desktop is running its course and in a few years might be ready to move over completely for the Modern UI.
Those that don’t care for Windows 8 and its dual-UI approach are probably less likely to enjoy the idea of a future version of Windows that has no desktop.
What do you think, what are the strongest pros and cons to getting rid of the desktop? If Microsoft makes such a move, would you jump ship completely to another platform such as Ubuntu (Linux)? Share your thoughts below.