Should Microsoft have used their Windows Phone OS for Windows 8 Tablets?

Mary Jo Foley has written a pretty thought provoking piece on the direction that Microsoft chose to take with Windows 8.

In the article entitled “Why ‘Windows 8’ Isn’t What I Thought It Would Be“, she makes a pretty powerful point about Microsoft’s view on tablets for the consumer:

There are several reasons I’m skeptical that Windows 8 will be an automatic win on tablets, but they all boil down to my belief that tablets are not PCs or PC replacements for the majority of users. Microsoft officials continue to insist that tablets are just a sub-category of PCs. They insist that users want to be able to run both legacy and new apps (but not necessarily existing Windows Phone apps) on their tablets. While this positioning may provide Microsoft with a ready retort to critics who suggest that the post-PC era has arrived, in my view it contorts market realities to fit Microsoft’s existing business model.

She also talks about the financial incentive Microsoft have to use the full blown Windows 8 OS over the Phone OS for tablets.

It’s a great article and I recommend you all read it.

I do think that she has a very interesting point with the above quoted statement.

What is the role of a slate or tablet?

Apple have drawn the line in the sand regarding their view of tablets. They have built and defined the Ipad as primarily a consumption device that allows interaction.

If Microsoft are taking the view that Windows 8 Tablets are PC’s or PC replacements, they are (in Steve Jobs fashion) attempting to bend the realities of the market to their will – she alludes to that above.

I am absolutely torn down the middle here.

On one hand I totally agree with her that it seems a lot more natural and intuitive to use a tablet for consumption and recreation – something that a Windows Phone OS might have worked really well for.

On the other hand I have been really impressed by Microsoft’s detailed strategy, level of innovation, clarity of vision and level of originality. You can’t call a Windows 8 tablet an Ipad, that’s for sure. It is pretty credible that this Windows 8 thing may work for tablets (given the right price point).

Once again it’s a great article and you should read it.

When I have toss up topics, I love to hand it to you guys and girls to decide. Please take the poll below and tell me what you think.

Please Leave Your Comments Below...

  • http://twitter.com/JohnFCanning John Canning

    Touch is obviously the best interface for tablets and, probably, smartphones. I don’t get it
    as a PC solution. There are about 1 billion PCs in the world. How long will it
    take for 25% of them to be touch centric? 5 years? 10? When can we expect
    Windows 9? What is wrong with having a touch OS and a PC
    (keyboard/mouse/whatever) OS? Both devices already communicate with each other.
    I suggest there may be wisdom in having separate business models. Such as individual revision schedules, individual exposure to technical obsolescence, individual opportunity for technical innovation, individual potential for spin off, to name a few. Put the eggs in separate baskets.

  • Wheels5894

    Yes, there is a fundamental difference between a PC and phones/tablets. The latter us small apps for specific things. A PC, on the other hand, has a different role. I use mine to run a large Access database, accounts software and similar applications as well as , in the evening, GTA and similar ‘heavy duty’ games. Tablets will never be able to manage this – either technically as regards the sheer processing power needed and neither would we want to work with an onscreen keyboard to write a long report or input data either,. Neither would games be so easy with only a touch screen.

    The article is right – these are fundamentally diffrent markets needing different solutions. Trying to make a phone OS run on a powerful PC is stupid but so is it the other way round. meanwhile, I will not be buying a 24″ touch screen in the near future so Microsoft take note!

  • Dan Dar3

    For anyone that actually used Windows 8 preview for daily use (and I have for both work and home) on their existing laptop / PC it should be quite obvious that Microsoft’s got it right and time will prove it right.

  • Rumple Stillskin

    Yahz, use windows98 on the tablet.  Software is its own, and thus tweakable, like if you buy it all from Italy.

  • Konanyao

    If Microsoft wanted to offer dumb down tablet similar to the iPad, then for sure they should have used a modified version of Windows Phone O.S for as Windows Tablet O.S. If as i believe Microsoft wanted to other an O.S for the next generation of Tablet PC then they did the right choice.
    Btw, i will be very curious to know in which kind of O.S, iOS will have evolved by the time Windows 9 will be available. I will not be surprised if by that time, iOS is very similar to Windows 8/9 and that Apple completely give up Mac OS X.
    This said, as there will be Windows 8 based slates, i think that there should be an option to completely prevent the user to move in desktop mode on its slates. In other words the user should be able to do whatever he/she needs to do in Metro mode. An other option would be to implement a Touch mode for the desktop, by touch mode i mean a mode where it is easy for anyone,especially those with big fingers, to use the desktop with his/her fingers.
    In all cases, it is the RTM version ,and how well it works for all scenarios, which will let us know if Microsoft was right or not. Microsoft has chosen a very difficult path for Windows 8 and i seriously hope that they succeed. Otherwises they would just pull off another Vista or even worse another ME.

  • http://profiles.google.com/tennelec Tim Lund

    When asked to pay $500 to $800 on a tablet, as Apple and others do, I sure do want a full  OS able to run all of my full applications or the equivalent. Microsoft has it right for business users. For home users looking to browse the web and play media, too many have spent that amount of money on a tablet that should cost $200 or so. Amazons Kindle Fire should change that.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5WJGC7242GFDP2QXANKF5WTMEA Rex

    I think this question is absolutly ludicrous.  People use tablets today because they fill a niche now.  Highly portable connect anywhere devices that serve up content for hours without charging.  Current PC hardware can not come close to filling these requirements.  But Microsoft rightfully has done the proper long term analysis which shows that future hardware will allow tablets to be equivelent to at least bottom level computer hardware in the not so distant future.  In such time, it is not hard to envision tablets replacing laptops as laptops have basically replaced desktops.  That means that you should think of undocked tablets as a mode of computing instead of a form of computer.  I think MS is right on the money with this.  What they need to do is use animations better to show that Metro is not a Start menu replacement, but actually lies underneath the desktop (proper perspective is important to gain understanding which translates to public support).  Going back and forth between Metro and the Desktop needs to be quick and seemless.  And Metro needs to be just as easy to use with either mouse and keyboard as with touch.  If it can accomplish these two things, it will succeed.  Forget the naysayers, they are inconsequential.  They incorrectly still DIS the ribbon interface.  I think it is funny how many people say they want something new, but actually hate change.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Mansonfraek Amanda Petrosky

    ok then ask the author this in my case i have a hp touchsmart tm2 goo google image that it is a laptop that has a touchscreen and swivels into a tablet pc so ask her this what the hell would i use since its not a pc and not a tablet would i run windows 8 for pc or windows 8 phone os or would i have to run both its stupid to think that tablets arent big right now its easier and funner to mess around with almost everybody loves them