A recent article from PC World’s Business Center section discusses how Windows 8 might slow down business users and instead recommends that for enterprise and workstation purposes users should stick with Windows 7 or even switch to a form of Linux. This is an excellent article and worth a read, although  I can’t say I completely share the same opinion.

The article makes mention of “Unity” a desktop environment in Ubuntu that started as an easy organizer for Linux netbooks and how it has caused negative attention from productivity users on the Linux side. First off, Metro and Unity aren’t that similar and certain aspects of Unity are actually closer to Mac OSX Lion’s Launcher in my humble opinion.

Second point, is that Linux users are a different breed from Windows users and have clearly different expectations.

The article doesn’t deny that there is appeal in Windows 8 for more casual users but argues it just doesn’t have what it takes to work while for productivity users and businesses.

Windows 8’s Metro interface is certainly tailored towards the tablet/touch/smartphone crowd and brings these now-familiar aspects to the desktop crowd. Love it or hate it, I would be more than shocked if Microsoft slashed it altogether or made it only an option.

It is a MAJOR feature in Windows 8, and really is as bad as people make it out to be. Despite being tailored towards these casual users, it really still works just find for most productivity purposes.

The article states that most consumers these days generally don’t produce content as much as they “consume it”. Watching YouTube, posting to Flickr, and using Facebook/Twitter have become daily common occurrences to most users and integrating them into a new interface that is geared to this social/touch model makes sense for this crowd. This is a point I totally agree with as well.

What about productivity and business use though? PC World’s article maintains that touch is a great feature but that it really doesn’t work well for long periods of time and would require new hardware upgrades that could be very costly if they did want to switch to touch.  Of course it also mentions that there is still a desktop mode but you are forced to use Metro.

This is a true and valid point, but I don’t see how it really slows anything down. I have been switching into Metro to pull up an application (using it as a launcher) and then going back and forth to the desktop, and within a few days it was as nature as the traditional start menu.

In all honest I’ve found that if you move around your “Desktop applications” in the Metro to the right spots it is actually QUICKER to search for a particular program versus the old-school Programs>Folder>Exe model that is used in the start menu.

Also keep in mind that in the past companies have made minor alterations and customizations to XP, Vista, and even 7 to make them better suit the particular businesses’ needs. If a company feels that Metro will interfere with productivity all it will take is some minor tweaks and the interface will be disabled.

It is also very possible that a program could be made that adds the start menu to Windows as a separate icon while still allowing the Metro launcher for particular apps that a business might want in Metro.

If a business already has Windows 7, I can agree with the article that a switch to 8 might not offer enough improvements to make the cost worth it. What about those with Vista or even XP? These type of users can certainly benefit from Windows 8.

All the article does make some valid points it also ignores the fact that Metro can be disabled and that you really can learn to work around it without it slowing you down. Change is hard for many of us, and there are likely businesses that might be turned off at first but what is the real alternative? The article makes mention of the switch to Linux but for those with Windows-specific application needs, this just isn’t possible for many companies.

Do you think that Windows 8 will be a hindrance to business users? Should companies avoid Windows 8 and stick with 7 or even switch to Linux? Share your thoughts below!

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  • walkergw

    I sometimes think people publish to be provacative.  The orinial article this is based on seems like just such an article.  I dont understand how METRO is supposed to slow down use.  To me it is like saying the start menu slows people down and all icons should be on the desktop.  I actually believe the opposite.  Having a properly built Metro can work as an effective dashboard giving users useful information at a glance.  And knowing what needs to be taken care of imediately.

    This made me realize two things that I would like to see in Metro.  The ability to close apps, which everyone has already said, but I never worried about until my next point.  On machines that are plugged into a power source and not relying on battery time, Metro apps should not hibernate.