The Microsoft Surface tablet has been plagued with doubt, uncertainty, pessimism, excitement and intrigue. It’s been so since the rumors, into the announcement and after launch. By loudest critics of the product, it is being seen as some sort of beacon of Windows’ imminent irrelevance and thereby Microsoft’s impending doom. Some hilariously speculate Windows 8 is for Microsoft’s pivot into advertisements, while the more realistic analysts say Microsoft will focus on enterprise since that’s where their profits are. Anyhow, all this doom and gloom is too soon and I’ll call it bullshit. Here’s why:
Most of the problems pointed out by everyone are Windows RT related. While the Valley hipsters masquerading as technology analysts trash Microsoft and praise Apple as if doing that will somehow earn them a spot in Apple’s new escape-from-world-doom spaceship, their rants can do a lot of good. They’re the ideal focus group in a sense. The thing is Windows RT is version 0.1, it’s a brand new OS.
Microsoft’s biggest bet with Windows 8 wasn’t the dual-desktop but using a derivative of Windows 8 for tablets, instead of a version of Windows Phone–thereby getting no apps and making it difficult for app developers to target tablets & mobile phones at the same time.
Windows 8 is a seasoned OS, Windows RT isn’t. Windows 8 doesn’t need a Service Pack to make it usable, but like Windows 98 or Windows XP or Windows Vista, Windows RT needs a Service Pack. The flaws are software based, the lack of apps is a strategic decision. All those slamming the Surface because of flaws in Windows RT need to realize a simple thing, this isn’t HP or RIM that we’re talking about here. We are not talking about companies that are venturing into tablets with 0 experience in OS and no money & time to invest. Microsoft has the money and the time because there is no alternative to the iPad and the PC space is way too big compared to the portable music industry. We are not talking about recreation but devices that everyone depends on for livelihood, and Microsoft is still king.
The iPad and Apple have a huge advantage though. Just like Microsoft had with Windows 95 and 98’s explosive growth thereby large user base and it being the preferred platform for developers, it’s iPad and iPhone today. Microsoft has a challenge and needs to respond quickly with a Service Pack but rest assured, we are talking about a company that does operating systems, they’ve come back from worse.
I’ve been saying it for a while, and I’ll reiterate, Windows 8 with it’s dual desktop is a transition OS from the traditional desktop to a touch friendly one. No matter how loud the hipster Valley faux-journalists yell, there are more Windows users than iOS/OSX users, Microsoft can’t simply dump the old desktop and throw users into a completely new environment. As far as the desktop in Windows RT goes, technology writers need to take a crash course in system design. Sometimes priorities have to be set to meet deadlines. This is software we’re talking about, things can be fixed with an update, so stop yelling.