Windows 8 launches this week. Aren't you excited? I know some people that are really amped up, but they neatly fit into the Mac-Haters-of-the-World category. Other than those individuals (which are not numerous enough to make a massive Microsoft success), businesses are going to take a very slow and cautious approach to this totally "re-imagined" operating system. That's okay with Microsoft, as long as they do take a look.
But the problem plaguing Microsoft during their lost decade is the fact that they have not had a mobile strategy. Instead they've leaned on their desktop and server strategy. When the market shifted with RIM's Blackberry, Apple's iPhone and then Google's Android OS, Microsoft was MIA. Redmond Executives talked a big game about slates or tablets and Windows Phone Mobile 7 (or whatever that horrible nomenclature was), but they didn't have a real product or strategy to address the major sea change from desktop to mobile.
Windows 8 is to fix their self-induced mess. Microsoft's goal is for Windows 8 is to not only achieve a large desktop deployment, but to stem the handheld tide, to stop the bleeding and to build some momentum for its now all-in-one platform. And to do that, they went "big" with the Metro touch operating system.
This is Microsoft's last chance to stay relevant. Excluding xBOX, tech users have been moving on from Office and Windows during the past decade. One has to wonder how a top management team could build a success, when all they have achieved is failure upon failure? The real answer is it's not likely. This is like expecting a coach, who has produced 10 losing seasons in a row, to win the championship the next year. It could happen, but Vegas will lay long odds on it.
At the helm during Microsoft's decline has been Steve Ballmer. I think a proper Wikipedia entry for Mr. Ballmer would be "Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter's #2 most influential employee". It has been under his tenure that this erosion has taken place, and now five years after the real revolution to mobile, Microsoft's answer is slight of hand touch interface called Metro.
Metro is totally new. Totally different. No, radically different. But Microsoft also tries to build in aspects of the legacy Windows interface, topping it off with the name Windows. It's a confusing solution to say the least, and it does not seem the solution that will prevent further migration from the Windows platform.
Is Windows 8 enough reason for developers to be excited about the platform? Is it enough reason to return to the platform? Only time can really answer those questions. But it's a good bet that Windows 8 will not be enough — not because of the product development, marketing or engineering teams behind Windows 8 — but because of the Windows management that rules over everything Microsoft is and does. Windows 8 can only be the product of the management that controls it, and from what we've seen, this management under Ballmer has a continuous losing record, so will Windows 8.