Ever since I started using computers, Microsoft has been around. After ditching my Commodore VIC-20 for a Sanyo MBC-550, which was an almost IBM PC compatible computer that came with Microsoft DOS 2.11 and a BASIC interpreter that Microsoft had made for Sanyo, I have been a Microsoft customer.
Even after switching my work computers to Linux and later buying a MacBook as my main work machine, I still keep around a kick-ass Windows machine in my den where I record my podcasts and play my favourite games. Because I like to play games quite a bit, that machine tends to be the most powerful machine I own: best graphics board, most processor cores, biggest hard drives, etc., but not the latest Operating System. No, not the OS, that machine is still running Windows 7 which, in my mind, is the best Windows that Microsoft has released.
Windows 8 is a mess. It resembles a kid that does not know what it wants to be when it grows up. It tries to force a bunch of paradigm changes that don’t make any sense for traditional keyboard and mouse desktops. You know the famous business/hockey saying that “a company should not focus on where the puck is, but rather on where the puck is going to be”? Well, I think Microsoft has the right idea that more personal/mobile touch devices will start to replace desktops in the future. The problem is that that future is still quite a ways off. And the hardware to make people move from their desktops to this new mobile, touch and speech aware interface is still not up to the task.
The timing thing is the main problem for Microsoft. I have no doubts that Intel processors will eventually get cheap enough and efficient enough to rival ARM processors in power consumption, and still have the oomph and the compatibility that they have today. So unifying the code base is a good idea, which is why I think Windows 10 is a step in the right direction.
What I like very much about Windows 10 is that they decided to go back to splitting the user interfaces into desktop-mode and tablet-mode. When you’re on a desktop computer you expect the machine to behave in a certain way, and Windows 10 behaves just like Windows 7 did, did I mention that I think Windows 7 is the best Windows they ever released, except that they have changed the graphical interface to make it flatter and up-to-date with the latest design trends. It’s actually very attractive.
If you’re on a tablet, well you can configure it to use the touch-centric interface that Windows 8 tried to shove down everyone’s throats, with a few new tweaks. Honestly I don’t have a Windows tablet device so I have not tried the interface out, and as I have said, since the hardware is not really up to par to the experience, I probably won’t be getting one in the near future.
So, what do I think of Windows 10? Well, I think it looks nice, and behaves like Windows 7. Could Microsoft have gotten away with just modernising the default Windows 7 theme and rebranding it as Windows 10? Probably not, since Windows 10 includes the software store, and the tablet-mode environment that will leave the door open for the future when tablet hardware is finally good enough! All in all, I think Windows 10 will be good for Microsoft and good for the Industry. Now let’s just keep our fingers crossed and hope Microsoft will make it affordable: $20.00 for new machines or free for upgrades is what I’m hoping for!