As we approach the beta of Windows 8 I've been thinking more about Windows tablets, and on our sister site Windows8News I've today written an article about the pros and cons of Windows on ARM.
One of these issues will be how successful the platform is overall. In a large part this will rest on the success of the new Windows app store and Metro apps for PCs and tablets. Microsoft got off to a good start last September at their BUILD conference in getting software developers excited about Metro, but it's all been very quiet since and there's been no word on how many developers are actively developing, or even thinking of developing, new metro apps.
When Windows 8 launches the app store will likely be fairly barren, and it will take many months, if not years for Windows to catch up with the number of apps available in the iPad and Android markets. This ultimately can hurt sales of the platform as people might choose an Android or Apple device over Windows because there's more they can do with it, they'll probably not even be able to run their existing desktop software on it so what will be the point in getting one?
It is crucial however that Windows 8 tablets take off in a big way and sell in the millions, the reason for this is that Microsoft have re-engineered Windows directly around tablets, effectively betting the entire platform on the success of these devices that will probably only ever form 10% of the whole computing market.
The remaining 90% is largely constituted of IT Pros and businesses, many of whom are already taking a dim view of Microsoft's new direction for Windows or who are, at the very least, concerned about what it means for them. If the new Windows 8 tablets don't take off and sell in huge volumes it will essentially be seen as one huge slap in the face for the IT Pro community who will have had their precious desktop working environment decimated in the name of a product gamble.
The failure of Windows tablets to sell could see these IT Pros turning on Microsoft in huge numbers and perhaps even looking for an alternative (I've even considered a dual-booting iMac as my next PC for the first time ever!) This means that Microsoft simply cannot afford to get Windows tablets wrong. As the whole structure of Windows is being re-engineered around them, no matter how friendly they might say Metro will be on desktops and laptops, it is too big a gamble to get it wrong.
The result of a failure to sell tablets now, and crucially to convince hardware makers that it's actually Windows tablets they should be making and not Android ones, could be the cause of the single-biggest backlash in Microsoft's company history. IT Pros and business users have got to be kept sweet and happy, above all else. The main reason for this of course if the huge software eco-system that Microsoft have built around Windows, which include two products that help keep the company going; Windows Server and Office. As we head inexorably into the cloud the need for individual companies to maintain their own servers will diminish, Microsoft's own Office 365 is making sure of that but at least this means they get some of the cash back. If people rebel against Windows that eco-system will be under threat like never before and Microsoft could find its market shares diminishing rapidly.
Of course this is all speculation, perhaps even slight scaremongering. It is ultimately entirely possible however as IT Pros and businesses are not known as forgiving souls.Advertisement
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.