It seems strange to think that Microsoft—not long ago the world's biggest company—could be desperate for a hit. Previous Windows launches were an automatic boost for Microsoft and the PC market, whether users like the new OS or not. But the world has changed, and this time around it could be different.
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According to Allan Krans, a senior analyst at consulting firm Technology Business Research Inc. (TBR), Microsoft is in no danger of slipping into a revenue free-fall. But Microsoft's fiscal first quarter results point to the importance of Windows 8 for the firm's long-term health, Krans said.
Krans doesn't expect Microsoft to see high growth immediately after the Windows 8 launch, which is set for Oct. 26. The continued use of prior Windows operating systems will delay the initial adoption of Windows 8 in enterprises. Krans believes it could be two years before Windows 8 sees widespread adoption by enterprises.
The Windows 8 start screen, featuring application tiles.
Microsoft's best prospects for significant near-term growth will be in the consumer space, from mobile device like tablets, according to Krans. With improvements in cloud storage technology and the anticipated launch of Microsoft's Surface tablet next week, Microsoft will continue incorporating Windows 8 with mobile and cloud capabilities to drive its adoption in consumer mobile devices, he said in a report circulated this week.
But the success of Windows 8 in mobile devices—where it faces a formidable competitor in Android—is not assured. The new OS is a dramatic departure from previous version and the most dramatic update of the OS in nearly two decades, initial reviews have been lukewarm.
It's practically inevitable that Windows 8 will eventually enjoy major adoption by enterprises. But in the consumer space, the battle has yet to be fought. Meanwhile, the PC market is in a free fall, with shipments projected to decline this year for the first time since 2001 and talk that shipments of the PC as we know it have peaked.
With the winds of change swirling and competition emerging from unexpected areas, mighty Microsoft needs Windows 8 to be a hit if it wants to continue to be a dominant player in the post-PC era.
True enough. It used to be that in search of a new toy to buy, people salivated on the newest Windows. And oh by the way, isn't it funny how each successive Windows seemed to need a lot more power than your existing PC had?
Instead now, the new toys people salivate over are the handhelds. So that's where they spend their extra cash.
The interesting phenomenon about PCs, that for some reason I don't see explained in the press so much, is that because new OSs are geared to portables and handhelds, they DON'T require more processing power, RAM, disk space, than the previous one. Therefore, the PC itself can live a longer and happier life.
But again, I doubt very much that this means PCs are dead. It might mean that sales flatten, but not that people and businesses are busily sending their PCs to the recycling center.
I have seen some good Windows 8 demonstrations, but I am usually not an early adopter for new OS. Usually because my hardware is insufficient to support the new features, such as a touch screen.
Regardless of the bells or whistles, as long as the new OS runs MS office tools, it will succeed. The other devices do not support real work and are thus useless to me or anyone who needs a computer to do their job.
Just my opinion,
Computational intensive applications such as CAD software and the like will always have a home on the desktop. I can't imagine anyone fighting with a finger gestures to do that.
Since most people just use their computers for checking mail & surfing the internet, the migration to smaller, less powerful devices appears to be inevitable. The traditional desktop PC will become a niche product used only by engineers/designers. Which means you can expect the average price to slowly creep up again.
Businesses are not ditching PC's, nor will they. But people are. DECs' Ken Olson will soon be right - no one will have a reason for a PC in their homes. Tablets and web connected TV's will provide all the home computing power you need.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.