Poor Timing Will Handcuff Windows 8.1

2020-02-08T17:49:37-07:00May 23rd, 2013|

It is going to be very difficult for Microsoft to succeed with Windows 8.1, and that has little to do with whether the official build will include a Start button or boot-to-desktop option. Rather, it’s because Microsoft picked a terrible time to release the upcoming follow-on to Windows 8.

When it comes to weaving the saga of Windows 8.1, the media has pretty well vetted three of the Five W’s. Most of the analysis goes like this: Microsoft (Who) must improve on Windows 8 by doing X (What) to bring more computer users into the Modern UI era (Why). The other two W’s, though, have been largely ignored. One of them, Where, isn’t really relevant to the story. But it’s curious that the question of When has barely been touched, because it’s tremendously important to the prospects for Windows 8.1 success.

Microsoft hasn’t come out and said when Windows 8.1, code-named Windows Blue, will be commercially available, although Digitimes is reporting that the official release will come in late October. Judging from the state of development activity, the timing sounds about right. This much is certain: Windows 8.1 will not be available in the next six weeks, as it needs to be to make it into the first batch of next-generation PCs.

Those cool new systems are being released in June and early July for a reason: to intercept the critical back-to-school selling season. An October launch for Windows 8.1 means that back-to-school PCs will be saddled with a lame-duck version of Windows. (I’ve written before about how important it is for the PC OEMs to update in lockstep their entire product: hardware, OS, and aesthetics.) That means we’ll see fewer PC sales than we would if PC makers were able to pair their latest hardware with the latest operating system.

Targeting the holiday season with a new version of Windows used to make perfect sense because retail copies sell better, and there was little to lose by shortchanging back-to-school systems. Not so anymore. Times have changed.

Read the entire column HERE.

Can Blue Stop PC Users From Seeing Red?

2020-02-08T17:50:44-07:00May 9th, 2013|

After more than a month of silently watching the blogosphere dissect early builds of Window Blue that were leaked on the internet, Microsoft this week has confirmed that Blue, the code name for Microsoft’s follow-on to Windows 8, does in fact exist.

As of yet, Microsoft hasn’t acknowledged any of the details that bloggers have uncovered. Representatives say only that Windows Blue is a response to what  their customers have had to say about Windows 8. Hopefully, they have been listening, because an awful lot is riding on Windows Blue.

With all the hype and glitz surrounding smartphones and tablets, it’s easy to lose sight of how critical a role the PC still plays in many of our lives. No, it’s not the same role it played last year, or the year before. But for many of us — certainly for most of us in IT — a Windows PC is still a go-to device in our quiver of electronics tools. And because of the pace of change in the enterprise segment, Windows is guaranteed to play a central role for several more years at least.

In that sense, Microsoft isn’t just gambling its own fortunes. It’s messing with how many of us get things done every day.

That’s why the anger over Windows 8 has been so palpable, and why fixing it has become so important. Forcing us to take longer, more circuitous routes to what we do every day feels like starting breakfast one morning only to find that your roommate has rearranged the kitchen. The more you reach for a fork in what’s become the towel drawer, the angrier you get.

Can Windows Blue really stop PC users from seeing red? Read the entire column HERE.

Are Two Heads Better Than One at Intel?

2020-02-08T17:51:41-07:00May 6th, 2013|

When Brian Krzanich and Renee James, the newly appointed CEO and President of Intel, respectively, take over for the retiring Paul Otellini in two weeks, they won’t have to look far for things that need tending. Indeed, they will have to hit the ground running to lead Intel through what is arguably the most treacherous patch the company has encountered in its 45-year history.

Read the entire column HERE.