The Release to Manufacture (RTM) version of the OS, announced Aug. 1, blocks the ability to boot past the tiled UI start page. But it’s apparent that Microsoft needs to take this step to truly compete in the tablet computer market.
By forcing Windows users to work with the graphical user interface formerly known as “Metro,” Microsoft risks alienating people raised on the classic Windows interface and will make it very difficult for enterprises to adopt Windows 8, which would inevitably involve retraining hundreds or thousands of employees. Nonetheless, the tiled UI is optimized for the touch screen and that is where personal computing is headed, even in the enterprise.
Microsoft announced recently that it was dropping Metro as the name for the Windows 8 UI, apparently because of a potential trademark issue with a retailer in Germany called Metro AG. However, Microsoft hasn’t announced a new name for the UI.
Although Windows 8 can run on a computer with a mouse and keyboard, a Microsoft Web page for developers of software applications to run in Windows 8 urges them to “design for a touch-first experience.”
“First and foremost,design your app with the expectation that touch will be the primary input method of your users,” Microsoft states.
As for enterprise adoption, they, unlike consumers, can order new desktop or laptop computers that are still shipped with Windows 7 preinstalled. As it is, many of them are still preoccupied with migrating to Windows 7 than away from it.
In order for Microsoft to compete in the tablet space already dominated by Apple iOS on the iPad and on the range of tablets running Google Android, the company needs to maximize the opportunity for Windows 8 and the tiled interface to catch on in the mobile market by giving users every excuse to work with the touch interface on the latest devices.