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Will Windows 8 Flop? As Windows 8 Release Date Approaches, Experts are Skeptical about its Chance of Success...
Since the recent unveiling of Microsoft's Surface tablet, experts have been speculating over the fate of the company's newest operating system, Windows 8. Despite numerous problems with the beta version of Windows 8, Microsoft has indicated that it is still aiming to release Windows 8 to manufacturers in July, in preparation for a full public release date for Windows 8 of October 2012. Will the software giant be able to iron out the problems in time, or will Windows 8 join the hall of fame of embarrassing Microsoft flops?
Windows 8 for Surface
Windows 8 was designed with the Surface tablet in mind. The aim is to give the tablet user all the functionality of a Windows operating system in a format that is suitable for a mobile device. Windows 8 is set up to make effective use of Surface's responsive touchscreen. Later versions of Surface will run a version of Windows 8 that supports on-screen writing, offering better smoothness and accuracy than previous digital inking software.
Microsoft unveiled Surface in June 2012 to mixed reactions. Many critics have been skeptical over the question of whether Microsoft can break into the mobile computing market in the face of stiff and established competition from Apple and Android devices. The fate of Surface could determine the fate of Windows 8 on all devices.
Windows 8 for Desktop and Laptop Computers
Volunteer testers of Windows 8 beta for desktop and laptop computers have raised multiple issues with the new operating system. Windows 8 is incompatible with some hardware, such as older printers and other peripheral devices. This is bad news for Microsoft: nothing turns users off an operating system faster than finding out that it doesn't work well with their existing hardware.
Besides Windows 8 hardware compatibility problems, beta testers have also complained about the touchscreen functionality of the new OS. Touchscreen support is one of Windows 8 major selling points, but it appears not to work well with most laptop and desktop touchscreen monitors. Windows 8 is optimized for 5-point touchscreen technology, which means that users with touchscreen monitors with 2-point touchscreen technology have a frustrating time using this function. It's possible that 5-point touchscreen monitors for desktop computers will become more common, but currently Windows 8 is ahead of its time.
Microsoft's Hit Flop Record
Microsoft's best operating systems have alternated with some embarrassing Microsoft failures. The popularity of Windows XP was followed by an almost universal hatred of Vista, which gave way to a very good reception for Windows 7. Will Windows 8 flop, thus fitting the alternating trend? Possibly.
It could be that the Microsoft hit/flop trend is self-perpetuating. The huge number of Vista users upgrading to Windows 7 as soon as it came out was largely due to the problems with Vista. With pre-release reviews of Windows 8 highlighting problems with the new OS, Windows 7 users are unlikely to be keen to update again.
Will Windows 8 be a hit or a flop? We'll find out later in 2012 when Windows 8 is released. Microsoft has indicated that the Windows 8 release date will be in October.