October 16, 2012

Brace Yourself for Microsoft's Windows 8 Redesign

With its new Windows 8 operating system, Microsoft is again attempting to reinvent the wheel, and doing so in a way that will frustrate some users and cause training headaches for businesses.

The Wall Street Journal looks into the early reaction from businesses.

Windows 8 includes a new way to navigate, using rows of windows, called tiles, that represent websites or apps—much the way mobile phones operate.

Microsoft is no doubt trying to stay relevant at a time when people are flocking to mobile devices.

But the new OS is almost guaranteed to frustrate many people.

That is nothing new from Microsoft, which has been angering current users with upgrades for close to two decades.

Windows 95 not only changed navigation and file management, but also put a lot of software companies out of business, as did Windows 3.1 before it.

Successive versions have continued the trend. Many users were finally happy with Windows XP, the first Windows OS that didn't crash frequently.

But within a few years, if you bought a new machine you were usually forced to buy Windows Vista, despite the beating it was taking in the press.

And then somewhere in there Microsoft got rid of the traditional File, Edit, View, etc., menus in Office, which basically paralyzed people who had been using computers for years.

And users now have to brace themselves for another shakeup.

On the plus side, though, a whole new wave of devices are coming out using the new software—tablets, Ultrabooks, and hybrids—from Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Samsung, and others.

And more important, for once the force driving Microsoft to shake things up is competition, from Apple's iPad and iOS, and from Google's Android.

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