Microsoft has "ruled the roost" for such a long time that almost everybody (i.e. partners, vendors, competitors, and customers), have all adopted the anti-Microsoft thinking. I myself, some years ago, felt the same way about Microsoft and Microsoft products. But I have, over the years, grown to appreciate the evolution of Microsoft products and how they have started to "come of age" so to speak. And this leads me into my thoughts on Windows 8.
Windows 8 is a massive and positive step in the Microsoft strategy from several fronts (e.g. the new desktop, the cloud integration, the unified interface, and the integration between devices such as phones, tablets, laptops, and PCs). I really don't believe that users of Windows 8 have truly let the product "in" so that they are able to see its capabilities. Being a technical person for over thirty-five (35) years myself, I will share with you my thoughts and experiences with Windows 8.
Firstly, and from a marketing perspective, Microsoft has taken an unusual and changed approach to marketing their products, products that I dare say, has really started to show their true capabilities. I draw reference to the release of Windows XP, I remember back then; Microsoft had so much faith in their product offering that they literally, and boldly, announced their product to the world, and then stood so firmly behind it afterwards. And although things were a little different then, I still firmly believe that if Microsoft were to stand behind its product deliveries with that same conviction, I truly believe that they would get further along in the industry. So if I were to make a stupid suggestion, Microsoft should really, and in the first instance, reconsider their marketing strategy and adopt more conviction in their marketing strategy. Nuf said about that.
Secondly, Microsoft really has a wonderful product in Windows 8. Yes, they may have done a couple of things wrong, but that's all in the process of development and is easily taken care of with supporting applications (e.g. Classic Shell). When I first installed Windows 8, for example, my approach was, as normal, very conservative from a security perspective to the point where I used the local user account logon feature rather than integrate with my hotmail account. This was done because I felt, as normal that I was taking an approach to ensure that security is maintained on my desktop. But I quickly realized that this software release did more than just provide desktop services, Microsoft has taken a great step in the value of integration of all the various hardware platforms (e.g. phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, etc.) through the use of cloud services, which is not actually a function of Windows 8 by the way. But Microsoft has also done some magic with the desktop from a point of view of Metro. Metro is an easier way to offer applications to the user since applications are actually smaller in size, more intuitive in nature, and can easily be driven from the cloud. Take note that Microsoft Office is now also available on all hardware platforms as well, including their phones. Even in the corporate world, Windows 8 and Metro can offer genuine value... IT can get control of their environment again as applications, services, and various hardware platforms can now easily be integrated and centralized again using the more intuitive interface. Even further, Metro really provides a wonderful way for corporations to write customized applications.
Thirdly, acceptance that the world of applications is changing. Look at what iPad and Android are doing; they did a long time ago, exactly what Microsoft is trying to do with Metro. In fact, the reality is that Metro happened after iPad and Android and, again, Microsoft takes a hit for doing Metro, seems odd huh. Yet, everyone has bought into the intuitive interface on iPad and Android... hmmm.
Fourthly, adoption of this new software technology is a little more challenging on desktop PCs. Because the desktop has been a certain way for so long, implementing a new interface like Metro is completely new to the desktop market and IT. In fact, I dare say that Microsoft has been first to market this time. I remember when Apple introduced the Macintosh to the world; it was a visionary desktop interface that used a mouse. It actually took Microsoft a number of years to adopt the windows interface with Windows for Workgroups (This was what I believe to be the first real solid release of Windows for the PC) as a strategy, and it even took a few versions (Windows 95, 98, and Me) before they were actually able to completely make the transition (Windows 2000).
Fifthly, new hardware challenges (e.g. touch screen monitors, BIOS integration, etc.) are being brought to the table with Windows 8 and this presents yet some additional challenges. But, as time goes on, this transition will continue to happen and will evolve. The all-in-pc being offered by ASUS with Windows 8, for example, is a wonderful unit, which has a similar look and feel like the Mac all-in-one PC, and it has Metro, yet, because it is Microsoft, the value of these products are being minimized.
I have since made the switch to Windows 8 on all my devices except my desktop PC and my home server (Which is Windows Home Server 2011), and the integration and stability is really very good. I am currently building my new Windows 8 desktop as well and I have just acquired a 23? touch screen for my said desktop PC. I have also integrated to my Hotmail account as well, and this has since really opened up the Metro interface to me. The only real challenge facing Microsoft now is, vendors adopting and writing for the Metro, and this is somewhat slow in happening. But, as the desktop evolves and more and more PCs ship with Windows 8, vendors will write more and more applications for Metro, and they will subsequently become available for phones, tablets, and laptops as well. Microsoft should work to reestablish better ties with vendors to help bring this to market faster.
In summary, I think Microsoft is on the right path, despite all the criticism from vendors, competitors, and users alike. I am saddened to think that Microsoft is considering throttling back this strategy because of all the pressure. I would still continue with the strategy, but I will also restore the start menu and allow users to turn on or off the Metro interface. I would also put some of the Metro applications on the windows desktop as well.
This is my take on Microsoft Windows 8.