Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 10th Feb 2014 00:03 UTC

The reason this happened is that while Sinofsky had the maniacal power and force of will of a Steve Jobs, he lacked Jobs' best gift: An innate understanding of good design. Windows 8 is not well-designed. It's a mess. But Windows 8 is a bigger problem than that. Windows 8 is a disaster in every sense of the word.

This is not open to debate, is not part of some cute imaginary world where everyone's opinion is equally valid or whatever. Windows 8 is a disaster. Period.

Paul Thurrott shares some of his inside information, and it's pretty damning. According to him, Sinofsky's team - even up to his major supporter, Steve Ballmer - were removed from the company after it became clear just much of a disaster Windows 8 was.

I agree with his conclusion: razor-sharp focus on productivity, Windows' number one use. The desktop side of Windows 8.x is pretty good as it is, and has been progressively getting better with every update. I would go one step further than Thurrott. Windows 9 (desktops/laptops) and Windows Metro (tablets/smartphones). These two can still be one product (e.g., connect a keyboard/mouse/monitor to your x86 smartphone and it opens the desktop), but they should be entirely separate environments.

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GUI natural selection?
by theosib on Mon 10th Feb 2014 15:07 UTC
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There have been many paradigm shifts in computing technology that many people erroneously thought were going to fail before they succeeded. And there have been many more that came as a surprise to most people because they required an entirely new way of thinking that most of us didn’t have.

Microsoft has correctly seen the need to support tablet devices. It’s a huge market. There’s also a market for “convertable” devices where you can remove or hide the keyboard. Apple took a bifurcated approach from the start, making it so that, basically, Apple will never produce a convertable. One of my colleagues would love to get an Apple that let him switch to pen mode, but instead he’s stuck using his Lenovo. Microsoft tried to do total convergence and made the mistake of putting a tablet OS on the desktop, and that has caused a lot of trouble. Total convergence under the hood is a good idea, but at the UI level, a touch interface on the desktop doesn’t work any better than any of the earlier products that put desktop Windows on a tablet.

It would be wonderful to have a unified platform that allowed us to use the same apps in both formfactors. This way, you can have a convertable device and feel comfortable in both modes. The solution to that would require usability genius that I don’t have. And there might be too many problems forcing app developers to support two paradigms. We all know how so many Windows apps break horribly when all you do is set accessibility to use large fonts. It’s just as bad when you switch look-and-feel for Java Swing apps. UI layout engines and developers just aren’t that flexible.

Anyone who solved that problem would either make billions or they would fail because nobody wants to take the risk of adopting yet another GUI toolkit.

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