Windows XP was released in October 2001 to believe it or not a somewhat cold reception. It was the first version of Windows to merge consumer and business oriented features around a central kernel. This was to alleviate “DLL Hell” that plagued Windows 95,98, ME and create a more solid foundation for the thousands of applications built around Microsoft’s operating systems. Windows XP was the first version to introduce product activation. Gone were the days were one install CD and product key found its way onto many many computers. It was a pretty aggressive idea to combat software piracy. XP was the first version to introduce a blending of online and offline features designed around streamlining the day to day use for the consumer.
People hated it. Just look at a few comments from some tech writers at the time:
“On the first anniversary of Windows XP’s release, Microsoft has little to celebrate. Less than 10 percent of Microsoft’s installed base has upgraded to Windows XP since its release last October.”
-From Windows XP Slow to Take Hold – Paula Rooney, CRN, Oct 11, 2002
“[A] new study shows that a substantial number of businesses, both large and small, are still using [Windows 98].”
-From Users cling to old Microsoft operating systems – Ina Fried, CNET, Dec 12, 2003
“I also urged you to weigh in on … the idea that Longhorn might kill the “Classic” interface that’s been around since Windows 95….. [M]ore than 700 of you demanded its survival–as opposed to 3 who liked the new Windows XP look. Many complained about XP’s “Fisher-Price interface” and noted that the first thing they do on any XP machine is switch back to Classic View. I wholeheartedly agree.
-From Windows 8 is the new XP – By Ed Bott, ZDNet Oct 21, 2012
It wasn’t until XP had enough time to be beat up by the general public that gave Microsoft the feedback it needed to create Service Pack 1, and the much beloved Service Pack 2, a few years later. These righted the ship so to speak in minor, but significant, ways that calmed the public and caused XP to go on to become the most loved operating system in history. So much so that even after almost 11 years, and 2 new versions of Windows later, it is still widely used by people world wide. This has become a thorn in Microsoft’s side because its commitment to move technology forward is being hindered by their long history of customer support.
The Release of Windows 8
And here we are now with Windows 8. Surely things are different now right? Shiny and new should make people excited right? Wrong.
“Windows 8 is the future, let there be no doubt. The ham-fisted delicacy of the touch screen is indeed beautiful. It’s inviting and nothing welcomes you more warmly than a touch screen that lets you feel at one with the computer as you poke it with your greasy finger and make sexy smear marks all over the gorgeous shiny screen. It’s a masterpiece on your monitor…. ”
-From Dear Microsoft: Windows 8 Is Great, John C. Dvorak, May 13 2013
…The problem with Windows 8 is that Microsoft decided to shove a highly inefficient touch-based user interface onto millions of PC users using non-touch desktops and notebooks
-From “Why Windows 8 Is The First Windows Release I Absolutely Hate”, Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, March 14,2013
For as much that changes in technology, it all stays the same. Now that Microsoft has taken a beating on many of the firsts it has introduced, it is prepping what you can consider its first Service Pack code named Blue, aka Windows 8.1.
The rumors that the start button will return, and that users have the option to boot directly into the desktop has many people claiming that Microsoft is doing an about face and caving on their ideas. Instead, I view it as listening to the population and giving enough minor adjustments to make it less jarring and give those complaining what they want while ultimately staying on the course of what they started – just as they have been doing for almost 25 years. Time has told us this strategy works and personally I’m looking forward to seeing what sort of jarring features they introduce in Windows 9 that starts this cycle all over again.
Share in the comments what you like or dislike about Windows 8. Will you update?
Photo credit: www.zdnet.com