I'm going to start out this article with a warning. We know almost absolutely nothing about Windows 9. There's been speculation and reported leaked information from internal 'Softies feverishly working on Windows, but there truly is very little solid evidence of anything. So, you'll see a lot of words like "might" and "rumor" and "could" used throughout the rest of this article. I wish I could write a "spoilers" article, but as we've become too familiar over the past couple years from Microsoft, features can be culled or delayed seemingly overnight.
There's plenty of hope and desire that Microsoft will release something capable of pulling the company from the brink after a lukewarm Windows 8 reception. If hope and desire were Bitcoins, we'd all be rich folks. There are those that can't stand it when Microsoft does something right, but even then, I think we all are pulling for Microsoft even in a small way.
There's been a lot of reported rumors over what Microsoft might be delivering in its revamped Windows version that might appear at the end of September. We've covered some of it here at WindowsITPro, sadly I've grown weary of the "ifs" and "buts," and I think you might be, too. So, for now…until there's something solid, I'll give you a pay-it-forward link to some Windows 9 (Threshold) coverage coming out fast and furious from my buddy, Brad Sams, over at Neowin:
Again, as soon as there's something more concrete, we'll cover it here in depth.
But, here's the deal. While Windows 9 might bring back some older, but restyled, features to fix customer complaints, and it might introduce some new technologies to finally fix some age old issues (like the incremental updating), there's really only one thing Microsoft needs to fix, and that's the business functionality. Whether it’s a single feature or a group of features, Windows 9 needs to be weighed against value to the business.
Here's what we know. Windows 8 was an obvious stab at positioning Microsoft in the consumer market, and marked a rare occasion when the company approached the consumer angle before the corporate angle. And, not just in a small way. Many businesses found Windows 8 so unusable that Microsoft had to bring some desktop features back in Update 1. But, really it was too late and not enough. When businesses became sly to being sidelined, they all started flocking to Windows 7.
Microsoft is in a dangerous position where unless Windows 9 is able to bring back some glory and tease businesses to adopt the new OS version, the Windows ecosystem will wither quickly. Businesses supply Microsoft with the most revenue. I'm sure Microsoft saw an untapped market in the consumer sector and got all giddy. Not wanting to fall behind Apple and Google, it attempted to force change. But, those changes are now biting it in the butt.
Just renaming the OS, adding an incremental number, or playing to the Enterprise during the Technical Preview, doesn't serve as an apology for ignoring its core customers at the onset of its Modern OS march. Once the new car smell is gone, there has to be something beyond a fantastic stereo. Once you take the marketing out, there has to be a usable product left over.
Personally, I'm excited to test Windows 9. That's just my nature. But, I'll be casting a cautious eye to see how much is marketing and how much is meat. According to rumored features, Microsoft seems to be putting focus back into its core customer base (business), but shiny things tend to draw its attention too easily these days. <squirrel!>
So, truly the only reason you should want to give Windows 9 a go, is if it addresses the needs of the business, and if new capabilities and revamped features have a business focus. This will show if Microsoft is listening to customers again or not and if they might finally be willing to work with the rest of us.