Is Windows 8 Turning Your Desktop into a Mobile Device?

    September 17, 2011

Microsoft is on top of the world right now–well, at the top of the tech section of Google News, anyway–after it unveiled its Metro user interface design. While reaction has been generally positive, there’s another side of the coin that doesn’t understand why Microsoft is turning Windows 8, especially the desktop version, into a mobile phone interface.

It should be noted, Microsoft’s strategy of trying attracting those who do their computer business on mobile devices makes sense, but does the operating system have to sell its soul, especially after the success of Windows 7, to do so? Not everyone agrees with Microsoft’s rosy outlook. As indicated, the new user interface, called “Metro,” was debuted this week, and for an example of how it works, watch the following video, which also supports the changing the desktop interface look and feel into a mobile device environment:

My first impression after seeing that is the start menu is entirely too bulky and convoluted, but, it appears as if that was the strategy all along, especially once you consider Microsoft has already admitted tablet computing had a direct influence on the Windows 8 design. With that in mind, to this writer, the Metro interface does not look, nor does it feel like a Windows environment, regardless of Metro’s social networking power. Over at PC Magazine, John Dvorak was much more direct with his reaction:

First of all, the interface should be renamed Microsoft “Kiosk,” because that seems to be the source of its inspiration. Then again, it reminds me of the Nintendo Wii, only with higher resolution. It also looks like it wants to blast ads at you.

That’s not the most glowing reaction. Maybe Dvorak’s impression improves as he continues:

I can only reason that the company jumped to put the Phone 7 interface on the desktop because Steve Jobs hinted that he was going to put the iOS interface on the Mac—a bluff to confuse Microsoft. Ford once did this when it pre-announced a six-door SUV that it never produced, hoping to catch GM off guard. At some point it’s a suckers game.

And that would be a big “no.” Are Dvorak’s criticisms warranted? Is Microsoft risking it’s position of desktop dominance with such a departure from the norm? Will the new Metro interface make Windows 8 dead on arrival, regardless of how well it shares images? Let us know what you think.