February 4, 2015
Windows 8 was a bold attempt to fix this, and to throw out much of that accumulated debris. And, surprisingly, it has worked to a pretty respectable degree. Windows 8, particularly when running Metro apps, is an operating systems that is much simpler than any other desktop OS. And Windows 8, unlike iOS, has managed to achieve this without losing much, if any, of the power of a traditional desktop operating system.
-Lukas Mathis, “Windows 10: Re-Crappifying Windows 8”, Ignore the Code
I read this particular coverage by Mr. Mathis the other day and found that I personally might have liked Windows 8 had I been using a Microsoft Surface. Mathis has a great voice in his writing and it is often hard for me to disagree with him, especially when it comes to design. Of course, it helps that he is often well-informed on the design decisions that he chooses to deride or exalt. Either way, I was never a fan of Windows 8 and Windows 10 (from what I saw of Microsoft’s coverage) looked just as ill-advised, even though I really do like the idea of a single code base across multiple devices.
The problem with which I often took offense in Windows 8 was the jarring nature of the Metro (Windows Phone-style) interface next to the Windows 7-style interface. In addition, the use of a mouse in Windows 8 just felt wrong much of the time, especially when in the Metro UI. That is not to say that Windows 8 couldn’t be used with a mouse, but the OS just screamed for a touchscreen, which was both too soon (for Microsoft’s computer OEM partners) and too late (to save Microsoft from the dominance of the iPad in the tablet space).
I was one of the many that said from the very beginning that Micrsoft should have probably cut ties with the Windows brand and called their new OS (and interaction concept) Metro instead. The interface, especially on phones and tablets, just made sense and was much more powerful than iOS is key ways, as Mathis discusses, which is the reason why I quoted the above text. I think Microsoft is making a mistake by taking a step back to Windows 7 styling in Windows 10, just as Mathis does, but in the short term, it will give Microsoft’s core users—those that skipped both Vista and Windows 8 due to their loss aversion—exactly what they asked for: same, old Windows.