Microsoft Confirms Windows 8 Headed For August RTM, October Launch

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News Posted: Mon, Jul 9 2012 1:13 PM
At the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) today, Steve Ballmer formally announced the launch date for Windows 8 -- the OS will be RTM'd (Released To Manufacturing) the first week of August, with an estimated ship date in October. Microsoft's own ARM-flavored Windows 8 Surface will supposedly go on sale "around" that time frame; the company mostly showed off demo units and ultrabooks from the likes of HP, Lenovo, and Acer.

Microsoft is forecasting a sales target of 375 million new Windows devices in the next twelve months and took paints at the conference to tell everyone that Surface -- the company's own tablet/ultrabook hybrid -- will only account for a "few million" of those devices. This is Microsoft trying to soothe a panicked horse; the company's OEM partners clearly weren't happy about being blindsided with the system, and Redmond is working overtime to convince them it's not a problem. A Windows RT tablet was also shown off, though it was an early developer model.


Go get 'em, Steve!

Anyone who buys a Windows PC between now and Windows 8 launch will reportedly be able to upgrade for just $14.99, while those of us with Windows 7 licenses have already heard the $39.99 upgrade price. That's quite a deal compared to Microsoft's previous offers, though it's not clear yet how many users will want to upgrade to Windows 8 in the first place. As a conventional user, I'm on the fence about it -- for all the things I like about Windows 8's Desktop, having to use the Start Screen is an enormous negative. Office 15 -- the next-generation, Metro-compatible Office flavor -- was briefly demoed, but no real details were given.

Whether you like Windows 8 or hate it, it's impossible to argue with the excitement of the launch. With Windows 8, Microsoft has done virtually everything differently. Storage is pooled, upgrade licenses are cheap, the Metro UI is a clean break from the past, the UI is designed to scale to high resolutions much more effectively than in the past, there's a protected (hopefully malware free) store for products, DVD playback is now a separate package, and it'll be the first OS to support both x86 and ARM architectures. It's the first OS to feature direct ties to the Xbox (a potentially great idea) and it'll support AMD's Bulldozer and Piledriver-based CPUs more effectively than Windows 7.

Plenty of people think the OS could crash and burn thanks to Metro, but it's still exciting to see Microsoft, after years of pushing relatively minor Windows + Office updates, actually do something different. If Windows 8 works, it could redeem Steve Ballmer, whose leadership of the company has come under heavy fire from both Forbes and Vanity Fair of late. It could even give Windows Phone a much-needed shot in the arm, or at least help familiarize people with the look/feel of the OS so that Windows Phone devices feel familiar when it comes time to shop for upgrades.

Of course, it's also possible that the whole affair will crash and burn thanks to unhappy desktop users who don't want to muck with the Start Screen -- but even that's exciting. It's been a long time since Microsoft took a risk like this, and we're curious to see how it plays out through the back half of 2012 and into 2013.
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3vi1 replied on Mon, Jul 9 2012 2:10 PM

They are rushing this in an attempt to get a cash influx from the included app-store, and it's a horrible mistake on Microsoft's part. There doesn't seem to be a single reason why any serious enterprise would want to deploy this, and I suspect nearly all corporations will re-image any new Win8 PCs to Win7.

They're going to end up with the name having a stigma like WinME or Vista. It would not be surprising at all if it doesn't get significantly reigned in and re-released as Win 9 within two years of release.  RT might be in the market for a name change too.

At least they're finally adding storage pools... 14 years after LVM on Linux. I wonder if Microsoft properly licensed the patent (http://worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/biblio?CC=US&NR=5129088&KC=&FT=E&locale=en_EP).from IBM or if they think this kind of invention is obvious when the other guy owns it.

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I'm going to have to really disagree with you 3vi1. I don't get the feeling of rushed from them.

For one things if your company is running windows xp the upgrade to windows 8 is a rather cheap one, as windows xp is no longer supported you will have to upgrade to a newer version sooner or later to have a supported OS. Windows 8 is faster and less resource hungry then windows 7 and windows 7 isn't resource hungry. I have all our dell optiplex 755 (over 4yrs old) running windows 7 very nicely.

 

  • Windows 8 features a reset button: Re-install Windows without a disc
  • Windows 8 boots much faster (Reports are at 52% faster)
  • Windows 8 - everything in general runs faster then windows 7

 

There are many more new improvements and features but to just say that "There doesn't seem to be a single reason why any serious enterprise would want to deploy this" is actually false. The single most important reason if your running windows XP is to have a supported OS.

As for surface i am looking forward to implementing that in to our company, we tried an Ipad solution but it simply couldn't really do any really work, emails and play some video's and what not but not thing of work value for us.

The metro UI I have played with and i admit at first i didn't really like it, but I'm getting uses to it and starting to like it.

All in all i think what they are doing by having the same core across all platforms is a fantastic move.

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3vi1 replied on Mon, Jul 9 2012 10:39 PM

Most companies want a consistent environment to ease support. The companies that rolled out 14,000 seats of Win7 in the last six months (mine included) aren't going to want to break that single-support model for any features in Windows 8.

>> Windows 8 features a reset button: Re-install Windows without a disc

Every real enterprise has already has network boot reinstalls for years. No benefit.

>> Windows 8 boots much faster (Reports are at 52% faster)

Boot time really hasn't been a problem since the invention of suspend. No benefit. We automatically wake the machines in the early morning, let them receive updates and reboot if necessary, and the users walk in to the login screen.

>> Windows 8 - everything in general runs faster then windows 7

In an enterprise, the clients not usually the slow part - it's the database you're talking to over the network. While performance is always a benefit, Office apps aren't slow to begin with. Windows PC's usually get 'slow' because the users clutter them with crap. My company, and most others have a sensibly locked-down image where the user doesn't have admin rights that prevents this from ever happening.

Windows 8 simply follows Windows 7 too closely, and Microsoft already did the job of convincing everyone that isn't going to ride XP into the ground that they should update to 7. There's no compelling argument to now go to Win8. Expect to see Win 7 for the next five-six years.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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RiCoFrost replied on Tue, Jul 10 2012 12:47 AM

Look i do understand what your saying, windows 7 is rather good and if your running windows 7 ok no "real" need if you just rolled out to windows 7, I get that but there are still a lot of companies running windows XP.

Not all companions are massive, of cause any change in a large company takes years and would be much slower and much more expensive. We have lots of remote users and laptop users so some of the new features look good for our companies needs. Different companies have different needs, i guess i was just a bit put off when you said there doesn't seem to be a single reason why... and ok you maybe referring to 14000 plus user company you may not see any benefit but I do seen benefit in the new features company. I'm simply saying you cant just rule it out totally. The fact that the same core OS is on desktop laptop table and phone is appealing.

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3vi1 replied on Tue, Jul 10 2012 7:22 AM

>> The fact that the same core OS is on desktop laptop table and phone is appealing.

That's an interesting viewpoint that I've often contemplated. I do agree that most people believe this is true... but why?

Do they plan on running the same apps on the two platforms? A high-end desktop game on the phone would be disappointing at best, and it would be hard to see more than the ribbon if you were running the 'normal' version of MS Office on a phone.

Taking things in the other direction, why run phone apps on the desktop when there are apps that are designed to make use of all the PCs power. Surely we don't want AAA gaming to degrade to Flash-like levels or for us to have to install an app to access every web site. Are apps designed for a phone interface ever going to be as good as those designed for the more common PC keyboard/mouse? It all seems like a monumental step backwards.

Finally, what about management of the OS? Are the configuration settings in a phone or other low-end device really so complicated that there's any real benefit from carrying over desktop expertise? Would we even want a phone where the setting are so full of non-applicable desktop items that they add unrelated clutter and make it harder to manage? And, vice versa, is hiding the volume control on the desktop an improvement over the way I've been able to interact with the system tray using the middle scroll wheel?

My theory is this: People perceive a benefit of running the same OS because of conditioning. Microsoft is notorious for the embrace, extend, and extinguish strategy which mostly revolves around breaking standards such that certain things will only work when used with their own proprietary software. So, people that live solely in the Windows world come to think that you need the same OS for compatibility reasons when all you really need are open standards (*complete* open standards, not the stuff MS has recently pushed as open standards) and protocols.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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RiCoFrost replied on Tue, Jul 10 2012 10:21 PM

The really appealing part is consistency, as it is now I have windows desktop, android phone (had Iphone) and (had) ipad and everything works differently. The ipad feels very alien and clucky and I don’t find easy to use at all and I can’t really use it the way I want to use it. The android phone is nicer than the IPhone and I don’t feel so restricted its still different. But to have all the devices I uses have the same look and feel is the most appealing part. To copy, to paste, to add, to move, to delete, the way my contacts are setup and so on, that’s the thing I am looking forward to. Consistency across all the devices I use. I guess it’s more so that we are not limited that this software we use will only work on my desktop/laptop or this application will only run on my phone not on my desktop and vs visa. It’s to free us from that restriction.

I guess high-end games are limited by the hardware on the device you’re using, maybe it could run so long as the table or phone has the minimum specs required for the game, maybe not right away but it could in the future. I think that allowing that option to be there is a step in the right direction. Im sure that in the near future the GPU’s will get smaller and be able to fit in a phone/tablet, sure it wont be as good as a desktop version but I'm sure one day you will be able to have it.

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3vi1 replied on Thu, Jul 12 2012 10:08 PM

>> The really appealing part is consistency

Actual consistency between dissimilar platforms in this case means catering to the least common denominator.

>>  To copy, to paste, to add, to move, to delete, the way my contacts are setup and so on

Well, the first phone version might not support copy and paste.  I mean, Microsoft's sold us consistency before:  we were supposed to believe Windows Phone 7 had some commonality with Win7... but there was no parity in actual features.

>> I guess high-end games are limited by the hardware on the device you’re using, maybe it could run so long as the table or phone has the minimum specs required for the game, maybe not right away but it could in the future.

If the games are designed like the OS, I assume they'll all be designed for touch screens and suck on the PC.  You *really* don't want to play a shooter or MMO on your phone - why should you care if it could?

It doesn't matter the power of the underlying computer.  The input and output differ between platforms and benefit from apps customized to the device.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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rapid1 replied on Thu, Jul 12 2012 10:43 PM

I agree 3vi1 I see no point even personally for windows 8. Yes maybe if I was going to buy a Windows phone personally at home maybe as I could synchronize and manage it all. The one problem is we use Win7 on the desktops and Sarah just let me upgrade her desktop to Windows 7 3 months ago because she was having issues (because windows was not up to date anymore for multimedia and things would lock up pretty frequently because of it) she is happier with Windows 7 than she was with XP Pro now and she will not want me to upgrade her, and we use Android phones. On a professional level for some professions that synchronization will be a plus, not a mega plus mind you as you can get things to do it anyway, but all in one product it is pretty nifty.

Personally; I do not like 8 from the desktop which I abhor, to the start menu and the removal of settings at my fingertips as well. The start thing I find funny really. Yes maybe if I booted my PC a lot of times a day but really -30 seconds is cool with me go get an SSD for your OS drive it is faster ,ore efficient with energy and runs cooler not to mention there really becoming decent price wise. Either way business's are not going to and I say will never upgrading to Windows 8 in large numbers. Many more will move to Windows 7 after 8 comes out I bet as they will get better deals on it most likely in numbers. They would have to retrain there entire staff to even use it to begin with. I just do not see it and I bet Windows 8 does worse than Vista did in user numbers for M$.

Maybe for a new business with very technically savvy and 100% new across the board staff I could see it or a very young family that is trying to go with the all synchronized approach or something other than that I see Windows 8 Development bill being paid for completely by M$ as I will bet it is one of there worst selling OS's ever and even beats Windows ME both in user hatred and numbers (If I remember right the only reason anyone much got ME period was because they bought a new PC before M$ killed it) although I remember doing a lot of support work for every manufacturer of PC's in America on that shi7ba11 of an OS!

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