InfoWorld Savages Windows 8 In Review, Gives It High Scores Anyway

When a review of a product is titled Windows 8 review: Yes, it's that bad," there's not much to do but brace yourself and push on. InfoWorld is running one of the first reviews of the operating system's RTM. While we're still two months away from formal launch, it's the version of the OS that'll ship out to customers when the gate opens on October 26th. The author notes that he's spent nearly a year with Windows 8, and that's one point where Microsoft deserves some real credit -- the company's Building Windows 8 blog and multiple pre-release builds have been great. It's a formula we hope the company sticks with when it's time to build Windows 9.

As for Windows 8, the complaints hit home exactly where expected. Metro -- yes, we're still calling it that, since Microsoft apparently can't field a replacement that isn't confusing -- works well on tablets, poorly on the desktop, and the shift between the two is jarring. The new Metro apps are missing a significant amount of functionality. Strangely enough, the actual review is rated a 7.8, while the author's sub-title is "Windows 8 is guaranteed to disappoint nearly everyone." But the actual rating? 7.8. Good.

That's...well, to be honest, confusing to say the least. It looks like what happens when a reviewer won't back down from harsh language and an editor doesn't want to tick off a major corporation -- or a publication that wants to drive hits. The reason we're talking about it at all is because the reviewer's comments line up with what MS effectively told us to expect with the Release Preview six weeks ago. The new Metro Apps are in, but semi-functional; Metro Mail can connect to Outlook/Hotmail and supports IMAP, but it can't use POP3 and won't import data from any of Microsoft's other email programs. Metro Calendar has its own synch problems and can't directly import from other MS products.

The bottom line appears to be that if you aren't running a tablet, Windows 8 may not give you anything you don't already have (and have better versions of). To be honest, we've known that for quite some time. Launching with an early review, a nasty headline, and a 7.8 "Good" rating is oddly appropriate for Windows, where Microsoft's grand effort to create a new UI appears to be hamstrung by the way the old desktop and new Metro designs don't work together.

The one major mistake here might be Microsoft's insistence that you boot to Metro and refusal to allow a Desktop-only environment. The more we push closer to release, the more this feels like a mistake.