More cause for concern around Windows 8 as Intel CEO says it will ship “unfinished”

|  September 27, 2012 |

According to a report from Bloomberg sourced from people attending a recent meeting of Intel employees in Taiwan, Intel Chief Executive Officer Paul Otellini says that Microsoft will ship its next version of Windows, Windows 8, before it’s ready.

Apparently, there are a number of bugs yet to be worked out that Otellini reportedly says Microsoft is ignoring in order to ship the new operating system on the Oct. 26 date the company promised a couple of months back. The company’s Surface tablets will ship the same day.

Just in case you haven’t been keeping up with the situation surrounding Windows 8, there’s been a lot of criticism aimed toward it early on. One of the main criticisms has been that the transitions between the new Start menu (pictured above and which Windows 8 boots into) and the classic Windows desktop are jarring and confusing to initiate. 

That new Start grid is based heavily on Microsoft’s Windows Phone design language, meaning its built mainly with touch navigation in mind. Windows 8 is really an OS designed for tablets and laptop hybrids with touchscreen displays, though it’s completely compatible with a mouse and keyboard. But, realizing the need the vast majority of its users will have for the classic Windows desktop in order to use legacy software applications, Microsoft decided to layer this new Start screen on top of the old desktop.

Microsoft calls this approach “no compromise” but for a lot of tech pundits, including many writers who focus solely on Windows, it’s resulted in a confused operating system.

Of course, these pundits have been writing about unfinished software, so we’ve had to take their views with a grain of salt until Microsoft releases the finished version alongside the tablets like Surface it was designed for.

But there are two things that stand out as disconcerting to me about the statements Intel’s CEO  reportedly made. First off: even the final release of Windows 8 will be unfinished software and presumably the bugs Microsoft didn’t get to before ship date, they’ll patch with a software update soon after. How something like that is even an option considering the tremendous ground Microsoft has lost to Apple in the tablet market is laughable in and of itself.

Second, as the Bloomberg article notes, Intel is Microsoft’s closest partner. And even though there’s been a lot of early criticism from a lot of different directions, you’d never expect Intel to come out and publicly deem the latest version of Windows which Microsoft (and to a great extent, Intel) really needs to be successful, as a buggy, unfinished product.

And while all of this news is obviously bad for Microsoft, what about the countless businesses that use Windows? Granted, the vast majority of those weren’t likely to upgrade to Windows 8 right off the bat anyway, but on top of a new operating system being portrayed as having an identity crisis, now you’ve got one that’s potentially an unfinished product.

For those IT managers considering on upgrading devices around the office, and for those excited about deploying Surface tablets  you can bet they have a huge cause for concern as the Windows 8 launch date looms.

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