Intel thinks Windows 8 is not ready yet. Good news for Android?

September 26, 2012
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It seems that Intel CEO Paul Otellini doesn’t think that Windows 8 is quite ready yet. However, he does think that it is still a good idea for Microsoft to release the new operating system before it’s fully baked, as Microsoft can make improvements after it ships.

That is the gist of comments made by the industry leader to employees in Taiwan. Although his comments were made in a private meeting, and the person who spilled the beans to Bloomberg has asked not to be identified, it seems likely that Intel isn’t too happy about Windows trying to live a double life on the x86 architecture and on ARM.

However if Microsoft makes another Windows Vista-type mistake, it looks like Android and iOS will continue to dominate the smartphone and tablet markets in the long term.

Although Windows 8 has been tested on the desktop by millions of people who have downloaded the various preview and beta releases from Microsoft, it hasn’t been anywhere near as well-tested on tablets because there just aren’t any devices to test it on. Microsoft’s plan to have the same OS (well almost the same) running on the desktop and on tablets actually smells of compromise.

For starters, Windows 8 forces people to use Windows’ new, modern UI, which is the first thing that users see when the OS starts up. This is clearly the best thing for tablets, but forcing it on desktop users is odd, to say the least. Then there is the lack of a start button once you get to the desktop, the lack of “modern UI” apps and so on. From the tablet end not being able to run legacy Windows apps means that Windows RT isn’t really Windows at all, and I think a lot of confused customers will buy Windows RT based tablets expecting it to run their existing software.

This dual personality approach isn’t something Google or Apple tried, as they knew it won’t work. Apple, of course, developed iOS and Google didn’t create a touch screen version of a Linux distribution but rather started again, almost from scratch.

Of course both Android and iOS use internal components from Linux and OS X, but they are buried deep down. If Windows 8 isn’t ready for the prime time, as Otellini suggests, then Windows 8 — and especially Windows 8 RT — could be a disaster waiting to happen.

In a predictable spin (or even denial) of the news story, Intel spokesperson Laura Anderson declined to comment on the private meeting, but did say that  Intel “believes Windows represents a tremendous opportunity for our business and we’re looking forward to working with Microsoft on enabling a host of new experiences on a variety of devices.”

What’s your take on that?

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