Like millions of other people around the world, I took Microsoft up on their offer of a free Windows 10 upgrade. I spent some time exploring the new interface, and here are my initial thoughts:
First, the Pros
With Windows 10, Microsoft ditched their Internet Explorer web browser and built Edge to replace it. I tried it out, I liked it, but it’s not quite enough to make me switch away from using Chrome. The feature in Edge that got my attention was that you could take notes and draw directly onto a web page, then save the marked-up page to OneNote.
In Windows 10, Microsoft also changed the name of installed software from “Programs” to “Apps”. This is probably to make the operating system appear more modern to the iPhone generation. I particularly like how “Apps” are listed alphabetically in the Start menu.
Now, the Cons
The biggest problem I see with Windows 10 is that there is no reason for it. Microsoft is apparently shifting their focus to competing with IOS and Android. Just like in previous times, when they shifted focus to compete in different markets (smartphones, search engines, tablet computers…), they will fail. Everything Windows 10 does is done better somewhere else. For me at least, I get my e-mail, calendar, photo manager, and office apps from Google. I get my personal assistant and music from Apple. I get my movies and television from Amazon. I’ve tried Microsoft’s solutions but see no reason to switch to them.
Should You Upgrade?
Sure, why not. I didn’t find anything wrong with Windows 10. In fact, I enjoy it. But it doesn’t offer me anything new over Windows 7. Windows 10 is not going to make Microsoft relevant again.
If I Were CEO of Microsoft…
It’s likely that your phone can do almost everything Windows 10 can do. So what is the point of your desktop? It used to be that you need the desktop because it is more powerful than your phone. Instead of owning the desktop OS market, Microsoft is now trying to compete with Android and IOS, where they are weak.
If I were CEO of Microsoft, I would focus on making Windows do things on the desktop that phones can never do. Take advantage of the big screen and big processing power. Capitalize on the peripherals.
Instead of pasting cheesy Twitter and Candy Crush Saga apps onto the Start menu, I would offer powerful 3D modeling apps, photo editing apps, programming compilers, massive databases, number crunching analysis apps, etc. The apps I would provide would be too big and too powerful to duplicate on a phone or tablet. I would put a supercomputer on your desktop.
The large screens of desktop computers are also a feature that phones cannot duplicate. Take full advantage of them. Make the screen a wonderland of eye-popping graphics. Use the screen real estate to let people visualize data and manipulate it in ways an iPad cannot because it is too small.
Finally, I would go the route of Nintendo and design all sorts of peripherals that would only work with Windows computers. Imagine attaching devices like electric guitars, bike pedals, sound systems, 3D printers, or ultrasound wands to your computer and having them work seamlessly with Windows. Now that’s something your smartphone or tablet cannot do.