In what could only be a good omen for Microsoft, the number of curious users who downloaded the preview version of Windows 8 is about double the amount of people who decided to take an early peek at Windows 7. There are many ways to interpret this interesting statistical factoid. We’ll go with this one: Windows 8 represents, at least from how its interface looks and the advanced press Microsoft has been issuing, a major change from the Redmond Washington giants’ other OS offerings. Windows 8 marks the first iteration of a massive cross platform strategy being pursued by Microsoft where, regardless of what device you use, you will have to pass through a Microsoft product to access your data, share with others online or access resources online.
As proudly tweeted by Microsoft’s official windows 8 twitter account, @BuildWindows8, millions of users have been using the preview build everyday. That’s quite a massive number considering the fact that users of the OS will have their comfort zones expanded quite brusquely because of the new Metro user interface, the disappearance of the much loved and oh so convenient Start menu, and the Ribbon bar. While these represent massive design changes, this obviously hasn’t stopped users from downloading and installing the preview version of the new OS.
Critics and Microsoft haters dismiss the large crowd checking out the new OS since they say that train wrecks also attract their fair share of large crowds. Fair enough but they might be missing something, well, momentous. The giant software company from Redmond Washington is not about issuing one iteration of software and quitting. In fact, it has a reputation of trying over and over and over again until it succeeds. “By any means necessary” does not just apply to Malcolm X’s philosophy. When it comes to new software paradigms, that is Microsoft’s credo and it has paid off handsomely over the years.
Many haters and critics laughed out loud when Microsoft first made the leap from DOS to a graphical user interface. It took until Windows 3.1 for Microsoft to start taking a huge chunk out of Apple’s OS GUI dominance. The same process of multi-year development and heavy marketing was at play in many of the software niches Microsoft is now the category leader of. Windows 8 is supposed to ship in 2012. Count it as the opening salvo in Microsoft’s long march into dominance in the mobile devices OS market. From how things looked in the past and how things look now, it would probably be a foolish move to bet against this giant.