Lilbits (8-21-2014): Windows 9 coming soon, while Windows RT drops the desktop?

The next version of Microsoft Windows is expected to bring back a sort of start menu, kill the charms bar, and generally be easier to use on desktops. If the latest reports are to be believed, Microsoft could launch a free preview of the next-gen operating system at the end of September.

Meanwhile the company is also reportedly tweaking Windows RT, the version of Windows that runs on tablets with ARM-based chips. If the rumors are true, Microsoft will remove access to the Windows desktop altogether… which could be a good thing since making Windows RT look less like Windows could make the fact that it doesn’t run most desktop apps feel less frustrating.

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  • Conception

    I really hope Windows 9 is a free update from 8.1 but, then again, this is Microsoft after all. It would bode well if the feedback on the 9 release was positive. I’m really sick of giving Microsoft money for their experiments. I also hope the update from 7 (or even XP) wasn’t too expensive for it would be a good idea to try and consolidate the various OS’ers to one platform going forward.

    • http://rationaldreaming.com/ Mike

      Why would it be free? I don’t have it yet, but Windows 8.1 is a perfectly good product that many now say is better than Windows 7 in many respects. Companies sell crappy products sometimes. That’s life. At least with software products, they can iron things out over time. Not so with most things people buy.

      • Conception

        Can’t tell if trolling…Have you been paying attention for 2 years on any blog or news outlet with regards to the reception of 8 and then 8.1? Combined they only have 12.48% market share compared to Windows 7 which has GROWN to 51.22%. XP has just dropped below 25% I mean, I can tell you’re a fanboy and all but you can’t be that delusional to believe that 8 or 8.1 was a success. They lost a CEO, massive company layoffs, massive decline in PC sales, failed product line after product line…I mean, come on…it should be a free update from 8.1 to say “We’re REALLY fucking sorry! PLEASE forgive us! I have 8.1 by the way and even tweaked to the max, the UI is still a schizophrenic abortion and doesn’t know what it wants to be. No professional IT department is running Windows 8 or 8.1…count on that!

      • Phonzie

        As far as my computers at home go, I’m primarily use Linux (Debian and Ubuntu), my phone is Android, but I do have a Windows 8 tablet that’s almost two years, and I put an evaluation copy of Windows 8.1 on my Windows 7 laptop. We use Windows Server 2012 at work.

        All in all, I have no problems with Windows 8/8.1/Server 2012. There’s a few things that took some getting used, and a few things. I started using computers in the old DOS age, and used Macs in college, and I don’t see the big deal with point and click, or tap, it’s pretty much the same for me, whether it’s Windows, OS X, iOS, Android and Linux (with most desktop managers).

        If anything, I think over time Windows as gotten much easier to use, with the search box, to find things like FireWall settings, security settings, etc. Granted your typical user probably isn’t going to be doing those kind o things. I can even launch PowerShell and use most of the common Unix commands.

      • leo

        I think that’s the crux of the criticism: I agree with you that it is all pretty much the same, except that Android and Linux are open source. Hence, MS products are poorer in terms of value, gradually gravitating toward obsolescence, but yet still expecting to charge the consumer as if the offer a premium product. It’s rather arrogant. If MS wants people to continue to happily pay for their products, MS needs to offer people the same type of value it did when they rolled out ’95 or blew minds with XP.

      • http://rationaldreaming.com/ Mike

        You forget that in most cases, people typically move to a new version of Windows when they get a new computer, and that includes most company roll-outs. It’s not seen as a premium product, it’s just something that comes with the new system that still works with all the software packages you were using on the old one.

        Thus Linux doesn’t have to just match new versions of Windows in terms of value and ubiquity, it has to provide a compelling reason for users to abandon most of the software they have been using for years and go through the process of learning a completely new software ecosystem into the bargain. That’s why Windows will continue to prosper for as long as the laptop/desktop paradigm exists. It’s the move to an embedded and mobile world that threatens Microsoft the most, not the perceived obsolescence of Windows.

      • leo

        Excellent points; however, these responses pertain to Windows 9 under an upgrade scenario. Otherwise, you are correct.

      • CyberGusa

        Sorry but that’s a skewed perspective… Sure, W8/8.1 isn’t the best thing since sliced bread for the PC market but Windows market growth has always been slow… Even W7 adoption was slow and took years to get to where it is now!

        Never mind the fact the PC market has been decline and that started before W8 was even released and effected non-Windows products like Apple’s OSX too!

        W8 market share has actually steadily increased, the increase only really slowed this year… but most of that can be attributed to the fact that people are expecting W9 to be released soon and the continued PC market decline…

        And yes, there are companies using W8.1 already!!! Just not any that didn’t need to modernize right away… So, little more than a handful but you’re clearly wrong on there being no professional IT department running W8/8.1…

        Like the server edition is one of the first that lets you uninstall the GUI without uninstalling and re-installing the OS… A clear benefit to those running servers and usually doing so from the command prompt anyway (GUI is usually not good for servers as it can cause corruption over time and is an unneeded overhead for most servers)… While the WinRT environment is actually easier to run and maintain for clients who often just use a web browser to access the servers or service…

        Along with tools like Windows to Go, etc that they introduced for the Enterprise edition that makes the OS more flexible than ever before…

        So, it’s not like it’s terrible for everyone… A lot of companies just need to support their legacy apps and thus will usually only consider an upgrade as a last resort… Especially, if it means needing to retrain their employees and needing to replace their apps and start over…

        Really, XP is hardly the most stable version of Windows ever released and has lots of problems… Especially, now that’s it’s a outdated OS with no more official support, unless you’re willing to pay a high premium for continued support… Yet many companies still hold onto it, not because it’s better but because it’s what they’re used to, it’s what their apps work with, etc…

        Windows 7 wasn’t even that widely adopted until after MS finally announced XP support would expire… So really, the lack of adoption is hardly only just because some people don’t like W8…

      • http://rationaldreaming.com/ Mike

        Not trolling, not a fan boy either, (as I said, I’m happy with Win7 so see no reason to upgrade). I just think it’s silly to believe you’re entitled to a free upgrade from what is now a perfectly good operating system and is the equal of or better than it’s predecessor in almost all respects (the Metro interface excepted).

        And if you’re worried about Microsoft’s bottom line, then the last thing you should be advocating is a give-away, which would cost them hundreds of millions of dollars. If IT departments skipped Win8 then they are going to upgrade to Win9 or Win10 anyway. Where else are they going to go? Linux? Not a chance.

  • jm2c

    It’s going to be interesting to see what they do to Windows 9, RT and Phone. I wouldn’t mind not having the desktop in RT since I never use it. It feels like a vestigial appendage of the OS to me. However I know people who do like it. Hopefully if Microsoft removes the desktop they add apps/features to RT that make up for it.

    • CyberGusa

      Hopefully, the WinRT side basically needs better tools to help make up for the loss of the desktop as right now there are certain things you can only do on the desktop side of the environment…

      Especially, for power users who like to adjust the OS to their liking and otherwise would have to rely on 3rd party utilities and specialized apps…

      Things like troubleshooting, changing the default install directory, doing advance WiFi management, file management, overriding system defaults, etc are all still usually best done in the desktop environment…

      Otherwise, there’s no reason to treat RT as any different than WP… So, yes, let’s hope they make up for it… Otherwise, we’ll have to wait till they eventually merge all the platforms before we can have even hidden features for power users…

  • Sam Curcio

    This is how Apple did it long ago with separate OS for desktops and laptops, while offering iOS for their tablets and phones.

    • http://g33ky.de/ Dr. Azrael Tod

      but noone sells tablets with win RT
      there are things like Asus T100 with Win 8.1 though

      • Sam Curcio

        There are plenty of tablets on Amazon that only run RT.

      • http://g33ky.de/ Dr. Azrael Tod

        is that so?

        i know of asus vivo tab and microsofts own Surface-RT
        wouldn’t call those two “plenty”.

        (…and asus isn’t even producing vivo anymore, same goes for the former devices of HP, Dell, Samsung and Lenovo plans to stop producing them)

      • Sam Curcio

        Did I say how many manufacturers? I just said there are plenty.
        More than the “no one” than you originally claimed.

      • http://g33ky.de/ Dr. Azrael Tod

        and my point was “microsoft and only microsoft” is even further away from beeing “plenty” as it is from beeing “no one”.

      • Sam Curcio

        What do bees have to do with it?

      • http://g33ky.de/ Dr. Azrael Tod

        i have no idea. You mean those spelling bees? :D

  • The_Cageybee

    Isn’t WinRT dead yet? Please, someone, take it outside and put it out of it’s misery!!

    • CyberGusa

      So long as ARM still dominates the mobile market then MS has little choice but to keep RT around…

      While WinRT, which refers to the ModernUI/Metro environment in general, will be kept because MS wants to be part of the mobile market and because it provides enhancements long overdue to the desktop side as well and isn’t limited to just mobile applications…

      As the platform evolves, they’ll just evolve it to be more capable over time… Like being able to run WinRT apps Windowed for desktop systems and only force full screen for smaller tablets and other mobile devices… So you’d basically won’t be able to tell right away or easily which is a legacy desktop app and which is a WinRT apps…

      Mind, if you want your devices to have all day usage, instant on, connected standby, better security, to run faster without needing new hardware, etc. then WinRT is the solution versus legacy desktop apps that generally run inefficiently, don’t support modern mobile features, and are based on code that’s has elements that are decades old and harder than ever to protect against malware and other threats…

      Much like Linux, WinRT isn’t limited to the way it was initially introduced either… It can evolve to eventually replace the legacy desktop but that can’t be done overnight and legacy support still needs to be provided until it can…

      So, basically, W9 will be the first real taste of what MS had been planning from the start as the WinRT and desktop finally start to merge and UI will start to simply adjust to which form factor device you are using instead of being stuck with the same hybrid setup regardless of device as W8 is stuck with and was the main problem with it…

      • Timothy C

        >>WinRT is the solution versus legacy desktop apps

        I’m sure MS would like people to think so. The reality of being locked into MS’ apps store with its 30% tax (and full of scam apps) says otherwise. The pitch for an app store is that discoverability is supposed to be easier. Again, the reality is that I can search for an app using Google (or Bing) more precisely than I can within any app store, both MS’ and Google’s.

        Yes, both Goog and Apple charge the same 30% tax for their (mobile) app stores. The difference is that mobile has started out that way, and is now the norm. However, desktop doesn’t have that same history, and to force software vendors into paying the 30% tax (by locking WinRT apps to be store-only) won’t go over well. To wit, you don’t see any major PC software, aside from MS of course, in MS’ app store.

        MS has learned its lesson from trying to push a mobile UI to the desktop. Hopefully, it won’t have to learn a second lesson from trying to push the app store model to the desktop as well. The first already claimed Ballmer and Sinofsky as casualties. We would be saddened if the new guy says goodbye so soon.

      • CyberGusa

        First WinRT isn’t completely limited to just the Store… It’s just the only way to officially get support from MS but you can side load and companies can set up their own in-house App Store as well, which is officially supported…

        Second, MS is in the process of altering their revenue system… Like offering Windows for free to devices that will be sold for $250 or less and pushing pay for cloud services, as well as alternative revenue like Google uses.

        The old system has arguably outlived its use and there is a convenience for going to one place to find and get your apps… especially, when you want to be able to easily find said apps instead of looking at multiple sources, and more easily be able to re-install said apps or manage your storage by choosing which apps you want installed at any given time but easily re-install another app you already purchased whenever you need to…

        While being able to Google or Bing for said apps comes nowhere near that level of convenience! Especially, when trying to keep track of what you have and have not purchased and whether you already have a similar app or not…

        Third, Google is far more over bearing with their Store because device makers can’t even include it unless the device is approved for their version of Android… Google in fact uses it’s Store and apps to maintain control and dominance over the Android market… The Play Store, and pretty much all the Google specific apps are proprietary! So Google has full control over who can use them or who can’t…

        So let’s not pretend MS is pushing some horrible system on their users…

        And no, we are starting to see other companies start to push WinRT apps besides MS… Many have just been taking a long time to get their app approved and the main ones avoiding it have been those who make browsers because they can’t yet create one that will perform as well as the native IE in WinRT…

        Now, if MS continues to make that hard then you have something to complain about but that’s pretty much the only thing to really complain about…

        Adobe, has already started to port their apps with Photoshop Touch now available and other apps should soon to be following it, just to point out one example..

        While some are just waiting for enough market share before they get really interested but merging WP, RT, and Regular Windows with W9 will go a long way to opening up the markets and getting more developers interested…

        So no, MS simply is finally catching up to what they originally planned… This is why WinRT isn’t going anywhere! It’s just not going to be so obviously a hybrid system anymore…

      • Timothy C

        >but you can side load and companies can set up their own in-house App Store as well

        Really. Then please do point to how a user can do that, without signing up to be a developer, and without being an enterprise.

        Again, reality: No, you cannot sideload a Metro (nee WinRT) app.

        >Second, MS is in the process of altering their revenue system…

        I don’t see any indication of MS decreasing or removing its 30% tax. Now, being deprived of revenue from OS licensing, if anything, that 30% might just go UP. Thank you for that reminder.

        >The old system has arguably outlived its use and there is a convenience for going to one place to find and get your apps…

        Yes, the same bromide used to push Metro, and look how well that went over. Perhaps reading isn’t in your skill set, so I’ll repeat: I can search for an app easier by using the web search engine (either Google or Bing) faster and more precisely than I can with either’s app store search facility. Moreover, MS’ store is a minefield of scam apps, as has been reported many times.

        Reality: No, it’s not more convenient.

        >Third, Google is far more over bearing with their Store

        I’m talking about the desktop, not mobile. Please stick to the topic.

        >And no, we are starting to see other companies start to push WinRT apps besides MS… Many have just been taking a long time to get their app approved

        I think we’re venturing into the realm of fanboi delusions here, and your “starting to see” bit is wearing thin after 2+ years of “it’ll catch on any day now” Win8 exhortations. Less promises and more action, please.

        >This is why WinRT isn’t going anywhere!

        I think we can both agree on that.

      • CyberGusa

        “Really. Then please do point to how a user can do that, without signing up to be a developer, and without being an enterprise.”

        You only need the Enterprise if you wish to create your own App Store… but just side loading doesn’t require this…

        Sure, side loading still required a developers license or at least a volume license key but that’s only if you want or need official support otherwise people have found ways to side load apps on WinRT… Like Jailbreaking, even the obstacles MS threw up with the 8.1 update can be worked around… So never underestimate what users will do to customize their OS and device…

        More officially, MS has already started to ease the requirements for officially supported side loading…

        http://www.neowin.net/news/microsoft-offers-expanded-sideloading-options-for-windows-81

        These will only continue to ease going forward to Windows 9 because there’s little way to block it for a platform that wishes to merge all existing Windows platforms together and they’ll need to to attract more developers as the platform finally gets serious and needs to support more than just a few target markets…

        But side loading has it’s weak points too… Like it’s far more likely to expose a user to malware and far less ways to protect users from such attack vectors… thus it’s not necessarily the way to go for everyone…

        “I don’t see any indication of MS decreasing or removing its 30% tax.
        Now, being deprived of revenue from OS licensing, if anything, that 30%
        might just go UP. Thank you for that reminder.”

        You think any business based app distribution system is done for free… Other than repositories?

        Besides, they’re providing a service by helping not only to make things more convenient for most users for one stop shopping, recovery, app management, etc. but also helping to avoid malware with a more secure and regulated distribution system that can better help catch and remove malware infected apps and malware apps that try to pass themselves off as the original valid apps…

        Never mind helping with exposure and advertising of apps, which in turn helps get the app developers to more potential users…

        Also, you really should stop exaggerating because not everything in the App store gets charged… Free apps are exempt for example and MS doesn’t charge as much for apps that are very successful and thus developers can start keeping most of their profits after a certain point…

        While things like malware will only increase to be a threat and thus the old ways of finding and installing apps has to change anyway…

        “Perhaps reading isn’t in your skill set, so I’ll repeat: I can search
        for an app easier by using the web search engine (either Google or Bing)
        faster and more precisely than I can with either’s app store search
        facility. Moreover, MS’ store is a minefield of scam apps, as has been
        reported many times.”

        No, but you clearly can’t read because I already addressed the fact that the convenience goes beyond simply searching for apps on Google or Bing and you get far more malware going that route than you ever would through the store!

        Obviously, you don’t keep track of how most people get malware otherwise you would never push such a silly argument!

        Sure, the store is far from perfect and needs a lot more improvement but it has already improved significantly from when it was first introduced… Active spam removal started early this year for example… and that’s just one of the many things you apparently missed!

        Even more locked down stores like the Apple Store still get the occasional malware or spam app but the system is a lot less likely to give you malware than going to some random site you found in a search engine and hoping it’s an actual app and not malware…

        “I think we’re venturing into the realm of fanboi delusions here, and
        your “starting to see” bit is wearing thin after 2+ years of “it’ll
        catch on any day now” Win8 exhortations. Less promises and more action,
        please.”

        Sorry but I’m no fanboy and the only one with delusions here is you… I already pointed out Adobe is coming out with official apps, they’re not even the only ones, and I already pointed out there are companies who made the switch… both clearly proving wrong what you’ve stated and those are facts!

        So get over it already… You’ve clouded your analysis with your bias and that’s clear… Nothing is perfect and they’re still a long way from getting things just right but it’s nowhere near the disaster you’ve tried to make it out to be…

        Like it or not W9 is not going to get rid of WinRT… it’s going to be further integrated and just simply be better applied… The hate you have for it is mainly based on the limited way it was originally applied but like I also already addressed WinRT is not limited to the way it was originally introduced and like Linux already has WinRT will continue to evolve and go beyond it’s original implementation…

      • The_Cageybee

        Hmm. I seem to remember a $900million write off Microsoft had to make over RT. If that doesn’t suggest it’s dead, I don’t know what does.
        Defending the indefensible may be noble, but it doesn’t make good business sense.

      • CyberGusa

        Let’s be clear… I’m only pointing out misconceptions, not defending what you think is indefensible…

        Simple fact of the matter is establishing a new platform in a market the company is not already established in, in this case the mobile market, will always cost a lot of money the first couple of years or even a decade…

        Most new ventures take at least 2 years before it can really be determined to be a success or failure and in fact most of the write off you mentioned was due to costs of promoting, advertising, etc.

        Admittedly, a good chunks of that was probably wasted on things like advertisements that fell flat and failed to properly inform consumers but marketing is one of the things MS still needs to fix in their business model…

        While MS has little to no choice but to still support RT because it’s the only thing they can offer on ARM based devices besides WP and with their plan to merge WP with RT there’s little to not chance of them dropping it anytime soon…

        Never mind the desktop side as Windows Threshold clearly merges the WinRT with the desktop… even the much acclaimed return of the Start Menu is really a hybrid that supports both traditional desktop apps and WinRT apps…

        Sure, they could have probably handled the introduction and the whole W8 setup better but given there present worries about future relevance and not wanting to turn out like companies like Blackberry/RIM, Nokia, etc that relied too long on their old strengths and wound up irrelevant before they knew what happened… They instead focused on the long term plan on what they needed to stay relevant through the future and WinRT is integral to that plan…

        They just didn’t do a good job of introducing it or doing enough to fix the early limits… While being too focused on establishing their mobile market presence…

        But fixing those flaws had always been part of the plan… Time was just not on their side as it takes a really long time to really establish a new OS, let alone merge it with the old and work out a way to eventually have it replace the old without immediately losing legacy support, which is still vital to Windows continued success, even in the already changing market…

        Really, there’s very few things that start out great from the start… Like Apple’s iPads… when they first started you couldn’t do anything without first setting up a PC or Mac with iTunes to install apps and if anything happened then the only way to recover was with a PC/Mac… Even in security there was less security in the early iOS than even Windows XP… It took years to become as secure as it is now…

        It also took years for both Android and iOS to develop the app ecosystem they have now… when both started they had less than the WinRT app store has now…

        So, being realistic… not optimistic… WinRT may still have a long way to go but MS has every intentions of taking it there and given time there’s no reason they can’t improve it to the point it really becomes the proper successor to the OS…

        But people seem to be a lot less patient these days and too quick to prophisize imminent doom for what really amounts to just an inconvenient bump in the road of development…

        Besides, even if Windows fails the alternatives are all headed to pretty much the same end goal…

        Going forward OS development will lead to more flexible and scalable software and for usage on more than just one form factor device…

  • Asok Asus

    “which could be a good thing since making Windows RT look less like
    Windows could make the fact that it doesn’t run most desktop apps feel
    less frustrating.”

    This type of reasoning has long been proved to be correct: it’s why they put blinders on horses.

  • Dr.Mefityiszto

    Intel Baytrail made Windows RT pointless. Also, Windows Phone OS can scale to tablets. There’s just no market left, which is not covered by another MS product.