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Windows 8 – what do industry users think?

By Anthony Clark
Posted 29 January 2013

My laptop’s reaching the end of its life – it’s starting to creak a little, a sure sign that I need to replace it. However, after taking a look at Windows 8 I’m not sure what to do. I use my machine as tool but the latest operating system from Microsoft seems to be more toy than ever before.

The Windows 8 opening screen… no, really!

It’s got a new tile-based interface – handy no doubt for accessing Facebook but seemingly counterintuitive if you’re using professional software, such as PhotoShop, and need to have multiple folders open. Now, perhaps I’m wrong – perhaps it’s a slick and easy-to-use interface… but that’s not what I’ve been hearing. Hmmm…

As an individual, setting aside time to get me head around Windows 8 is annoying but what if you’re a business? How does industry feel about having to retrain its entire staff to ‘upgrade’ to a new OS that will – initially – hamper productivity during the learning curve? And for what longer-term gains? None as far as I can see.

It’s all well and good me setting aside a couple of evenings to struggle through Microsoft’s mangled English in an attempt to learn its new software but I’m guessing that UK plc won’t take such a sanguine view.

There’s not just the time lost, there’s also the cost. Retraining an entire workforce on an everyday tool [Microsoft – please pay attention… industry uses computers as tools not toys] is costly. IT support isn’t free, let’s not forget, and tech learning curves vary from one employee to another.

If Microsoft wants to develop an interface for touchscreen tablets then that’s fine but for those of us that use our computers for work, not play, Windows 8 looks to be a wholly counterproductive move.

Fact: anything that hampers productivity is unwelcome. The fact that you’ll have to pay through the nose to retrain your staff to be slower – if only for a few weeks – is therefore an insult.

So… has anyone tried Windows 8 yet in an industry environment? If so, what’s the verdict?

Me – I’m sticking with version 7 for now although if anyone’s got an old XP machine I’ll happily take it off your hands.

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