The other day we wanted to install a new Dynamics CRM 2011 environment that would consist of the latest server based OS from Microsoft, which of course is the 2012 edition. As I had to examine each of the servers in the environment, and for those of you who have had the fortune of logging into a Windows 2012/Windows 8, imagine my shock and finding out that this was not the typical look and feel I have become accustomed to with Microsoft Operating Systems.
If Microsoft was a human being then one could argue that it is a human being in a truly confused state of mind. It would appear that the appeal of Apple ‘s iOS, and to some extent Google’s Android has created some sort of miss-guided confusion in the minds of Microsoft’s OS designers. In medical terms I am willing to say that new Win2012 is suffering from Schizophrenia. It is neither designed well for a desktop OS, or for that matter a portable device, and the effect is contagious as the user of such an operating system is staring into an abyss thinking ‘where the hell is everything?’. Everything seems hidden away – the start button, the applications, and more importantly trying to logout seems a chore (yes I know the Alt-F4 is the easy option but remember this is supposed to be a visual OS). I felt like I was in an episode of Star Trek looking for a cloaked Klingon vessel. Seriously – what were Microsoft thinking when they put this Jekyll and Hyde thing together? The current office environment in most countries are quite some distance away from using desktop OS’s with touch technology – even though such technologies are available, I mean do you really want to use a monitor that has fingerprint smudges all over it? Even today keyboards can be so bad with bits of sandwich and food between the keys that the keyboard looks like it is suffering from cancer, but having an unclear monitor/screen can be a lot worse than having a dirty keyboard.
For the first time in many years I found it embarrassing going up to the network engineers and asking them how to do the most basic things using this OS, and then having to keep looking up Google to find out where certain things were. No one who has been a user of Windows should be put into that position – I was lucky that most of the people manning the network functions were of the same opinion as me regarding this new OS. This is not a case of evolving or learning or changing my ways – the Windows Start button should be made visible by default, I should not be forced to feel like I am using a Weegie board on a monitor by moving my mouse in different delicate positions of the screen to activate or access key functions/applications.
The look of Win2012 is also somewhat reminiscent of Unix’s X-Windows system. It seems like yesterday’s look and feel is now today’s again, and with Apple about to introduce their new 2D based iOS7, the trend seems to be ‘less is more’. Therefore on that front they (Microsoft) may feel they are ahead of the game. Accessing the operating system through a Citrix interface did make the application icons look a little blocky and blurry. I did not hate the new look, but it did not appeal in any way either. So just like the OS seems confusing and suffering from an identity crisis – it left me feeling empty regarding its visual appeal.
I would like to add that I have nothing against Microsoft – it has bought computing to the masses and allowed people like me to make a living as a developer by using their products. But I think rather than try and compete on multiple fronts with an Enterprise level OS, it should stick to what it does best when it comes to desktop technology, and not try to be Apple or Google. I feel that at this moment in time – the other big mobile/internet tech players are forcing it to do things to the evolution of its successful products into something that maybe unusable or rather ‘fit for purpose’.