back to article Will Windows 8 sticker shock leave Microsoft unstuck?

"Sticker shock" is a US phrase that denotes a shopper’s surprised and generally disgusted reaction upon discovering the true price of an item they’re buying. Microsoft experienced a different kind of sticker shock a few years back with Windows Vista: such a memory and CPU hog was Windows Vista that most PCs of that time …


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  1. dogged


    "If you don’t like Metro, WOA won’t let you seek refuge in the more conventional Windows desktop. That’s because while WOA will have a desktop option, just two apps can use it – Microsoft’s Office 2015 and Internet Explorer 10."

    Source, please. Because that's not what Sinofsky's blog says.

    1. Tim Parker

      Re: wat

      "Source, please. Because that's not what Sinofsky's blog says."

      It's quite close i'd say....

      "Metro style apps in the Windows Store can support both WOA and Windows 8 on x86/64. Developers wishing to target WOA do so by writing applications for the WinRT (Windows APIs for building Metro style apps) .... WOA does not support running, emulating, or porting existing x86/64 desktop apps. Code that uses only system or OS services from WinRT can be used within an app and distributed through the Windows Store for both WOA and x86/64."

      "WOA can support all new Metro style apps, including apps from Microsoft for mail, calendaring, contacts, photos, and storage. "

      "WOA includes desktop versions of the new Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote .... WOA supports the Windows desktop experience including File Explorer, Internet Explorer 10 for the desktop, and most other intrinsic Windows desktop features—which have been significantly architected for both touch and minimized power/resource consumption."

      So it seems at first glance that it supports Metro apps built against WinRT (for system resources) and that desktop versions of Office 15 and IE 10 are available. There are some things that are not mentioned as being _never_ available (or unsupported) but that's reasonably close isn't it ?

      1. dogged

        Re: Re: wat

        Not really, because you can develop desktops apps against WinRT (it ain't just for Metro) and, according to the same entry distribute them through MS Windows AppMarketStore™, and those'll run on ARM.

        So saying "there's desktop but only for office and IE" is sort of, er, not true.

        1. Tim Parker

          Re: Re: Re: wat

          dogged wrote :

          "Not really, because you can develop desktops apps against WinRT (it ain't just for Metro"

          Fair enough, it's only two desktop things at the moment then - to avoid confusion, perhaps Sinofsky might have said something a little clearer than

          "Developers wishing to target WOA do so by writing applications for the WinRT (Windows APIs for building Metro style apps)"

          to describe WinRT.

          1. Tim Parker

            Re: Re: Re: Re: wat

            > "Not really, because you can develop desktops apps against WinRT (it ain't just for Metro"

            > Fair enough

            Actually, after looking a bit, I take that back. In Microsoft parlance, a desktop application is not linked against WinRT - a Metro-style app is. The differences under the hood seem quite subtle in some respects but, when using Microsoft's own terminology, the El Reg article seems technically correct. I found quite a few interesting discussion on this, one of the more immediately digestible and technically concise was this


            1. dogged

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: wat

              Thanks for that, it's an interesting one. It doesn't explicitly answer the question, though.

              AllThingsDigital had an interview which did indeed confirm what the article says, so I concede defeat.

              But thinking about it...

              Is this actually a bad thing? I'm undecided.

  2. Ru
    Paris Hilton

    What is the brand worth?

    Neither Windows nor Microsoft is associated with positive customer experiences, and yet MS remain determined to brand everything Windows Windows Windows. As with their latest phone OS, they'd be better off ditching their current branding and branching out in a new direction, one that at least doesn't have all the negative connotations of their current offerings.

    1. Charles 9

      Re: What is the brand worth?

      For all the negative press techies put on the Windows name, in the eyes of the average Joe, it's either Windows or Mac when it comes to computers (because anything ending in an X that isn't a roman numeral doesn't have enough public exposure to count). Microsoft HAS to play the Windows card since it's the only card worth playing--familiarity. Any other card would play right into Apple's hands since they play familiarity, too...among other things.

      1. Paul Shirley

        @Charles 9

        "in the eyes of the average Joe, it's either Windows or Mac when it comes to computers"

        I believe the reality is 'it's either PC or Mac'. Windows is so ubiquitous it now has severely diluted brand awareness, users don't choose Windows they simply don't care enough to choose anything else. Its an effect of Microsofts continuing monopoly on shipped PCs.

        If anything Office probably has more awareness and effect on buying choice, so they can keep opening their old documents. It's an easy 'habit' to break as well, on the new laptop my sister in law asked for OpenOffice because that's what I'd installed on the last one, didn't even notice the Microsoft bloatware installed. No doubt next time they upgrade she'll ask for LibreOffice after I switched them. Ordinary folk simply aren't starry eyed about Microsoft products.

        Which leaves me completely clueless about how the public will react to Win8. Sink without trace like Chrome laptops or will they simply take what they're given and barely notice?

        1. Daniel B.

          Re: @Charles 9

          "I believe the reality is 'it's either PC or Mac'."

          And even that distinction is blurry, ever since Apple went Intel, the only true difference between those is the OS it loads up with, and the fruity unibody outside. It sounded corny to see the 'Get a Mac' ads coming out right after they switched to x86, basically turning that ad into 'I'm a PC, and I'm a PC."

      2. Anonymous Coward


        "For all the negative press techies put on the Windows name, in the eyes of the average Joe, it's either Windows or Mac when it comes to computers"

        I tend to agree, yet I also believe that this aspect is also one of the aspects which fuels the attention for tablets. In a way a tablet is a nice way out of the current market. (stereotyping:) "No buggy Windows and no overpriced Mac, simply something which /works/!".

    2. Spiracle

      Re: What is the brand worth?

      The thing with Windows Metro UI is that it doesn't have many er... Windows in it, it has 'Tiles' instead.

      If they can't rebrand it now they never will.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Like 'Zune' perhaps?


      1. Ru

        Re: Like 'Zune' perhaps?

        X-Box is a rather more generous example.

    4. TimeMaster T

      Re: What is the brand worth?

      MS never Trademarked the "Windows" product name and IIRCC they almost lost claim to it back when they tried to sue Linspire over its use of the term windows to describe how it's desktop looked/worked. MS settled before the case made it to court, many legal experts expected the judge to declare "windows" a generic computing term, then everyone could make a "Windows" like desktop and advertise it as such.

      If MS changed the name they would lose any claim to "Windows". Ballmer and friends may not be the sharpest but they are not that stupid.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "Neither Windows nor Microsoft is associated with positive customer experiences, and yet MS remain determined to brand everything Windows Windows Windows."

      From my experiences I came to conclude that MS keeps a rather short termed memory. They do respect standards (especially their own) but when it comes to Windows history...

      My take on consumer experiences would be the success which Windows 7 was. Of course, within comparison, but when looking at Vista then 7 was a huge advantage. Fun thing is that even critics are often lenient towards 7 and have a tendency to label it "decent".

      So who knows; maybe MS thinks that this alone will provide enough leverage to get people moving into 8....

      Still, like 'm or not; if there's one thing MS is pretty good at its turning something sh*t into something quite useful again. They've shown this time and time again when they had released a piece of software which was initially "so so" or plain out bad, yet (much) later releases would often show an (IMO) remarkable comeback.

      1. Ru

        "MS is pretty good at its turning something sh*t into something quite useful again"

        Well... yes and no.

        Win7 isn't actually a bad bit of software to my mind, but the less said about recent incarnations of Office, for example, the better. The Windows brand is perhaps not irredeemable, but it is its use everywhere that I'm mostly objecting to. Metro-based platforms represent a chance for MS to make a break from their old brand... they want WP7, Win8/Arm to be new and shiny and cool, but naming it after a rather soulless old operating system mostly associated with business and viruses is not necessarily the most sensible thing they could have done.

        I Am Not A Marketer, of course. Maybe they know what they're doing. I remain skeptical.

    6. Schultz

      Re: What is the brand worth?

      The brand may not be worth much, but a nice sticker is still a nice sticker. Give me more!

      1. Toastan Buttar

        Re: Give me more stickers!

  3. Chad H.

    It's amazing

    People scream at apple for wanting to create a walled garden when they create an app store or a software verification programme, but when MS actually create one... Crickets.

    1. dogged

      Re: It's amazing

      Well, the precedent's been set now. And the x86/x64 versions are still yours to fool with as you will.

      I still want to know which fantasist made up the entire premise of this article though - WOA will run Desktop apps if they're compiled with WinRT and downloaded from the Windows Store/Shop/Market/Poundsaver/whatever.

      There's a need to distinguish the fact that you can't load your own software on an ARM tablet but have to get it the "approved" way, I suppose, but the "tablet" and "slate" distinctions should help with that.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Re: It's amazing

        "I still want to know which fantasist made up the entire premise of this article though - WOA will run Desktop apps if they're compiled with WinRT and downloaded from the Windows Store/Shop/Market/Poundsaver/whatever."

        And they'll run on Linux if they're compiled for that API. So what? If the average Joe sees "Windows" on the sticker, they're going to assume that it runs all their existing software. That's existing investment is precisely why they haven't jumped to Macs or Linux (and in the latter case saved themselves a couple of hundred quid).

        So if they see a Windows sticker on the machine and only find out later that none of their software works, they are going to be pissed off. You don't need to be a fantasist to see that, surely?

        1. APA

          Re: Re: Re: It's amazing

          "And they'll run on Linux if they're compiled for that API"

          Slightly off topic, but ever heard of Winelib?

          1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

            Re: Slightly off-topic (winelib)

            WineLib? Yup. Been following Wine for about a decade, and in particular I have followed its extensive database of popular apps that don't work particularly well. I really wish it were different, but I don't think I could recommend Wine-on-Linux to a non-geek.

            Despite no personal experience in trying to make it work, I suspect that winelib is similarly close-but-no-cigars-yet, so I'm reluctant to recommend it to my employer.

            This is not intended as a criticism of those who have worked on Wine, but I think we have to moderate our expectations when we set out to faithfully reproduce behaviour that isn't properly documented. A priori, there was no reason to suppose that Wine (and winelib, for the same reason) was even possible, let alone likely to be affordable or imminently available.

            1. eulampios

              @Ken Hagen

              >> I don't think I could recommend Wine-on-Linux to a non-geek

              What would you recommend to a 64-bit Vista user failing to install an old 32-bit app?

              When it happened to my acquaintance, I did recommend Linux+wine, since not only could I install it on my 32-bit Ubuntu, 32-bit FreeBSD , I even managed( what a shame) to install it on 64-bit Debian! There was no geekiness involved in any way.

    2. Bakunin

      Re: It's amazing

      Indeed. My first thought on reading that sentence was "and so the garden walls keep growing". At this rate the next generation of computer users aren't going to know what the wildlife looks like.

      Tux. 'Cause penguins don't like gardens.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: It's amazing

        Oh really, so what are Official signed package repositories of the Linux world, if not gardens?

        1. Chemist

          Re: Re: Re: It's amazing

          Public gardens !

        2. Bakunin


          "Oh really, so what are Official signed package repositories of the Linux world, if not gardens?"


          Before I even hit submit I knew that someone would come up with that. You don't have to use repositories. You can use generic installer, a language specific installer (python eggs), a corporate custom installer. You can build from source, you can run compiled binaries, you can install from the author maintained deb or rpm packages.

          A walled garden is a provider's strict control over the applications and content that are allowed onto a platform. A repository is convenient collection prepackaged applications *but* not your only choice.

          A room and a prison cell can look very similar. But it's only the prison cell that wont let you in or out.

          1. Andrew Dyson

            Re: @Metavisor

            Probably worth adding as well that even if you use repositories for convenience / security / regular updates, unlike iOS and (presumably) Win8, you're not restricted to a single repository - you can add as many as you like from different vendors. So you have as many gardens are you like, but nicely integrated into a single front-end.

            1. Anonymous Coward

              Re: Re: @Metavisor

              Why are you comparing iOS to Linux?

              I'm talking about OS X, where I can have all the repositories I want like Macports which I'm using right now, as well as the official Apple-run package "repository" called the Mac App Store.

              1. JEDIDIAH

                Re: Re: Re: @Metavisor

                MacPorts isn't another repository. It's an entirely different framework.

                It's not comparable at all. You don't have a single management interface or a single tracking and dependency database.

                Half a dozen disjoint products is not comparable to a Linux package manager. Neither is the Apple app store really. However, it's a lot closer to apt-get than MacPorts is.

                None of the Apple Corp or 3rd party options allow a 3rd party vendor like Adobe to tie into the package management system directly like Linux tools can.

                Tools vs Product.

                1. Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: @Metavisor

                  " You don't have a single management interface or a single tracking and dependency database."

                  Being a user of the Mac App store, Macports, yum and apt-get I'm not actually crying about not having a "tracking and dependency database" for of my OSX desktop apps. I don't need it, it just gets in the way.

                  When I do need a "tracking and dependency database" I use Macports. Right tool for the job as they say.

                  Surely you're not going to tell me the Linux package managers are some sort of panacea? I don't know a single person who hasn't cursed at them, or who did have to fuss around with version numbers or --force-ing things.

                  1. Vic

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: @Metavisor

                    > I'm not actually crying about not having a "tracking and dependency database"

                    > for of my OSX desktop apps.

                    I am. It makes things much easier in the longer term...

                    > or --force-ing things

                    The only time I --force a package installation is when I'm bootstrapping a new distribution build. I do that because I manage a distribution; most people don't.

                    The only people I meet who truly curse package managers are those who habitually --force things, rather than finding the packages they actually want. Perhaps you move in different circles.


                    1. This post has been deleted by its author

                    2. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward


                      I hear people from their high horses telling me that all the time - it's my fault the package manager borks the installation. Guess what they end up doing when looking at my stuff? Yeah, --force.

                      We use different packages. Have you tried getting two versions of Boost configured because your imaging library wouldn't work with the new, but the statistical simulation package required the new one? Good times.

                      Plus how many systems with >365 days uptimes do you have to install new packages on? Those dependencies sure get messy when you can't stop things.

                      Those are my linux servers, I'd rather do without the aggro on my Mac desktops which get even stranger stuff on and off.

                      Last time I managed a Linux desktop I ended up needing to edit freedeskop entries by hand most of the time. Again not just me as the resident Linux admin with all his experience and extensive CFEngine knowledge couldn't get anything setup properly either.

                      My days of having infinite patience to fuss around with desktop Linux ended together with the decline of the Enlightenment WM.

                      So yep these days I'm very happy and Macs let me do whatever hell I want - ports, binaries, , git trees, anything goes - and a good desktop, which is all that matters really. Plus I was already doing most of it like that on FreeBSD anyway.

                      So yes I suppose we do we move in different circles, and I don't see any problem with that - I'm glad you like your Linux stuff and I like my Unixy things - cool?

                      1. Vic

                        Re: @Vic

                        [Edited to avoid the 2000 char limit]

                        > it's my fault the package manager borks the installation.

                        The package manager *hasn't* borked the installation.

                        You are attempting to perform an installation with unmet dependencies. *That* is the problem to fix; forcing it without fixing those dependencies just stores up problems for the future.

                        > Guess what they end up doing when looking at my stuff? Yeah, --force.

                        Then you're talking to the wrong people. This is the software equivalent of someone telling you to hammer six inch nails into your foot because it'll take your mind off your headache - yes, it will, but things will get very much worse afterwards...

                        > Plus how many systems with >365 days uptimes do you have to install new packages on?

                        Many. 365 days uptime is not a lot in my field. I like to reboot machines at least every 1000 days - but that's for historical reasons, not necessity.

                        > Those dependencies sure get messy when you can't stop things.

                        You only need stop a service when you need to replace it; that takes ~2 seconds. If that breaks your SLA, you haven't bought enough hardware.

                        > Last time I managed a Linux desktop I ended up needing to edit

                        > freedeskop entries by hand most of the time.

                        Why? I've generally only ever done such things when I wanted to do something rather peculiar. The only exception to that is when I want to create a station that will allow system-wide installations from a particular set of repositories without the use of an administrative password.

                        > I'm glad you like your Linux stuff and I like my Unixy things - cool?

                        Not really. I'm somewhat concerned that you state your previous problems as issues with Linux, when they would appear to be problems with administration - and indeed, those problems may well have been caused by an attempt to circumvent the usual methods of administration.


                  2. eulampios
                    Thumb Down

                    @Metavisor, MacOSX and Linux user

                    Macports are pathetic compared to BSD ports.

                    Taught "Lin Alg. with Apps" class, did examples with pari-gp and octave. A student approached asking how would you install pari on Mac.

                    --Sure you can and it must be easy, in fact MacOSX plagiarizes a lot from FreeBSD and others. OK, let's see here... you do what? get a this cd with some additional software?? download another compiler?? I though you just "sudo pkg_add -rv pari-gp octave" or cd to /ports/math/pari and do the "su; make install&&enjoy" thingy... For windows there is an exe file. For Apple not that easy after all.

                    Don't even compare Linux/BSD to Mac, the latter is user unfriendly.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward


                      "MacOSX plagiarizes a lot from FreeBSD and others"

                      There's no plagiarising involved: Apple went straight to the source and hired several key FreeBSD engineers, and actually contributes a lot back to FreeBSD too.

                      Could be that you don't know how to use macports effectively, but I don't know about Octave since my budget allows me to run MATLAB. (and please don't go and claim that Octave is better than MATLAB - for what I do it's already been well proven it isn't)


                      No they're not unmet dependencies, they're versioning dependencies that conflict with the versioning dependencies of other packages, or they're packages that share the same subset of files (love those) or they're one of the hundred other problems package managers have because the world isn't perfect.

                      You have no clue about what I do or what I use, so thanks for your concern but please cease to prescribe your advice. You're not trying to help, just using it to claim your apparent superior system administration knowledge against me and others I work with anyway. I've had my share of Mr know-it-all Linux shit-doesn't-smell sysadms, in fact I was one myself for a few years.

                      As I said we get along fine with what we do - and don't. Your concern is unwarranted.

                      1. Vic

                        > No they're not unmet dependencies, they're versioning dependencies

                        So they're dependencies.

                        Are they met? That would work fine. If they're not met - then they're unmet dependencies.

                        Easy, huh?

                        > that conflict with the versioning dependencies of other packages

                        This is why packages are versioned - so that the correct one can be picked up. I have many versions of libraries on my machines - the app gets the right one by virtue of it asking for the right one. This system breaks, obviously, if you've --forced an installation despite not having the correct version of a dependency.

                        > or they're packages that share the same subset of files (love those)

                        A package clash such as that is inevitably caused by someone using --force on the package manager.

                        If you *really* want two packages to have files in the same area, you make one of the packages relocatable such that the problem goes away. This is part of the deal with package managers.

                        > or they're one of the hundred other problems package managers have

                        > because the world isn't perfect.

                        Again - anecdotal issues form someone who forces packages into a system against the advice of the package management system. This is hardly unexpected.

                        > please cease to prescribe your advice.

                        Ah. I see. You're allowed to make unsubstantiated allegations, but no-one is permitted to rebut your claims? I figured we'd get here eventually.

                        > just using it to claim your apparent superior system administration knowledge

                        I'm doing no such thing.

                        What I'm trying to point out is that you are incorrectly identifying the source of your problems.

                        > As I said we get along fine with what we do - and don't.

                        Your posts imply problems with package dependencies, having to --force packages into the system, having version management problems. I wouldn't describe that as "get[ting] along fine".


        3. APA

          Re: Re: Re: It's amazing

          "Oh really, so what are Official signed package repositories of the Linux world, if not gardens?"

          Its the "walled" bit people are object to, not the "gardens". You're free to use other repositories if you wish, or none at all. The distributors just sign them to confirm their validity but they're by no means limited. Think "proof of origin" as opposed to "restricted to". You can create you own "garden" easily enough and sign them yourself - they're called PPAs.

    3. JDX Gold badge

      Re: It's amazing

      Not many people in the real world scream at Apple. Only on techy sites like this.

    4. lurker

      Re: It's amazing

      As someone naturally inclined towards linux, I don't like the walled gardens created by either Apple or Microsoft.

      But at least when Microsoft build the walls they don't tell you that living inside the newly created garden will make you a unique, creative snowflake of a person, brimming with imagination and individuality. It's the insidious doublethink marketing of Apple which some find offensive. Myself included, as you may have gathered.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: It's amazing @lurker

        Don't worry because, by any sane definition like the above, OS X is not a walled garden.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Re: Re: It's amazing @lurker

          "Don't worry because, by any sane definition like the above, OS X is not a walled garden."

          Not yet.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Re: Re: Re: It's amazing @lurker

            "Not yet"

            I hear that every time a new OS X comes out, when are the FUDsters going to realise it's not happening...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It's amazing @lurker

              "I hear that every time a new OS X comes out.."

              Every time? Really? Of course *when* it does happen it'll be the most magical and revolutionary thing evaaaaah, 'cos Apple say so.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: It's amazing

        " least when Microsoft build the walls they don't tell you that living inside the newly created garden will make you a unique, creative snowflake of a person, brimming with imagination and individuality..."

        Look, you can wear socks with sandals if you want to. There's no need to lash out at those who don't.

    5. Daniel B.

      Re: It's amazing

      Oh, I am screaming at MS. They're enforcing "secure boot", *and* appstore-only apps ... basically, they're out-Apple-ing Apple in this. There will be no reason for us techies to buy a WOA device because we can't rip out Win8 and put Linux in it.

      Looks like I'm back to the Beagleboard...

  4. pear


    I think WOA will probably be something well implemented but the marketing of this all is going to confuse the hell out of many.

  5. Giles Jones Gold badge

    This is why the general PC purchase experience and user experience is so dire, probably why Macs and tablets are selling so well.

    There simply is no need for about 8 editions of Windows and 4 or so stickers. Just simplify things.

    Two editions of Windows one for desktops and workstations, the other for servers.

    As for stickers, get rid of them. Let the computer vendors determine what constitutes a capable machine, if they mis-sell there's always consumer rights and "fit for purpose". Some laptops come with that many stickers that you end up damaging the casing removing the damn things.

  6. Pete Spicer

    Waiting for the downvotes again... ;)

    Here's a thought... did anyone look at what Apple did? They managed to rearchitect their systems away from PPC to Intel based, and while I wasn't an Apple owner during those times, those I've spoken to who were, didn't seem too confused about whether software they acquired would work or not - presumably because Apple managed to make the process relatively painless.

    Microsoft, for all the bashing it gets, does have a lot of developer resources, not to mention the fact that NT was multi-architecture, so it's not like they don't have the technical skill to pull it off - but if they can learn something from Apple about how to manage and communicate it to users, maybe it won't be a total mess?

    1. Charles 9

      Apple's transition wasn't as radical.

      Thing is, while Apple transitioned architectures (TWICE--remember the 68K->PPC transition?) they didn't throw out their familiar UI in the process. Sure, there were adjustments and gradual evolution along the way, but most anyone who's seen a Mac desktop--ANY Mac desktop--would recognize one when they saw it. With the familiar UI intact, Apple's transition team concentrated behind the scenes with compatibility layers and so on. Plus, this was a strictly desktop affair, so energy efficiency wasn't an issue.

      Microsoft's transition with Windows 8 is much more radical. You're combining the architecture change of Mac OS X with the UI transition of Windows 95. Microsoft is essentially trying to cold-turkey what they feel is a necessary transition away from a model not as well suited to tablets (and that's another thing: compatibility is going to be a BIG issue because of an INTENTIONAL lack of a compatibility layer--the article itself states this is again because of the tablet issue--power efficiency now has meaning).

      1. jubtastic1

        Re: Apple's transition wasn't as radical.

        Nope, it wasn't about the UI, with Apples transitions the new kit could run the old stuff and the new stuff, it was the old kit that got slowly locked out as apps moved to the new platforms, but before you say "aha, planned obselecence" bear in mind that some apps didn't transition for a decade, *cough*Adobe, Microsoft*cough*.

        What MS is doing is pretty much a line in the sand for WOA, new kit which only runs new apps.

        As an aside, anyone know why it's called Office 2015 and not Office 2012? It is supposed to come out this year right?

        1. APA

          Re: Re: Apple's transition wasn't as radical.

          It's not 2015, it's 15. As in there were 14 versions prior.

          (Not that I believe there WERE 14 prior versions but looking at the install directory of Office 2007 and 2010 which use the proper version numbers as opposed to some marketing label, it's in the right ball park)

          1. MrT

            Re: Office versions

            MS skipped about with point-releases in the early 90's

            MS Office = 1.0

            Office 1.5 = 1.5

            Office 1.6 = 2.0

            Office 3.0/92 = 3.0

            Office 4.0 = 4.0

            Office 4.2 = 5.0

            Office 4.3 = 6.0

            Office 95 = 7.0

            Office 97 = 8.0

            Office 2000 = 9.0

            Office 2002/XP = 10.0

            Office 2003 = 11.0

            Office 2007 = 12.0

            Office 2010 = 14.0

            The Registry shows in HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\: that there's a missing version 13 - MS got a dose of triscadecaphobia? Or were they finally aligning the version numbers with the releases and ironing out a 20yr-old wrinkle?

    2. keithpeter Silver badge

      fat binaries

      @Pete Spicer

      I was. They had fat binaries and Rosetta. Some software came with binaries for both platforms in and the installer copied the right one. Rosetta was sort of a bit like Wine only more so and allowed older apps to think they were on a PowerPC when in fact they were in an emulator. Actually worked ok mostly.

  7. DrXym

    Biggest shock for users

    I think the most annoyed users will be those who buy a Windows for ARM device and then discover it's gimped. That it offers a subset of the functionality they expect, isn't backwards compatible and will probably be hobbled in other ways, e.g. only installs apps from Microsoft's app store.

    Some of these concerns might also overflow onto tablet / hybrids even those that use x86 architecture.

    I think the backlash will be considerable. For traditional style PCs, probably not so much.

    1. Captain Hogwash

      Re: Biggest shock for users

      It doesn't end there. They will likely discover that in order to install software from the MS store some kind of MS ID is required. This will possibly be used to track activity online and build a profile. What would this be used for? Well, there's a reason I don't use the Android Market. On speaking to a techie mate who uses Linux, said users might then be disgusted to discover that secure boot has made it impossible to investigate putting an alternative OS on the device. If my tribe of family and friends users asks me about a WOA device I certainly wouldn't be advising a purchase. Yes, DrXym, the backlash could be considerable.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Biggest shock for users

      What I infer is that the only thing Windows-on-Arm has in common with desktop Windows 8 is the new logo - I wonder if anyone knows if they even share a single line of code?

      1. Wayland Sothcott 1

        Re: Re: Biggest shock for users

        The PC is too power hungry and too easy to run pirate software. Microsoft is being beaten in the 'iPad' market because it does not have an OS for that. The tablet is the new computing paradigm which Mircosoft is attempting to bridge too.

        Windows 8 for the PC is unnecessary because Windows 7 is perfectly OK. Windows 8 for the Arm is just not the same thing at all. The PC is going to die and along with it the freedoms we have enjoyed.

        In order to get back those freedoms people are going to have to run Jail Broken hardware, most people will not do this because of all the problems.

        The freedoms of the Internet and the PC were only transitory, it will be back to business as usual. We can see this happening right now.

      2. DrXym

        Re: Re: Biggest shock for users

        "What I infer is that the only thing Windows-on-Arm has in common with desktop Windows 8 is the new logo - I wonder if anyone knows if they even share a single line of code?"

        Yes they will but Windows on ARM is likely to be a subset. i.e. it will have WinRT, Metro and most of the same services, and the ability to run the same metro apps.

        What is not clear to me is what the story is for the classic desktop. Most likely scenario is there is no classic desktop at all. But if there is it will be gimped, running only a subset of Win32 and native ARM at that meaning virtually no apps will ever work on it.

        On the flip side if you just want a tablet and can live with metro, that may not be too big a deal.

  8. squilookle

    I don't see the need for these sticker programs.

    I understand that Microsoft can't control what the people selling the computers are telling their customers, but that Microsoft's reputation probably suffers as much as anyone's when a computer running Windows is mis-sold, so I would have thought it would be better that they just publish the system requirements for the OS and then scream as loudly as they can to the customers that, if they are in any doubt as to whether a computer they want to buy is up to scratch, they should ask for a demo, or they should seek advice from a tech savvy relative or friend, or a vendor that they trust.

    Clear information with no marketing rubbish attached, and then pushing the blame off of themselves if a sale does go pear shaped.

    1. Charles 9

      Think the KISS principle.

      The stickers exist precisely because what you describe is "geekspeak" to the average person. Microsoft could scream at people to "check the specs" 'til they're blue but for most people specs are eyeglasses. They couldn't distinguish a Core from a processor or RAM from a ream.

      So you go back to the ol' "Keep it Simple, Stupid!" principle. So you have the sticker. The Windows 7 sticker program actually got it right: plain and simple, if the box has the sticker, you're good. End of. And if a computer box has a sticker but really can't do it, that's Breach of Contract--send in the lawyers! The only thing simpler than "If you see it, it works" would be "It just works", and you can't get any simpler without Apple's level of hardware control to ensure "It just works".

      Unfortunately, the way Microsoft is transitioning (it feels necessarily) to ARM makes for a transition that can't help but be complicated.

      1. JEDIDIAH

        Re: Think the KISS principle.

        The KISS principle is simply unnecessary. The n00b consumer won't pay attention to the stickers anyway. They will just buy something that's sitting in Best Buy. They may or may not even care if it has the current version of Windows. They won't check the pedigree of the box. They simply don't care.

        People choose to remain blissfully unaware. That includes these silly little stickers.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Because Microsoft rely on preinstalled copies of Windows - since they are the only ones anyone pays for.

      So when the vendors pointed out that it would be expensive to build machines that met Windows Vista system requirements - MSFT introduced the basic certification, allowing the makers to claim that the machine ran Vista, allowing MSFT to get paid - and the punter to get stuck with a machine that didn't work.

  9. JeevesMkII

    Are Microsoft ever going to stop larding new interfaces on top of the old crap they built way back when? It's getting ridiculous.

    On Windows 7 I'm still using the same dark ages dialog to change network adaptor settings I've been using since at least Windows NT 4 (probably further back but the details of Me, 98 and 95 have been mercifully blotted from my mind), but now I have to dig through about 20 layers of cutsey Aero balls to get to the dialog.

    Is Metro really going to add anything other than another arserapingly bad UI layer between me and the same stuff I've been using for almost two decades? How about rationalising some of how your old stuff works instead? Prune the trees of arbitrary "advanced" buttons and condense similar functionality in to one easy to find location. Make me not want to shoot myself rather than click on the control panel.

    Oh and while you're at it, I know it took you 'til Vista to really get the hang of these new fangled "wireless networks" I've been using since I had Windows 3.11, but is it too much to ask that my network adaptor IP settings might be tied to the wireless network profile? That would be kinda logical, doncha think? No hurry. Maybe in a decade or so you can get to that. Thanks, Microsoft. Gits.

  10. JDX Gold badge


    ARM/x86 sound like very different products... even more so than Windows for client Vs server.

    I'd prefer Windows and "Windows Mobile" except that's already in use... then we'd have:

    - Windows

    - Windows server

    - Windows mobile

    - Windows phone

    Question for linux bods... linux is known for running on a far wider array of hardware but does it run identically? How does it handle cases where underlying architecture is substantially different, as MS claim in the "porting x86 apps to ARM would defeat the point" comment?

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Question for linux bods

      Linux offers the same API on every architecture and most of the core components are open source. As a result, it is realistic to imagine that the apps only need to be re-compiled for your chosen target.

      Purists will say that you have to re-test on each new platform. My personal experience of software at the cheaper end of the market is that testing is inadequate even on the original platform, so don't get your hopes up. That said, most bugs are in the apps, not in the underlying platform, so you'll probably retain whatever quality was originally there. :(

      As I understand it, Apple took the same approach when they shifted architectures from 68k->PPC->x86. Since I'm not a Mac developer, I can't comment on how much porting work was actually required. Presumably there was a big-endian to little-endian transition somewhere along the way and that might have been a little painful.

      64-bit Windows was the same API, but MS made such a pig's ear of the language bindings that porting is non-trivial. Fortunately, 32-bit binaries still run on everything except rarefied Server editions, so no-one notices that all the mainstream apps are still 32-bit. (That includes Office, by the way, since Microsoft's official advice is that you shouldn't install the 64-bit version of Office unless you absolutely need the extra address space, because hardly any Office extensions, from third parties, have been ported to 64-bit.)

      Metro is a different API and most of the apps you've spent money on are closed source. The latter means that you will have to wait for the vendor to try recompiling. The former means that the vendor will have a shed-load of porting work to do before that is a serious proposition. As another commentator noted, almost the only thing that WoA has in common with normal Windows is the brand name.

    2. Christian Berger

      Re: Tricky

      For non-gui software it's easy to port. OpenVPN for example runs on anything from routers to mainframes, without changing a single line of code.

    3. Wayland Sothcott 1

      Re: Tricky

      You simply download the app that was compiled for your version. Usually the OS will know where to find them. On the other hand you could download the source and compile it. That need not be a complicated thing, all automated.

  11. ph0b0s

    Confused by the confusion....

    I don't get the confusion. It's called 'Windows On ARM' now, not Windows 8. Do people get confused between Windows Phone and Windows 7? Between Windows 7, Windows Home Server, Windows Embedded and Windows Server. No, Microsoft have always had different versions of Windows for different user with different features.

    It will be simple, consumers ask what version of Windows the device has. If it is Windows 8 then you get the full PC experience. If the device is Windows On ARM then you don't. This is why they have changed the names so it is easier not to get confused as would have happened when you have Windows 8 x86 and Windows 8 ARM. I think they learned from the Vista vs Vista Basic issue and that is why Windows 8 and Windows On ARM have become two separate products that will launch around the same time and share a lot of the same code base. Now it is Windows 8 or Windows On ARM, simple as....

    Also Windows On ARM will only be available on certified devices, like Windows Phone now. And yes if you want the openness of a Windows PC on ARM, then you need to go for Android. Go figure.

    1. Irongut

      Re: Confused by the confusion....

      I'd guess people probably do get confused by Windows 7 and Windows Phone 7. After all I remember a lot of users telling me they had Windows 97 or Office 98.

    2. alexh2o

      Re: Confused by the confusion....

      I think they should rename Windows On ARM to...

      Windows In Walls!

    3. Dan Hall

      Re: Confused by the confusion....

      The problem will be what another poster mentioned: that's all geek speak to your average user. They don't hear "Windows on ARM" or "Windows 8"--they hear that it's "Windows" and they expect it to work like Windows always has. That means installing apps they download from shady sites and running all that old stuff they have sitting in a bottom drawer. For a user who buys a WOA device expecting that same old Windows experience, being forced into MS's walled garden (no non-MS store apps allowed) is going to be frustrating.

      MS has done a pretty good job of making backward compatibility transparent to users. For the longest while, you could run DOS games on Win without thinking about it. You can still run a lot of legacy stuff on the latest Windows. When that ends, customers who aren't expecting it are going to be confused/upset. That's something you want to avoid both to reduce the threat of lawsuits and to prevent damage to your brand.

    4. asdf

      Re: Confused by the confusion....

      Don't you mean Windows CE, Windows Mobile, Pocket PC, and SmartPhone which were blood enemies there for a while. M$ has gotten itself in plenty of branding charlie foxtrots in the past.

      1. asdf

        Re: Re: Confused by the confusion....

        Currently, Pocket PC (now called Windows Mobile Classic), SmartPhone (Windows Mobile Standard), and Pocket PC Phone Edition (Windows Mobile Professional) are the three main platforms under the Windows Mobile umbrella. Each platform uses different components of Windows CE.

        Not confusing at all.

    5. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Confused by the confusion....

      Oh - I hadn't even realised "Windwos on Arm" was the proper brand name; I thought it was still Windows 8, and WOA was a more technical thing.

    6. Philip Lewis
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Confused by the confusion....

      Indeed I am, and more confused for having read your post

      Paris : because in a confused world, she represents a remarkable example of simplicity "that's hot"

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. ph0b0s

        My point still stands

        The concerns in the article are out of date, now that the re-name has happened. In the same way people do not expect a full Windows experience when buying a Windows Phone device, they should also not expect it on a Windows On ARM device.

        That the rename has happened is good, the name they have picked is not though. It is a mouth full and not properly descriptive, as Windows Phone is also being run on ARM processors. It should have been called Windows Tablet (yes, I know it has been used by them before) or Windows Touch.

        The article also missed that the same thing that was the complaint with Vista could happen with Windows 8, with multiple versions, from Ultimate down to another Basic edition.

        What MS are guilty of is talking about the ARM version of Windows in the same breath as Windows 8. That has confused most of the world into thinking Windows 8 would be CPU architecture agnostic and you would get the same experience whether on ARM or x86. It was obvious that this would not happen and they should have made it clear that the ARM version was going to be a completely separate thing, a lot earlier on....

        1. Richard Plinston

          Re: My point still stands

          > the ARM version was going to be a completely separate thing

          The other question is: is WOA Office (and x86 tablet Office) going to be a different thing too. Will this be a cut-down version, will it add ribbons to Metro ? Will it allow add-ons and plug-ins or eliminate these as IE will ?

          And what will be the cost ? Take a top-line tablet price: Samsung or Sony perhaps, and add ~ $70 for WOA OEM, add ~ $100 for WOA Office. How many will you buy ?

          What about an x86 tablet. Add ~ $ 50 for Intel chips compared to ARM and then add the above, or more.

          Will the OEMs make any money on these or will they (will MS allow them to) pass.

  12. W.O.Frobozz
    Thumb Down

    Windows XYZ

    I think the stupidest thing Microsoft has done is the creation of half-a-dozen "different" versions of the same operating system. I realize they did it to squeeze more money out of people, but it's still pretty stupid. Who honestly thinks Windows "Basic" is anything other than crippleware? Does it still have that 4 app limit?

    Out here in the corporate world we had to sextuple our testing environment just to make sure our kit runs on all these "different" versions of the same damn operating system.

    1. JeevesMkII

      Re: Windows XYZ

      It's true. If there were any real difference between the versions, I'd feel kind of insulted that I paid 2000 quid for the World's Bestest Evar Laptop (TM) and still only got Windows Professional, not Windows Ultimate. Of course there's no feature difference that anyone actually cares about, and pricing difference for the OEM versions is a rounding error. The only difference is the branding.

      Professional says "I'm a serious guy with a leather bound filofax", while ultimate says "I bought this laptop as a penis extension." I can only assume the message Home Premium is designed to send is "you are too poor to use our software, peon."

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Re: Windows XYZ

        Or Windows Ultimate says 'I routinely work with more than one language'. Why it was felt necessary to make people fork out more for the complete set of localisation files and is a mystery to me.

    2. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Windows XYZ

      It's hardly unusual though - you can buy software for $50 for your personal/hobby use, if it's for commercial use then suddenly it's $200.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Re: Windows XYZ

        Indeed, but using more than one language doesn't have to be for commercial use (you can live in a multi-language household) and even Apple can manage to not charge for including the complete set of languages.

  13. Paul Westerman

    Did the stickers sometimes just show what was installed?

    I bought a reconditioned Dell Inspiron that came with Vista Basic and bore the corresponding sticker. I wiped it and put Win7 Ultimate on and it runs beautifully, Aero and all!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Didnt know that you couldn't use the trad. Windows desktop for much on ARM neither could you customise it. Who said that x86/x86-64 had its day?

  15. Jay Hayman

    It's consumerism, stupid.

    Two stickers, one for WOA Tabs (Comsumers) another for Wintel Tabs (Business). Simples, Innit. Erm...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple got it right

    much as I hate to say nice things about them... they made an incredibly smart decision in separating OSX and iOS to avoid exactly these sorts of arguments on the iPad.

    Microsoft are busy trying to please everyone... who the hell wants Metro and touch on a desktop PC to do accounts? and who wants Office with teeny tiny icons on a finger friendly touch device?

    If I need a keyboard because I'm writing code, a long document or fighting with a spreadsheet then a laptop/notebook/ultrabook is the perfect form factor (I don't have to lug around additional peripherals). If I want to browse the internets or watch a movie then a finger friendly slate device is what I need

    The iPad is a pretty good bit of kit - battery life, form factor, performance - though there are times (eg note taking, sketching with a client) I'd like to see a stylus option to avoid scanning bits of paper when I get home... maybe that's what Metro WOA will bring to the party...

  17. Juan Inamillion

    As I see it...

    ...there are four types of users:

    1. PC users

    2. Windows users

    3. Mac users

    4. Penguins.

    So saying 'how could anyone get confused between Windows on ARM and Windows 8' is simply that MOST people when asked for a preference will simply say 'Windows'. This is why the stickers didn't work - too much information.

    A Mac is a Mac is a Mac and Penguins, well, they know what (mostly) they're on about, so they don't count in this test.

    "Do you want Windows with that device?'

    "Yes please"

    "Windows On ARM or Windows 8?"



    1. GitMeMyShootinIrons

      Re: As I see it...

      I'm not sure about your types of users. 2-4 I can understand. What is number 1? Is it all of the others, plus OS/2, BSD and any other random desktop OS, because, as I understand it, a PC is a pretty generic term for a Personal Computer, usually refering (but not necessarily limited) to x86 architecture?

      I tend to classify users as:

      - Those who can and should use a computer.

      - Those who should but can't use a computer.

      - Those who can't and shouldn't as they are too stupid to even manage a paper pad and crayons.

  18. Tom 35


    For the average consumer WOA (or winpho for that matter) is not windows.

    You can't run Windows software, it's not windows. You could take an Android device and stick tiles on it and call it windows and it would be about the same for the consumer.

    If they are going to copy Apple's locked garden they should have given it a different name then Windows (like iOS), maybe call the OS Metro.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So much for MS' expensive rebranding exercise.

    >"Microsoft has just unveiled a new logo for Windows 8, a Metro-looking flag that dumps the flying flag logo of years past."

    As the article you linked in the middle of that sentence makes clear, it's not meant to be a flag - it's supposed to be a window. It's clearly not working as intended. What a laughable fiasco^W^Wtragic waste of whalesong and joss sticks that was.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Vista 2

    WIndows 8 is going to be a "VIsta 2" experience. MS is trying again to force upon user an "experience" they didn't ask for, thinking it will be "easier" to use (only if the only device you ever used is a phone...). They adopted the same approach with the upcoming "Flight", where they have removed all the Flight Simulator X advanced features - and blocked third party contents.

    Hope users won't be dumb enough to accept this "dumbsizing".

    1. Chad H.

      Re: Vista 2

      Could be worse. They could be improving the user experience by removing the yoke and rudder.

  21. Nick Ryan Silver badge


    ... it's going to be tough for WOA not to follow the path of Itanium. Not impossible, but very, very hard.

    But then who remembers that Windows NT actually had support in it for platforms other than Intel x86? Not many, but the old header files mentioned Amiga, PPC, Motorola and various other platforms.

    1. asdf

      Re: Itanium

      The difference being that more ARM chips are sold in 15 minutes than all Intaniums ever produced. Windows might die on ARM but as crappy as x86 is at the low end of power spectrum ARM will be around for a very long time.

    2. Philip Lewis

      Re: Itanium

      ... and Alpha, the original 64 bit platform upon which it was developed.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    One has to wonder

    One really has to wonder what the world is coming to when a reasonably spec'ed PC struggles to run *just* the Operating System even before starting an application.

    I can see the point about eye candy and graphics capability but memory and CPU? Really?

  23. ThePhantom

    I can't believe MS customers put up with this...

    There are how many client versions of Windows 7 out there? Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate? And how many versions of MS Office? Office Home and Student, Office Home and Business, and Office Professional. Apple has it right; one client OS and one productivity suite for the desktop, and one client OS and one productivity suite for phones / tablets.

  24. Shane Kent

    MS better hope...

    the sales people sell it properly, as I can see it now, "but the guy in the store told me it would run all my old stuff." People are going to be really pissed off they get a WOA, screw around with it for a week only to have a real tech tell them it will never work. This could be a Vista repeat with lots of FUD tossed around. I pulled my nVidia card switched to ATI and had little difficulty with Vista after that, where I seen lots of people abandon Vista completely.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: MS better hope...

      Laptops and PCs aren't going to be running WOA... right?!

  25. Smudge@mcr

    No dual boot on ARM for Win 8?

    I've read that the ARM version of Win 8 will lock the BIOS so Linux users will no longer be able to dual boot.

    This will be one of the differences between the Intel and ARM versions (Intel will still dual boot).

    Can anyone confirm this?

    1. Richard Plinston

      Re: No dual boot on ARM for Win 8?

      WOA based machines, and this includes all-in-ones as well as tablets and possibly phones, are specified by Microsoft as not being able to turn off the 'secure boot'.

      This locks the machine to only being able to boot an OS that the manufacturer has provided keys for, and that almost certainly eliminates Linux (which is exactly what MS wants).

      In principle the manufacturer could provide keys that would allow a specific pre-built version of any OS, but that would probably break some GPL stuff and would almost certainly remove the 'discount' and 'advertising partnership' for the OEM.

      The next question is: can the manufacturer make locked WOA machines and also make the same machine without the lock that would run Android or Linux and not run foul of MS such that they lose discount on every MS product including Windows for their PC ranges. Probably not.

      It seems that WOA is actually _not_ about selling ARM tablets with Windows. It is about stopping manufacturers making ARM tablets entirely, especially those with Linux or Android.

      It is likely that end users who want Windows would want/need x86 and so few would buy WOA, and many who do would do so by mistake and would return them.

      The other issue with WOA is the licence cost. There are Win7 tablets (x86) out there which are about twice the price of iPads. I have seem some cheaper ones, about the same as an iPad, but they were marked as having 'trial versions' of Windows and Office. After a month or three they would stop working and require another $200 to $500 (for Win+Office) or maybe more to get them working again.

      How much will Windows and Office cost on WOA or x86 tablets ?

      They _need_ to kill off Andoid and Linux so that there is no alternative but to pay for MS products.

    2. ph0b0s

      Re: No dual boot on ARM for Win 8?

      There is no more a Windows 8 version for ARM. It is now a separate product called Windows On ARM, that shares some GUI and code base with Windows 8. Also a similar launch date.

      MS have also said you will not be able to buy Windows On ARM licenses to put on any device you want. Windows On ARM will only come on certified devices. Look at how Windows Phone is being sold, if you want to understand how it will work. Windows On ARM will be a walled garden like Windows Phone, hence dual boot or any useful / thing that will makes the device more open, will not be allowed. Windows versions running on Mobile / ARM devices will sit between IOS and Android as far as what it allows users to tweak. If you want the openness you are used to with x86 Windows on mobile devices, you will want to get something running Android.....

  26. The Grump

    ARM, WOA - alphabet soup

    Just tell me if Win8 has dumped file indexing (which takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r), and can Win8 actually remember the size and position of windows you close ? I'm so sick of retarded Vista and it's slightly less retarded step-cousin, Win 7.

    And please, no "you shoulda bought Linex" comments from the peanut gallery. If I knew how to program, I would write my own OS. I just click the pretty lil icons, and the computer does stuff. That's as much as I care to know about programming.

  27. sueme2


    I just counted the number of lines in my walled garden's mirror list. It comes to 270. Not all of those lines offer identical software, some offer stuff which the official repo mirrors do not have. The purpose of package signing is to make it difficult for forgery and malware . I have the choice of using package signature verification or not. I also have the choice of building from source code if I want to. If I am asked why I use Linux, I say the simple reason is that then I am the limiting factor, not the computer, or the software, or the absence of a mountain of cash. There are more reasons than that, for example, I own all of the software on all of my computers. If you use MS or Apple, they own you.

  28. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    What a huge disappointment..

    I mean, I don't use Windows anyway. But, the "scuttlebutt" on Windows for ARM went from just a few months ago being a true port of Windows, with x86 CPU emulation, allowing for preferably (or performance reasons) running ARM applications, but being able to run (at least well-behaved) x86 apps when necessary... .to, within a matter of a month or two, being basically Windows CE/Windows Mobile (except not even being compatible with WinCE apps) with Microsoft claiming "Well, of course it's Windows!" Lame.

    Time for people to suck it up and use a nice Linux distro! 1) I've run Linux in the past on a DEC Alpha, MIPS, PA-RISC, UltraSPARC, and PowerPC (both a Mac and an IBM RS/6000), as well as ARM. There's really nothing to say about it -- there was full driver compatibility, anything I could shove into or plug into the box (i.e. PCI, USB, etc.) just worked (TM) just like it does on x86. The desktop behaved identically. I had the same choice of applications to install. And, if someone does come across x86-binary-only apps... besides the usual qemu mode where it runs an entire virtual machine, qemu has a *second* mode that allows to run (for instance) an x86 Linux binary on an ARM Linux system.

    I'm not excited in the least about WIndows for ARM. It sounds AWFUL. I *AM* excited about someone actually coming out with ARM notebooks so I can order it without Windows, or return Windows for a refund, and put a proper OS on there. The ARM makes my Atom-based Mini 12 look like a power hog, these things should have crazy battery life!

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: What a huge disappointment..

      I've never heard anyone claim WOA would run x86 through emulation... in fact I've always heard this denied, yet people thinking it was the case. Got a source?

      1. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

        Re: Re: What a huge disappointment..

        "I've never heard anyone claim WOA would run x86 through emulation... in fact I've always heard this denied, yet people thinking it was the case. Got a source?"

        Well, sort of... at the BUILD conference last year, Steven Sinofsky said "If it'll run on Windows 7, it'll run on Windows 8". And last year they kept making statements about the ARM version providing a "desktop experience" and so on, which they no longer seem to claim.

        1. Richard Plinston

          Re: Re: Re: What a huge disappointment..

          > Steven Sinofsky said "If it'll run on Windows 7, it'll run on Windows 8".

          He has also said: "We’ve been very clear since the very first CES demos and forward that the ARM product won’t run any X86 applications".

          He qualified the Win7 statement by saying he was talking about "PC"s, ie x86/AMD64.

        2. JDX Gold badge

          Re: Re: Re: What a huge disappointment..

          "If it'll run on Windows 7, it'll run on Windows 8"

          Right? And it will - mainstream W8 that 90%+ of actual PCs will be using. It seemed pretty obvious you couldn't magically run an x86 binary on an ARM device.

          I _did_ hope you'd be able to cross-compile to an ARM target (similar to how we compile for 32/64bit targets) but I guess not... or at least not for non winRT apps.

          1. Richard Plinston

            Re: Re: Re: Re: What a huge disappointment..

            > W8 that 90%+ of actual PCs will be using.

            Windows 8 and WOA are designed to use 'secure boot'. New machines will almost certainly have this turned on and the version of W8 will be keyed to the machine. With x86/AMD64 machines the secure boot will be able to be turned off (most likely) so it can boot WinXP or W7 or anything else.

            I don't think that MS have said what happens with existing machines that don't support secure boot, nor that would be able to obtain keys for. It may be that there is a retail upgrade for these machines.

            It is likely that the 90% of existing PCs will continue to run WinXP, Vista, and W7 for quite some time.

    2. Richard Plinston

      Re: What a huge disappointment..

      > I *AM* excited about someone actually coming out with ARM

      > notebooks so I can order it without Windows, or return Windows

      > for a refund, and put a proper OS on there.

      You won't be. In order to meet MS certification standards so that WOA can be installed by the OEM the machine _must_ have 'secure boot' with no ability to turn this off. It will _only_ run with the OEM supplied WOA. No other OS can boot, nor will the supplied WOA boot on another machine.

  29. Marty McFly Silver badge


    Once upon a time Apple created the Mac and gave Apple ][ users (like me) no upgrade path. I have been PO'd at Apple since then. It looks like MSFT is about to do the same thing to their user base.

    At my company we have a optional Mac hardware spec. All the people who have switched swear they will never go back to Windows. If Win8 is the self-imposing monster it is purported to be, I may extend the olive branch to Apple and return home.

    Mine's the one with the old rainbow Apple logo.

    1. Vic

      Re: Homecoming?

      > I may extend the olive branch to Apple and return home.

      You should.

      OSX isn't my favourite platform, but I'll still use it in preference to WIndows. It's pretty good.


  30. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    "Question for linux bods... linux is known for running on a far wider array of hardware but does it run identically? How does it handle cases where underlying architecture is substantially different, as MS claim in the "porting x86 apps to ARM would defeat the point" comment?"

    Well, see my previous post, as a practical matter it DOES run identically.

    From a programmer standpoint?

    The actual programming interfaces ARE identical -- even if you are writing a device driver, if you follow the recommended programming practices (which are simple to follow, and probably have to be followed to even have a working driver on x86...) the Linux internals take care of oddities like making sure caches are flushed, handling seperate "regular" and "I/O" memory address spaces, and so on, so even as a driver writer you do not have to sweat the little differences between x86, x86-64, PowerPC, ARM, and so on.

    The only thing your really need to worry about is 32-bit versus 64-bit, and little versus big endian. The Linux headers support functions like htons (which would convert a short from host to network byte order -- which is big endian.) If your system was already big endian, htons(x) just returns x and the compiler optimizes it out, so you don't have a slowdown from "unnecessary" conversions. For file I/O, plain ASCII text files use 8-bit chracters to endianness doesn't even apply. For most other file types (Unicode, JPEG, PNG, audio & video formats, etc.) the programmer uses a library anyway, and that library takes care of endian issues.

    Microsoft's just making excuses... Windows NT 3.1, 3.5, 4.0 was designed to be portable, but they lost site of this and ended up with something they did not care to port. They are just making excuses at this point.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      So if I write a fairly intensive PC/x86 app and compile it to run on ARM, will it suck the batteries dry?

  31. Mikel

    Android is free

    Manufacturers don't have to pay for it. Android has 400,000 apps. It has 250 million users. It. Is a proven success with a long road ahead. WOA has none of these advantages.

    On launch day WOA will cost money. It won't have apps, or many developers. It is going to take a miracle to make a success of this.

    1. Chad H.

      Re: Android is free

      Android is free, but if android breaches patents, then it starts to cost you.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Has nobody really asked this yet?

    It's time for Windows 8. It's ARM-based sidekick is called Windows on ARM.

    Windows 8 *will* do a Vista. It's already obvious. And even if it doesn't...

    Before long there will be another version of Windows. We don't know what it's going to be called, but for a moment let's assume it will be called Windows 9. On x86 anyway.

    What will be the name of the ARM-based sidekick of Windows 9?

    Will it still be called Windows on ARM?

    Or what? Suggestions welcome.

    [I mean how far ahead can these MS marketing guys fail,you get me?]

  33. All names Taken

    It is fun speculating on what might be - even if there are new paradigms and sometimes that just means discovering a 'new' paradigm in something old no?

    My take:

    tablet/pc is a bit like

    fresh coffee and warmed milk/cold milk

    content user/content creator

    content creator with little control over published form quality/total control over exported published form quality

    can afford interruptions due to power level considerations/ cannot afford -- ditto --

  34. Wombling_Free
    Thumb Down

    Won't anyone think of the GLUE?

    The absolute worst part about the stickers is the bloody fruit salad that seems to infect the pristine bezels of any PC laptop you might want.

    If they had used the same glue the 'Windows Ready' stickers use on Columbia it probably would have held together!

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fork !

    So is this a Fork

    I thought Forks were very baaaaad

    So - if I have two separate devices, I can't have the same thing on both.

    e.g. copying the Word global template Normal across from one to the other to replicate all my macros and buttons on both machines and similarly with Excel Personal too?

    If so, not much cop then!

    I've said it before and I'll say it again, most people don't need any more than XP and Office 2003.

    Also I bet that documents produced on one platform won't be compatible on the other.

    Also (ii) business has a lot of legacy software. They won't be looking to upgrade that as well as Windows, nor will they want two versions, one for each platform.

    If I had to abandon everything to jump to something new, what would make Microsoft Windows the OS of choice?

    The corporates have lost control - too many ipads, tablets, iphones, smartphones.

    These days only heavyweight users need a desktop. If you have a tablet with a docking station on your desk to provide power, keyboard, mouse, network and display, the tablet is more than capable of doing a bit of mail, browsing and uploading and downloading small documents e.g. meeting minutes, or spreadsheets. You don’t need anything with a lot of horsepower. When away from the office people will take their tablets with everything they need with them.

    Microsoft is building its last machine.

    1. Tinker Tailor Soldier

      Re: Fork !

      Why on earth would they need to fork the code to do this? It's pretty much all C. They might need to build a different set of binaries for different target and even have some #ifdef's in there for optional compilation.

      That's hardly a fork.

  36. Jay 2

    MS: Windows 8 = Windows 8 = Windows 8. But Windows 8 (x86) != Windows 8 (ARM) != Windows (Phone) 8

    This is going to be a a giant clusterfuck. MS has been banging on that there will be something called Windows 8 and it will run on PC, tablet and phone. But in the smallprint they now say that there's not going to be much (if any) crossover between Windows 8 (x86) and Windows 8 (ARM), and I guess that also goes for Windows 8 (Phone).

    As many commentanrds have already pointed out, there are bound to be people who purchase a Windows 8 tablet, and then wonder why they can't throw some of their existing x86 software on there. MS is so hell bent on using the Windows brand that it's just shooting itself in the foot continuously.

    It only takes a sideways glance at Apple (or even Google) to see that it is possible to have two separate arch OS (MacOS/iOS and at a push Chrome/Android) from a known brand.

    I think they should have just called the (entire) tablet/phone OS Metro and be done with it. Besides having the Metro interface on a PC is just a complete disaster.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      " there are bound to be people who purchase a Windows 8 tablet, and then wonder why they can't throw some of their existing x86 software on there"

      Not sure about that. Or at least no more than Apple users. Apple has distinct OS for iPad/PC but the user doesn't really know that... there is super-strong "Mac" brand on both. Either people do get surprised they can't do this, or they fundamentally assume a tablet isn't a PC.

  37. Nigel 11

    Truth in advertizing

    I've just realized that the new Windows 8 logo is telling more truth than they realize.

    The flag, bright and multicoloured, free in the world.

    The blue window, no longer diversely coloured, suggestive of an indoors that is walled off from that world. But you can look out, and maybe there's an openable door.

    I'd suggest that the icon for windows on ARM ought to be a door without a keyhole. As in a jail cell. Because that's what you'll be buying. Or maybe just a brick, because it's about that much use for running everything you bought in the past.

  38. Tom 13
    Thumb Up

    Big Thumbs up just for using the following phrase in the article.

    " consumers who won’t care about trivial things like architectures..."

    Because while we tekkies argue those details back and forth, consumers honestly don't give a crap.

  39. Gearhead

    windoz 8

    Fools are soon parted from their money.

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