Let’s not kid ourselves, Windows 8 was a disaster. Sure, it’s not on the same scale as ‘New Coke’ in terms of product launch disaster but given the amount of cash and brand equity Microsoft poured into Windows 8, it sure qualifies as a bust. Far from ushering in an age when all devices, from kiosks to tablets to notebooks to desktops to legacy hardware, according to ex-CEO Steve Ballmer’s vision, can be accessed through Windows 8. Nope. Didn’t happen. In fact, Windows 8 was a disaster that kept producing a continuous stream of bad news. The bad news finally died down to manageable levels when Microsoft rolled out Windows 8.1 because users missed the start button. What an embarrassment!
Well, it looks like Microsoft might just redeem itself with Windows 10. Based on analysts’ suspicions published so far, the latest iteration of Microsoft’s Windows franchise might be software that people would actually want to use and desire. From better systems management to the very promising Cortana personal assistant technology, Windows 10 is getting otherwise jaded technology industry observers somewhat excited. Mind you, this is a tough crowd to please. After all, Microsoft did spend the better part of the first and second decades of this century on the sidelines of cutting edge consumer technology as Apple stole the public’s imagination with the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad. Let’s just say that the smart money is cautiously optimistic that Microsoft will finally redeem itself with Windows 10. A lot is riding on this version. At the very least, failure or mediocre results might indicate that, save for its very promising cloud computing business, Microsoft is a company way past its prime-much like the AOL of the OS world.
Personally, I still think Microsoft has a lot left in the tank. This isn’t exactly the first time the Redmond WA-based software giant released a dud only to redeem itself with an awesome follow-on product. Remember the Windows ME fiasco? It was followed up by the much beloved Windows XP. Even the awesome Windows 7 was preceded by the entirely forgettable Windows Vista. If Microsoft follows this pattern, it looks like Windows 10 might just redeem Microsoft. We’ll see. Windows 10 is set for a limited consumer introduction at January’s CES.