Sunday, 07 April 2013 21:20

Is Microsoft Planning More Changes Than Outlook For Windows RT and Windows 8

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Is Microsoft starting to change Windows 8 and RT? Back when Windows 8 was being broken out into the three main categories (“Home”, Pro and RT) we noticed that Microsoft was making some rather unusual moves and changes to the way that Windows worked. One of the first ones we noticed is that with Windows 8 you no longer get the Media Center component like you used to. This feature is only available for purchase if you have Windows 8 Pro or if you want to buy the Windows 8 Pro Pack (if you have the basic edition). This is odd in that most people that would want Windows 8 Pro are probably not interested in having Media Center. Sill Microsoft wants you to have the “pro” version of Windows 8 before you can have that feature. It is pretty obvious that they are trying to kill of that little feature and replace it with their Xbox Live Services. With Windows RT Microsoft pushed this as a great productivity device because it comes with a stripped down version of Office 2013. Unfortunately Microsoft messed this one up too as we found out very soon after they announced the full details on Windows RT.

The problem with Windows RT is that it is too closed. Microsoft thought they were creating a competitor to the iPad and Android. They misinterpreted data they had which claimed that people wanted a similar experience on their tablets as their PCs and developed Windows 8 and RT to fit that need. What they missed out on was that people really did want the same experience. They did not want to be able to do one thing on the PC and not on their tablet. Many people picked up Windows RT only to find that they could not do what they wanted to and that applications they wanted to run under Windows RT did not work. Much of this was due to poor marketing and communication by Microsoft (nothing new there) as they tried to make Windows RT seem like just another version of Windows 8 (which it is really) Microsoft failed to explain properly the differences in code base, environment and hardware. Just like the days of the netbook, many bought Windows RT devices and returned them as they were not what they wanted and this was just at the consumer level.

In the enterprise space there was some interest in these products at the beginning because they had a version of Microsoft Office on them. However, there was one glaring omission that ended up making Windows RT devices into dust collectors; no Outlook. Although Outlook is not the end all of E-Mail applications it is one of the standard ones that most enterprises will use. Still Microsoft left this and this omission did not many anyone happy. So why did Microsoft do this? Well they felt they could achieve the same level of acceptance and success that Apple and Android did with their mail and calendar applications by creating their own. The problem is that Windows Mail is not a good or intuitive application. Getting it setup can be a pain and it does not mean that you will automatically get your calendar or contacts from Exchange when you setup a mail account.

As we mentioned it seems that Microsoft might have recognized this omission as there are a few rumors stating that we can expect a version of Outlook for Windows RT soon. We are quite sure that you will have to pay to get this on your Windows RT device and of course you will have to get it through the store. Now while the thought of Outlook for Windows RT is good news and will help to slow down the downward spiral that sales are in, what we want to know is what else is Microsoft planning for with Windows RT? Will we see Microsoft open up the OS a little more and allow third-party developers to reach the desktop? We actually hope that they will and that they will also extend some of these changes to the desktop where we might see Media Center return to the basic version of Windows 8 and a way to remove the Modern (Metro) UI from being what you get at start up. It could make a huge impact on the perception that many have of Microsoft’s newest OS and could also help it gain market share.  Right now there are some hints that these items could be on the table, but so far nothing more concrete than a few rumors and hints. Still getting Outlook on Windows RT is at least a step in the right direction and an acknowledgement that Microsoft made a few mistakes in reading what the market wanted.

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Read 3592 times Last modified on Tuesday, 16 April 2013 23:27

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