After creating a stir in the media over comments he made to Microsoft warning the company to "think twice" about its Surface strategy, Acer chairman J.T. Wang is now singing a different tune, one that's far less threatening and more accepting to the situation. That doesn't mean Wang is no longer concerned about Microsoft's march in the tablet space, but he did clarify that Acer has every intention of competing with Windows 8-based slates of its own.
Microsoft recently dumped the name Metro, insisting that it was merely a code name. While the company says that it’s now ready to move to a more “commercial” name for Windows 8’s typography-based design language, it has yet to announce one. But just because nothing has been announced does not necessarily mean that no decision has been made yet.
If you're wondering how OEMs are going to compete with Microsoft's own Surface tablet, here you go. Coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the ThinkPad line, Lenovo, which bought the brand from IBM in 1995, unveiled its first Windows 8 tablet, the ThinkPad Tablet 2. It's a full-size 10.1-inch tablet with "differentiators that matter," like an optional digitizer pen, 3G wireless with pay-as-you-go plans, and 4G models.
There are a million and one questions surrounding Windows 8. Is the world ready for a touch-friendly operating system? What will the user interface formerly known as Metro and temporarily referred to as "Windows 8 style UI" be called? Will Windows 8 kill the PC industry and drive a stake in the heart of PC gaming as we know it? Is it wrong for a vegetarian to eat animal crackers? That last one has nothing to do with Windows 8, we're just curious. Getting back on topic, there's is one thing we learned about Windows 8 today, and that's what the retail box art will look like.
Valve's Gabe Newell appears to have struck a chord with other game developers in his criticism of Windows 8 as a "catastrophe for everyone in the PC space." He said Windows 8 will ultimately force some top-tier PC/OEMS out of the market, and not long after he made those comments, one of Blizzard's higher ups voiced his agreement saying Windows 8 is "not awesome" for his company, either. Now that the rally call is out there, game developers are coming out of the woodwork to say that they too are concerned with Microsoft's upcoming OS.
Whether or not Microsoft’s upcoming Surface tablets go on to disrupt the tablet market, one thing’s for sure: their release will change the company’s relationship with PC manufacturers forever. PC vendors have already started voicing their discomfort with Microsoft’s decision to enter the tablet market with its own devices, which it says are “built to be the ultimate stage for Windows.” This is despite the fact that at this point nobody really knows whether Surface is simply meant to jumpstart the whole Windows 8 tablet category or if it’s an ambitious pilot project that could lead to more devices in the future. Going by a dozen or so job postings that were recently posted on the Microsoft Careers site, it looks unlikely that the Redmond-based company will stop making tablets anytime soon.
Microsoft’s activation service has always been somewhat controversial since its debut in Windows XP, but has turned out to be a necessary evil. The process started out being very forgiving, and to be fair, we have yet to hear of a single legitimate customer being turned away. Even when Microsoft was within its rights to deny activation as a result of terms in the EULA, a simple phone call was often all it took to resolve the dispute. Pirates have been taking advantage of Microsoft’s generous nature for years now, and new reports are suggesting they are looking to close down a few of the loop holes with Windows 8.
Microsoft earlier this week released its upcoming Windows 8 operating system to manufacturers, signaling the end of development and paving the way for a worldwide public release in late October. This does not mean everyone will have to wait that long to get their hands on Windows 8, with Premium MSDN and Technet subscribers scheduled to get their copies on August 15, 2012. Well, at least that’s what Microsoft had planned.
There is no dearth of those who would like to see nothing more than a mea culpa from Microsoft apologizing for wrongly trying to shove the Metro design language down their throats with Windows 8. But we’re sure these critics wouldn’t mind an unceremonious dumping of Metro one bit either. And guess what? Microsoft has just granted their wish by quietly doing away with Metro. But unfortunately, the company is merely getting rid of the name and not the typography-based design language itself.
Windows 7 is two months away from becoming the second newest consumer desktop operating system from Microsoft (it already is, if you count the Windows 8 Release to Manufacturing, or RTM), but will it surpass Windows XP in market share before Windows 8 is made generally available to the public? It's going to be a tight race, but it looks like Windows 7 will jump ahead by the end of August.