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Marc Benioff: "Windows 8 is the end of Windows" (venturebeat.com)
28 points by spking on Oct 19, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 44 comments

So Windows 8 is the end of Windows because people apparently aren't talking much about desktop PCs anymore?

That seems like an awfully weak argument, given that there are still countless millions of desktop PC users, many of which run Windows. Plus, lots of people use everything: smartphones, tablets, desktops.

I must say I'm getting a little tired of these 'Windows 8 is going to crash and burn!!' threads. In truth nobody knows how this experiment will turn out - I'll personally pay far more attention to actual sales figures 6, 12 and 18 months from now.

I don't see any reason to believe this will turn out very different from the unity/gnome 3 issue that went on in the linux sphere. A lot of people predict the end of the OS, a few people end up getting alienated and leave, and almost all of the users silently upgrade and end up liking it.

But how many people even pay that much attention to the operating system any more? I was talking to a non-techie friend a few days ago and he didn't even realize that he was on Mac OS X 10.6. It's not just something most people really think about any more.

To be honest I think enough people , including a lot of the press seem to want to fail badly enough that it will almost be irrelevant how good it is.

They will definitely sell a bunch of devices with it on but it will never be cool.

It's pretty annoying. Anything Apple does is "revolutionary" and "magical". Anything Microsoft does is seen as being bound to fail.

Apple has definitely won the media messaging war.

Well... I've been using Windows 7 on one computer at work and it's really bad compared to how smooth both Macs and Ubuntu (Unity and Gnome) are. Little things like the cluttered Aero theme, to the really horrid font rendering, the confusing ideas of "Libraries" mixed with filesystem folders to the unspeakable mess that is the control panel compound to make Windows an awful experience.

Windows 8 is much better but, still, leaves a lot to be desired before it can claim the smoothness of its competitors. It evolved by adding pieces and, after so many years of layer upon layer of stuff added, it starts to show. Windows 8 has some good ideas, but a lot of it is change for the sake of change.

I dunno.

I tried to use Windows 8 for a month or so and it was extremely annoying.

I'll wait for Windows 9: The apology.

"And you should believe me because I have definitely not made my career by convincing people to stop using desktop software."

Is Hacker News running on your desktop now?

I'd be willing to bet Windows releases another operating system after Windows 8. Whether it is the end of their dominance in the business realm is about the only thing up for debate, but the company is sure not going to file for bankruptcy before Windows 9.

Microsoft will not go out of business when Windows ceases to be the dominant desktop OS. They will reshape themselves like they did before. Microsoft started selling BASIC interpreters for 8-bit computers and shifted its main cash cows a good couple times. It may never be as profitable as it was in its height, but to say it will cease to exist is exaggerated.

Yep, they'll still have outlook and office. Doesn't seem like anything new they do really sticks. Their web services division has been a real stinker for quite a while now.

They also have Xbox.

I bet he has never even used it. Windows 8 is really good so I am sure many people/blogs will be talking massive trash the closer it gets to release because they know its going to be a very relevant and possibly even well received.

I used it and found it a mess of an OS and Metro apps horrible. Multitasking is boned and it works badly with multi monitors.

I agree that the current suite of Metro apps is crap, but that hardly makes the OS a mess. I've been using it as my primary OS for about 6 months and my usage hasn't really changed from Win7. All my work is done from the desktop, with the new start screen working as a useful short cut organiser.

  Multitasking is boned
Not sure what you mean there.

  ...it works badly with multi monitors.
Depends on your definition of 'works badly'. I think they've made smart choices. You can easily nominate which monitor is your Start Screen monitor and all Metro apps will launch there. You can't seem to run metro apps on more than one screen, but you can have 2 visible on the same screen using docking.

Try running multiple metro remote desktops on two different monitors. You can't.

Metro apps are not made for multiple screens and this is what they are pushing for as future software. All full screen tabs.

There us a lot of hot corner action that is painful when those hot corners are in between the two monitors. I had to offset the screens so I could catch the mouse to hit the start button area.

This is a huge step backwards in multitasking.

I hope all the non-tech folks do move to tablets, phones, and webapps. Then maybe windows 9+ can drop the pretense of user friendliness and become much more technical. Who knows maybe they could strip out all the bloat and produce a highly customizable OS that would appeal to programmers and tech enthusiasts.

We have a couple of those already. FreeBSD, Ubuntu, Debian...

Linux? Seriously, why the Windows love when there is such an OS already in existence?

You can bet on OS X getting there before Windows does.

Getting where? More technical? That's certainly not the direction it's been heading up to now.

What do you mean by 'technical'. OS X has UNIX underpinnings, you can still VIM, Mutt and Lynx as much as you want, you can compile from source. This is meaningless to me.

Because it's already there, perhaps?

Widows is dead with version 8. Long live windows. I think he should rather have said enterprise PC's and workstations are dead. It's clear to me that for normal users ( disclaimer, I work with HPSCs all day ) mobile will become the compute device and each display/'workstation' will have some sort of GPU and connection to the mobile device either wired or wireless in the next 5 years. I can't wait to buy an android device like this. Certainly Apple would do well to team up with NVIDIA for their MBA line and offer an external discrete GPU for when you want sit down at a proper desk with a large screen.

External GPU's over thunderbolt has been a dream of mine for a long time. It would make the MBA the ultimate computer.

There have been proof of concepts, I think by Acer, but I don't know of any product roadmap by anybody. Apple wouldn't need to partner with NVIDIA for this, it would be an enclosure not unlike one for external hard drives where you could install any off the shelf graphics card. :)

Even if thunderbolt provided enough bandwidth, wouldn't the whole idea fall apart because the data has to pass through another protocol (making it slower) vs having the GPU directly interfaced?

Thunderbolt is in actuality PCI Express and has ample (20 Gbit/s) bandwidth. As far as I know it will be almost like directly attaching a GPU with some minimal latency because of the greater distance.

If not, the next gen optical version will have more then enough headroom.

there is a lot of enterprise software (Windows only) which is not going anywhere for another 20 years. for these businesses, Android is not an option.

Windows 8 is designed to run on mobile devices. What is stopping Microsoft to create Windows 8 mobile phone which you can plug into docking station and have full desktop experience?

> for these businesses, Android is not an option.

No, but old licenses of XP or compatibility layers like Wine are.

Interesting thing is that even if it's the end of the line for Microsoft developing new versions of Windows(and I don't think it is), there is still an entire ecosystem that won't be going anywhere.

I'm working for a client right now writing a few apps (away from Access/Excel type apps) so that they can upgrade to Windows 7 by mid-year 2013. And they're upgrading from XP.

So even if Windows 9 never comes out, I would guess there is plenty of work for Windows developers (for better or worse.)

How many failures did we predict for Facebook and Google and only god knows how many other companies. There is at least one every week for Facebook. Windows & Microsoft aren't going anywhere. At least not any time in this decade.

The death of the PC has been talked about for many years as well. What makes it different this time is that it's microsoft themselves admitting it, and planing their next move with this in mind. There's this show called Windows Weekly in the TWIT network [1]. They often (always?) have microsoft employees as guests to the show. And if you watch the show, you'll see they'll clearly admit that microsoft is sure the PC era is ending for real this time. They know very well the company must change, a lot, what they do to keep themselves alive.

You might argue that they'll succeed in their new strategies. But you sure cannot say that everything is fine and there's nothing to change, or to be alarmed of. Not even microsoft would agree with that.

[1] http://twit.tv/show/windows-weekly/283

They certainly won't go away, no, but I think there's enough to indicate that Microsoft could lose some of its presence in the personal computing space.

Selection bias. Replace with AOL, Yahoo!, MySpace.

Not the same thing.

Benioff is very very good at playing the publicity game. What was said is not important, that wasn't the reason why he said it. He said it in order to make front pages, and he did.

He is better off making sure that his company is not facing the end soon. For a company that is in business for almost a decade, they are yet to turn a profit.

Salesforce turned a profit in 2010 and 2011 (http://finance.yahoo.com/q/is?s=CRM+Income+Statement&ann...).

They were profitable as early as 2005 (http://www.salesforce.com/company/investor/quarterly-results...).

I don't know what income statements you were looking at (just because they lost money in 2012 does not make them an unprofitable company).

They are clearly following the Amazon model and pursuing growth rather than profitability:


Exactly. The sheer number of employees CRM is hiring, month after month, is staggering.

Why the down votes? They've nearly doubled the employee count in a couple of years, which is quite impressive at that scale.

The chart you posted was about revenues not profits. Same argument applies to Amazon also but they are at least making some profit. The strategy of pursuing revenue and growth only makes sense for so long. At some point you have to cash that user base and make money.

The chart is about revenue because, as I stated, they are clearly not pursuing profit. I suggest viewing a 10-year graph of their share price to see what investors think of this strategy.

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