Can Microsoft hit the mark with Windows 10?

Can Microsoft hit the mark with Windows 10?
Screenshot of Windows 10, a new operating system from Microsoft.

When I first saw the tiled interface of Windows 8 two years ago, I was intrigued by its whiff of freshness. Its attractive and colourful tiles beckoned me to touch it, as if it were an irresistible bag of sweets to a six-year-old.

Just 15 minutes later, I knew Microsoft had created a disaster.

The Metro touch interface was beautiful, but its beauty was only skin deep.

For more than 20 years, Windows faithfuls such as myself had stuck to the boring desktop interface of Windows because we were used to it. I had never even considered the classier look of Mac OS X because of my familiarity with Windows.

I do not need my PC to have sex appeal as the late Apple boss Steve Jobs would put it. I just need it to work.

Microsoft shoved its new Start screen - filled with the new spiffy "Modern" apps from its new Windows Store - down our throats.

I don't want or need the Weather app or the News app.

I want to type my stories, view my photos, surf the Web on my favourite Chrome browser and play my favourite PC games. I want to get stuff done, not consume content as I would on my smartphone and tablet. The familiar Desktop interface was relegated to an app on the new Start screen.

To get to the familiar Windows interface, I had to click on the Desktop app on the Start Screen. However, when I got there, I had no idea how to launch my programs. Both the Start button and Start menu were gone.

Windows 8 was not a brand new operating system. It was just a skin laid over the Windows 7 engine to make it work in the world of touch.

The earliest two-in-one hybrids in 2012 were supposed to work as a tablet and a laptop. They seemed to have been rushed out and were particularly bad. The touchscreens were too thick and too heavy. Adding a detachable keyboard to a Windows tablet might make it look like a laptop. However, the heavy topside made the device unstable and a slight nudge would easily tip it over.

PC vendors came up with all sorts of form factors to kick-start the new age of hybrids, giving birth to convertible laptops with screens which could be folded all the way back to become a tablet.

However, who would want to carry a 1.2kg tablet when Apple and Samsung's tablets, which were already available then, weighed less than 600g?

Over the past two years, the hardware has improved, but apps remain the bugbear of Windows 8. It still does not offer an official YouTube app or a Gmail app. Also missing are popular games, such as Clash Of Clans, Candy Crush Saga and Subway Surfers.

This hard truth has not escaped Microsoft's attention; it is marketing its new Surface Pro 3 as a replacement to Apple's MacBook and not as a competitor to the iPad.

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