Microsoft: The desktop UI will never go away completely

Microsoft’s launch of Windows 8 in 2012 introduced the PC world to its Modern user interface, made mostly for touchscreen display interactions. Many PC users, however, still interact with Windows 8 primarily with the traditional desktop UI. You might think that Microsoft would like to do away with the desktop at some point, but a company executive is quoted as saying that might never happen.
A TechCrunch article quotes Microsoft Chief Evangelist Steven Guggenheimer saying, at least at first, “Over time, it’s likely to go away.” However, the article mentions that Guggenheimer quickly changed that statement, saying he was not sure if the desktop UI will “ever go away completely.”
Certainly applications such as Excel spreadsheets or advanced 3D modeling programs will still need to be controlled mostly by the mouse-keyboard combination on a desktop interface for a long time to come. Guggenheirmer states that at the moment there’s “this weird balance between [the desktop] ending up being less critical over time, but it probably never goes away completely. Or if it does, it’s hard to predict when.”
The interview was conducted last week during the Imagine Cup 2013 finals. On that subject, Guggenheirmer said that while some aspect of the student technology competition “are phenomenal,” he added that “some aspects don’t scale as well as we’d like.” He hints that he would like to see more of the students who enter the contest turn their creations into full start up companies, rather than just the finalists.
via Microsoft: The desktop UI will never go away completely – Neowin.

Five reasons why the Windows desktop isn't going away

I really didn’t want to write about Windows Blue this week.
For one thing, it’s the last day of my vacation. More importantly, there’s practically no actual information about Blue to write about. Microsoft is only talking in vague generalities. I’m not going to download bootleg software from questionable sources and try to reverse-engineer it, nor do I want to spend a lot of time staring at screen shots from people who are willing to do that.

But my ZDNet colleague Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, who seems to write more about Windows 8 than any of the actual Microsoft experts here at ZDNet, has no such compunctions.
Vaughan-Nichols, on the thinnest possible evidence, is convinced that Microsoft is going to ditch the Windows desktop in the next major release of Windows. “No Windows desktop mode!? No!” he writes.
His post begins, “It comes as no surprise to anyone who reads my stories that I hate Windows 8’s Metro interface…” Really? Well, at least we can give him some points for honesty.
No points for clear, factual analysis, though. Sorry.
I apologize that you had to read this nonsensical speculation on ZDNet. And even though I didn’t want to do this, I feel compelled to set the record straight.
No, Microsoft is not going to jettison the Windows desktop. Anyone who thinks that’s even remotely possible needs to just stop writing about Microsoft.
Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? Let’s start with the “evidence.”
Paul Thurrott, of Windows Supersite fame, has now published two posts about the leaked Windows Blue build 9364.
The first is based on screenshots from a Polish tech blog.
Let me repeat that: An American blogger looked at screenshots of a leaked Windows alpha build published in Polish and wrote detailed captions for them, adding a few morsels of speculation.
Paul then downloaded a bootleg copy of the software from who knows where and did a “quick run-through” in a second blog post. In that post, as an aside, he writes:
More, but not all, of the settings in Control Panel have been ported to the Metro-based PC settings, yet another indication that the desktop environment is on the way out.
There. That’s the line that has my colleague so concerned about the future of Windows.
Of course, I am just a wee bit concerned that his concerns about the future of Windows are less than sincere. This is, after all, the same man who earlier this month wrote Five reasons why Windows 8 has failed, following in the footsteps of his Five ways to skip Windows 8 (July 2012) and Five ways to avoid Windows 8 (May 2012) and Five Reasons why Windows 8 will be dead on arrival (February 2012).
Hmmm. I detect a pattern here.
In the same spirit as those posts, let me lay out the five reasons why the Windows desktop is not going away.
1. Four million desktop apps need to run somewhere. Back in 2010, at the International CES in Las Vegas, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer noted that four million desktop programs run on Windows 7. All of those programs run on Windows 8, too. Backward compatibility is the lifeblood of Windows. The idea that those legacy apps will be orphaned in a single release is ludicrous.
2. Corporate customers and OEMs would mutiny. Corporate customers need to write custom apps that run on Windows. Those apps need to do things that aren’t possible in the highly constrained Windows 8 app model. And those corporate customers with their volume licenses pay billions of dollars in license fees to Microsoft every year for Windows. Say what you want about Steve Ballmer, but don’t try to tell me he’s going to willingly give up one of Microsoft’s most lucrative revenue streams. And if you think that, well, then you probably think Richard Stallman is next in line to be Chief Technical Officer of Microsoft.
Full Story: Five reasons why the Windows desktop isn’t going away | ZDNet.

Tablets to outship desktops this year, notebooks next year

According to the latest data from IDC, global shipments of smart connected devices exceeded a billion units in 2012, an increase of 29.1% from the previous year and representing a value of $576.9 billion. Although plenty of smartphones and other “smart” electronics were moved last year, the researcher notes that the market’s growth was largely thanks to a 78.4% on-year boost in tablet shipments, which topped 128 million units.
That’s a pretty significant slice of the computing pie if you exclude smartphones from the billion devices and IDC expects interest in slates to continue for the foreseeable future. Tablets are due to outship desktops in 2013 and notebooks in 2014, while both of those PC segments will either lose ground or see relatively flat growth. The desktop market is expected to shrink consistently through 2017, when growth is expected to be -1%.
All told, IDC forecasts that companies will shift 190 million tablets worldwide this year, which would mark an annual growth of 48.7%, while smartphones shipments are expected to swell by 27.2% to 918.5 million units. Looking further ahead, the researcher says smart connected devices will reach shipments of 2.2 billion units and revenues of $814.3 billion in 2017, with tablet and smartphone growth tapering to 9.8% and 8.5%.
The analyst firm also touched on the latest market share rankings of Apple and Samsung. The iDevice maker is said to have “significantly closed the gap” with Samsung in the last quarter of 2012 after moving plenty of iPhone 5s and iPad Minis, which pushed Apple’s unit shipment share up to 20.3% — just behind Samsung’s 21.2% cut. However, Apple represented a larger slice of the quarter’s revenue at 30.7% versus 20.4%.
via Tablets to outship desktops this year, notebooks next year – TechSpot.