Dell Offers Windows 7 In Challenge To Windows 8
Microsoft's new touch-oriented Windows 8 operating system may be getting all the buzz. But Dell says that it will push back against touch mania by continuing to offer Windows 7. Redmond presumably won't be happy. But gamers--and midsize businesses--will be pleased.
Whether you are commanding a space battlecruiser or running sophisticated business analytics, you need finer control and better desktop ergonomics than touch can provide. You might also appreciate a unsmudged screen.
And Microsoft might take a hint from Dell's decision. Yes, touch is the in thing. And for smartphones and tablet devices, it is fast and convenient. But what is good for busy, on-the-go consumers isn't always ideal for more demanding tasks.
The Latin expression means "don't touch me." And it is what many desktop and even laptop screens might say if they could talk.
And they could get their wish, at least for another year or two. As Agam Shah reports at InfoWorld, Dell has announced that it will continue to offer Microsoft Windows 7 even after the launch of Windows 8. According to Dell director Alison Gardner, it will continue to provide the option as long as Microsoft allows it to. Dell will offer both OS options for its Alienware, Latitude, OptiPlex, and Precision brands.
Gardner noted that many businesses are still migrating from Windows XP. Transitioning a midsize firm to a new operating system is a major task, which almost always involves a costly new generation of hardware as well.
A Touchy Issue
The InfoWorld piece only obliquely alluded to concerns about touch and Windows 8. And while Windows 8 does not absolutely require a touchscreen in order to run, nontouch users may find it harder just to get started and get to their applications.
It is not just a matter of buying a new screen for every desktop or work station. Touch has become a fad, and, like most fads, it is getting overextended. For mobile devices it makes sense. Whether it makes sense for laptops--let alone desktops--is far less obvious. Reaching out to touch your desktop screen seems like an awkward process, not at all like touching a smartphone screen.
All of which suggests that Microsoft could be making a mistake by all but forcing touch on Windows 8 users, instead of making it a take-or-leave option. Windows has always been first and foremost an operating system for business. As business computing becomes even more sophisticated, while consumer computing becomes simpler, the need for enterprise-strength computing will remain and grow. Redmond, we can hope, will keep its IT customers in mind.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.