In what is perhaps the most accurate summary of Windows 8 so far, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has labelled Windows 8 “particular bold and innovative” while calling some aspects “puzzling.”
Windows 8 will be released later this month, and it’s the first version of Windows since 95 to feature a brand new interface. While the classic Windows Start screen will still be there, Windows 8 computers will display the Metro screen by default. Metro is the tiled, colorful interface that you see here:
Early reviews of Windows 8 have been mixed, but most of them seem to agree with Paul Allen. The consensus is that Windows 8 has a steep learning curve, but once you get used to that interface, the features are not too bad. However, that steep learning curve is enough to turn some users away from the operating system permanently.
Paul Allen acknowledged the steep learning curve of Windows 8 in a recent blog post:
“Windows 8 does certainly require a brief adjustment period before users become familiar and comfortable with the new bimodal operating system.”
Allen went on to say that the most frustrating part of Windows 8 was the fact that it switches between two user interfaces on the fly. Instead of just letting users stay in desktop mode, Windows 8 would consistently try to switch back to the Metro interface.
Another problem is that the Charms bar – a feature which Microsoft is heavily promoting – remains hidden off-screen most of the time. In fact, many users have no idea how to access the Charms bar. The goal of the Charms bar is to give users the ability to quickly and easily perform search functions and other useful commands.
Ultimately, Paul Allen (who has not been directly involved with Microsoft for quite some time), ended his post on a positive note about Windows 8:
“I’m confident that Windows 8 offers the best of legacy Windows features with an eye toward a very promising feature.”
Now the only question is – did Ballmer pay Allen to write that post?