The first public release of Windows 8 had almost the opposite treatment Windows 7 had. After Vista, Windows 7 was like fresh air to many users. While I would argue that Vista was by no means a bad OS (DX10 and Start Search was huge for me), specially if you are lucky enough to have hardware that have good drivers, Windows 7 was indeed faster even in the beta. Every tech blog was ecstatic about the performance improvements it offers over both Vista and XP. Things only got better in RC, GA.
Fast forward to 2012. Windows 8 again comes with a host of performance improvements, specially the booting. If anyone here still hasn’t tried it, it REALLY does boot almost instantly, something Windows 7 can do only in SSD. Despite the performance improvements, and some very nice explorer tweaks Windows 8 has been target to some very severe bashing. Reason? The METRO INTERFACE.
Windows 8 is the first major Windows(I might be wrong here) release that brings ARM support. In the wake of major change in computing trend, where x86 is regarded as every synonym of “bulky”, it was essential for Microsoft to do. But the problem is ARM is a separate architecture, and that means x86 programs will not be compatible with it. So MS did the next best thing, they made all METRO(ARM) apps compatible with x86. And here is the reason Microsoft is pushing the Metro Start screen so aggressively.
Everyone agrees that Win RT will have a problem Windows Phone is still facing, even more severely, that is the lack of apps. Windows Phone is in a real bad loop, it has a very small market share, so the developers aren’t much interested in it, so apps are missing; because it has apps missing, people are not having much incentive to adopt it. [The situation is not really hurting me much, but I do miss, AK Notepad. Love the little note taker.] With Windows 8 Microsoft is battling this situation in a very Microsoft way, they are waving their install base at developers. The message to developers is clear, develop metro apps, world’s 90% machine is your audience, something no other platform can even hope to offer. And to make sure metro apps achieves maximum visibility, the new start screen is the default in Windows 8. (It’s irritating, but I suggest launch the desktop and that’s it and enjoy other benefits of the new OS.)
It should be clear by now that Microsoft is also hoping the push would benefit Windows Phone as well. Very soon Windows Phone will have a user interface that most people are familiar with, apps can be written for it almost unchanged from Windows RT. Microsoft is advancing on both consumer and developer front. SO very soon it should have a very big app library and also people’s interest to match. (And I must add here in terms of WP 7.8/8.0 situation, 8.0 WILL have sand-boxed apps, so that means we are not left out in the cold as many people are suggesting.)
Last but definitely not least, Xbox. Xbox 3, Xbox 3D, Xbox Next, Xbox 720, Xbox 1080 or Xbox “put whatever you want” will run every metro app. This not an insider news, this is a prediction, one that I can say with utmost certainty. Combined with Xbox’s already dominant position, Smart Glass, online services, Xbox should be able to fortify it’s position pretty well.
And with that the integration completes or rather, world domination completes!
Sorry for the long post. There is no TL;DR, feel free to bash me. Feel free to criticize my train of logic.