Breakout

Wait a Year, Then Start Judging Windows 8

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In the few short weeks that Windows 8, Microsoft's (MSFT) new software system, has been alive, it has garnered reviews ranging from "skip it" to "radical."

People even only remotely connected to the world of technology are hungry to know whether the company that brought most of us into the digital age (and also made founder Bill Gates the richest man in the world along the way) has come up with a product worthy of competing against the market domination that is Apple's (AAPL) suite of products.

Not surprisingly, Wall Street is hungry for a verdict, too, but at least one industry correspondent says since Windows 8 is so different than anything Microsoft has ever offered before, investors and consumers alike will need to be extra-patient before judging the project a hit or a miss.

"It's going to be a slow burn rather than a bonfire," says Michael Copeland, senior editor for Wired magazine in the attached video. Though it will take a year or two to fully and fairly judge the merits of Windows 8, he says, it's still important that it succeed right away -- important, but not critical.

"What Microsoft needs to do, and they're starting to articulate this, is build this kind of continuous, beginning-to-end platform between your PC and your tablet and your phone and the cloud," Copeland says.

In his recent article, Windows 8 Is Not Do-or-Die, Yet, Copeland argues that unlike most companies, Microsoft has uncommon power with product launches because of its massive existing business operations.

"Throw out the word 'Windows' from everything Microsoft does, and you've got this very enterprise-focused set of businesses," Copeland says, which he describes as being about "$40 billion of business that is growing in the high single digits."

Still, he says because Windows 8 is so different, it's going to take more time for users to even come to it, and tech-watchers will need to account for this. Of course, this is not to say that it isn't key for Microsoft, because it clearly is.

"So they need that to work, but they have some time to get there," he says. "And let's be honest, too, what's the alternative to Microsoft if you are in a big corporation right now? There isn't one."

That said, Copeland doesn't see Windows 8 as some sort of litmus test in its battle against Apple. That's because Microsoft is a special case -- a really huge special case with incredibly deep pockets that also ''has all this stuff behind the scenes in big, big companies that Apple just doesn't have," he says.

So before you rush to judgment on Windows 8 and Microsoft, maybe you should sit back and wait a while.

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