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A tribute to Windows 8: If it hadn't been so bad, Windows 10 wouldn't be so good

Mark Hachman | July 22, 2015
Windows 8's pioneering features finally get to shine in Windows 10, and only because Microsoft had to try again.

That's never more true than in the apps and services that surround Windows 10. Photos, for example, searches your OneDrive folder. The Sway app, as part of Office, doesn't even save a local copy of the file to your hard drive. More and more, Microsoft pushes you to live your life online.

The last Windows?

Microsoft has said previously that it will continue to iterate Windows, so that new builds and features and major revisions may blur into one another. Microsoft wants you to think of Windows as a service, that you will keep using year after year after year. 

That is where the sharpest break between Windows 8 and its successors occurs. Windows 10 may be the last Windows, but Windows 8 may have been the last Windows version you could call a product. It wouldn't surprise me to be writing about Windows in 2022 and looking back ten years, marveling that we ever bought a standalone Windows, on a 2D screen, where we worried about keeping a copy of our photos on a local hard drive.

But we can't talk about Windows 8 without mentioning the last, most important change it engendered: a cultural change. Windows 8 flopped. The PC market tanked. Teens looked at PCs the way we view 8-track tapes. And Microsoft responded, with surprising humility. Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 incorporated user feedback that Microsoft almost begged for, and Windows 10, of course, was developed almost hand-in hand with its users.

So here's your question: Would you want to live in a world where Windows 8 succeeded, or this one, with a more responsive Microsoft? Considering everything that transpired following Windows 8's flop, I think we're better off.


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