Windows 8 will be released to the public before it’s fully baked—that’s apparently the latest message from Intel CEO Paul Otellini.
Bloomberg reports that Otellini, speaking to a group of employees at a private company event in Taipei on Tuesday, said improvements “still need to be made to the software.” Otellini reportedly said that Microsoft is making the right decision by releasing the software before it’s ready, because improvements to the OS can be made after it ships.
Microsoft did not respond to a request to comment for this story.
According to analysts who spoke with PCWorld, Windows 8 isn’t quite as buggy as Otellini suggests. However, if you expect perfection from Windows 8 out of the box, you may be disappointed. Perhaps this is why some people still subscribe to the old computer culture maxim, “Never buy a version of Windows until SP1 is released.”
Service Pack 1, or SP1, used to represent the first major collection of patches and fixes for a new Windows operating system, and would resolve a lot of the issues that customers faced after the OS’s initial release, says Al Gillen, an analyst with IDC. (IDC and PCWorld are both owned by parent company IDG.)
“Today, what happens, Microsoft is streaming out patches and fixes and updates through Windows update on a continuous basis,” Gillen said. “That means that by the time you get to Service Pack 1, the majority of what’s in it has already been delivered to most of the systems in the market. Service Pack 1 today represents more of a psychological than technological milestone.”
Otellini’s comment aside, Gillen says Microsoft’s new OS isn’t all that problematic.
“To my knowledge, and from what I’ve seen, I don’t think Windows 8 is a buggy product,” Gillen said. “But it is a product with a lot of change in it. Any time you introduce a lot of change, there’s potential for some surprises.”
Another analyst, Michael Cherry of Directions On Microsoft, says usability issues may stem from Microsoft’s claim that Windows 8 will work with Windows 7 hardware. Cherry has been running Windows 8 on his Windows 7 tablets.
“The operating system is very strange on those systems,” Cherry said. “The touch is very intermittent. Sometimes, I touch and it activates an application. Sometimes I touch, and it doesn’t appear to do anything. Then I’ll touch it again, and the next thing I know, I’ve got two or three copies of the app running.”
“But Windows is not Vista,” Cherry said. “I like where Microsoft is trying to get with Windows 8. I think it’s a great first step. But it’s a first step. And I don’t know how many it’s going to take until we go, ‘Wow. They were right.'”
Windows 8 is set to be released on October 26 of this year.
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John Mello writes on technology and cyber security for a number of online publications and is former managing editor of the Boston Business Journal and Boston Phoenix. Disclosure: He also writes for Hewlett-Packad's marketing website TechBeacon.