Feature: Soapbox Musings

Metro vs. Retro: Did the Emperor Really Need New Clothes?

Author: Stephen Victor
Published: July 17, 2012 at 9:10 am

Love it or hate it, Metro, Microsoft’s new threads for Windows 8 and presently dressing Windows Phone 7, is coming to make your digital world more like the signs and icon art of metros like New York City. Many rave, many moan and some liken the look of Microsoft’s new lovechild to the Aol of yore. Anyone who frequents forums, comment boards and social media enough knows of the overall reaction from even the most Microsoft-happy WinFans regarding Metro: it’s so-so.

Sure, we have those who are over-the-moon in love with the new look, but it’s hard to ignore all the detractors who are in fact Team Microsoft. Metro has become a polarizing topic, but why would any company at Microsoft’s age and size even want to be associated with polarizing? Playing it safe versus playing it my way is good advice, wouldn’t you say? Radical change is something akin to building a ship inside a bottle: it’s a painstaking process, takes a boat load of patience and you learn there’s an art to it after many successes and failures. Microsoft of all companies should know this better than most.

Apple, however, seems to get it: evolution, not revolution. Move that carrot carefully, and so forth. Translation: people hate serious change. Don’t move that cheese, don’t rock this boat and don’t rearrange the furniture every other month (looking at you, Facebook). For a long time, Microsoft did just that. From Windows 95 through Windows 7, the proximity of key screen objects like the task bar, clock and how to tweak settings is basically the stuff of every Computing 101 class. Even if you were frozen in time in 1995 and were brought back today, you could easily fly through Windows 7. In my Martha Stewart voice: “It’s a good thing.”

Then came along the iPod, MacBook, iPhone and iPad. Slowly but surely, millions stopped staring through their windows and decided to visit an old neighbor’s house that went under some major renovations. I see this playing it out like an episode of a familiar animated series.

“Stupid Flanders.”

Continued on the next page

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Article Author: Stephen Victor

Stephen obsesses over three things: tech, tacos and tequila; in that order. Well, not tequila per se, but with the opportunity to alliterate, why not? Follow Stephen here or @stephen_victor for his take on mobile phone and tablet news, rumors and reviews. …

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