Paul Thurrott (no, really, I’m linking to something from Paul Thurrott):
In some ways, the most interesting thing about Threshold is how it recasts Windows 8 as the next Vista. It’s an acknowledgment that what came before didn’t work, and didn’t resonate with customers. And though Microsoft will always be able to claim that Windows 9 wouldn’t have been possible without the important foundational work they had done first with Windows 8—just as was the case with Windows 7 and Windows Vista—there’s no way to sugarcoat this. Windows 8 has set back Microsoft, and Windows, by years, and possibly for good.
Thurrott’s right: Windows 8 is the new Vista; what he gets wrong is his assumption that this has set Windows back. Windows, as an entity, was set back largely by the introduction of the iPad. Yes, it’s possible (and not unlikely) that Microsoft could pivot the Windows brand to the tablet future-present. But their dedication to trying to make one operating system that runs legacy apps on the desktop and new (neé Metro) apps on a tablet is really what’s setting them back. They are blinded by their hope that one operating system — Windows, especially, but really any OS — can do it all. It cannot.