Intel chief says Microsoft will release Windows 8 before it’s “fully ready”

There was a time when it was easy to hate Microsoft. It was a huge behemoth of a tech company that had its hands in seemingly everything, and it was hard for a user to do anything, computing-wise, without somehow touching or accessing one if its products.

While Microsoft was asleep one day, however, a couple of other companies climbed its Magic Beanstalk and stole some of its treasures. Instead of following the intruders back down the beanstalk, Microsoft declared that it didn’t need what was stolen, that it could create replacements.

Not to further belabor this analogy, but the intruders were Apple and Google, the latter of which has since taken over the moniker of Most Scariest Tech Company. (Classic picture: I saw someone the other day wearing a t-shirt with “SkyNet” on it in Google-style colored font.) With all of its various transgressions with Street View and stealing–errr sorry “collecting” homeowners’ personal data and passwords…and its penchant of creating automated stuff like video-capture, heads-up interaction glasses–and cars that can drive themselves–could there be any doubt as to its new reputation?

Anyway, Microsoft has made many missteps and blunders over the years, and both Apple and Google–amongst others–have taken advantage of that. Google took the company’s web search idea and greatly improved on it, and Apple got into technologies–like tablets and smartphones–that Microsoft, despite that it had them first, seemed completely unable and clueless as to how to get them right.

So, when the news broke that the company was likely going to be, according to Bloomberg.com, releasing Windows 8 before it was “fully ready,” now that’s some news. Sadly, not surprising news, but news all the same.

It’s almost time to start pitying Microsoft, the way we did when we learned in Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome that Blaster–the larger half of MasterBlaster–was actually just a very large young man with Down’s Syndrome and the accompanying severely underdeveloped mind. Like a stumbling confused giant, Microsoft can’t even get out of its own way.

From the Bloomberg article:

Intel Corp. Chief Executive Officer Paul Otellini told employees in Taiwan that Microsoft Corp.’s Windows 8 operating system is being released before it’s fully ready, a person who attended the company event said.

Improvements still need to be made to the software, Otellini told employees at a company meeting in Taipei yesterday, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the meeting was private.

Whoa! This could be huge! How many of you out there (no need to actually raise your hands) remember when this happened before with Microsoft? 2007? Windows Vista?

Intel, the biggest semiconductor maker, is Microsoft’s closest partner, and Otellini’s remarks echo criticism from analysts such as Michael Cherry at Directions on Microsoft. While Windows is fundamentally sound, the operating system lacks a wide range of robust applications and PC makers haven’t had enough time to work out kinks with so-called drivers, which connect software to such hardware as printers, Cherry said.

“We are concerned at the level of bugs and fine tuning that appears necessary to get the beta systems we demoed ready for prime time,” Alex Gauna, an analyst at JMP Securities LLC in San Francisco, wrote in a Sept. 13 note in response to versions of Windows 8 shown at Intel’s recent developer forum.

Technology vendors often release software before it’s completely ready and make adjustments on the fly. Still, the practice can backfire. Vista, a version of Windows that debuted in 2007, was introduced two years late. It was met with poor adoption as the software initially didn’t work with many applications and drivers.

Uh huh. But, to be fair to Microsoft:

“With over 16 million active preview participants, Windows 8 is the most tested, reviewed and ready operating system in Microsoft’s history,” said Mark Martin, a spokesman for Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft.

Laura Anderson, a spokeswoman for Santa Clara, California- based Intel, declined to comment on the internal meeting. She also said that the company “believes Windows represents a tremendous opportunity for our business and we’re looking forward to working with Microsoft on enabling a host of new experiences on a variety of devices.”

In a statement posted today on its website, Intel said news reports about Otellini’s comments were “unsubstantiated.”

Regardless, I didn’t read anywhere that Otellini himself came out and said they weren’t true.

Of all the companies in the entire world, you’d like to think Microsoft would have learned from its failings. You’re not likely to see Coca-Cola ever retire its flagship soft drink for a “new and improved” version again–it would fight even any such rumors viciously, after all the bad PR it got when New Coke was introduced.

After the Vista debacle, I would have hoped that Microsoft had gotten all its ducks in a row, t’s crossed and i’s dotted, and so on…and would have gone to great pains to do so, to make it so. Even the slightest HINT that there is anything “buggy” about Windows 8 will doom it almost immediately.

That’s something that the former Most Scariest Tech Company should be very afraid of.

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