I don't know if Windows 8 will be huge failure overall because it's well suited for tablets and touchscreen/mobile devices. For desktop PC's, I can easily see how sales might not meet Microsoft's projections. Personally, I have absolutely no intention of "upgrading" from Win 7 64 Ultimate.
My impression of Windows 8 is an OS that can be run on a desktop, but is primarily designed for tablets and other mobile devices. While a few minor improvements were made to it's Win 7 base, the major "enhancements" center upon a huge emphasis on apps, a new touch screen interface, lower CPU power requirements, and improved cloud compatibility. Even the new start up screen reminds me of something I'd see on a mobile phone or tablet. The focus on apps is hard to understate. Under the "Developing Window 8" part of the Microsoft Windows 8 Product Guide PDF, the first section is entitled "Apps take center stage" with another section in the same part entitled "Building Apps Using What You Know. The first part, "Windows Reimagined" has a section entitled "All the Apps You Want." If you love apps, Win 8 is designed for you.
Personally, I don't use apps (or gadgets) on my desktop. I can search just fine (Win 7 does have a custom search function though it's not as user friendly as XPs IMO). E-mail? Frankly, I've never had a compelling need to access personal my e-mail any faster than it takes me to open FireFox (or IE or whatever you use) and log in. Not missing anything by taking an 15- 20 seconds or so. If I ever do want e-mail access immediately upon start up, I have Outlook. Weather - same thing. It takes 1-2 seconds to open Firefox with a plugin for that, or maybe 3-5 seconds go to weather.com (bookmarked for my zip) if I want a more detailed forecast/radar/whatever. Calender - again I have Outlook (full version) if I need that. Even if I do use Outlook (or similar), anything important gets put on my cell phone since it's not like I can keep my PC with me at all times. Win 8 also has IE 10 (if you use IE)... which also runs on Win 7.
The product guide also mentions "enhanced cloud features" Again perfectly fine "communicating" with family, friend's, co-workers (do that at work enough as it is), arch-enemies, etc. via e-mail, Facebook, Linked-in, etc. using Win 7. Actually, I frequently use an archaic system known as a telephone. Yes, Microsoft, people still use phones. I do wonder whether all these cloud features require some sort of subscription/monthly fee. One last item is that Win 8 can run on low power CPUs thus extending batter life. Great for mobile devices, but we are talking about desktops here. Not relevant or helpful. Of course there are some universal benefits for desktop users in Win 8. Faster start up is nice, but with an SSD it's pretty fast with Win 7. According to some (no idea if true), Win 8 has slightly higher FPS when gaming. JMO, but I would think putting the money spent to upgrade to Win 8 towards a better (or additional) graphics card would provide better value towards gaming. With prices falling on lower GB models, an SSD looks very attractive as a way to boost performance versus a Win 8 upgrade. There are some interesting security features as well. However, I HATE the new start screen and removal of the start button. For me, any minor performance benefits gained over Win 7 are utterly negated by these two changes.
XP and Vista users had some compelling reasons to upgrade to Windows 7. XP, especially the standard 32 bit version, was getting so old that you couldn't take advantage of the latest hardware tech - 64 bit processing and "4GB" ram limit (never seen XP actually register fully 4GB - always 3GB+) being two primary examples. Win 7 SSD features and compatibility with HDDs over 2TB are two more. Win 7 boot up time is much much better than XP as well. If you ran Vista, while some may have liked it, a lot of people had many issues with it which were at least mostly addressed by Win 7. Upgrading to Win 8 simply doesn't compare in terms of desktop usage. Lastly, I am NOT, repeat, NOT sure (so please don't needlessly flame me), but I thought I read somewhere that OEMs were considering to continue offering Win 7 as well as Win 8 for new PC orders. If that's true, it's a pretty big indication of how a large percentage of desktop users feel about it.
Perhaps I'm missing something, but in the end, I still see apps, lower power usage, touch screen enhancements... and apps (duplicate listing on purpose) as the major "benefits" of "upgrading" to Win 8 from Win 7. That along with, again JMO, a HUGE step backward in the start screen and removal of the start button. I simply don't see any compelling reasons to upgrade in a desktop setting unless you just love apps.
Edited by goesto11 - 10/18/12 at 11:35am