Back in May of 2011, I wrote a post about Windows 8 and that people shouldn’t buy it. The discussions over Windows 8 are highly mixed and there’s a group of people that love Windows 8 there’s a group of people that absolutely despise Windows 8. That demographic of people can be separated into those who are into consuming information and those who have to work with the technical aspects of dealing with a new operating system.
Microsoft clearly took a gamble on creating a new look for their operating system that mimicked what everybody else was doing in the technology market, but they wanted to create an operating system with a look and feel that spanned across all their products. I’m sure it was initially a great idea but in practice it’s a nightmare.
For instance, one of the biggest complaints with the Windows 8 operating system is the absence of the start menu. It boggles the mind that Microsoft would make such a bold move in changing the GUI so much that IT departments don’t want to touch Windows 8.
I was recently speaking with an IT manager and as we spoke about Windows 8 there wasn’t much discussion about any other improvements about the operating system overall, but the biggest problem in the most reoccurring thing was the user interface. So much change in the user interface makes it very difficult to roll out to standard users.
One thing IT shops don’t want to deal with is additional support cases; Windows 8 is exactly that— it’s a whole new level of Hell for IT managers. Forget about additional features, cloud functions, security enhancements; if you change the operating system interface so much that people can’t figure it out, it’s a nightmare and IT shops already have enough support issues to handle with the Windows operating systems they have. Take Windows 8 and try to implement that on top of the issues they already have with previous operating systems they’re just inviting over time, headaches and more complaints.
I thought it was funny that as soon as Windows 8 was put out as a beta the first thing that people started doing was creating a quasi-solution for the missing start button. It was amazing. Applications were popping up all over the place that replace the start button the had been there for the last 30 years.
Another suspicious activity was that Microsoft wasn’t releasing any information about the sales stats of Windows 8. They were reporting how well it was doing or how well it would be received. Sure, there’s plenty of commercials on TV about people dancing and hip-hop music, but but what does dancing and hip-hop music have to do with the improvements of an operating system? Nothing. Microsoft hasn’t been selling a new operating system, they’ve been selling a new device.
What Microsoft has been very successful at is proving that customers don’t need Windows 8 to do the things that they want to do. Any operating system that allows them access to their favorite services, email, Facebook, twitter or any other social connection that they need. If customers have access to the services, they don’t need Windows.
For a long time, there was a big push for Ubuntu to challenge the dominance of the Windows operating system in the desktop category. Ubuntu was a great operating system but it just couldn’t get its foot in the door because people couldn’t make the connection that they don’t really need Windows; they need applications that do what they need to do. Apple and Google have delivered strongly in this aspect.
Windows 8 has become another family member of failed releases like Windows ME and Windows Vista.
In addition to some of the calamities that Microsoft has been dealing out, another mistake for them was the release of Microsoft Surface RT and Microsoft Surface Pro. It absolutely makes no sense when Microsoft would do this. Microsoft Surface RT is not compatible with Microsoft Surface Pro; essentially their 2 completely different operating systems. Using a different processor and causing people to have to re-create the same software for different processor. It would’ve made more sense for Microsoft to simply focus on working with Microsoft Surface Pro, being compatible with everything they already have and just creating a new user interface for smart phone and tablet type devices.
To add insult to injury, it’s reported that Windows 8 has been actually attributed to the declining PC sales. For all practical purposes, people might as well be purchasing Macintosh and chrome books for is different as the interface is. And another embarrassing point is that Microsoft is rumored to be releasing the option to restore the start button and the directly to the desktop and the release of Windows 8.1. Returning functionality of something as obvious as the start button shows that Microsoft is clearly disconnected from their consumer base.
It’s fair to say that Microsoft’s bread-and-butter has been the Windows operating system as well as the other product subscriptions for things like Microsoft office, Microsoft SharePoint and a few other Microsoft branded products/services. The biggest threat to Microsoft is that the next generation of computer users are the kids were growing up with touchscreens and mobile devices, and they’re getting all the information and doing all the tasks without using a Windows operating system; they also understand that you don’t need one particular operating system to do what you need to do.
And unfortunately it looks like Microsoft’s point of retreat is going back to large companies, corporations and countries that use their Windows operating system to function on a daily basis. Companies like Apple and Google are proving on a daily basis that they have an army of developers that are willing to support them and that day by day the Windows operating system seems to be less and less important.
Larry Henry Jr.
…via Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12.5