Nov 16, 2012 — by: E. Werner Reschke
Categories: Predictions, Products, Review


Microsoft bet the farm on Windows 8. It doesn't matter whether you are talking about the Windows RT version that runs on their ARM based Surface tablets or the desktop version that runs on Intel processors (that can run your other Windows software). It has all boiled down to this for the Redmond company: Windows 8 must succeed in order for Microsoft to survive this decade of seismic shift to mobile operating systems.

The big problem with Windows 8 is that is is different than everything that came before it since Windows 95. When people see different, they often think, "more work", "harder to learn", or "have to give up what I'm used to". All of those thoughts are what behavioral scientists call "fear of the unknown". Windows 8 is different right out of the box so to even login or get started the user is forced to have to learn something new, and that isn't what most PC users want with their new operating system.

USA Today just released a survey showing that most PC owners aren't looking to aggressively switch to Windows 8. Matter of fact, many may make their next upgrade a Mac or an iPad -- 42% to be precise. This type of feedback must have Redmond pulling their collective hair out.

Going back to August 25, 1995, Microsoft's Windows 95 operating system update was a totally new way for PC users to interact with their computer. While it required relearning Windows, there were huge benefits in doing so. Windows 95 was vastly superior to Windows 3.0 and 3.1. Windows 95 worked much more like a Mac, and while most people liked how Macs worked, they couldn't afford a Mac or live with the incompatibility with software they already owned.

The Windows 8 launch was to duplicate the effect of the Windows 95 launch. Different OS? Yes. But vastly superior. Apparently Microsoft got the "different" part of the equation right, but they are struggling to convince people it is vastly superior. When people used Windows 95, they could immediately tell it was better than anything that came before it. It was remarkably easier to use than Windows 3.1 or DOS. Users who have tried Windows 8 don't get that same mojo from their dip in the Windows 8 water. PC users are asking many questions about Windows 8 surrounding one general theme: Why did Microsoft put their failed phone OS on their 23" monitor?...

A slow start to Windows 8 is a deathblow to the Redmond tech giant. This was Microsoft's last chance to make big inroads into the mobile market before Apple and Google totally blow through the mass adoption Tornado getting to the Early Majority and Late Majority phases of the product life cycle. Redmond was all in on Windows 8. The result: Epic fail.

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  1. AlfieJr ~ November 16, 2012 16:44

    yeah, W8 could well be an epic fail. but, no, not necessarily fatal for MS. MS could fall back at any time on allowing W7 PC's to still be sold to everyone, to stop the bleeding. and in a matter of months it could release a W8.1 that restored the familiar W7 UI elements that people miss most, and make it completely unnecessary to use the Metro (whatever it's called) UI at all except for touch screens. they could then get to work on W9 for 2014 that would resolve these conflicts permanently. the only reason they won't do these fixes would be ... arrogance. we will see ... what is DOA tho is the Surface ARM tablet. nothing can save that hopelessly crippled product. and the Pro version, no one knows yet. #
  2. Art Vandelay ~ November 17, 2012 11:05

    Typical Apple fanboi comments. Stick with Apple's archaic grid/icon UI and their tired hardware designs. People who want innovation will go with Windows 8. Apple doesn't care about computers anymore. They are a phone handset maker, and that's where the majority of the profit comes from. Right now, they cant even ship the new iMac. By the time it does ship with Ivy Bridge, Haswell will be mere months away. Apple fanbois pay big bucks for outdated hardware, but people who aren't caught in the reality distortion field get better value with Microsoft and Windows. #
  3. Mikhailovitch ~ November 17, 2012 20:01

    @art vandelay, actually, the posting was in no way about Apple. Perhaps your Apple obsession is greater than that of the supposed fanbois of whom you speak. #
  4. Neil Anderson ~ November 18, 2012 21:43

    Ballmer doesn't have that much hair left to pull out. #
  5. BGury ~ December 10, 2012 12:01

    IMHO Windows 8 is the answer to a question that no one has asked, a solution in search of a problem. There should be 2 versions: 1) "Windows Touch" for the fondleslab crowd and 2) Windows 8 for the desktop crowd. I know there are "hybrid devices" but I think the need for them is rare. I'm running Win8 on an HP laptop now (came that way) and it is an amazingly schizophrenic mess of a User Interface. Luckily there is Classic Shell at Source Forge to banish the Metro UI, with that installed you only see a brief flash of Metro at boot and then nothing but the desktop environment unless you want to see Metro (but why?). Its possible Microsoft will fix it but straight out of the box its a fugly mess. #

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