Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Why Microsoft 8 Will Be a Flop

From Economist magazine:

FIRST, an embarrassing admission: your correspondent uses an 11-year-old operating system on his work-a-day computer. Sure, his copy of Windows XP Professional—shorn of all annoying craplets and services, and with no silly eye-candy to slow things down—has been updated and patched religiously, purged of all detritus on a regular basis, and reinstalled afresh on a number of occasions. He has four other Windows XP machines humming away on his network, all similarly maintained. They have proved a good deal more responsive and at least as secure and stable as any of the Macs and Linux machines sharing the network.

Windows XP (for “eXPerience”) went on sale in Sepember 2001. Counting all versions, some 600m copies of XP have been installed on personal computers around the world—making it the most widely used operating system of all time. There have been two subsequent generations of Windows since—Vista in January 2007 and Windows 7 in October 2009. Of Vista, the less said the better. By contrast, Windows 7 has proved a worthy successor to XP, and one that Vista should have been but bungled by being too locked down and nannyish.

What success Vista has had in the market has come mainly as a result of being pre-installed by manufacturers of new computers. The same goes for Windows 7, though more and more XP users have tended to leapfrog Vista when upgrading their computers. This month (July 2012), after almost three years of edging closer, Windows 7 will overtake XP as the world’s most popular operating system.

That is happening just as Microsoft would have users believe Windows 7 is coming to the end of its life. Its replacement, Windows 8, is due this coming October. Those keen to try it have been able to download a free preview version. By all accounts, Windows 8 is slick and stable, booting up and shutting down faster than even Windows 7, while delivering a browsing experience second to none.

But Windows 8 is nothing if not controversial.

Read the rest here.


  1. This article is way off. Windows is dramatically unintuitive. Sure everyone is used to it, but imagine using it from scratch. It would make no sense. Watch a young (3 or 4) kid use a PC. It's completely foreign. But the same kid can use an iPod of iPhone or iPad within a minute or two.

    Microsoft is finally catching up to this millennium.

    1. I don't know about anyone else, but I think there are many uses for computers beyond frivolous things for 3-4 year-olds.

    2. Sure any kid can see the angry birds icon on a iPad and touch it, but after that OS's like IOS fall short. What can be easily done on a windows or OS X machine can be a chore or impossible on something like IOS. Something as simple as downloading or sending an email attachment.

      I played around with Windows 8 a bit and found it overall to be a nice improvement over Windows 7. For instance, the new task manager is fantastic. The only downside being that there is not option to enable the start menu. This is not Microsoft "catching up to this millennium", it is Microsoft dumbing down there OS for its users. By doing this Mircosoft will be throwing away sales to someone like myself and to people who don't want to be limited by Metro.

      As a user I don't want to be treated like a three year old. I like options, customization, and utility. Not some locked down toy that I have to hack to kinda get it to do what I want. That's whats great about Windows 7. Don't like using the start menu to launch applications, no problem you can put icons on this cool thing called your desktop. Don't like that?, then why don't you try to pin the applications you use to the taskbar. Or in my case, I use all three options with widgets and everything. What Windows 8 should be saying is, "look you can do this now too!". This would allow those three year olds to simply use the OS but at the same time not limit them and other users. It is unfortunate that Microsoft is instead saying, "You have to use this and only this."

      When I was playing around with Windows 8, some one found the start menu in the OS and created a registry fix that allowed it to be seen and used. Microsoft put a stop to that as far as I know, but to me its a good sign that the option might be made available before its release, as far as I know it is still not in. But that has not stopped others, no matter how hard Microsoft tries, from creating their own applications that create a start menu in Windows 8.

      The only reason, as of now, that Windows 8 has me excited is because of what the possibilities are for tablet users. Being able to have a powerful OS on something like a tablet will be fantastic and hopefully push IOS and Android in the same direction.

  2. I've been using the preview version for a couple months now and I must concur with this.

    The core operating system is great. Fast, stable, and reliable. But the Metro metaphor is totally wrong for the desktop. I wanted to like this so badly, but I just can't.

    The usability mechanics are all wrong. Users have been trained over the course of 20 years in how to use Windows, and Metro breaks all those conventions.

    Great for touch, awful for mouse and keyboard. None of the major services have created Metro apps yet, so it's just a few Bing applications mixed in with a bunch of ugly, broken crap from people who don't know how to design for it yet.

    Microsoft will be offering super cheap upgrades to Windows 8, and it's a fine operating system if you just ignore Metro, but it's really just Windows 7.5 with a touch interface grafted on.

    Damn shame. I really wanted this to work.

  3. Disclaimer: I've made my living as a Microsoft partner for most of my career, and I've drunk most of their kool-aid.

    With that out of the way: I gave up my iPhone last year for a gorgeous HTC Titan with Windows Phone 7.5 and I love the metro UI. I mean, love it. I was at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto last week and got a chance to see and experience the whole vision that Microsoft has embraced for Win8. For the first time in my career I came away saying, "Wow. they're getting it right."

    No doubt, Win8 will rattle a lot of people who have cut their teeth on the standard desktop experience of Windows. But the vanguard who takes the plunge, and who will have a unified, beautiful, fluid experience with seamless transitions of data and context from the smartphone to the tablet to the PC to the television, will become (yes, like me) fans and evangelists.

    I know it's hard to swallow. We've all grown accustomed to bashing Microsoft, lo these many years. But for the first time, I'm going to buy some MSFT shares. I think it will change the marketplace dramatically, and a lot of people will be scratching their heads wondering how boring, irrelevant, bureaucratic Microsoft pulled it off.

    You read it here first. Now flame away!

  4. Nah... Let's face it, Microsoft is toast! Nokia RIP 2015, Microsoft RIP 2025.

  5. I hope Microsoft's me-too effort does better than the Zune. They definitely need to compete with Android and iOS if they want to stay relevant. Tablets are going to continue to erode desktop and laptop sales.

    That nonsense aside, I think it's really dumb to force a tablet-like interface on desktop users. The very fact that someone is using a desktop is because they want to do something more complex than what the tablet does.

    Making Windows 8 into a tablet-like interface is just a sad attempt to prevent the giant shift from desktop/laptop computers to tablets dominating casual personal computing. It doesn't matter how fast Windows 8 is; it's not going to load as quickly as an iPad.

    If I was running the joint, this is how I'd roll:

    1) I think the best way for them to win is to maximize Windows 7.5 compatibility with all Windows software. Otherwise, they will have a huge uphill battle trying to catch up with iOS and Android.
    2) Make sure that Linux or Mac doesn't overtake Windows as the most commonly-used platform by businesses.

    1. Can you not still do complex things in Windows 8?

    2. I imagine that you can. The more cumbersome Windows 8 makes that process, the more remote I think its chances for widespread adoption.

  6. Let's not insinuate at the moment, people change their minds all the time.

  7. I own 3 iPads. Replaced two iPhones with Windows phones in our family, now own 4 Nokia Lumia phones. Have Windows 8 installed on 4 PCs I use including a family notebook.

    Windows 8 is phenomenal - a way to bridge tablets and desktops/laptops. The Metro interface and it's Start Menu may initially seem cumbersome - but once one looks at it like it IS the Start button menu from Win 7 - then you get that voila moment and can get around the OS very easily.

    The Start page in Metro is akin to the the pop up of pressing the Start Button. Once you realize that - that Start button menu is customizable just like the Start page is in Win 8. You have to do right clicking to add to the start menu, or deskop, or quick access to the toolbar, etc.

    Yes, it is a slightly different paradigm that may confuse people initially who are used to Win 7 start button. I've had my family running Win 8 for several months on our home notebook and after initial reservations - they've quickly grown accustomed and now enjoy it.

    It's stable as well.

    Lastly, the Metro Store apps available today are intentionally limited - as this is an early release stage but will open the kimono upon the general release in late October. Watch for a large amount of apps to be available at that time and quickly grow. MS has a huge software development channel that is actively working on apps.

    My recommendation from an insider with active business going on in Asia and Microsoft community - buy MSFT! Buy ancillary software company stock. Buy DuPont - maker of Gorilla glass that's used in mobile devices and will accelerate with Windows Phones, Windows 8 Tablets, and the MS Surface tablet. Buy battery suppliers, companies that make wireless cards.