Tuesday, May 7, 2013

DISASTER: Microsoft is Preparing U-Turn on Windows 8

FT reports:

Microsoft is preparing to reverse course over key elements of its Windows 8 operating system, marking one of the most prominent admissions of failure for a new mass-market consumer product since Coca-Cola’s New Coke fiasco nearly 30 years ago.

“Key aspects” of how the software is used will be changed when Microsoft releases an updated version of the operating system this year, Tami Reller, head of marketing and finance for the Windows business, said in an interview with the Financial Times. Referring to difficulties many users have had with mastering the software, she added: “The learning curve is definitely real.”
As I have written before, my new laptop is a Windows 8 and there is nothing intuitive about its functions. I probably have figured out how to command only half the functions that I use with my Windows 7. And to call out certain features, such as settings, search and start, requires and odd movement of the wrist with the mouse, which results in sort of an odd pinball machine game, where users win only about a third of the time.

With news of these changes coming, no one is going to buy a Windows operated PC until the updated version is out. Short-term PC sales are about to plunge.

(ht Charles Wilson)


  1. You've completely misread it.

    They're putting a start button back that takes you to the Windows 8 start screen. Nothing more.

    They're fixing some things that techies hated that made them not recommend windows 8 even though windows 8 is great for normal people.

    1. You have completely misread Wenzel. He is quoting the Financial Times!

    2. I have USED WINDOWS 8.1 in alpha form. I know exactly what it does. FT doesn't and hasn't. I know exactly what the feature set is going to be.

    3. So you were one of the testers that didn't know what a disaster it would be. LOL

    4. James is in fact correct. Shockingly once again the Financial Times doesn't know technology. Windows 8.1 is not going to be getting Microsoft out of the hole that have dug. It will just be another release until the can do it if they do. Microsoft is operating out of fear of Apple and has forgotten who there customer is and sadly it will show once again when Windows 8.1(Blue) is released. Don't expect PC Sales to turn around this is not going to solve the issue. It will only make it worse.

    5. No, I'm one of the testers that also tested Windows 8, and got used to it, and as a result of being willing to get over muscle memory and being willing to learn and change I don't mind it. But I also think that it could be better, especially when it comes to multi-monitor and multitasking functionality.

      Windows 8.1 solves these 2 issues by allowing multiple Modern UI apps to be snapped to the same screen at the same time (instead of just one) and to allow snapping to multiple monitors at the same time which was really the only issue for techy people.

      To make people that refuse to learn and change happy, they are also putting the start button back, but it will not bring up the old start menu, it will bring up the Start Screen. I agree with this because the alternatives are not discoverable as it currently is if you're forced/insist to use desktop apps, although once you know to just hit the Windows key on the keyboard or the dedicated button on MS Surface devices etc. just like iOS there isn't anything difficult or unintuitive about it.

      Windows 8.1 is about making Windows 8 easier to use with a mouse and with hang ups from previous versions of windows and making techy people happy. For anyone with a tablet like an MS Surface who isn't a techy, there will be very little to gain (other than the excellent desktop scaling for high resolution screens) because it's already excellent, and with the exception of Office you rarely ever have to run legacy apps anymore and that is increasingly true as more apps hit the store, making anything to do with the legacy UI completely irrelevant.

      For those of you that are frustrated by Windows 8, here's a cheat sheet that will make your life easy:

      Windows Key = Bring up Start screen.
      Windows + C = charms (Search, share etc.)
      Windows + I = Settings (App dependant, on start screen or desktop brings up restart/shutdown, control panel etc.)
      Windows + P = Second Screen (projectors, secondary monitors, screen cloning etc.)
      Windows + F = Find Files
      Windows + Q = Find app
      Windows + W = Find Settings
      Windows + E = Windows Explorer
      Windows + D = Desktop
      There are dozens of others but that's a good short list.

      Jam to the top left corner with a mouse (swipe from the far left) to get to the last used app, swipe down from that to get a full list of running apps.

      Jam to the bottom left corner to get the prompt for the start menu. Click on it and you're there. Right click and get shortcuts to control panel and other legacy windows stuff.

      Jam to the top/bottom right corner of the screen in Modern UI apps to get the charms menu of options for the app.

      In modern apps, right click for a list of commands for a given screen you're looking at.

      Grab from the top of the screen either with your finger or the mouse and drag to the bottom to close an app.

      Once you understand these, which is very similar to the same kinds of things on Iphones and Android with double click of the button getting you running apps, swiping from the top to get notifications etc.) you're good to go and it's FAR easier than old Windows stuff and as more and more Modern UI apps come along and the current ones catch up and pass the desktop versions, things will get even easier.

    6. This is exactly what happened with Windows Vista. It was vastly better than Windows XP in every way, but used more resources because of the added security, and required new drivers that weren't all available upon release (and Quickbooks had to re-write their crappy software because they were breaking security rules everywhere). All computers that came with Vista pre-installed worked perfectly. Only home built computers with oddball parts that didn't have drivers ever had an issue. The techies hated it and told everyone to stay away. They did, and Vista was a flop. Windows 7 continued exactly the same things that everyone hated about vista, but because drivers were now available and systems came with enough memory by default, all of those things were a non-issue and everyone thinks that MS did something major to make Windows 7 so much better. They didn't. They made minor tweaks and called it a day and everyone bought the placebo effect.

    7. If this won't give Apple the golden opportunity they deserve to chomp up market share, nothing will.

    8. Will never happen; apple's hardware is way to expensive. If they finally saw the light of that, then they probably would.

      Its just a shame that all the distro's of linux didnt get on board to have some semblance of platform so that gaming could come much stronger on linux. then you all would see a real operating system.

    9. But a disaster IT IS! No more works! (I liked that). No more hearts/solitaire! Many programs don't work! (f.i. Voca language trainer) A website like transavia.com in the beginning didn't work! Not possible to book flights! And so on! And so on! Why is Microsoft doing this to people? Do they hate their customers? Can't think of any other explanation! Nobody can be so stupid to launche this without realising what it will do!

  2. Have never wanted to upgrade to that it looks terrible.

    They have a winning formula that people have used for 18 years and completely changed the look and feel.

    It was always stupid.

    All that money they spend on R&D and "blue sky" thinkers, product testing and they couldn't work this out.

    Shame on all the paid hack reviewers in the industry giving it the thumbs up and telling MS what they wanted to hear.

    1. I don't think changing the look and feel was stupid.

      For all the things Windows 8 isn't, it is dead on when it comes to swiping and using a touch screen. It does give the feel of a "mobile" device. However, the columns and the tile manipulations are not intuitive at all. Neither are the settings.

      The problem is that they are trying to support everything Windows 7 did also. The end result is a schizophrenic interface that tries to do too much and does nothing well.

      They really should have done a mobile only platform and done it right. This is where Apple has it down.

    2. The reality is that the PC market is toast. It's just a matter of time before it is 10% of what it used to be. So Windows 8 is MS getting ahead of that before they have no market left and compromising.

      Eventually they won't compromise and it won't run the legacy apps at all, and the interface will be consistent. Their greatest mistake was putting a bar in the desktop mode at all and allowing direct access to the desktop at all. If they'd just dropped both, people would have seen it as completely new and would have been fine.

    3. yes, for the domestic market however for their business clients,......well MS is lucky there is no easy alternative.

    4. In my opinion tablets are not going to replace PC's in the Corporate setting. Tablets are for consuming and not producing. Microsoft is selling them selfs short by thinking they are one in the same.

    5. oh yeah one other thing, as rob churchill says below they dynamited their current position (win7) to leap to a position already occupied by mac os, iOS and android.

    6. Maybe by 2030 these dumbasses will figure out how to make a flawless OS.

  3. Here in Bellingham, people are buying used computers with Windows 7 loaded on them from computer recycling and computer repair stores which have operate on a new Microsoft licensing scheme where the operating system is loaded on the computer, and then the user initializes it upon first use. I thing that the scheme or perhaps better said initiative is something like Computers for Kids, computers usually cost $150 to $180, cash; use of credit card costs more.

  4. Microsoft absolutely has to bridge to the mobile space while maintaining continuity with the desktop space. Even in Win 8 it was simple to hide the metro interface and return to a more Win 7-like interface.

    But that wasn't my problem.

    My problem was that all of the old things I used to do to control and personalize my machines were removed, dumbed down, or changed beyond all recognition. It's fine if you want to build a bridge to someplace new, but that doesn't mean you have to dynamite the place you are now.

    That's just stupid.

    While I'm at it, there was plenty of stuff in Win 7 that was annoying and broken from earlier versions, even as other stuff improved.

  5. Microsoft creation windows 8 is a total disaster and any body with half common sense could have figured this out in 10 seconds or less. You cannot have 2 interfaces at one time and telling everybody that the desktop is not needed anymore is simply dumb. Enterprise and business will dump this crap. Windows 9 has to bring the desktop back with apps running on top with the ability to resize the windows.