Saturday, January 26, 2013

Biggest reasons for Windows 8 failing in the marke

Here's an online comment from "Nategator," in response to the article Understanding Windows 8′s lackluster launch and Microsoft’s cryptic sales figures by Sebastian Anthony on the Extreme Tech website.

Biggest reasons for Windows 8 failing in the market:

1. Pushing a touch-based OS interface down desktop user's throats.
It was absolutely asinine that Microsoft both got rid of the familiar (Start button, deskop view) and pushed massive innovations (tile system, corner access) at the same time. At the very least, they should have made the ability to go straight to the desktop with a start button an optional feature. Better yet, make it adaptive. If Windows 8 detects a touchscreen, start with the tiles. If Windows 8 just detects a mouse and keyboard, start with the traditional desktop view. If they would have done this minor step they would have avoided 95% of the criticism (the other 5% largely focused on the App Store -- see #3) and made the new Start option a desirable feature rather than a reason not to buy/upgrade.

2. The tiles/Metro is ugly and poorly designed.
It's pretty much a rip off of the Xbox tile system, which is largely panned by users because it ends up hiding the content they want behind advertisements and side features Microsoft is pushing. What people tend to want is symmetric columns and rows that can be easily customized -- a la MS's own deskop, Android, and Apple.

3. Poor relationship management with key partners.
It's telling that HP, Acer, Steam, and Blizzard have all publicly went out and panned Microsoft's Windows strategy before launch. Each company was directly threatened by Microsoft making moves to become a direct competitor instead of a trusted partner. And as the carcasses of Netscape and WordPerfect testify, when Microsoft goes after your revenue they do not play fair. Plus, these are key partners trashing Microsoft's strategy. HP sells the most PCs, Acer used to be dominant in laptops/netbooks, Steam sells the most PC games, and Blizzard sells the most beloved PC exclusive franchises. Now all of them are looking seriously at Linux (or its fork, Android) and pushing the GPU companies to start developing drivers.

4. Continued failure to understand the touch market.
People like touch as secondary devices. But it is yet to be seen whether they really want to ditch the keyboard and mouse system for a less efficient touch system. There are big drawbacks with touch. fingerprints, oil, scratches, and dirt build up on the monitor. Touch is less accurate than the mouse and keyboard. Touch creates more input errors than the mouse and keyboard. All of these have the potential to decrease productivity.
In addition, you should not have the same touch OS for both a tablet and a desktop/laptop. With the tablet you are interfacing downwards and with the PC you are interfacing perpendicular. Motions that feel comfortable with the tablet can feel strange with the PC.
No matter how many corporate touts try to clog up the comments they cannot escape the reality. Windows 8 is looking more like Vista (or worse) and less like Windows 7/XP. And if the gaming pubs open up a Linux front Microsoft may be in serious trouble.

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