IT Best Practices

Windows 8: Why Microsoft’s Giant Gamble Didn’t Pay Off

A swing–and–a–miss. Most remember the Windows Vista operating system. Well, here we go again. The newest version of Microsoft’s OS hit the market in 2013 with license sales of roughly 200 million in the first 15 months. Not a bad figure….buuut not a good one either considering the anticipation surrounding this supposedly groundbreaking version. Past platforms have had a much better reception (Windows 7 sold 240 million units in the first twelve months and still captures 53% of the market share). As Steve Ranger writes for ZDNet, Windows 8 is a classic case of a company that is trying too hard.

Off to a Bad Start

Where should we ‘Start?’ With the rushed and overhyped touch screen technology, the $150 premium on those screens, or perhaps the poor timing for enterprise adoption? No, something is missing. Oh, that’s right – it’s the Windows 8 Start button! In a classic ‘baby with the bathwater’ scenario, Windows reinvented its iconic and useful menu button right out of the OS design. This did not bode well with the company’s loyal PC users, to say the least.

The Touchscreen Nether Realm

Then there is the case of the tablet. Microsoft largely missed out on the booming development of tablet technologies in the years leading up to the OS8 release, so it definitely had something to prove. But bucking the classic keyboard and mouse combo in favor of touch technology was counterproductive for this giant of the everyman’s desktop. According to analysts, Windows 8 didn't bridge the divide between tablets and PCs so much as fall into the chasm between them.

Wooing the Wrong Users

In an attempt to ‘get in on the action,’ Microsoft tacitly abandoned its traditional market in pursuit of smart phone and tablet users. It was a bold mistake from a company whose brand image is so embedded in mainstream computer use. And the process has been no picnic for enterprises either. Many companies who’d run on the successful Windows XP for so long are now in the process of transitioning to the equally successful Windows 7. Those on Windows 7 were not quite ready (or willing) to embrace Windows 8. At this point, one can only look forward to OS 10 and hope.

The full article can be read at:

Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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