The Windows 8 Hate Is Starting To Get Old, Guys.

I’ve been using Windows 8 for a good 6 months now and as someone who’s use all previous Windows versions going back to 3.1 it’s easy for me to say that it’s the best of the lot so far. Sure I don’t use the Metro interface a lot but that’s mostly because it’s not designed for the current platform I’m using it on (a PC that doesn’t have a touch interface). Still it seems I can’t go a day where someone, usually an executive from a large OEM, is bashing Windows 8 in one way or another. Considering that nearly everyone I talk to, including people who aren’t that technically inclined, seems to say the direct opposite of what they say I figured it was something worth looking into.

Windows 8 Shadows

A lot of the criticisms seem to stem from the awkward launch that Windows 8 had. Now I’m not going to try and be an apologist for this as it’s well known that even Microsoft was disappointed with the initial release. For those of us who endured the Vista launch however it’s pretty obvious why this occurred as whenever a new Windows release deviates heavily from the previous one (whether in terms of interface or underlying architecture) the sales are always lackluster as their biggest customers, the enterprise buyers, don’t want to take the risk until all the teething issues have been sorted out. More crucially though is that whilst the launch might have been an all round disappointment it didn’t take long for Windows 8 to gain some significant steam, getting on par with Windows 7 after 90 days.

Several other high profile people have gone on record saying that the Surface is also seeing lackluster sales. This coming not long after many people have called the ultrabook market a failure (which is not unjustified) makes it look like Windows 8 ‘s introduction can’t have any impact on what looks like a declining PC market. Now I’m not going to argue against those numbers however if you look at past Windows releases, take 7 for instance which was released in Q4 of 2009, you’ll see that whilst there was a small boost (which wasn’t out of line with current trend growths) the previous quarter it was back to where it was before. What this means is that while you’d expect people to be buying a new computer in order to get the latest version of Windows many in fact don’t. This doesn’t come as much of a surprise as the system requirements between Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 aren’t that great and indeed any PC bought during the time that these operating systems has been available would be more than capable of running them. Indeed many computers have reached the level of good enough half a decade ago for the vast majority of the population so the lackluster growth isn’t surprising, nor is it anything to worry about in my point of view.

I think the reason for the backlash is due to two reasons, both of which the blame does actually lie with Microsoft. The first is a bit of speculation on my part as I think Microsoft promised a boost in PC sales to the various OEMs in order to get them on board early with Windows 8. This is pretty much par for course when you’re working with OEMs on a new and risky product as otherwise they’ll be waiting until the product catches on before they throw their hat in the ring. Now whilst Microsoft could probably handle Windows 8 not getting a lot of OEM support for a while it would have been likely that Windows 8 wouldn’t have caught up to 7’s sales in the first 90 day period, severely stunting its future growth. Whilst they wouldn’t have a Vista level disaster on their hands it would’ve been much worse than what they’re dealing with now.

Secondly I get the feeling that many of the OEMs aren’t too enthused about the Surface and I don’t blame them. I said a while back that Microsoft needed to keep their product in the premium range in order to not piss off their partners and they’ve done that to some extent however with the exorbitant license cost for OEMs it’s incredibly hard for them to make a comparable tablet for the same cost as the low end Surface RT. This has no doubt generated a bit of animosity towards Microsoft with many OEM executives bashing Surface at every chance they get despite it selling out almost immediately upon release. Whether Microsoft can repair this relationship remains to be seen however as the platform’s long term survivability will be made or broken by their OEMs, just like it has been in the past.

Microsoft took a risk with Windows 8 and by most accounts it appears to be paying off for them, unlike their previous experience with Vista. It might not be the saving grace of the PC industry nor might it be a runaway success in the tablet market however Microsoft is not a company that plays the short term game. Windows 8 is the beginning of a new direction for them and by all accounts it’s creating a solid foundation with which Microsoft can further build on. Future Microsoft releases will then be able to deliver even more capabilities on more platforms than any other ecosystem. This isn’t the first time they’ve been on the back foot and then managed to managed to dominate a market long after it has established itself (Xbox anyone?) and I’d be really surprised if they failed this time around.

 

12 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Yeah I don’t use the Metro interface much because of that, preferring to stay on the desktop for 99% of my work. The few people I know that have hybrid touchscreen laptops love it though so it’s definitely shaping up to be the killer feature that all portable Windows 8 devices are going to need.

    I’d recommend one of the new ASUS touchscreen ultrabooks. Those things are a really great piece of hardware.

  2. You are missing the point. The backlash has nothing to do with the launch of Windows 8. It has to do with Windows 8 period. The schizophrenic mashing together of two ui’s, 1 for touch enabled, mobile devices and one for traditional desktops, and pushing it on everything as if it fits when it clearly doesn’t.

    The metro ui has no place on a regular computer. It belongs on Tablets and Cell phones, NOT my desktop. THIS is what the back lash is about. Microsoft’s “our way or the highway, deal with it” attitude toward their core customer base,…

    Windows 8 did not generate the bump in PC sales that other releases of Windows have because of that fact. It was a known turd going in due to the consumer preview and rtm’s so when it was available for general purchase, not many did.

  3. Microsoft has a clear strategy for unifying all their disparate platforms under the Windows banner and the Metro UI (and the underlying frameworks) is part of that. It’s no secret that Metro is the preferred styling and it’s optimized for the touch experience but I don’t agree that it has no place on the desktop. Sure I might not use most of it myself (I don’t use any of the Metro apps for instance) but all the other UI changes are solid and much of the ported functionality works in much the same way as it did in Windows 7, it just looks a different.

    By that logic you would have expected all other versions of Windows to have had the same effect when that’s just not the case. Both Windows 7 and XP, considered to be the top two Windows releases of all time, failed to increase PC sales significantly around the time of their release (there was a 5.1% contraction around XP’s release: http://news.cnet.com/2100-1040-817659.html). I’m not exactly sure why everyone was expecting a new Windows release to massively increase PC sales as that hasn’t happened for well over a decade.

    I disagree that it was a “known turd”. Sure there wasn’t much love for the Metro interface when it was used on a desktop but every other aspect of it worked just fine (unlike Vista, where fundamental things would cause all sorts of crashes or just straight up failed to work).

    It was definitely a risk but it was one that Microsoft was well positioned to take. With Windows 7 successfully usurping the Vista disaster (despite being nearly identical to it) and the success of tablets/handhelds starting to cut into their market share Microsoft took the opportunity to do something about it. I’ll admit that the sales figures aren’t all that great (I’ve since found more articles showing comparative adoption rates and it’s not pretty: http://www.extremetech.com/computing/149762-four-months-in-windows-8-adoption-is-almost-at-a-standstill) but I do have the feeling that Microsoft expected this, something which I wrote about long before Windows 8 was released to the public: http://www.therefinedgeek.com.au/index.php/2012/03/13/changing-the-user-paradigm-with-windows-8/

  4. I’m pretty sure if you were an IT Admin and not just an end user you wouldn’t be so chipper about Windblows 8!

    Where do I even begin on it’s immediate out of the box problems without even touching on the lack of drivers and third party software support for business?!

    If I were to deploy this steaming pile of horse excrement Microsoft call Windows 8 at the company I work for I would be working 60-70 hours a week just on support requests not to mention the fall in productivity would probably destroy our company and put me out of a job!

    A classic example is microsoft removing the windows start button! Where I work we have 3 classrooms that can all hold 10+ students plus 20 staff so that’s approximately 50 people all sending me support tickets straight up because they can’t find the start button!

    Sweet brown said it best “AINT NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT”!!!

  5. Just so we’re clear, I am in fact an IT admin and have been in the industry for quite a long time: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/david-klemke/8/142/169 I know many, many IT admins who share my views as well so please, don’t try to pull that line on me.

    I don’t know what you’re on about with this driver/third party stuff. It’s fully backwards compatible with everything from Vista upwards, including drivers and 3rd party software. Are you even an IT admin? Because if you were you’d know this kind of stuff from a cursory glance at the feature set, let alone if you’d installed the early betas and RCs which demonstrated this pretty clearly.

    Unless you’re working in the medical or banking industry or, more likely, your users are migrating from XP rather than 7 I highly doubt you’d have the kind of issues you’re describing. With the briefest of introductions its pretty easy to get users used to the differences between the Metro/Desktop interfaces. If they struggle with that difference then you have a training issue, not a product issue.

    That’s a failure to train your users on the new software before deploying it. I’ve done many, many Windows rollouts and every time I’ve had issues like that it’s been from a lack of end user training. Funnily enough when we rolled Windows 7 when coming from XP we had no such dramas thanks to the good user training. Rolling out Outlook to replace Lotus Notes before that? Absolute disaster, simply because we thought they were similar enough in functionality that the training wouldn’t be required.

    I’m not saying that it’s right for enterprise right now, heck I don’t need to remind you of the golden SP1 rule for deploying new Microsoft Operating systems, but the issues you’re putting up really aren’t problems with the product.

  6. Yes I am an IT Administrator and I explained how many staff and students I have to support at my place of work in my post!

    I work for a training company and I’m quite willing to setup training classrooms to train people on how to use Windows 8 in a virtual environment but I’m not going to upgrade our current machines to Microsoft’s new pile of junk just because they want me to!

    I don’t even need to reply in writing about how bad Windows 8 is, the YouTube url below shows it all!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0fsyb-ttcw

    Microsoft tried to force a tablet O.S. on everyone and it’s a pile of shit! If you like Windows 8 that’s fine good luck to you but I’m not into it because of it’s obvious problems! Just like I have friends that are into same sex relations, I’m not into that but if that’s the way they want to live their lives then good on them! But in the end having a same sex partner is not advancing the human race by producing offspring the same as Windows 8 is not advancing the desktop user experience because it’s not designed to be a desktop O.S.

    You can learn to tolerate things in life but you can’t ignore the obvious!

  7. If you’re so convinced that it’s such a terrible product you should do just that and, should your users share your view, then there’d be no issue in not deploying it. However simply flatly refusing to do so is detrimental as IT exists to facilitate business functions, not get in the way of them. Whilst I believe its best when IT drives technological change if users come to you with a requirement it’s your duty to do your best to fulfill it.

    Microsoft is attempting to develop a unified platform that will allow a comparable experience no matter which of the 3 screens you find yourself on. You might not like the Metro UI, and fair enough I don’t really use it either, but to think that’s all there is to Windows 8 is incredibly short sighted and ignores the numerous improvements that were made as part of the upgrade.

    That’s a rather poor example there (as same sex couples can advance the human race, both through actual procreation and adoption of unwanted children of heterosexual couples) as Windows 8 has many new features that clearly advance the desktop experience. Here’s a little light reading for you: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Features_new_to_Windows_8

    I personally don’t use the Metro interface a lot, which I’ve stated many times over, but that hasn’t detracted from my overwhelmingly positive experience with Windows 8. Indeed once you learn a couple new shortcuts it becomes quite familiar and, dare I say it, better than what Windows 7 was. You might think it’s a massive failure because of the Metro UI but if you think that’s all there is to Windows 8 you’re being incredibly short sighted.

  8. I changed to Windows 8 Pro media edition from 7 for both my laptop and desktop at home when they had the cheap upgrade & free upgrade to media edition offer. I really don’t see the hate for it?

    Still have to use XP at work.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.