Microsoft concedes Windows 8 defeat?

A report in the Financial Times says Microsoft is preparing to reverse course over elements of its Windows 8 operating system – a move the paper says marks one of the most prominent admissions of failure since Coca-Cola’s New Coke.

The FT interviewed Tammy Reller, head of marketing and finance for the Windows business who refused to say what changes are on the way, but did admit users struggled to adapt to the new user interface. She also admitted not doing enough to train retail staff and education potential customers about the new OS.

Although it is not mentioned specifically, there’s no question the missing start button and the page full of large colourful tiles are problems.

Microsoft’s Windows 8 is a brave attempt to straddle the gap between conventional PCs and tablets. In my experience it works well on tablets and makes sense on computers equipped with touch screens, but is clumsy on PCs with normal screens. There’s a clear cognitive gap moving between the two user interfaces that make up Windows 8.

However, after attempting to move back to Windows 7 for a week, I quickly discovered the positives of the new OS outweigh all the frustrations. Going by today’s news, I’m not in the majority.

Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of this is how long it took Microsoft to get the message from its customers. The company no longer dominates the technology sector and an unforgiving market is no longer willing to give Microsoft the benefit of the doubt. It needs to fix this quickly.

See also: Windows 8 is a flop

6 thoughts on “Microsoft concedes Windows 8 defeat?

  1. I recently moved to windows 8. It’s certainly not flawless but I can’t understand all this angst about no start button. I don’t miss it. Just hit the windows key and start typing what it is you’re searching for. It works great. But agreed you want to have a touch screen

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    • I’m with you and the two most complained about things – no Start button and no boot-to-desktop should be non-issues.

      There is a button on your keyboard. Use it. It’s been there for years.
      Why do you want to boot to desktop? So you can stare at your wallpaper? Your programs are in the Start screen, so that is where you’re put so you can launch one of them.

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      • I guess the issues are not logical, but emotional. That’s something traditionally left-brain companies like Microsoft struggle with, but Apple grasps immediately.

        The odd thing here is Microsoft has made huge strides in this direction in recent years – just look at the beautiful designs on everything it touched during 2012.

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      • I basically see it as behavioural inertia and am with Microsoft in being surprised how strong it runs. Especially in tech people!
        The changes they have made aren’t as big as they seem and learning a few shortcuts later you’re on your way.

        I did kinda see it going this way though, because of how many changes they have lumped into one, but there wasn’t another way other than to compete with themselves and create an entirely new OS (no legacy support) while maintaining Windows 7.

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  2. I would challenge anyone to use Windows 8 with no training, but I touch with my left and and won’t forgo mouse in my right even on touch PC. The feedback is great for improvements though and they will come but its a sheer joy to use, customise, and have the apps now. No going back to Win 7 now! Training at the first point of purchase is key though and we are ramping efforts there in NZ

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