Thinking of upgrading your computers to Windows 8? Read this first. It may save time, money and heartache.
The numbers don’t lie. Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system is officially a bigger flop than Windows Vista. And everyone knows Vista was a dog.
Things looked dire in January. They got worse in February. Windows has never looked this bad. If Windows was a horse Microsoft would be walking to the gun cupboard.
Hurting PC sales
Windows 8 launched at the end of October 2012. Usually when a new version of Windows hits, PC sales get a boost. That didn’t happen.
It more than didn’t happen. Some commentators says Windows 8 harms PC sales. IDC expected a post-Windows 8 launch bump in PC sales. It now forecasts a downturn.
While the PC buyer response to Windows 8 is lacklustre from PC buyers, it also isn’t a hit with upgraders.
Microsoft’s cunning plan
Microsoft’s idea of a single user interface for smartphones, tablets and PCs is far from stupid. It just doesn’t work in practice. Users don’t like it and that’s what matters.
Windows Phone 8 is at least as good as Android and iOS on Nokia’s Lumia hardware and other smartphones. The market hasn’t jumped. Microsoft’s overall share of smartphone sales dropped after Windows Phone 8 appeared.
While tablets using Microsoft’s Windows RT are impressive, there’s little evidence of surging sales. Some brands, like Toshiba, shelved Windows tablet plans. Others, including Samsung retreated from key markets admitting there’s a lack of interest in Windows tablets.
Windows simply doesn’t register when researchers ask customers which tablet brands they plan to buy.
My experience seems typical
I picked up the Pro version of the software online for NZ$50 on the launch day – it seemed a bargain.
At first I thought I’d get used to the clumsy dual user interface and learn to love Windows 8′s wacky ways. I don’t. As soon as I can spare the time I’m going back to Windows 7.
It says something terrible about Windows 8 that I’ll be more productive moving back to the older OS. Update: It turns out that was a dumb idea. See downgrading from Window 8 to 7 is no answer.
What’s sad about this is I like Windows Phone 8. I still think Nokia’s Lumia 920 is one of the best smartphones on sale - although that may change when I see the new Samsung Galaxy. The Windows tablets I’ve seen, particularly when working with Paul Spain on the NZ Tech Podcast, look great.
So has Microsoft failed?
Whatever else happens, however Microsoft spins it, Windows 8 is not a success. Flop is not too strong a word.
Microsoft gets another chance later this year – the company promises a new version of Windows. Will the company admit defeat and fix the awful user interface then? Maybe it will fix Windows 8 with a service pack. There’s no question it needs fixing.
Sales may be improving for Windows Phone 8 – lord knows Microsoft deserves to be rewarded for building a decent smartphone OS. It is still too early to call the company’s tablet strategy. Maybe corporate sales will kick in, maybe a lower price will fix things. But yes, I think we can say it out loud: Windows 8 is a flop.