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