Microsoft just can’t win on Windows 8 whatever 8.1 update brings

V3's Dan Robinson

After the last opinion piece I penned on Microsoft and Windows 8 back in March, I vowed that I would not write another one. So here it is.
Really, you have to feel sorry for Microsoft over the car crash that Windows 8 and Windows RT seem to be turning into. The company tried so hard to deliver what everyone asked of it, but has ended up with a product that few people want, while PC sales continue to slump – at least in the consumer market.
It seems to me that there is a lesson here for vendors; listen to your customers, but be careful about taking what they tell you they want too seriously. I say this because Windows 8 was the end product of feedback from users, if Microsoft can be believed.
Unfortunately, I'm not privy to exactly what Microsoft customers were telling the software giant while Windows 8 was under development, or whether Microsoft was asking them the right questions about the future direction of the platform.
However, I do recall that the media was full of "experts" telling Microsoft that it needed to compete with Apple by coming up with a more touch-oriented platform to compete against the iPad, and do something about the poor battery life of existing Windows laptops and tablets.
"Windows tablets can't match the battery life of the iPad. Microsoft needs to get Windows onto the ARM architecture if it hopes to compete," was the kind of thing people were writing on blogs, along with, "Where is Microsoft's gesture-based user interface to compete with the simplicity of iOS?"
Well, Microsoft created a platform with a touch-based user interface, and ported it to ARM as Windows RT. And what has been the reaction of these same experts? "Whaaaat? It doesn't run my existing Windows applications?? What is Microsoft thinking of????"
Of course, the iPad doesn't run Windows applications either, but this has been portrayed in the media as a strength rather than a weakness. Instead, the iPad runs iOS apps designed for the iPad's larger screen, effectively making them glorified smartphone apps.
Microsoft has also attempted to copy Apple's success somewhat by introducing a new app-development model based around its Windows Runtime (WinRT) APIs, and making these available via an online store integrated into Windows 8 and Windows RT.
A criticism levelled at Microsoft is that there are just not enough apps in the Windows Store, but the same thing was true of Apple's App Store when it launched, not to mention every other app store that exists. Another criticism is that many of the available apps are fairly low quality, but again that applies equally to Apple's app store, with Apple even having to tell its developers directly that "we don't need any more fart-generator apps".
So it seems like Microsoft simply can't win; they were damned for trying to introduce a new platform designed to work better on tablets, and would have been equally damned if they hadn't and simply pushed out a less radical overhaul of the existing Windows desktop and APIs.
Imagine what all those internet "experts" would have said if Microsoft had released Windows 8 as a revamp of Windows 7, but with a few tweaks and features to make it a bit more touch friendly?

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About Doru Somcutean

Hello, my name is Somcutean Doru and I'm from Romania.

I really like to read reviews and see what's new about technology, on D-BLOG I share with you articles/reviews that I find interesting. I also write some reviews in romanian...

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