Coffeehouse Thread

177 posts

Windows 8 flops, and Microsoft are to blame

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  • vesuvius

    Sales are down 14% as officially reported. I think this is due to Windows 8 offering nothing for the enterprise. How the big-wigs at Microsoft prioritised new business over guaranteed business remains a secret locked up in Redmond. The phrase "suicidal tendencies" seems apt.

    It is no surprise that tablet usage is on the rise, this was predicted and guided the choices for Windows 8. My concern is that their new business model is going to lead them to failure, and am not sure if replacing Steven Sinofsky is a promotion or a poisoned chalice.

    Personally, I think they need to keep pushing Metro and the new API's, but a failure to bring the desktop in on the action will mark the beginning of the end of Microsoft in the top 3 software companies.

  • Bas

    While certainly part of the problem, I think consumers not being able to buy a decent $500-$600 ultrabook, or a touchscreen laptop without paying $100-$200 more than for exactly the same non-touch model should also not be discounted. Also the PC market was in a major decline before Windows 8 was released. I'm not sure how something failing to turn a sinking ship around is to blame for sinking the ship in the first place.

    Obviously simply getting rid of Sinofsky isn't going to be the supreme solution that will revitalize interest in Windows and the PC market, nor will getting rid of metro, getting rid of the desktop, or making more shiny machines at premium prices. The root of the problem is complex, and the solution is unlikely to come from forum post wisdom.

  • vesuvius

    @Bas: Not being able to buy a Surface in PC World is also an issue. Apple cater for people with money, Android caters for people on a budget or who see through Apples extortionate business model. Windows has never been about prestige, with Windows 7 running in a Warehouse as well as an Investment bank.

    The direction Windows 8 has taken with the tablet, is to target people with money, If they had called the tablet OS something else (like Xbox or Kinect) they might have had traction, Windows is far too entrenched a product for you to tell us "re-imagining" it suddenly makes Ford start producing Ferrari's. This is where they have made a misjudgement.

  • Bas

    @vesuvius:I think that's a good point, but at the same time, Windows RT is blasted because you can't use it like regular Windows. Apparently, at least the option to use it like "regular windows" is what even tablet users want. While a different branding would be a good way to change people's expectations about it I think it'd lead to an 8/RT level of confusion if the "XBox tablet OS" turned out to run Windows desktop apps as well, and "why can't Microsoft integrate their offerings" levels of outrage if it didn't. 

    Again, it's a complex problem.

    The problem with the Surface, however, isn't complex. That device being so ridiculously hard to come by is profoundly idiotic.

  • cbae

    Unit sales are down, but the average price of PCs is going up. From a revenue standpoint, the OEMs might not care so much about number of units. After all, they're all trying to emulate Apple's low volume, high margin business.

    Obviously, this does hurt Microsoft, which depends on units sold rather than selling price of the PC.

  • chb

    I don't see how a decline in sales has anything to do with windows8. This correlation is a mere assumption and has yet to be proven and should therefore be stated as such. I am by no means a fan of windows8, but I am also no fan of such biased claims.

    In my opinion there's simply no need to upgrade to a newer PC these days. I am working in a industry where it's important to get as much computing power as possbile for a reasonable price. We usually upgrade all our machines in 2 year cycle. But these days there simply is no need to upgrade. My 3 year old machines run just fine. So in my opinion moors law coming to an end is one of the reasons for less pc sales.

  • cbae

    @chb: Well, PCs still do stop working eventually, so they do have to be replaced. But with more and more PC components being consolidated into SoCs or built into motherboards, there are fewer and fewer things to go bad. I think PCs simply last longer nowadays.

  • evildictait​or

    I simply don't believe that people go into a PC store to buy a Windows PC and come out with a tablet - regardless of the OS on it. You simply don't want a tablet if you went in to buy a laptop, and you simply don't want a laptop if you went in for a tablet.

    The data doesn't show that people aren't buying Windows8. It shows that people aren't buying PCs. It's not hard to buy a laptop with Windows7 on it either - so suggesting that the decline is "because Windows8 is turning people away" seems to be cherry picking the data somewhat.

    The fact is that laptop and desktop machines have seen a dramatic fall and are forecast to continue falling in sales since long before Windows8 was on the market:

    Generic Forum Image

    So how do you, as CEO of Microsoft in 2010, adapt to the challenge of your entire market disappearing in front of your eyes - you're winning the Enterprise market with Windows7, and that's great, but the consumer market for PCs is rapidly vanishing and you know that once it's gone, Enterprise will follow it.

    The answer is you adapt your OS to consumer needs. You need your OS to focus on being effective and usable to how customers clearly want to interact with their device: They want their device to be small, touch-sensitive and to be able to install apps. That's what the success of Android is, it's what the success of iPhone is, and it's something that Windows7 clearly doesn't do well.

    So what do you do?

    You make Windows8.

    Windows8 is not about making people use tablets, or forcing people to use applications and touch-screens. Microsoft doesn't really care all that much about what hardware you use. It's about being able to work on tablets so that they are still relevant when you stop buying laptops, and being able to use touch-screens (since tablet + mouse = suck) and run apps, since that's how consumers increasingly like to interact with rich applications.

    That's not to say consumers don't want fully featured applications on the desktop or mouse support or laptops. And that's why Windows8 didn't drop support for any of those.

    That way you're protected against the market for PCs vanishing and Windows vanishing with it. If the market for tablets goes away and people get bored of apps, Windows8 is in a strong position to head back to Windows7-land of desktop applications.

    If on the other hand the analysts are right and customers continue to vote with their wallet to move to apps and tablets, Microsoft will have a strong and reasonably familiar product in the market, and will hopefully be a strong player in the market by the time V2 and V3 come out before the crash in the laptop/desktop market gets to crisis point for Microsoft.

     

  • Ian2

    Have to admit I was surprised at how well things run on the latest low power Intel Atom processors.  Speed wise not much shy of the relatively high end laptop MS gave out at the PDC a few years ago and certainly capable of running Visual Studio for developing Metro Apps (I am not saying this would be your device of choice mind, but in an emergency it will suffice and responds better than you might have thought)

    I ran some basic benchmarks around the new VivoTab and a few other devices for comparison:

    http://websurfaces.co.uk/2013/03/07/asus-vivo-tab-intel-atom-windows-8/

  • wastingtime​withforums

    , evildictait​or wrote

    The data doesn't show that people aren't buying Windows8. It shows that people aren't buying PCs. It's not hard to buy a laptop with Windows7 on it either - so suggesting that the decline is "because Windows8 is turning people away" seems to be cherry picking the data somewhat.

    Generic Forum Image

     

    Mega-plummet around the time W8 got released. And no, it's not particularly easy buying W7 PCs, except for businesssy computers (where you often need to request W7 to have it installed), they are all pre-installed with W8.

    http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS24065413#.UWXcLb9abHO

    "At this point, unfortunately, it seems clear that the Windows 8 launch not only failed to provide a positive boost to the PC market, but appears to have slowed the market," said Bob O'Donnell, IDC Program Vice President, Clients and Displays. "While some consumers appreciate the new form factors and touch capabilities of Windows 8, the radical changes to the UI, removal of the familiar Start button, and the costs associated with touch have made PCs a less attractive alternative to dedicated tablets and other competitive devices. Microsoft will have to make some very tough decisions moving forward if it wants to help reinvigorate the PC market."

    , evildictait​or wrote

    so suggesting that the decline is "because Windows8 is turning people away" seems to be cherry picking the data somewhat.

     

    Such a crash RIGHT AROUND THE TIME OF THE W8 RELEASE has nothing to do you W8? Keep telling yourself that. The decline on W8 premiere is far harder hitting than the usual PC decline visible since a few years.

    Maybe all the "trolls" had a point, huh? There was not exactly a shortage of War & Peace long posts deriding this thing all over the net. And not in the usual Linux or Apple circles, but often by Windows devs and admins. And contrary to what you might hope or think - the amount of outrage in THAT group was unprecedented this time around.

    And no, these were not whining. On this very forum you weren't able to counter most points effectively yourself, but developed a habit to squelch discussions with "tl;dr" instead. All over the net the arguments against W8 were overall much stronger than the ones for it.

    Oh and what about the "60 Million licenses in the first months" number Microsoft touted? Somehow neither the sales data provided by the market analysts nor the OS statistics on Netapplications jives with that. It was probably just like I said here before: Most of those W8 PCs were (are?) still at the shops when the number was published.

  • vesuvius

    , cbae wrote

    @chb: Well, PCs still do stop working eventually, so they do have to be replaced. But with more and more PC components being consolidated into SoCs or built into motherboards, there are fewer and fewer things to go bad. I think PCs simply last longer nowadays.

    If this was the case Apple would definitely be in trouble. Everything from their iPhones to their Macbooks have a reputation for being durable. There are loads of people still using iPhone 3's and iPad 1's because they last a long time.

    Laptops which most people use are more susceptible to being replaced for broken power supply points, dead batteries and the thrashing they tend to get from mobile use.

    It is a shame this thread has attracted nonconstructive anti-ms haters, but the financial implications of 10-15% of millions (if not tens of millions) of licenses is not something to cross your fingers and hope for the best for.

    It is the repositioning of Microsoft with regard to their userbase and financial model, dressed as "Windows re-imagined" that in my view marks the start of the demise of Microsoft. No company in history has done what they have attempted to do in the last year and lived long enough to regain their market dominance.

  • Ian2

    Hope they are working on a 'Big' Windows 8 Smartphone (ie as big as I can make room for in my pocket).

     

    I like the look of these:

    http://gadgetshow.channel5.com/gadget-show/gadget-news/samsung-galaxy-mega-gigantic-phablet-line-up-revealed

  • Ray7

    @wastingtimewithforums: So what do you think they should do?

  • wastingtime​withforums

    , vesuvius wrote

    *snip*

    It is the shame this thread has attracted nonconstructive anti-ms haters.

    BS. Most critics of W8 were anything but.

    Haven't you noticed that that most "traditional" haters are actually very shut about Windows 8? Where's the traditional FSF campaign for example? (no bad-Vista and 7-sins this time). Easy: Because there was no need this time around... (I've noticed that quite many Linux users for example actually like W8

    It's the traditional MS strongholds who are furious about Windows 8.

    But keep telling yourself that W8 fails because of "hatorz". That's the ticket apparently.

  • Bas

    , vesuvius wrote

    It is the repositioning of Microsoft with regard to their userbase and financial model, dressed as "Windows re-imagined" that in my view marks the start of the demise of Microsoft. No company in history has done what they have attempted to do in the last year and lived long enough to regain their market dominance.

    Except Apple, of course.

  • wastingtime​withforums

    , Ray7 wrote

    @wastingtimewithforums: So what do you think they should do?

    I've written this dozens of times here already. Stop forcing metro down the throats. It needs to be optional. (include a dedicated switch-to-metro button and add the start menu back).

    Would it have been optional (and windowed), people (and businesses) would be far more willing to upgrade to W8, giving MS a foothold with the metro apps. Instead of making metro aggressively mandatory, they should have spent more time creating truly useful metro apps at start. People would try that environment then freely (word of mouth) and the OS would have a far better "Karma" around it. Quite many people try android apps through Bluestacks, and you need to install it separately.

    With the current aggressive strategy towards their own customers instead, MS is creating lots of enemies who will boycott anything metro (and possibly MS).

    Quote from another forum: By making Metro optional and/or second class, it would have organically fostered an environment where application developers could either target a theoretically larger audience of desktop, tablet, and phone, or to stick with the classic desktop model. If what Microsoft offered was any good, there would be a gradual shift from the old way to the new.

    Microsoft's brutal method that they have chosen just doesn't work. They had zero sensibilities. Even the naming reflects this: Calling the desktop "just an app" and renaming metro to "modern" is already hugely insulting to all the people who bought and invested into your previous products and ecosystem.

    Microsoft has made its bread and butter being a user-oriented company. Even in its heyday of DoJ litigation, the charges were that Microsoft went against the interests of OEMs and other software companies, not its customers. This current Microsoft is deliberately going against its established customer base, which makes it even worse than the Netscape crushing version of the 90s.

    Also, read this:

    https://channel9.msdn.com/Forums/Coffeehouse/Please-no-more-Windows-95-comparisons-Ballmer

  • cbae

    In other news:  http://www.cnbc.com/id/100631377

    Hon Hai Precision Industry, more commonly know by it's trade name Foxconn, the main manufacturer of Apple products, posted a 19 percent decline in sales in the first quarter compared with a year earlier, hurt by disappointing demand for the iPhone.

    Maybe this mobile device orgy we've seen the past 6 years is about to come to end. People are sick of eating ramen to pay for their shiny toys.

  • figuerres

    looking at pc sales and then saying that windows 8 killed them is wrong.

    now look at sales of windows 8 and windows 8 devices and at sales of windows 7 might have some more meaning....

    but you have to also take into account the sales trends, if new pc's sales has been going down for a while then there is no way a new os will work wonders and reverse the trend over night.

    but in general I do see a lot of problems with what MS did...  but they had to do something.

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