The path to hell, I am sure, is always paved with good intentions. Microsoft’s latest effort is now referred to as “the new Vista”, at least among company employees internally as recently reported by Paul Thurrott.

Externally, however, the new operating system is a topic of great interest across the technology world, even as Redmond gears up to make final plans for its next OS, Windows 9.

But you will find plenty of analysts with views that Windows 8 actually played a part in furthering the decline of the PC industry — instead of boosting sales and helping with the adoption of new PCs as was widely hoped and expected.

And one such analyst is Ben Thompson. In a new post he cites the increased complexity of Windows 8 as causing a fair bit of problems for users that wanted to purchase new computers.

However, the operating system was nicely designed, according to the analyst, in the sense that it tried to tackle the mobile assault from tablets by making touch and apps a central focus. But ultimately, things did not go as planned, and Windows 8 adoption remained low this past year or so:

“The exact opposite happened. Instead of alleviating the problems facing PCs – no reason to buy – Windows 8′s increased complexity added a reason not to buy.”

While things may yet sort themselves out for the Windows platform, it is becoming increasingly likely that the PC hardware market as we know it will not bounce back.

Unless something truly magical happens and consumer interest in PCs is rekindled, of course.

This past year the market decline by around 10 percent, and if this keeps up, many foresee some rather drastic changes in the PC ecosystem with companies (particularly small ones) merging together or closing shop altogether.

For Microsoft it may yet mean some radical shifts in strategy and focus in the near future.

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  1. Unlike Apple, Microsoft made the mistake of assuming that two distinctively different operating systems could be combined. They can’t. I like them both but they serve different purposes. And the truth is that the desktop environment is unsuitable for a small screen tablet (below 10 inches), which is why I still use an iPad. And the metro environment is of little value on a big screen. (I know. I use a Dell XPS 27 with touch screen and I rarely go to the inflexible Start screen in my 10 hours a day at my desk). What Microsoft should have done is keep the two systems separate and provide Metro versions of the Office suite.

    • Well said, it was a gamble that Microsoft thought it just may pull off. But in reality, neither Google or Apple can dream of doing this, not right now. Apple still has Mac OS X for the desktop, Google has Chrome OS. There in lies the problem, there in the solution. It’s not all that hard.

      Thanks for the comment, appreciate it.

    • Macpaul Emeka Ekwueme / January 21, 2014 at 6:45 pm /Reply

      Wrong! MS offering is the most intuitive of them all. In fact the opposite holds true for your argument. The one device direction is actually more practical and with the hybrid detachable form factor, no one who tried it with an open mind would go back back to lugging two devices, even in its present state (as it’s still a work in progress). People are buying keyboards for their iPads and other tablets and wishing they could do more on their tablets and you’re telling me that an OS that offers that opportunity is a mistake? Unlike you I’m finding that you I’m on the modern UI side most times and only use the desktop for office and those other times when i need more powerful programs like bluebeam revu. Just a tap and I’m in another environment on the same device, not needing to change devices. On the desktop, you are aware you can completely bypass the start screen and never have to see it at all with just one setting, right?

  2. I can only use my own experience, but this is completely the opposite of what I see. I used to change computers once a year and upgrade single parts even more often. Every time it was related to replacing faulty parts or improving the performance, more memory, better video card, a TV tuner, etc. I stopped doing this three years ago, nothing broke since then and whatever I could upgrade now would not give me substantially more performance or features. On the other hand I’ve upgraded to every new Windows OS that came out and I’ve been on Windows 8/8.1 since the preview. I’ve W8.1 on my main desktop (an all-in-one), on a laptop and I own a Surface Pro 2. The OS works well for me in all those cases, I use what I need and it does what I expect, including using full-screen apps on both a very large screen and the Surface. The reason why people do not buy new PCs is not because of an OS, it’s because there is no point in buying new desktop hardware, they rather buy a new tablet. Mac sales are down as well and even more than PCs according to some. The reasons are the same. If anything, Windows 8 “made it worse for PCs” because it provided for the first time the realistic possibility of having efficient Windows tablets. Not because W8 doesn’t work on PCs, but because I already have a PC and do not need a new one. When hardware improvements becomes so compelling that new PCs are needed, we will see a reversal, but I don’t see that happening any time soon.

    • I agree with not needing to upgrade ,I’ve never Changed Systems that regular , I follow the path of buying great components that last 2 years of more over an up grade cycle (A change of the main board only due to a board failure) .In fact My Present Systems Run Core2 Quad Core processors that are so powerful, that I don’t need to buy new processors and when widows is upgraded there is always support for higher end hardware .

      I proved a long time ago that the software (outside of Gaming ,Multimedia Production and Heavy database stuff ) is not putting any real stress on present hardware. Windows 8 is a tough sell ,in an environment that already has tons of tablets It doesn’t fix any problem that the user was crying out about .As a hybrid solution it still feels like it needs work .

    • Absolutely correct Shinsenai, You have said it exactly correct.

  3. I always find it funny when people say Microsoft made a mistake Apple wouldn’t have made. 1. iOs is nothing but a watered down version of OSX. If OSX were WIndows, the iOS would be Windows 8 without Metro and with the power user start list. Only a blind person could not look at iOS and OSX and see similarities. Yes, they have different features and capabilities, if I should OSX who didn’t know anything about computers, then show then iOS, almost everyone would assume they’re from the same people. 2. Apple is already talking about making iOS and OSX more alike as recently as a few months ago.

    • The golden era of desktop computing is gone and won’t come back. The future is mobile computing. Decline of desktop/laptop PC is a trend cannot be reversed. As smart phones, tablets and ultrabooks don’t have DVD reader built-in, you can see the sale of software in the future will be through apps store or online installation. People who said they won’t buy software from apps store may have to change their habit sooner or later.

  4. I do not think that Windows has anything to do with the decline of the PC market. The word “PC” or Personal Computer is going through changes. The phone is now, more or less, a PC for a lot of people. So instead of buying an expensive hardware solution as they had to before, people are choosing their “PC’s” for their specific uses and lifestyles. If, for example, the consumer needs a mobile platform capable of browsing the web, light typing, light gaming, music and video, they may go with an Android/iOS/Windows RT/Chrome net-books, tablets or phones as their primary PC’s rather then going with the traditional definition of a PC. So its not that PC’s are diminishing, but rather the word itself now applies to lots of shapes and sizes, and not all run Windows. Good for us, the consumers :).

    • Macpaul Emeka Ekwueme / January 21, 2014 at 6:47 pm /Reply

      Well said. I believe that MS direction with win 8.x will instead help to stem the speed of this decline, not that it will be able to stop it.

  5. The world has gone from buying new hardware for an old OS to upgrading new OS for an old hardware. Windows 8 can run on machines that had vista/XP and consumers are upgrading those old hardware since all they need is so light. Companies are still upgrading their XP machines to Windows 7. Hardware types are not as important when it comes to laptops or desktops. Tablets are the new wave and Windows 8 fits that perfectly. Students going to college are now buying tablets and not laptops. It is up to the manufacturers to come up with options for tablets more, which started late 2013 so there isn’t going to be a push until this summer for new students. Stop blaming Microsoft for going the right way of building a great OS that works for both work and leisure. I’m an IT person by profession and have loved Windows 8 since it’s developer preview and now my wife and I use it on a normal basis. I upgraded her laptop from windows 7 home premium that she bought 4yrs ago and it works just fine with Windows 8. it has the 1st gen i3 processor and still runs smoothly.

    Just as smartphones are beginning to plateau in terms of technology so as PC hardware and power and performance isn’t needed for the average user until new technology requires it so software is the only upgrade for now.

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