It is no secret that Windows 8 hasn’t sold that well just yet, though its a far cry away from a failure like some claim it is. So what’s holding Windows 8 back? Some say that Windows 8 is just too radically different and that people are resisting the change.
Now the Register claims a “well placed” source says that Microsoft blames the slow sales on PC vendors, or at least they do privately. For obvious reasons they aren’t going to come out and trash-talk their partners, but Microsoft supposedly says they had very specific plans and specifications for Windows 8 desktops, laptops and tablets.
Furthermore, the alleged resource says that PC vendors ignored Microsoft’s advice and didn’t offer innovative enough products. Beyond that, they simply didn’t enough touch-ready devices present at launch.
As the Register’s source claims to say, “Microsoft is very frustrated with major OEMs who didn’t build nearly enough touch systems and are now struggling to find parts and ramp up. Microsoft says they provided very specific guidance on what to build.”
So are vendors to blame? It’s hard to say for sure. It is true that many vendors like Dell had shipment issues with their touch laptops and tablets early on, and this could certainly have led to decreased sales. Of course Microsoft’s Windows RT tablet, the Surface, was made entirely to Microsoft’s specifications and while an amazing piece of hardware, it doesn’t seem to have sold like hotcakes either– though lack of traditional Windows compatibility could be the issue there.
So what do PC vendors have to say about Microsoft’s claims that they dropped the ball? From what we are hearing, several makers claim that if they had closely followed Microsoft’s specs and general advice, the products would have been way to expensive and while of ultra-high quality, they probably would have just sat on store shelves.
If the Register is to believed (which is a debatable source in all reality), it sounds like a lot of name-calling and tossing around of the blame is going on right now on both sides. Ultimately though, I believe that the botched Windows 8 launch is a mixed issue.
While I LOVE Windows 8, I still think traditional desktops should have launched into desktop. I don’t think the Start Menu or button is necessary, but pointing users at a familiar interface might have been a good move for the keyboard/mouse crowd. Additionally, making certain tasks more intuitive (like powering down) could have been more of a priority as well.
That aside, the PC hardware currently on the market is good but it isn’t much different from what we’ve already seen. We need devices that WOW us and show us that are an evolution of everything we have come to expect in a PC.
Regardless, it doesn’t matter what has happened with Windows 8 in 2012. If can be stubborn customer’s fault, PC vendors fault or Microsoft’s. What matters is where they go from here. Maybe they should have made Windows 8 a little different, maybe not. There is no going back.
Microsoft and its partners need to find new ways to reinvigorate the PC market with what they have right now, and that’s the Start UI-based Windows 8. The new OS has only just made it out the door and while some of its early launch drama might haunt it going forward, it doesn’t have to define it.
Windows XP was NOT popular early on, believe it or not. Many users felt that Windows 98 or even the dreaded Windows ME was a better option. DOS was where it was at, not that crazy-new Windows NT stuff (though it wasn’t really that new…).
Moving forward, everyone remembers XP as the greatest thing since sliced bread. Many businesses and even consumers are clinging on to their aging Windows XP hardware.
Let’s move forward, simply put. Enough living in the past, Windows 8 is a new OS and its future can still be very bright.
What do you think of Windows 8? Do you feel that it is simply having a slow start but eventually will take off in a big way? Conversely do you feel that Microsoft and its partners botched the launch? Share your thoughts below.