Did Microsoft stumble with Windows 8? Was the dramatic overhaul of the Windows operating system just too much all at once?
Well, consider the fact that Microsoft could have left the desktop mode off and just switched to the new mobil-esque Modern UI of Windows 8. Granted, it would have been suicide for Microsoft, but that is effectively what Apple did when it made the switch to Mac OS X. There was no transition–no backwards compatibility. There was a hard line in the sand.
Microsoft needed to evolve to adapt to the shifting PC landscape and stake a claim in the new mobile world, but it needed to do so in a way that doesn’t simply abandon the virtual monopoly Windows enjoys on the desktop. Windows 8 may be a bit rough around the edges, but overall it accomplishes the goal. It feels a bit like two separate operating systems taped together at times, but it allows Windows to exist simultaneously on both sides of the fence, and gives users an OS that works on traditional desktop and laptop hardware, as well as on tablets and ultrabook hybrids.
Microsoft owns the desktop market, but the very concept of the desktop is fading, and traditional PC sales are plummeting as people move to mobile devices. Microsoft let iOS and Android get a jump start in that arena by by not taking the threat seriously, and failing to see the writing on the wall. It is coming late to the party, but it has a massive ecosystem on its side. If it can harness existing Windows software, networks, tools, and peripherals, it will have a distinct advantage over tablet rivals.
Windows 8 is risky. But, it was a necessary risk. Read Why Windows 8 Is Such A Crucial Step For Microsoft.