Windows 8 Stalls on Takeoff

by Matt Klassen on November 21, 2012

While every previous rollout of the Windows OS franchise has experienced its turbulent patches, it seems Windows 8 is poised to crash on the launchpad, as analysts are lambasting the new touchscreen PC and mobile OS for its confusing user interface. Plagued by ‘hidden features’ and ‘reduced discoverability,’ the learning curve for Microsoft’s paradigm altering OS is steep, leaving many in awe of the cutting edge technology, but simply not interested in using it.

In fact, despite the enthusiasm the platform generated several months ago, analysts are going as far as to predict a unique downturn in PC sales due solely to Windows 8, something that has never happened before in the history of the Windows franchise.

Not only that, but a confusing duality exists between the PC version of Windows and its new mobile Windows RT counterpart, meaning that user experience between the PC and Microsoft’s new Surface tablet is inconsistent, forcing users to remember where and how to access features on the different platforms, leaving me to wonder if Microsoft’s entire Windows 8 experiment is set to crash and burn on takeoff.

There’s no question that in general corporate and private Windows clients have always been resistant to change, with many only now upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that the release of Windows 8 has been met with scepticism and frustration, if for no other reason than things are different than what people are accustomed to.

But the complaints about Windows 8 seem to go deeper than just the fact that it’s new and unfamiliar, with many analysts citing an unhelpful tutorial process, hidden features, and reduced discoverability within the touchscreen interface. Add to that the fact that Microsoft employs a different version of its Windows 8 OS on PCs than it does on tablets, and it’s starting to become clear why analysts have been hesitant to embrace Microsoft’s new creation.

In fact, noted tech site Computerworld tracked the usage of Windows 8 leading up to and including its release date, and discovered that the new operating system “is being run by less than a fifth as many people as ran Windows 7 in the same months before its debut.”

That said, it’s still difficult to parse exactly what is a legitimate complaint about Windows 8 functionality, and what is simply the expected frustration that accompanies the release of a paradigm shifting operating system. While I guarantee that Microsoft will rue the day they differentiated their Windows OS between PC and tablet platforms, particularly in this age of consistent device agnostic user experience, I don’t expect such a setback to hamstring this entire rollout; user adoption will just take a little more time.

Lets face it folks, Windows 7 was a solid upgrade on Windows XP, as it answered many of the functionality concerns voiced by both enterprise and private clients. Windows 8, on the other hand, is a completely different platform, almost as if Microsoft has started back from square one with its new touchscreen technology, leaving behind many of the familiar Windows features. Sure it’s hard to get used to something so radically different, but I wouldn’t be surprised if soon we’ll wonder how we ever did without it.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. Follow by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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Windows 8 Sells 40 Million Licenses in First Month —
November 28, 2012 at 6:13 am

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