Select Page

GlumSteveBallmerIts been a while since I write about Microsoft, one of my last posts about the subject was “full of anger” when they released Windows 8 obligating user´s to use a touch designed OS with a keyboard and a mouse.

A company that spent millions of dollars to develop a product was so hungry to release a tablet friendly OS that forgot the fact that 99% of their corporate market uses a keyboard and a mouse. After firing Steven Sinofsky the head of Windows unit, they are now trying to release version 8.1 which they claim will address several issues with the previous version…

Problems that could have been prevented

How can a monster company like Microsoft can make these type of mistakes? I am an IT Professional and I could detect several problems that I knew it wouldn’t work, for example:

– Its a mistake to assume every user will use your new Desktop designed OS with a touch screen. User´s that work with a mouse and a keyboard don’t like the idea of huge icons, lots of misused space in applications just because they wanted to make it friendly for touch.

What would I have done?
Place a nice question in the installation process of Windows asking if the system is going to be used with a touch or desktop & mouse. Depending of the user´s input about this simple question, configure the computer with the classic Windows interface (desktop) or with a Metro UI “touch friendly” interface. And by the way, a desktop user hates seeing finger prints on their screens, that’s why I wouldn’t never buy a touch desktop PC.

– Microsoft decided to design Windows RT for their new Surface tablets, and Windows 8 for the desktop and laptop devices.

What would I have done?
It was very easy to guess that this wasn’t going to work, getting developers to work for a platform that has almost no market was not feasible, and the results show this. I understand Microsoft was desperate to release the same interface for tablet´s and desktops. So why didn’t they released a lighter version of Windows 8 for the tablet instead of designing a whole new thing? People need to be able to use their Windows apps on their Windows tablets (if they decide to get one). The diversity of apps you can find for Windows its amazing, because it has been on the market for so long and keeps to have a very big market share, every developer will release an app for Windows probably before any other OS.

The context

Microsoft feels kind of lost, PC sales are dropping every quarter more and more, my interpretation of this is that people don’t change their computers so often because they use them every day less. They interact more with their smartphones and tablets and they don’t feel the need to update their computers as often as before, when the market didn’t have these new full experience players.
Still having 90% of the Desktop´s market, they are not taking advantage of this with a clear future projection. These 90% might look very nice and comfortable today, but in 2 – 3 years time if a competitor launches a device that could penetrate the market with an alternate solution… Lets put it these way, they should have learnt the lesson when they lost all the users of Internet Explorer. In 2002 IE was used by 83% of the people, in May 2013 IE had 12,6% of market share (Firefox 27,7% and Chrome 52,9%).

For sure Apple found the spot when they released their iPad, a lot of Windows users have an iPad (me included), and you can confirm how well it sells because 20 million of these devices were sold just on the first quarter of 2013. In fact, it sells to great that Microsoft has the idea of attaching constantly the product (and directly) by releasing ads showing what in theory are advantages in favor of the Surface tablet. Example 1. Example 2.

If you analyze the first example, they attack the iPad saying:
– It doesn’t have a USB drive: Correct, it doesn’t because its being used less everyday. Everything happens online, over all the online sync, share and backup services available.
– It doesn’t have a keyboard: This is totally wrong, there a lot of keyboards designed for iPad.
– It doesn’t have a stand: You have a lot of cases that would allow you to place your iPad as you like.
– The advertised space on the Surface RT is not the free space, check this post from Microsoft here which shows the following information:

Surface RT: 

The 32 GB version has approximately 15 GB free hard disk space.
The 64 GB version has approximately 45 GB free hard disk space.

Surface Pro:
The 64 GB version has approximately 30 GB free hard disk space.
The 128 GB version has approximately 89 GB free hard disk space.

This is another example of how Microsoft looks lost, they need to criticize directly another product to be able to try and sell more.

Microsoft needs to be leaded by executives that can predict what the people want, and develop them with quality and after really testing the whole thing, then launch it to the market. Its almost scary how they are so lost with their announcements that completely fail when launched. An example of this is their lack of sales on their Surface tablet, to which they had to lower the price to try to sell something more, before they try again with a second version. Watch around how many companies have been adopting Windows 8 lately, believe me, they are just adopting Windows 7.