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Microsoft Blames PC Makers For Windows Failure 913

Posted by timothy
from the touch-makes-life-more-bearable dept.
rtfa-troll writes "The Register tells us that Microsoft has begun squabbling with PC manufacturers over the reasons behind the failure of Windows 8. Microsoft is 'frustrated with major OEMs who didn't build nearly enough touch systems.' PC manufacturers have hit back, saying that they 'would have been saddled with the costs of a huge pile of unsold units,' claiming that customers actually avoided higher-end touch products which were available and instead bought lower-end, cheaper laptops while 'Microsoft is not blaming itself for' the failure of its own touch device, the Surface RT. The PC manufacturers' claims that touch is the problem seem to be backed by reviews, and some educational rants from users and opinions from user interface design experts. However, Microsoft sees this differently. Microsoft is planning to strike back at the PC vendors in February with Surface Pro; with a shorter battery life and much heavier than a normal tablet, this is being seen as a direct competitor to traditional laptops. By using its desktop operating system franchise as a lever, Microsoft will be able to enter the lower-specification end of the laptop market with a cost advantage which make make life difficult for former partners such as HP and Dell. We've discussed previously how some PC manufactures such as Dell have failed in generational change whilst others have diversified to survive market changes; Samsung with Android and the (still) bestselling Chromebook. ASUS with their successful Nexus tablets. We also discussed the ergonomic problems which are claimed to make touch screens unsuitable for PC use."
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Microsoft Blames PC Makers For Windows Failure

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  • by petermgreen (876956) <<ten.knil01p> <ta> <hsawgulp>> on Sunday January 27, 2013 @10:37AM (#42707063) Homepage

    So what happens in the business world when you can't get Windows 7 machines anymore. Ahhhhhhhhhh.

    OEM versions of windows 8 pro come with downgrade rights to windows 7 and vista. If you want to downgrade further then volume licenses let you do that. I would expect the OEMs to offer buisness machines with Windows 7 drivers for as long as a significant proprortion of customers want windows 7 (just like they did for XP)

  • by RabidReindeer (2625839) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @10:42AM (#42707091)

    Desktop should have touch as an user Interface OPTION. I can see uses for touch on the desktop just not all the time.

    Bingo!

    One of the things that helped Windows in its early days was that a mouse was optional. You could do a lot of GUI-based work without buying a mouse at all, just by using the helpful command keys and tabs. Something, that, alas, pretty well went out the window (no pun intended) with the advent of pixel-graphic web browser applications.

    You can get much better traction when a new feature is an enhancement to what people are used to than when you force them to start all over.

  • by bmo (77928) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @12:04PM (#42707555)

    as Linux has developed its own ways to fend of new arrivals in the form of Unity and Gnome3.

    Last things first:

    It's as if there *aren't* a couple of dozen window managers and a handful of full-blown Desktop Environments.

    But then the other cry of the Windroid is that there are too many choices.

    Windroid users want to argue all sides except the facts.

    I hand my laptop off to my brother who is born and bred Microsoft and has this really nice laptop that runs 7, and he has absolutely no problem navigating KDE (and honestly, from my POV, 7 isn't bad either - it's just that for my purposes, Linux sucks less). I don't have to coach him one bit. Compare and contrast to where Microsoft wants you to watch a half hour educational video in their stores on how to navigate 8 without going mad (because visual cues in the touch interface are nonexistent and it's all hot corners, edges, and keyboard macros, like we're back in the bad old days of full screen TSR task switchers). It's much less of a jump from Windows to Linux GUIs than it is to 8.

    As for your other argument that Microsoft will "ironically" drive users to Linux because Linux hasn't improved, is both true and not true. The only reason why people will willingly upgrade Windows installations is that the next iteration is viewed as "sucking less," because all OSes and UIs suck, just some more than others. 8 sucks much more than 7 from a desktop user's POV. It is a lurching Frankenstein Monster hybrid of a tablet and desktop OS and can't really decide what it wants to be. And to say that Linux hasn't improved is a flat out lie. Linux is ridiculously easy to operate these days. I would say that if you took a 7 user and plopped him down in front of a KDE or even Unity desktop, he'd get far less lost than in 8.

    People haven't stood in line to buy a Windows operating system since Windows 95, where the real motto instead of "start me up" as sung by Mick Jagger was "it sucks less." Nobody has stood in line to buy Windows since and people are holding on to their XP installs with iron fisted grips even as it approaches EOL in 2014. Vista sucked more. 7 sucked less. 8 sucks muddy canal water. And Microsoft is trying to blame everyone but themselves for this mish-mash disaster of a UX that screams "half done." While a good half-done brine pickle is tasty, Windows 8 sure isn't.

    --
    BMO

  • by macs4all (973270) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @12:41PM (#42707811)

    Desktop should have touch as an user Interface OPTION. I can see uses for touch on the desktop just not all the time.

    Bingo!

    One of the things that helped Windows in its early days was that a mouse was optional. You could do a lot of GUI-based work without buying a mouse at all, just by using the helpful command keys and tabs. Something, that, alas, pretty well went out the window (no pun intended) with the advent of pixel-graphic web browser applications.

    You can get much better traction when a new feature is an enhancement to what people are used to than when you force them to start all over.

    I'm seriously NOT trolling; but I've personally always found it fascinating that Apple, THE company that, if nothing else, POPULARIZED the GUI interface (see that trick for avoiding the "Apple ripped-off Xerox" flamewars?), not only is REFUSING to buy-into the "Touch desktop/laptop" drumbeat, but significantly, actually has a MUCH more robust set of "Keyboard Shortcuts" than Windows (See this eye-popping list [apple.com]. Shades of Emacs!!!). I have scoured the web (admittedly for only 5 minutes), and I can't come up with a list of Windows OS Shortcuts (that doesn't include application-specific shortcuts) that is nearly as lengthy. Heck, Windows 8 doesn't even have a keyboard shortcut for Shut Down. Sure, you can DO it; but it's a multi-step procedure [superuser.com]...

    Point is, Apple realizes that not everyone can/will interact with their COMPUTER the same way (leave tablets out of this discussion, please!), and has provided several ways to do so.

    Microsoft would do well to study that philosophy.

  • Re:Former partners? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 27, 2013 @12:52PM (#42707879)

    The entire article is trolling FUD. Notice how there isn't a link to any statement from Microsoft or PC OEMs regarding any of this? Notice how all of this alleged information comes from unnamed "insiders" and "sources"? That's because it's complete bullshit.

    Windows 8 hasn't failed. Hell, it's only been out for three months and it sold forty million copies in its first month alone, despite PC and technology sales being down across the board; that includes Windows 7, Android, MacOS and iOS based devices.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @02:03PM (#42708515) Journal

    See this eye-popping list [apple.com]. Shades of Emacs!!!)

    Literally. Some of the keyboard shortcuts (like ctrl-a, ctrl-e) actually did come from emacs.

  • by maccodemonkey (1438585) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @04:52PM (#42709659)

    Then Jobs died.
    Then ios5 wiped out the maps application off your phone.
    Then the iphone5 came out which didn't work with any of your existing power cables and docks.
    The high end market where you'd get an iphone as it just worked well now had stumbling blocks. It wasn't an obvious choice any more.
    Then apple's share price fell.

    Microsoft should have been there to take the lead. The android ecosystem just doesn't work well -- too many disparate devices, too much choice. People like uniformity and simplicity. They weren't.

    The market, honestly, doesn't seem to care. iPhone 5 sales are at an all time high, and iOS is ahead of Android again inside the US.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/att-iphone-sales-2013-1 [businessinsider.com]
    http://money.cnn.com/2013/01/24/technology/att-iphone-sales/index.html [cnn.com]
    http://www.businessinsider.com/verizon-iphone-sales-for-q4-2012-2013-1 [businessinsider.com]
    http://techcrunch.com/2012/10/25/apples-hardware-q4-2012-26-9m-iphones-14m-ipads-4-9m-macs-and-5-3m-ipods/ [techcrunch.com]

    I mean, I know it hasn't been smooth sailing for iOS recently, but let's have some perspective here. In the US, Apple is kicking ass.

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