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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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  • Former partners? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dreamchaser (49529) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @08:30AM (#42706763) Homepage Journal

    Last I checked Dell and HP are both very much still MS partners. This is more akin to a lover's spat than a breakup.

    • by kurt555gs (309278) <kurt555gs@ovi.cSLACKWAREom minus distro> on Sunday January 27, 2013 @09:53AM (#42707145) Homepage

      Ford blamed dealers for poor Edsel sales.

    • Re:Former partners? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @10:13AM (#42707249)

      It's just a "lover's spat" till she kicks you out and changes the locks. When you also see she's taken the local mafia enforcer psycho into bed, you better be looking for a new girlfriend. Knowing Microsoft they will be waiting with a cleaver when HP tries to come back in through the window.

      Apart from the way Microsoft is entering the hardware market in all the areas where the PC makers could grow (tablets and phones), there are already rumours of Microsoft buying out Dell [techcrunch.com]. This would match other markets that they have come into, e.g. in databases they partly bought out Sybase and then destroyed everyone else who wasn't prepared for total war. Presumably part of the aim is to reduce the apparent value of Dell so that they get it cheap. The others like Acer, HP and Nokia that are trapped with Microsoft are in deep trouble.

      • Re:Former partners? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Bing Tsher E (943915) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @10:44AM (#42707407) Journal

        Acer makes some fairly decent Android tablets, so they aren't completely chained to Microsoft. The 10" Iconia even has a USB host plug, so you can transfer data in and out of it with a conventional thumb drive. Connectivity is important for those of us who haven't sipped enough Google kool-aide and don't want to push all our data into the fog.

    • by Tough Love (215404) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @03:59PM (#42709703)

      Last I checked Dell and HP are both very much still MS partners.

      I believe that "thralls" describes the relationship more accurately.

    • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday January 27, 2013 @07:42PM (#42711345) Journal

      Oh you can bet your last dollar they are ALL talking to Google right now about ChromeOS and Android. There is not a SINGLE positive indicator with Windows 8, even with a $40 price tag copies have not sold for shit, PCs with Win 8 haven't sold for shit, yet will Ballmer listen? Nope because he thinks you can slap a paint job on a Pinto and make it into a Porsche and it WILL NEVER EVER WORK. PC buyers buy on price, did he forget his little "redhead goes shopping" ad they had for Win 7?

      And as one of the usability experts in TFA said so damned perfectly PCs are a content CREATION as well as consumption device but Win 8 is strictly designed for consumption which people can do just as well on their phones or tablets. But this goes back to Ballmer's delusion because he doesn't understand that nobody gives a shit about Windows and its certainly not a brand that anybody is gonna pay top dollar for, it sure as hell isn't gonna make you feel all warm and fuzzy because you have...Windows. No its the programs stupid! The ONLY reason people use Windows is because of the bazillion X86 programs they have they want to run, year after year of Windows software that people DO care about, but which Windows 8 makes a royal PITA to use if it'll even run at all...sigh.

      If the board don't stop hitting the crack pipe and wake the fuck up and fire Ballmer's fat ass they ain't gonna have to worry about what PCs the OEMs sell because their software? won't be on it, and can you blame 'em? MSFT under Ballmer is making their own hardware (like somebody we know) to sell in their own stores (I could point out what a ripoff this is, but who hasn't figured this out yet?) so every. single. dime. that the OEMs give MSFT is gonna be used to try to put them out of business...would YOU give a shit what MSFT wanted if you were an OEM?

      Any retailer will tell you Windows has a "sweet spot" of $350-$650 and THAT IS IT. You can't sell touchscreens at that price and make a cent, not with MSFT gouging on licenses and putting out a royal stinkbomb of an OS. And now Ballmer thinks they are gonna clean up with a tablet that is twice as heavy and bulky as an iPad, is gonna sound like an F15 taking off, have shitty battery life, and oh yeah costs MORE than the newest iPad by several hundred?

      The OEMs are right, all they would get if they cranked out high end touchscreen laptops is another warehouse full of unsold gear that is worth less every day, they could put them right next to those piles of Ultrabooks Intel convinced them would sell like hotcakes. WinPro tablet is gonna bomb HARD, it'll sell to a few business niches but not enough to make it a profitable line, and this can just be added to the 40+ billion Ballmer has shat down the drain over the past 6 years on failed ventures. Everybody talked about Elop being a mole but if I didn't know better I'd swear Ballmer was working for Google because he couldn't destroy MSFT any quicker if he took a flamethrower to the thing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 27, 2013 @08:35AM (#42706781)

    I flip out when people touch my screen. How do you think I'll react when *I* have to touch my screen.

    Knock it off with the touch screen crap, already.

    • Re:Dear Microsoft (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 27, 2013 @09:12AM (#42706951)

      Just make sure you don't get a high reflective shiny touch screen. The matte touch screen of my Thinkpad doesn't display greasy finger smears (unless you have just been digging into the potato chips I guess).

      Touch is a nice extra, but as the main input for a system that needs to be productive it doesn't justify the costs.

      • Waste of money (Score:5, Insightful)

        by linebackn (131821) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @09:35AM (#42707055)

        > Touch is a nice extra, but as the main input for a system that needs to be productive it doesn't justify the costs.

        And that is the big problem with touch. It is a waste of money. Why should I spend extra on a desktop monitor or laptop that has touch? I have no use for it, and it does not help get work done any faster/easier. It even gets nasty when finger prints are all over it! It looks cool? So what? The economy is still in the shitter and most people have to watch every dollar they spend.

      • Re:Dear Microsoft (Score:5, Insightful)

        by obarthelemy (160321) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @10:00AM (#42707183)

        It's not even a "nice extra". It's a pain: breaks the flow, leaves smudges on the screen, requires learning yet another way to handle a PC.

        It's a step backwards that MS is trying to force on desktop users in the hope that training users to the MS version of Touch will give MS an opportunity to recover from their big fail in tablets and smartphones.

        • by mark-t (151149)

          Touching only breaks the flow when what you are trying to do doesn't intuitively translate to a touch gesture. Which, admittedly, is generally going to be the the case if you are doing something much more sophisticated than tapping the screen at certain places, or dragging icons from place to place on screen.

          Pointing and touching may be the single most intuitive user interface that will ever be developed... as it connects directly with how we, as human beings, first learn to interact with the world...

    • Re:Dear Microsoft (Score:5, Insightful)

      by scottbomb (1290580) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @10:59AM (#42707519) Journal

      THIS.

      And even if it didn't smudge up my screen, I still don't want to touch my screen. The ergonomics are just not there. Touch is good for very small screens, like on my Android phone. Not large ones. I bought a 23" monitor for my main PC and the last thing I want to do is have to touch any part of it to operate the machine. I'm typing this on a Thinkpad with a 14" screen and even that is too big for touch.

  • by johnkoer (163434) <johnkoerNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Sunday January 27, 2013 @08:36AM (#42706787) Homepage Journal

    I see touch screen computers all the time at best buy, so the PC manufacturers are definitely making them. The problem is, they don't market them very well. All of the PCs and laptops are lined up in a row and you could walk right by one and not know it is a touch screen.

    I think Microsoft is trying to create a market of PCs that act like tablets, when that market doesn't really exist. If people wanted touch screens, they could get them today. Most users either want a tablet or a traditional computer. The users who want both usually want them as separate devices.

    Microsoft screwed the pooch on this one and it will probably mean the end for Ballmer. Hopefully the next OS corrects the issues and slashdot can find something else M$ to bash.

    • by Rakhar (2731433) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @08:42AM (#42706803)
      Yes, it feels like soon they'll devolve to blaming the consumers for daring to not consume their products. "This would have been a success if only more consumers jumped on board!" No shit, Sherlock. They took a chance in going in a new direction, and the lost the bet. Now they're just trying to use their size to muscle the change in anyway instead of backtracking, because that would be admitting failure.
      • by RabidReindeer (2625839) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @09:30AM (#42707035)

        This reminds me a lot of another group of people who have recently been claiming their failures on the need to "educate" their target audience. And fail to realize that, for better or worse, their respective audiences feel that they have all the "education" they need.

        Sometimes, when you Build It, they Don't Come. Sometimes you can't get a "great idea" to trickle down if you ram it with a plunger. Sometimes, in short, it's worth considering a different approach, rather than simply doubling down.

        It would be ironic if the Year of the Linux Desktop finally arrived courtesy - not of improvements in Linux - but because Microsoft pushed its primary drug dealers, er, hardware manufacturers, into the waiting arms of the Penguin. Fortunately for the folks in Redmond, whatever disease this is seems to be widespread these days, as Linux has developed its own ways to fend of new arrivals in the form of Unity and Gnome3.

        • by xiando (770382) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @10:20AM (#42707277) Homepage Journal

          Unity and Gnome3.

          It is good that GNU/Linux users have numerous choices. I use XFCE4 myself. KDE is a great alternative for those who like more bloat. And some even claim to like Gnome3 and it may be that they are in fact happy Gnome3 users and not just Gnome3 developers desperately trying to defend their mobile phone desktop.

        • by DJRumpy (1345787) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @10:38AM (#42707383)

          If I had to guess, I'd say OS X is probably better positioned right now to benefit fom Microsofts missteps. I'm seeing a larger corporate uptake of Mac and iOS. I also think Mac as a line is hitting hat magic saturation point where individuals and corporations will consider adoption. Even our own IT shop, which is notoriously pro MS just penned a support contract with Apple. Surprising, as previously, support for Apple hardware was via 3rd party and was best effort or typically addressed through MS for things like ActiveSync issues (MS would escalate issues to Apple when Apple was at fault). I'm seeing nothing on the Linux front.

          On that related note, are other IT shops as averse to open source as ours seems to be? This has always puzzled me in my current company. We use server applications (Apache, etc.) but almost never any desktop apps. When I ask, I'm told that support and IP are always concerns. I can somewhat see this stance (spent a large amount of time and resources deploying some desktop app only to lose it due to litigation against the developer) but is a corporation really at risk in these cases as far as ongoing support if the app is in limbo? Can they be forced to stop using an app, or be unable to get support if the developer loses a lawsuit?

        • by bmo (77928) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @11:04AM (#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 peragrin (659227) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @08:51AM (#42706847)

      I hope this isn't the end for Ballmer, He is doing a great job running Microsoft into the ground

      Creating new markets isn't bad. It is truly the only way to grow.

      However while you can use touch for everything. Making it the default interface is the bad part.
      Having a fairly consistent interface across platforms isn't a horrible idea.

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

      • by RabidReindeer (2625839) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @09:42AM (#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 macs4all (973270) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @11:41AM (#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.

    • by zifn4b (1040588) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @09:40AM (#42707083)

      I think Microsoft is trying to create a market of PCs that act like tablets, when that market doesn't really exist. If people wanted touch screens, they could get them today. Most users either want a tablet or a traditional computer. The users who want both usually want them as separate devices.

      I don't think that last bit is necessarily true. I would buy a laptop with a touch screen built-in but I'm certainly not going to pay a premium price for it. I think consumers like me are looking at it like "that's cool but it isn't worth the price." Give it to me for free and more discounted and I may adopt it.

      The other thing is Windows 8 pretty much kicked the mouse/keyboard user in the balls when there are a plethora of tasks that can be done with a mouse and keyboard but not realistically with a touch screen. Maybe I could do some graphic design with a stylus but who does that with the screen tilted up? Graphic tablets are different.

      In a nut shell, Microsoft doesn't understand the market, doesn't understand its customers and doesn't understand its partners. That is why they are failing to capitalize.

    • by wiredlogic (135348) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @10:22AM (#42707293)

      MS has been trying to create pen/touch systems for 20 years. There were pen computing versions of Win 3.1, 95, then CE, then XP tablet.

      Their current issue is the problem of iOS and Android eating their lunch on casual consumptive computing activities. In the long run this spells death to the traditional Windows environment. They know very well that they can't succeed by creating a purpose built tablet system because the key to success (as it has been all along) is the application ecosystem needed for the OS to thrive.

      By shoehorning Metro onto every PC they have grafted a touch capable interface onto their existing market segment. This kick-starts the user base, providing an incentive for developers to create applications that can be directly applied to portable devices with little to no modification. That means that Win 8 ends up as an odd duck but it is probably the best strategy for them to move forward.

  • by asicsolutions (1481269) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @08:37AM (#42706789) Journal

    My ten year old daughter was in tears because she couldn't figure out her new windows 8 laptop.
    Now the laptop was underpowered, but it couldn't play DVDs out of the box and she couldn't figure out how to run her software on it thanks to the removal of the start button. Also, Toshiba added its bonus software which seemed to take over the whole computer periodically since pop ups now take the whole screen.
    I was frustrated trying to use it until I found a start menu hack and added it back.

    I installed VLC so she can play DVDs and she has a start menu and now is very happy. Perhaps MS shouldn't have tried to do too much too soon?

    • by transporter_ii (986545) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @08:59AM (#42706891) Homepage

      I don't like Windows 8, but I wouldn't mind it so much if they just made a classic mode setting in it that allowed you to go straight to the desktop without having to jump through hoops (or hacks).

      We were doing work at a Sheriff's office and the PC they purchased for us to use had Windows 8 on it. No problem, I thought. It is just Windows 7 underneath. Yeah, it was a problem. They ended up using the PC for something else, and we had to have someone drive us a Windows 7 machine from three hours away.

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

      Microsoft has *got* to come out with a "business edition" of Windows that doesn't change as rapidly as the consumer versions.

    • by isorox (205688) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @09:03AM (#42706919) Homepage Journal

      My ten year old daughter was in tears because she couldn't figure out her new windows 8 laptop.
      Now the laptop was underpowered, but it couldn't play DVDs out of the box and she couldn't figure out how to run her software on it thanks to the removal of the start button. Also, Toshiba added its bonus software which seemed to take over the whole computer periodically since pop ups now take the whole screen.
      I was frustrated trying to use it until I found a start menu hack and added it back.

      I installed VLC so she can play DVDs and she has a start menu and now is very happy. Perhaps MS shouldn't have tried to do too much too soon?

      No, we've had 2 years of microsoft fanboys on slashdot telling us how great windows 8 is. They can't be wrong. It's the people (bot) buying their product that're wrong!

      Apple provided an integrated ecosystem. It sold brilliantly. itunes, ipod, iphone, ipad, all hanging off your imac. No OEM spyware slowing everything down, no HP printer drivers clogging up your screen, no dire warnings from mcafee when your anti-virus ran out. Even flinging your screen to your apple tv was trivial.
      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.

    • by MacGyver2210 (1053110) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @03:45PM (#42709615)

      Microsoft shouldn't have tried at all.

      If they would just realize what they have (with XP and 7 at least) works and stick to that, they would be much better off. I even HAVE and USE a touch screen, but I still run XP. There's no reason their OS has to try to push that frontier before anyone actually wants it.

      Also, the Metro UI is HORRIBLE. It is fucking the worst computing experience I have had in about 30 years. It is tacked-on and not integrated properly, frequently toggles between the 'Regular' desktop environment and the stupid satanic bullshit tiles. They don't work properly, take huge screen real estate at will, and do absolutely nothing to improve the user experience or functionality of the OS. Why did you even bother?

      Go back to regular, start-button-driven desktops please, Microsoft. And XBoxes. That's all you do well.

  • by gweihir (88907) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @08:44AM (#42706809)

    The hallmark of those truly incompetent. To be found on the very left side in the diagram showing the distribution for the Dunning-Kruger effect.

    How MS could mess this up so badly is quite astonishing. The only reasonable explanation is really, really bad leadership.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 27, 2013 @08:59AM (#42706881)

      Chair incoming, duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck....

    • by jones_supa (887896) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @09:00AM (#42706895)

      The only reasonable explanation is really, really bad leadership.

      Why would that be the only reasonable explanation? Windows 8 is the result of choices made by several engineers and designers. I bet there are lots of people inside Microsoft who have had their say on it, not only Ballmer or Sinofsky.

      • by grumling (94709)

        What about "That vision thing"? Ballmer never really struck me as a creative type (but I've never met the man, so I can't say), and successful companies need someone at the top who can telegraph their vision to the rest of the company. Not just talking about Steve Jobs here, but anyone who builds great companies. Howard Hughes, Alfred Sloan (who created the design group of GM, and was smart enough to put Harley Earl in charge of it), William Levitt (everyone should own a home), Akio Morita... you get the id

      • by Kjella (173770) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @10:04AM (#42707209) Homepage

        Sorry, but this smells badly of strategic vision and the others are being asked "How?" not "To do, or not to do?"

        Engineering: "Can we make touch-enabled laptops?" "Yes, but..." "Just figure out how."
        Design: "Can we put a touch-friendly UI design on Windows?" "Yes, but..." "Just figure out how."
        Marketing: "Can we market hybrids and detachables?" "Yes, but..." "Just figure out how."

        And as usual when it sells like crap, blame the implementation. I think Microsoft has it backwards, by forcing everyone to use a tablet interface people will go "Well, if my laptop is going to act like a tablet, why don't I use a real tablet?" rather than "Ooh, my laptop looks like a tablet now so I don't need to get a tablet." but again, these are typical executive decision made up on high.

      • by gbjbaanb (229885)

        when things go well, the CEO gets a huge bonus and says how his vision enabled all this to happen.

        when things go wrong, its not his fault, its those stupid engineers and other people who actually do things, or its the consumer for being too stupid to realise what a great vision the great leader has.

        I wouldn't accept that its only Ballmer's fault, you can add the senior leadership team to the list.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 27, 2013 @08:47AM (#42706821)

    Windows 8 is one of the best consumer products Microsoft has ever made. I've introduced 4 low level users to it, and after a couple months, without fail, they all love it.

    Win8 is one of those things people will look back at after the fact and recognize that it was much better than everyone thought.

    • by smash (1351) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @08:59AM (#42706893) Homepage Journal
      Try introducing it to 4 people who know what they're doing and see how you go. It's a crippled piece of shit.
    • by transporter_ii (986545) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @09:28AM (#42707019) Homepage

      It is, however, one of the shittiest business products it has ever made. There are people still trying to do work with real PCs. I'm happy they have a good consumer product, finally. But the business world and the consumer world have different needs. For the love of everything holy, WHY CAN'T THEY BRING OUT TWO PRODUCT LINES, ONE FOR BUSINESS AND ONE FOR CONSUMERS.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @08:49AM (#42706833) Journal
    This goes deep in time. Most of the computer users in the early 1990s who were reared in character terminals and Unix have always had a clear separation in their mind, between content and presentation. Clear enough for them to create documents that post script pinters print at 300 dpi, using plain VT100 terminals. HTML files created in ASCII editors. Graceful degradation of the presentation quality etc etc. But Microsoft pushed WYSIWYG and came up with heavily dumbed down word processors.

    This time is content creation vs content consumption. Everything from typing a quick memo to video editing falls under the content creation. They usually need a full complement of input devices, a full keyboard, a good mouse, larger the screen it is better. But content consumption does not need all these user input devices. Oftentimes, a tap, a touch, a click is all that is required to passively consume content. Ch+ , Ch-, Vol+ and Vol- buttons cover 99% of the usage in a TV remote!

    Microsoft first missed the boat in creating a simpler device for content consumption. It had been shipping WindowsCE and other such "simpler" devices for ages. But its idea of simple was less functional PC. It never understood the split was content creation vs content consumption. Eventually Apple got on to that divide, with at least some of its managers who came from deep unix background.

    Then it decides to attach OS with two completely different goals (consumption vs creation) with some band-aid and baling wire to create a rickety contraption and call it Win8. Consumers of one do not want to pay for the other. I would not touch, literally, a touchscreen and smudge it up if I am also typing a doc or code on it.

    The hardware makers also remember the days when 90% of their revenue came from WinTel boxes and how Microsoft walked roughshod all over them. They eviscerated the hardware vendors and danced on their entrails with hob-nailed boots, to conjure up a vision from PGWodehouse. Now WinTel accounts for a much smaller percentage of their sales and even lower percentage of their profits. Now it is payback time for Microsoft from these vendors. What went around is coming around to Microsoft.

    • Calling viewing works created by others "consumption" makes me think of tuberculosis [wikipedia.org]. Anyway:

      Consider three kinds of users: people who only view works, hobbyists who create works, and professionals who create works for a living. A dichotomy between devices for viewing works created by others and devices for creating works makes it harder for people to start creating for at least three reasons:

      Having to re-buy
      If a viewer device is not suitable for creating, then someone who wants to step up from viewing to creating will have to buy a separate device.
      Lack of economies of scale
      Because fewer people will be buying devices capable of creating, they won't be able to take advantage of the intense price competition in viewer devices, causing a general-purpose device to climb far out of the price range of a Christmas present or something on which to spend an income tax refund.
      Gatekeepers
      Finally, once the sticker shock has scared away most hobbyists, certain gatekeeper entities will gain control over who is and isn't allowed to possess a device for creating. This gatekeeping has been seen since the mid-1980s in the video game market, with a dichotomy between "retail consoles" for home use and "devkits" for use only by professionals who have already proven their "relevant video game industry experience" and "financial stability" by moving to Austin, Boston, or Seattle for an apprenticeship of several years. Initially, this was needed to reassure brick-and-mortar retailers of the value of inventory and shelf space in the wake of a 1984 recession in the North American video game market, but as I wrote elsewhere [slashdot.org], the constraints of retail aren't so important since the fourth quarter of 2006.

      Each of these three hurdles deters people from creating as a hobby in the first place, which tends to turn people into "sheep that passively graze on what others make available to them," as free software advocate Richard Stallman put it when he decried the word "consumer" [gnu.org].

      [Devices for creating works] usually need a full complement of input devices, a full keyboard, a good mouse, larger the screen it is better. But [viewing them] does not need all these user input devices. Oftentimes, a tap, a touch, a click is all that is required to passively consume content. Ch+ , Ch-, Vol+ and Vol- buttons cover 99% of the usage in a TV remote!

      If a viewer device isn't artificially restricted, it's a doddle to upgrade the latter into the former by buying a $15 keyboard and a $15 mouse. But if market-segmenting cryptography is in play, people who want to step up from viewing to creating might not be able to afford dropping $700 on a Mac.

      Microsoft first missed the boat in creating a simpler device for [viewing].

      Then what's the Xbox 360 console? In countries where the law allows, Microsoft even established a public "Indie Games" route to market using the XNA framework so that anyone with a $300 PC can create games for the platform.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 27, 2013 @08:49AM (#42706835)

    There is a NPRM coming out Monday from OSHA proposing the nationwide ban of non-handheld touch screens in the workplace while their ergonomic issues can be investigated.

    A coalition of insurers that includes Aetna, Cigna, and others, plans to file the request with OSHA over concerns of the potential for repetitive stress injuries from use of full-sized touch PCs. The document will list several potential RSIs along with reports of injuries by touch PC owners that include:

    - Torn or irritated rotator cuff injuries
    - Back pain from disproportional development of upper arm musculature (gorilla arm syndrome)
    - Elbow tendonitis
    - Fatigue

    Apparently this is a much larger problem than we all thought.

    • by gbjbaanb (229885)

      ooh.. "I want my compensation"

      There may be nothing in it, but if there is a hint that your workers might get such "injuries" then companies will be reluctant to install such things just in case there is a lot of worker compensation claims (and there will be if it becomes known all you have to do is say "my shoulder hurts" and you get a chance of easy money).

      That said, I don't think anyone is selling touch desktop PCs, everything I've seen are laptops that swivel to become hugely bulky tablets

  • by kgroombr (608645) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @08:53AM (#42706859)
    Why not just blame this on Bush too.
  • by Grashnak (1003791) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @08:53AM (#42706861)

    The Register article talks about squabbles over "underwhelming Windows 8 sales over Christmas", which isn't exactly the same thing as "the failure of Windows 8".

    Words. They actually mean things.

  • by drolli (522659) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @08:53AM (#42706863) Journal

    Windows 7 is stable, usable, and a sufficient progress over windows XP. WIndows XP dominated the last 10 years, and my prediction is that 7 will dominate on PCs in businesses the next 10 years. The company where i work has finished the Tests and adoption of windows 7 last year and is now rolling it out as the new standard system. And no - i dont belive that they will consider Windows 8. Reducating the employees to the Ribbon interface in office was already something they liked so little that they have their own solution for adding the old menus temporarily.

    There is no visible advantage of touch in the office, and that is where MS truely domiates. The idea of touch-pcs is somthing which MS dreams about since at least the mid - 90s. Then they had an epic fail, now they hope they can ride in the waves of the ipad and android.

  • by MasterOfGoingFaster (922862) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @09:07AM (#42706933) Homepage

    Hey Microsoft - I'm part of the problem. I've used Win 8, hate the interface and I'm avoiding it. I'm also telling people to stick with Windows 7 because 8 looks like a massive tech support problem for me. So I flat out tell people that I won't support Win 8. Use Win 7, Ubuntu, or buy a Mac. Life is better for me, and it sucks for you.

    Your mistake is FORCING the new interface onto users, rather than making it an option. Had you produced Win 8 with a start button, and made Metro (or whatever you call it) something users could grow into, it would have been something I'd support. But you made it a Take-It-Or-Leave-It deal and what do you see users doing? Yeah - we chose to leave it.

    I'd suggest you guys quickly come out with Windows 8.1 and add an option to put the old Win 7 interface on it. In my opinion, Metro feels unrefined, inconsistent and not ready for prime time. Make it an option and all will be forgiven.

    And stop blaming others. Everyone else saw this coming a mile away. You make a bad decision - own up to it. Blaming others makes you look stupid and totally clueless. This is causing us to question your ability to deliver in the future, as it indicates you are not listening to your customers.

    • by Twinbee (767046)
      Just a quick note to thank you for being part of the solution (not the problem), and encouraging people to hold off until Microsoft get their act together, benefiting us all in the end.
  • Blame (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tx (96709) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @09:10AM (#42706943) Journal

    The telling thing about Windows 8 is that even the most rabidly pro-Microsoft people, when you look at their comments on Windows 8 as a desktop OS, they're basically saying "You can ignore Metro, and it's almost as good as Windows 7". I really haven't seen anybody try to claim that Windows 8 is a step forward over Windows 7 on the desktop. Since it was pretty obvious the Suface RT and it's expensive RT friends were going to be pretty niche, and not trouble the mainstream, affordable tablet market, it's a lose on the desktop and a lose on tablets, so I don't see how Microsoft can blame anyone but itself.

    " 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."

    Yes, Microsoft won't have to pay for a Windows license. However since the Surface RT with keyboard is already more expensive than a low-end Ultrabook, and Microsoft will have to either keep a decent price differential between the RT and Pro, or withdraw the Surface RT from the market, I don't expect that the Surface Pro is going to be keenly priced enough to worry anybody. It will be priced up there with the mid-range 13" ultrabooks, but with worse battery life and a screen that's too small if you plan to use it primarily in laptop mode, it will be a niche purchase.

  • by linebackn (131821) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @09:23AM (#42706997)

    If you have big investments in Microsoft or Microsoft products, you should be worried. The inability to recognize their failure means they will keep trying to ram themselves in to the ground.

    This reminds me so much of the 98 Internet Explorer "Integration" fiasco. You WILL install it and you WILL use it regardless if you want it or not. The only reason they did it was to crush their competitor. But eventually they realized that even this was a mistake and somewhat backed down from it.

    They even canned Microsoft BOB fairly quickly, and you don't see much of Clippy any more either.

    But if they really don't realize they made a mistake here, then you will see no improvements in Windows 9/10/11 etc and further product degradation in to an even worse mess of useless crap.

  • by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @09:27AM (#42707017)

    It's simple really. Consumers are moving towards tablet like devices. Businesses are sticking with traditional desktop/laptop. Windows 8 targets tablet like devices, which could be good for consumers, but that isn't where most desktop/laptop sales are occuring, which is the business market. Desktop/laptop sales in the consumer market are are very price conscious. Desktop/laptop sales in the business market are directed at productivity, which equate to lowering costs of duing business.

    Windows 8 may be the next best thing since sliced bread as a technology (although I doubt that). However, it appears that it misses the mark in both the consumer and business markets for traditional desktop/laptop computing. Maybe Microsoft needs to go back and take a Marketing 101 course or two, because Microsoft has nobody to blame but themself. The hardware manufacturers are producing what the market will buy. It is simple supply and demand and there isn't a lot of demand for Windows 8.

  • The biggest issue (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DigitalSorceress (156609) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @10:02AM (#42707197)

    The biggest issue for me is the whole "full screen only" apps and the context switching issues in Win8... and the waste of screen real estate.

    Sorry, that got a bit "Spanish Inquisition" there...

    Seriously though: whenever I 'let a coworker drive" my pc, they always go to full screen on each program - and since I run multiple 1920x1200 screens, it just drives me BONKERS to see that much screen wastage.

    When I need to go to theirs, its amazing how many folks run their stuff in full screen - I don't know how they manage... it just doesn't work for me.

    Doing developer support means that I often have 3 or 4 copies of visual studio running at once and am switching between them (customer's solution open in one and two or three boilerplates or other projects where I've solved similar problems for others open and copying/pasting or comparing things between them) along with a text editor and maybe two or three different browsers (esp. if I'm testing a web app) all the while with email and IM and phone queue management apps sitting on the side where I can see if they need attention.

    I'm sure Win8 is ok on a touch device or something, but the abysmal handling of context switching is a deal breaker for me on a desktop. Windows 2000 pretty much had the perfect (for me) UI except for a couple of the nice convenience features of Win7 like a New Folder button in explorer by default (Oh how I love thee), and the search built right in.

    I've found taht taking Win7, shrinking the icons a bit, installing UltraMon and using Classic Shell and turning off all that Aero stuff gives me a perfect (for my needs) UI. And I don't mind that it takes a little time to get set up initially. What I care for is that I can hammer it into a great UI for the way I work, MS seems to be taking a "use it our way" mentality with Win8 which is just a giant deal breaker for me. I'm hoping that they'll come to their senses with Win9 and that Win8 is just MS Bob 3.0 (2.0 being Windows ME)

    Hell, I prefer VISTA to Windows 8... seriously that should show how bad 8 is right there.

  • by Tridus (79566) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @10:05AM (#42707211) Homepage

    People do not want touch PCs. It's really that simple. Microsoft is trying to move the market in a direction that it doesn't want to move, and the market tends to react negatively to that.

    Metro on a desktop PC is fucking awful. It's best used like Windows 7, where you try and pretend that Metro doesn't exist. In that case, why wouldn't I just use Windows 7? It's not much better on a laptop. The UI is just not built to do real work. It's built for phones, and it works fine for that. When I'm trying to do my job, it's something to fight with as it decides that I really didn't want three windows visible at once.

    "Windows 8 - almost as good as Windows 7!" isn't much of a marketing slogan.

  • by grumling (94709) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @10:17AM (#42707271) Homepage

    I don't know why anyone expected this to be so wonderful. It's an even number release:

    http://www.rationalskepticssociety.com/blog/2012/02/28/windows-8-cursed/ [rationalsk...ociety.com]

  • The problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OldSport (2677879) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @10:26AM (#42707321)

    ...is that Microsoft has tried to cram two operating systems, which are used for very different applications, into a single OS. If they had just made Windows Metro or something for touchscreen devices and left Windows 7 alone, we would not be having this conversation right now. If Apple has done one thing right, it's that they have for the most part kept iOS and OS X separate.

    My wife has a Windows RT tablet made by Asus, and if you stay within the Metro interface, it really is a pleasure to use. As soon as you go to make some changes to settings, or try to use Microsoft Word, you go into the traditional desktop and with a touchscreen that's a nightmare. Likewise if you try to navigate Metro with a pointing device – it just feels weird.

    Everybody heralding the death of the desktop and the takeover of tablets has definitely jumped the gun, and Microsoft's attempt to shoehorn us all into their one-size-fits-all view of computing has without a doubt been a failure. They should have made a dedicated touchscreen operating system and forgotten about Surface or at least kept it simple.

  • by nanospook (521118) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @11:58AM (#42707951)
    My company was using a touch screen add-on for Macintosh's back in the early 90's to allow them to be put in Kiosks so we could hide the keyboard/mouses. It was a simple film you put on the monitor and would act as a mouse. Despite this technology being available, I haven't seen any proliferation of touch screens in a box for people to use for their computers and laptops. How does MS come up with the idea that everyone wants this on their pc's/laptops?
  • by kmcrober (194430) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @02:10PM (#42708953)

    I am the perfect target of Windows 8. I use a touchscreen laptop (Lenovo x220t) and I love it--I work with the pen as much as possible, even when typing would be more efficient, simply because I like it.

    I and users like me have been complaining since Windows 8 released that it's simply not a good touch/pen interface. Windows 7 had an excellent pen input system. Microsoft scrapped it and replaced it with a much less useful and less practical input interface in Windows 8. It was a bafflingly stupid decision--they dumped the best interface in the industry for something that's barely functional.

    Reviewers haven't paid much attention to this problem because, I think, relatively few people are using the pen as a significant input device. But Microsoft is trying to change that. If they want Windows 8 to succeed, or PCs to move towards a touch/pen interface generally, they need to ask some hard questions of whoever is currently in charge of those design decisions. (I'd recommend, "Can you name any single way in which the Windows 8 pen interface is superior to the Windows 7 interface?", "Then why did you change it?", and "Have you been drinking on the job?")

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