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Microsoft Windows Technology

Windows 8 Sales Below Projections 663

harrymcc writes "With early reports on Windows 8 sales indicating that the new operating system is off to a slow start, it's worth pondering what Microsoft could have done differently. Over at, I considered several different scenarios, ranging from one in which it released a much more conventional Windows upgrade to one which would have been much like like the Windows 8 we got — except with the ability to boot directly into the desktop, complete with Start button."
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Windows 8 Sales Below Projections

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  • Idea (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sparticus789 ( 2625955 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @03:25PM (#42030213) Journal

    How about a Windows 8, Developer Edition? A version that doesn't have Metro, just the basic start menu and trimmed-down version of their operating system specifically designed for software developers and gamers who want power and efficiency, not pretty sliding menus. I would rather my computer's RAM be occupied by the far-odd blocks on Minecraft than a smooth windows frame for some gidget that I never wanted, nor will I ever use.

  • Re:It wasn't time (Score:4, Interesting)

    by craigminah ( 1885846 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @03:30PM (#42030279)
    I bought Windows 8 only because I could upgrade from Windows Vista 32-bit Business for $39. Windows 8 is very good and they made some nice improvements (e.g. Task Manager, file copy operations, IE10, Windows Defender, etc.). Plus, it's pretty quick for Windows in a VM. First thing I did was install Start8 to regain Windows 7-style Start menu and bypass Metro screen at login. I think the Windows AppStore is a POS (can't search, WTF) and Metro/Charms are a disaster on a desktop. SP1 will hopefully allow the user to disable Metro and reenable the start menu at which point sales will pick up.

    BTW, I'm a Mac and Linux user so I want to dislike Windows 8 but it's solid other than the previously mentioned issues which are easily circumvented (for $5).
  • by hduff ( 570443 ) <hoytduff@gmail. c o m> on Monday November 19, 2012 @03:36PM (#42030369) Homepage Journal

    I agree it would be nice, for the sake of completeness, to totally bypass tiles, but if I was Micro$oft I wouldn't either. People need to move forward, otherwise keep using Windows 7.

    This same strategy has worked well for GNOME.

  • Re:It wasn't time (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Missing.Matter ( 1845576 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @03:47PM (#42030513)

    I think the Windows AppStore is a POS (can't search, WTF) and Metro/Charms are a disaster on a desktop.

    Your hate for charms has caused you to miss their (quite useful in my opinion) purpose. The charms are specific to the app you're in. Thus to search the Windows Store, use the search charm. See how it defaults to the windows store app (you can also search any app from any other app)? Likewise, the settings charm while in the Windows Store reveals settings for the Windows Store app.

  • by vinehair ( 1937606 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @03:51PM (#42030567)
    They did not fire the woman mostly responsible for the Metro UI. Guess again.
  • Re:It wasn't time (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nine-times ( 778537 ) <> on Monday November 19, 2012 @03:53PM (#42030607) Homepage

    I don't think that's the big problem, personally. What, were they supposed to wait another 5 years?

    I got my Windows 8 upgrade for $15 or something like that, and it has improvements that make that worthwhile. Performance is a little better. The way it handles file copying is much better. I like the UI design a lot better. Little things, but it all adds up to be worth $50 or so, in my opinion.

    But all that is overshadowed by Metro. It may be a good UI for tablets, but it's not good for desktops. I had hoped it'd be good for a media center computer, but it seems to me like you still need a keyboard/mouse or a touchscreen to use it effectively.

    It's almost like someone within Microsoft is trying to sabotage the company by forcing Metro on the desktop.

  • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @04:03PM (#42030745) Journal

    It is very hard, according to the experts []. Clicking the desktop tile totally misses the point!

    It truly is the worst UI ever made. It is not logical, practical, or offers any advantage. It hinders productivity and requires the user to learn new reflexes and do more to accomplish the same tasks. THe search ruins multitasking ability in the brain as it forces the brain to switch hemispheres in crtical thinking! You have to use the mouse now for instant search because something like p-o-w-e-r will offer you catagories instead of fucking just showing you the control panel power options! ... I could go on and on.

    I had a link (lost it) I think from WIndows fan boy site Neowin where Sinsosky made the decision to remove the start menu on puprose to force users to get used to Metro so they can sell more tablets and phones. Not because it offered any advantage and Balmer had to approve it. MY GOD.

    So they tell us what to do.

    Here is an idea (car analogy)? Why doesn't Honda just take out the Drivers seat and steering wheels of its cars with that of their motorcycles? No gas or brake pedals. Just an uncomfortable seat and handle bars that function just like their motorcycles! That way they can sell more etc. Now it is a poor car and a poor motorcycle.

    So you learned the inefficient reflexes and UI for Metro. Good for you. I will stick with Windows 7 thank you very much. It works and is designed for productivity.

  • by nomel ( 244635 ) <turd&inorbit,com> on Monday November 19, 2012 @04:06PM (#42030765) Homepage Journal

    You don't have to use metro, you know. Click the little desktop tile when you first login, or use one of the metro bypassers like start8 (even puts the start button back). Not sure why anyone would miss the start button though. Something like Launchy for pre windows 7, or just start typing after hitting a button for windows 7 and on. I suppose if you're a non-keyboard user user, it almost makes sense.

  • Re:It wasn't time (Score:5, Interesting)

    by erp_consultant ( 2614861 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @04:06PM (#42030769)

    The OS and MS Office are about all they have left. It's a bold move to try and stay relevant in an age of tablet computers (that don't run Windows) and smartphones (most of which don't run Windows either). Yes, they still have a solid foothold in the corporate space with Windows and Exchange and Sharepoint but in the consumer space it's slipping and slipping badly.

    Just watch what happens on Black Friday...iPads and Android devices will be flying off the shelves. Windows 8 will be gathering dust. The sad part is that Windows 8 could have been ok but, once again, MS is too late to the party. Apple and Google are firmly intrenched in the smartphone/tablet space with Microsoft left to fight over crumbs.

    For many people their impression of Windows comes from using that shitty, three year old, locked down desktop PC at work. They want something new and cool for personal use and MS is far down the list.

    The fact that Ballmer is still CEO is baffling to me. By the time he is done he might go down as the worst CEO ever. No amount of chair throwing will help him now. And the "developers, developers, developers" have left the building.

  • Re:It wasn't time (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Murdoch5 ( 1563847 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @04:44PM (#42031203)
    Actually XP is better then 7 in some regards. I just finished a university program where our lab had to be converted from 7 to XP because many of the telecommunication / radio frequency analysis and design packages just don't work on 7.
  • Re:It wasn't time (Score:4, Interesting)

    by harrkev ( 623093 ) <[gro.ylimafnoslerrah] [ta] [dsmfk]> on Monday November 19, 2012 @05:00PM (#42031431) Homepage

    I was tempted to jump on the $15 upgrade to Windows 8, but two things killed it for me:

    * Ripped out DVD playback (duh, how dumb is that).

    * Ripped out Media Center.

    Yup, upgrading from 7 to 8 would cost $15, and take away two features that are important to me. Good move, Microsoft!

  • by cpm99352 ( 939350 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @05:10PM (#42031591)
    I guess I'm a dinosaur, because I only upgraded to XP last year, and the only reason I did that was to install Visual Studio 2010, which was the first VS to not run under Windows 2000. About the only benefit of moving to XP was better security - I could finally create a non-admin user and still be able to use SQL & Visual Studio productively.

    I see zero reason to upgrade to Windows 7, let alone 8.
  • by Nerdfest ( 867930 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @05:29PM (#42031825)

    You're being modded as off-topic, but you're right, and relevant. All the 'designers' are pushing for dumbing down the desktop with no thought to those that actually need to use the more advanced features to actually do more than browse FaceBook. The Unity/Gnome-Shell changes are a perfect example (and I even find Gnome-Shell mostly usable). I wish they'd picked a better time to screw around with an exception Gnome 2 interface ... they could likely have grabbed more marketshare from Microsoft. As it is, it makes it hard to recommend Ubuntu to a new user for the same reasons that it's hard to recommend Windows 8.

  • Re:GOOD!!!! :) (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SoCalChris ( 573049 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @05:32PM (#42031871) Journal

    I have Windows 8 on my laptop, and overall I like it. It feels much snappier than 7 did (Not sure if it's simply because it's a fresh install, or lack of Aero?), and boot times are really good.

    However, the entire Metro UI feels half baked and like a last minute addition. Opening, and then closing a Metro app does not take you back to where you were, it forces you back to the start screen. You then have to alt-tab back to the window that you were at. I had to Google where the Shut Down option was (Yes, I know that I can just press the power button, but I very rarely shut it completely down. I usually either restart, or put it in sleep or hibernate depending on what I'm planning). For the record, the shut down button is now in the Settings panel for some unknown reason.

    As far as the start button, there was NO reason for that to be eliminated. They could have kept the metro UI, and start screen, and still had the start button. Removing that and forcing the start screen is just forcing a poorly designed UI on everyone. The really frustrating part is that in Vista & Win7, they had made a ton of improvements to the start menu. It was really, really useful and intuitive. Much more so than the crap they have now.

    There's also quite a bit of half baked system settings screens that use the metro UI. For example, in the Devices & Printers screen, you can add and delete printers, but I haven't found any way to do anything else, like adjust settings, view the print queue, etc. Right clicking does nothing. You can still go to the Win7 style control panel, but that's somewhat hidden, and not nearly as easy to access as it was in Win7 (Unless I'm missing something).

    Don't even get me started on Minesweeper and Solitaire now. Both used to be games that you could open in a window, and quickly play while you were waiting for a task to finish. Minesweeper is now an over 130MB additional download, which wants you to log in to xbox live to play, forces full screen, and takes several seconds to load. I know that the games aren't a major part of the OS, but it really epitomizes how much usability has been lost in Windows 8, and how they're trying their hardest to force metro UI on everyone.

  • Re:It wasn't time (Score:5, Interesting)

    by robthebloke ( 1308483 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @06:09PM (#42032341)
    The point you're missing is that I personally don't want a charms bar. I want the ability to display multiple windows, running multiple tasks, on my multicore desktop machine. I don't want bells. I don't want whilstles. I just want an OS.

    You can access search with one click or a keyboard shortcut (win+q)

    Where as in previous version, you just needed to press the windows key and start typing. I could have done that with one click too, but I'd much prefer to have a single keyboard shortcut.

    Any new user of Windows 8 is instructed where this charm bar is the first time they sign on to Windows 8, so it's hardly a mystery as to where it is and how to access it.

    Great and all that, but you know what? I've been using MS products since the early 90's. I don't need an OS that decides to change the layout of everything, just so it can try to treat me like an idiot. Jesus, even my 70 year old mother has had enough experience of windows to not need hand holding anymore. Who exactly have they made this for? It's not easier to use. It's not practical. It's just a crap design, and nothing more.

    I'd say describing finding search in a classic desktop application as a scavenger hunt is more apt. Is it on the toolbar? help menu? file menu? edit menu? is it called search or find?

    Maybe they could have just left it in the same fucking place it's been for over a decade?

  • by eggz128 ( 447435 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @07:06PM (#42033125)

    they should've added hearing, not touch.

    Actually WIndows 8, like it's predecessor, includes speech recognition - and it's a perfect example of how half arsed the update is.

    The first thing you'll notice when setting it up is the tutorial. It's entirely unchanged from the Windows 7 version, and includes diagrams showing the Windows 7 Start Orb and Start Menu that no longer exist. You're told how to turn off the PC by issuing the commands:

    "Shut Down"
    "Turn Off"

    If you try this however you'll find that Metro has completely buggered this up. The actual sequence as near as I can tell is now this:

    "Start" (Return to metro start screen)
    "Press T" (To start a search)
    "Settings" (To search settings)
    "Delete All, Turn Off Your Device" (To search settings for the correct item - it's easier to just delete the original T)
    "Show Numbers, Two, OK" (You can't select the search result any other way. Saying "Turn Off" etc just adds the text to the search again)

    At this point you now finally have the settings side bar up with the "Power" button available. You might think saying "Power" will get you there. It won't - apparently the side bar doesn't have whatever accessibility hooks are needed by speech recognition, so it's back to:

    "Show Numbers, Five, OK"
    "Turn Off"

  • Oh that's nothing, you want telling watch this video [] of a bog standard average user plopped down in front of a new Win 8 system, just like what would happen if they bought one and brought it home without taking classes for the damned thing first. This is EXACTLY what I saw from the 7 months I had a unit running in my shop for folks to play with, only with more frustration and anger that they were having trouble with even basic tasks. Nothing pisses someone off more than to feel helpless, and if you don't have all the keyboard shortcuts memorized (Protip: The vast majority of Windows users are "clicky clicky" mouse users and don't know the shortcuts) you will quickly feel overwhelmed and helpless.

    That is why for months guys like me that work with average users have been saying things the reviews now confirm which is Win 8 is THAT bad [] from a user perspective. Now if it works for you? I'm happy for you, but I bet you are nothing like the average user, instead being more of a keyboard heavy power user. But the only features I've seen that make Win 8 has some advantage over Win 7, hybrid boot, hyper-V, on demand services..these frankly are vastly outweighed by the boat anchor that is the metro UI.

    Why they simply couldn't have let the USER choose when UI they wanted is beyond me, you know it would have been trivial to simply leave the Win 7 desktop UI in the system and let the user switch at any time. probably afraid nobody would take the WinPhone which the metro UI seems to be designed to force us to "learn to love" but if the combo of user backlash and low sales has proven anything, its that most agree with me that Win 8 is a pass.

Variables don't; constants aren't.