Saturday, November 24, 2012
The Problem with Microsoft's Window 8 Strategy
Apple introduced iOS (originally iPhone OS) in 2007, for the iPhone. In 2010 they adapted it for the first iPad. Apple's operating system for laptops and desktops is known as OS X, and is completely separate. However, following the success of the iPhone and iPad, they have gradually incorporated aspects of iOS into OS X, to take advantage of the "halo" effect of these successful devices. This has worked for them, and Mac usage has steadily increased in a shrinking market.
The thinking at Redmond is that there will be a trickle down effect. They practically own the desktop/laptop market, especially in enterprise, so you'll eventually be forced into using a Windows 8 machine. Once that happens, people will automatically purchase tablets and phones running the now familiar UI.
Now this might sound OK, but the problem is that tablets differ hugely from desktops and laptops. Tablets use a touch interface that is just not viable on a desktop and to a lesser extent a laptop. Most of the complaints about Windows 8 on PCs revolves around the new Start screen and the use of the live tiles, the very aspect that get so many complements on phones like the Lumia 920 running WP8. On a PC, the tiles seem misplaced, and are an irritating layer over the traditional desktop screen. On a non-touch screen machine, the UI has become illogical, and requires all sorts of not so obvious mouse actions to navigate.
Microsoft could have easily avoided this with a slightly more cautious approach. The tiles could have perhaps been built into the desktop screen for machines without a touch interface, with the option to turn them off altogether. Instead, they have forced this upon us, and the result: 42% of prospective buyers going Apple, according to a recent survey.
Thanks for reading.