Microsoft is hardly successful at innovation. Did you buy a Zune MP3 player, Windows tablet, Windows phone or switch to Bing (reached an all-time high of 16.5% market share in January compared with Google’s 67.0%). The world is moving online where Microsoft hasn’t made a penny since 2005. In Q1, Microsoft’s online operations lost $262 million. That’s considered an improvement.
In 2012, five of the top six mobile apps in the US came from Google. Where was Microsoft?
At the same time, Microsoft continues making lots of money because of the prevalence of Windows and Office. Times change and Microsoft tried to catch up with the launch of Windows 8. As usual, they created confusion with the various edition for different devices. Should you get Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro for your desktop. What is Windows RT and why can’t it run the programs you already have?
In Q1 2013, Windows 8 only reached 3.31% market share, despite promotions like a $15 upgrade offer (now over). Even the horrible Windows Vista has more market share (about 5%).
Windows 8 may be appealing if you have a computer with a touch screen. Many of today's high end computers still rely on a touchpad. Many users still use a mouse. Why force us to use an interface designed for touch? That’s unnecessary and annoying. This new interface called Metro slows work down.
Common features like the button to shut down your computer are now hidden away under settings. Shutting down your computer is an action its not a setting.
StopYou can switch to desktop mode but the Start button is gone. This is progress?
Full ScreamApplications designed for Windows 8 take up the whole screen. Where are the windows?
There is rarely a reason to run Skype in full screen mode. There are many reasons to run Skype in a window while you're working on other windows. On a small screen like a tablet, having an application fill the whole screen is fine. On a computer designed for productivity, the restriction is silly. I have a full HD screen with a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels. I have no good reason to devote all that space to Skype or Weather or Messaging. What is Microsoft thinking?
Better But …Overall, Windows 8 feels faster than Windows 7. Maybe this is because of the operating system or the newer hardware. The upgrade does not do anything important that I could not do before. The initial annoyances are gone. I’ve restored the Start button with Start8 ($5 from Stardock), which blends the old and new elegantly.
When companies tell you something is new and improved, be wary. You may not get the benefits promised. The time you spend learning how to use the new could be better spent mastering the old. You'll also save money.
The very same applies with financial products and services. You may not know what you're giving up. Maybe there is more fine print. Maybe prices are higher. Maybe guarantees are worse. Buyer beware.
- 8 ways Microsoft could save Windows 8 (Information Week, Apr 19, 2013)
- Are you more like Apple, Google or Microsoft?
- Buyer beware: the best way to measure intent
- uApple: The iPad shows how you can be like Apple
- Why you can’t (and don’t) buy on price
- Recovering from another computer breakdown
- Image courtesy of brokenarts (then modified)
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PS When you get your next computer, Windows may not even matter much since we’re spending more time on our tablets and smartphones.