Have questions about Windows 8? We are here to help make sense of it all.
Microsoft has changed its strategy only six months into one of their biggest launches. They’ve been unusually honest about their shortcomings about the Windows 8 Operating System. Microsoft has confirmed that they’re making changes to their sales strategy and software to address many user complaints. The upcoming update has been called “Windows Blue.”
Tami Reller, a co-head of Microsoft’s flagship Windows business stated that “The world is changing fast, and frankly we didn’t get everything done that we dreamed of in the first release.” Ms. Reller also said that Microsoft is planning to offer more details about ‘Windows Blue’ within the upcoming few weeks. Microsoft will introduce new features because Windows 8 is too confusing for the average user.
Analysts are concerned about the changes Microsoft will be making to Windows 8. Many users are hoping to see a change on the removal of the “Start Menu,” and the awkward fusion of the traditional Windows desktop with the new screen menu that shows colorful tiles similar to a smartphone. Some users dislike that they have to switch back and forth between the two modes.
Some analysts have criticized Microsoft’s late admission of Windows 8 failings. Patrick Moorhead, President of Moor Insights & Strategy Research Firm, said, “almost everybody in the tech industry already knows that Windows 8 is suboptimal; Microsoft was the last one to realize this was the case.”
Windows 8, launched in October 2012, and was intended to propel Microsoft into the market for many types computing devices. It was also intended to increase consumers’ interest in buying new personal computers.
IDC, a market-research firm, said that Windows 8 didn’t just fail to revive the PC market, but they actually turned users away from the basic elements of the operating system. However, Ms. Reller of Microsoft said the company has seen steady sales progress. She mentioned that over 100 million copies of Windows 8 have been sold since October.
The willingness to change strategies for Windows 8 has proven to be a test for Steve Ballmer, Chief Executive for Microsoft. Mr. Ballmer placed a bet on a computing philosophy that tablet computers, smartphones and PCs should share a common style, elements and underlying software; he believes that Windows 8 is the biggest deal from Microsoft in over 17 years.
The problems that have come from Windows 8 highlight the awkward fit that arises when software is available for both a tablet computer that is used for surfing the web and watching movies, and a 27- inch desktop computer used primarily for business functions. Microsoft’s rival, Apple Inc. has separate software for computers and tablets. Apple believes that the tablet belongs to an entirely different computing category and shouldn’t try to act as a PC.
Microsoft will be working to help people overcome the obstacles associated with learning a renovated system, as well as changing the shopping experience and ensuring more applications are available for Windows 8. Many Windows 8 users have said that it’s a better experience when used on touch-screen devices.
According to Ms. Reller, Microsoft will also be sure to have a wider variety of Windows 8 computing devices on sale within the next few months. She’s vowed to put a lot of the focus on touch-screen devices, and said that Microsoft is aware that they’ve missed a lot of sales opportunity by not having enough Windows 8 touch-screen devices available in’ lower price ranges.
“If we could have done a better job accomplishing this in the holiday launch, or in the selling season that followed, it certainly would have made a positive difference,” Ms. Reller said about the lack of touch-screen availability. She said that Microsoft is attempting to spread the message to retailers, telling them that if they’d like help from Microsoft’s promotional and marketing muscle, they should offer more variety of Windows 8 touchscreen products.
Microsoft also didn’t anticipate the rise of use among 8-inch tablets, which was nearly half of the tablet market during the fourth quarter according to IDC. This was another missed sales opportunity. However, in a recent interview, Ms. Reller said that Windows technical staff responded quickly to the rise of sales for smaller devices such as the Apple’s 7.9-inch iPad Mini.
It’s been reported by The Wall Street Journal that Microsoft is working on an entirely new line of devices including a 7-inch tablet. As for the updated Windows software, Microsoft has two updates planned for the upcoming weeks.
Details about packaging, pricing and an office name to replace ‘Windows Blue’ will be done in the first few updates. The new software should be available in time for the holiday season this year, according to Ms. Reller.
A test version of the new software will be available by late June. The second Blue update will explain the technical vision for the new product, outlining options for new types of Windows 8 machines and addressing customer feedback on Windows 8.