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Microsoft's Influence Fading Fast: Gartner

Given an exploding universe of tablets and smartphones, Microsoft faces an entirely new competitive situation. Windows 8's "schizophrenic" user experience hasn't helped, Gartner analyst says.

Microsoft is clearly aware of these trends, at least some of which were foreseeable. Enterprise sales of Windows 8 were always going to be soft, not only because companies are still recouping Windows 7 migration costs but also because Windows 8 is most valuable when coupled with new, touch-enabled hardware, something in which cash-strapped IT departments are not currently prepared to invest. Microsoft has therefore looked to consumers to carry Windows 8 into their homes and, via BYOD programs, into the enterprise.

Milanesi emphasized there is a difference between Microsoft recognizing trends and Microsoft correctly responding to them. She suggested the company "needs to relax its obsession with the enterprise." Even though Microsoft has endeavored to court consumers with Windows 8, she said the OS's attempt to shoehorn a traditional desktop experience into a touch-oriented package has created a "schizophrenic" user experience.

According to Milanesi, the IT managers with whom Gartner works would actually be happy if all their crucial apps and programs were available within the tablet-oriented Live Tile interface. Windows 8 instead forces users to jump between the new UI and the traditional desktop interface, an experience many users have criticized as disjointed and counterintuitive.

Rather than offering a compromised solution for both consumers and workers, Milanesi said, Microsoft should focus on the former group. "If they get the consumer, they will eventually get the enterprise."

She said that recent Windows Blue rumors suggest Microsoft is making progress. An alleged push toward cheap 8-inch Windows 8 tablets, for example, will help. And she believes Windows RT, which has been close to stillborn so far, can carve out a role as long as device prices drop.

But Microsoft still faces obstacles, because it is playing from behind in the consumer market. Thanks in part to Microsoft's slow start, Gartner projects that by 2017, Android's claim over personal devices will far outpace the Windows share. What's more, the firm believes Apple's software will end up running on about as many machines as Microsoft's, leaving Microsoft, at best, one of three major OSes in the mix.

"It becomes obvious Microsoft has a problem," Milanesi said.

Microsoft can slow its losses by providing richer consumer experiences, a process the company is already pursuing with efforts to increase its number of apps, said Milanesi. Even so, the road is littered with obstacles.

"People say if all the legacy apps were Live Tiles, it would be fine," Milanesi said. "But how long before SAP and Oracle would develop for something different than traditional Microsoft platforms?"

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Faye Kane, homeless brain
Faye Kane, homeless brain,
User Rank: Strategist
4/18/2013 | 1:00:55 AM
re: Microsoft's Influence Fading Fast: Gartner
> for Metro haters,

shill smoking gun

> Why should Microsoft had to have had more apps?

because windows has been around for 30 years and millions of apps exist.

> They did ship a basic Office with RT.

Why should anyone settle for a "basic office"? Why don't you people see that forcing the users back to 1985 in order to sell them telephones p1sses them off?

> What does Apple ship? A cruddy note pad.

Who CARES what text editor Apple puts on tablets? The post you're replying to is about how horrible 8 is for desktops, which it is. You're redirecting the discussion away from that, to talk about telephones and tabletsGÇöanother smoking gun also in every shill post.

People who don't want 8 on their desktops don't GIVE a damn about telephones and tablets.

Faye Kane, homeless brain
Faye Kane, homeless brain,
User Rank: Strategist
4/17/2013 | 12:43:41 PM
re: Microsoft's Influence Fading Fast: Gartner
"I'm likely missing a few bullet points due to opting to not read this entire misinformed rant. "

So you're replying to a well thought-out post after admitting you didn't read it.

> "Redhat is a commercial Linux OS"

With all the free Linux packages, you say Linux won't get installed because redhat costs money. And you say it when MS is charging $140 for Windows.

> "Sure, geeks who like to scurry through command prompts love it,"

You MS shills are still pushing the myth that Linux isn't GUI. When I call you "liars", and "scum", this is an example of why.

>" but operating systems have to be built for real people who use them every day."

That is exactly why 8 has failed! MS arrogantly dismissed "real people who use them every day" because MS assumes they HAVE to buy windows, then designing an OS who's only consideration was a cynical attempt to sell MS telephones.

>"imagine your grandparents trying to find software."

Grandma and grandpa only use a web browser and (maybe) a word processor.

>"the reason for the early market problems is due to human nature of not wanting change.

That identical wording seen in all shill posts because it's on the list of talking points your boss emailed your department.

Also note that it's not something a "real" person would say. Real commentors talk about the product, not about how stupid everyone is for not buying the latest MS failure mode.

You have a lot of nerve bashing Linux' usability by lying about it when Metro is so _grotesquely_ unusable. One industry reviewer said "I'm buying a Mac and all it took was one look at Windows 8". Another said "Whoever designed Metro should be imprisoned".

Yet you MS boys politely ignore this and all the other massive, similar feedback, just like your furniture-smashing boss Ballmer does.

> "tell aunt Bertha that she needs to buy a Linux machine. Guess what? Now she can't figure it out"

The Linux GUI is just like XP.


A youtube video went bigtime viral specifically because it was about bewildered old people cussing out Metro!

The problem with posting shill lies to IT people is that over time, you *necessarily* back yourself into a rhetorical corner and look like a bumbling, retarded clown.

No wonder you marketing guys drink so heavily.

Michael Endler
Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
4/9/2013 | 2:00:55 PM
re: Microsoft's Influence Fading Fast: Gartner
Thanks for the comment, Terabyte Net. You're right that PCs aren't dead; as I wrote in the article, even according to Gartner's estimates, the PC industry will still ship more than 270 million units in 2017. I suspect most "dying" industries would envy that kind of volume.

Video work is a fine example of a task for which tablets simply won't do-- you're right about that as well. As someone who's done a lot with Final Cut Pro 7, the Adobe Creative Suite and other such programs, I don't need my editors to "point out" this fact, though. ;) The Black Magic Pocket Cam that was just announced at NAB illustrates your point here. It's going to make waves, assuming BM has its supply chain in order, among ambitious amateurs and indie filmmakers-- and this group is, thanks to the explosion of cheap DSLRS, pretty big. These people are all gonna need i7-powered PCs to deal with the big ProRes files, to say nothing of grade the footage in Resolve/Colorista/whatever. This is just once instance among many others in which a group of users will need good ole PCs for the foreseeable future.

That said, tablets, including Apple's, have legitimate business use cases that belie the "iToy" label. Tablets don't have uses for all businesses. But for some - marketing, sales, customer service - the new mobility-oriented business workflows present greater upside than the PC-oriented models they've replaced.

Ultimately, though, I don't think we're that far apart on the big point: the traditional PC isn't dead.

The PC is, however, ceding some of the tasks it used to own. This process changes the way PCs fit into the average user's life and gradually erodes the PC's influence in the personal electronics arena. It would be hyperbole to say the PC is dead or dying, but it's certainly true that the traditional computer's role is changing, and in some regards contracting.
Terabyte Net
Terabyte Net,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/9/2013 | 11:20:03 AM
re: Microsoft's Influence Fading Fast: Gartner
Sorry, a bit random here but, ... for Metro haters, the simple solution, install Classic Shell. It works, it's <9MB, open source, and very very stable. You actually do get MANY options to customize Windows 8, if you'll spend the time to try. Using CS you get the speed, stability (I've yet to have a Win8 box BSOD either for business or consumer customers), and security of Win8 and the GUI of XP, Vista, or Win7 (your choice).

As for Facebook and things like that, corporations have that problem every day. Either they allow Facebook or they don't. It's called Application Control. $600 firewalls like the Cisco ISA500 series offer this feature out of the box so if you don't want FB, block it. No YouTube, block it. Simple and should be done at the firewall NOT on the desktop.

For killer apps, Microsoft shipped at least as much as Apple does with its products. Why should Microsoft had to have had more apps? They did ship a basic Office with RT. What does Apple ship? A cruddy note pad.

For the most part Metro is for consumers and MS knows it. Businesses are still deploying 7 and will be for another year or more, especially until Win8 SP1 ships. By then 8 should have Metro-deployable business apps if businesses demand them, if not they'll create desktop icons and have the user boot to the desktop.

So having used 8 for a long time now and having originally absolutely hated it, I can tell you you are incorrect about having zero adjustments options. 8 is very customizable, look for it. BTW, people hated Windows 95 too. Actually, they hated Windows when it first came out preferring their DOS launch menus. People also hated Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner (ok, some still do) and The Beatles. People don't like change but eventually come around.
Terabyte Net
Terabyte Net,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/9/2013 | 11:09:59 AM
re: Microsoft's Influence Fading Fast: Gartner
Laurianne, seriously? You're comparing iToys and Androids targeted clearly at home users to Windows that can cover all bases? InformationWeek is not ConsumerInformationWeek. InformationWeek used to be about IT world for businesses. When industry trades start mixing apples with oranges (no pun intended) the lines get blurred. Management starts reading 'we need more iToys' and demanding that IT find a way to do this, then productivity drops. Let's see you create a multi-million $ professional presentation on any iToy or Android. At least with a Surface Pro or other Windows tablets you have access to REAL business software not the cloud garbage Google wants you using. Edit that 1080p video shot for the presentation on a tablet, oh wait, at over 10GB/hour for 1080p 60fps video, how exactly are you going to edit that on a tablet? Yes, that's the exception not the rule, but tablets have their places, just like microwaves do. When microwaves first became affordable in the late 70's (give or take) everyone talked about the demise of the traditional oven/stove. Do you own an oven/stove? I do. As with microwaves, tablets have their place, but their place is as an extension to the PC (I don't care what OS) not as a replacement. When InformationWeek and other trades start looking at it this way IT management will stop making bad choices. I see it every day having consulted with corporations all over N. America for over 20 years.
Terabyte Net
Terabyte Net,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/9/2013 | 10:59:06 AM
re: Microsoft's Influence Fading Fast: Gartner
I just love how Linux and Apple fans believe their OSs are invulnerable to viruses. Any OS, that's right ANY OS, written by a human can be breached by another human. Apple has had egg on its face several times recently and has backed off their claims that they're immune. As for replacing XP with Linux, you're joking. Where are the apps for consumers? How about PhotoShop, Vegas, accounting software for small businesses, etc...? Linux is never going to take over the consumer or end-user corporate desktop. Keep dreaming.
Terabyte Net
Terabyte Net,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/9/2013 | 10:54:31 AM
re: Microsoft's Influence Fading Fast: Gartner
jhkjhk, seriously you need to read some history. Apple stole the SAME GUI you're accusing Microsoft of stealing. Apple openly took Xerox's GUI for their own. Google has done exactly the same thing. In fact, Xerox was the only one to ever truly innovate. Gates FULLY paid for his OS and built Windows, Windows NT, Windows 95, Windows 2k-8 from the ground up, borrowing the best ideas from places like UNIX where, if you'll look at the UNIX copyright, it borrows from Microsoft as well. Apple and Google on the other hand have exploited open-source operating systems and turned them into profit centers. Apple and Google have never innovated. Apple has copied every single thing they've ever done. Google is just a copycat and then gives away their OS to drive people to their site for ads. Talk about not caring about anyone. At least MS makes $ openly. In fact, if we want to talk about screwing classes of people let's see, used to be that and office "suite" was made up of 1-2-3, WordPerfect, Harvard Graphics, & dBase. That "suite" would set you back $3,000. Now you can get 10x the capabilities for <$500 in Microsoft Office Pro Plus. How is that screwing the middle class. I just love it when people bash MS without any real facts.

Now, Mr. Endler, what you editors fail to point out is you can browse the Internet and check e-mail and Facebook, but that's about all you can do on a toy (e.g. a tablet). Let's see you edit that 1080p video you just shot with your fancy smartphone or video camera. Let's see you pop that SD card into your iToy and download the 32GB of photos you shot on your most recent vacation, oh, I forgot, no SD card readers on iToys. PCs are not dead and won't be for a very long time. People will require storage and processing power that toys are never going to give them. I routinely see home PCs with 2TB and larger HDDs in them along with video cards with a GB of RAM or more. The PC isn't dead or even dying, it's being added-to just like you would add a scanner or printer to extend your PCs capability. It's time for editors to really see them for what they are, overpriced toys.
User Rank: Apprentice
4/8/2013 | 6:38:43 PM
re: Microsoft's Influence Fading Fast: Gartner
For lack of a better way of to put this... you're not as bright as you think you are. I'm likely missing a few bullet points due to opting to not read this entire misinformed rant.

1. There are WalMart stores in Europe and Asia.

2. Redhat is a commercial Linux OS. Linux needs more than a pretty interface to be a player. Sure geeks who like to scurry through command prompts love it, but operating systems have to be built for real people who use them every day.

3. LInux, Android nor IOS are "virus free". They simply aren't as common due to market size. And those numbers are growing readily. Not to mention, some of the first viruses ever were written for the UNIX platform.

4. The Linux market share has gone up less than 1% over the last ten years. It is growing, but simply, at this time, is not user friendly enough for the average user... IE: iphone users.

5. Earlier versions of Linux did outperform Windows, but as they have grown it's not much of a difference. And what isn't faster than XP? XP ihas had a long life due to its stability and usability not its speed. Let's compare Windows 7 or Windows 8 to that and see who's faster.

6. Good luck finding software for your Linux. Sure a geek can find software, but imagine your parents or grandparents trying to find software.

While you do present good arguments that Microsoft has let these new emerging market(s) get away from them, Windows 8 is very solid ( does have room for improvement ) and a lot of the reason for the early market problems is due to human nature of not wanting change.

I hear so much about how the desktop pc is dying. Sure you can facebook or play on the internet with a phone or tablet. But what about the rest of the world who actually do real work? There is a reason Microsoft has the market share they do, and that number will likely fall a good bit, but that's due to tablets/phones being a DIVERGING market, not a replacement for the computer market. Simply put, if you think that Microsoft won't be a player in these markets, you are fooling yourself.

And one last thing: There is more to it than telling aunt bertha that she needs to buy a great awesome new Linux machine. Guess what? Now she can't figure it out, doesn't know how to get software for it... etc etc etc. Guess who she's going to call? You! I've made that mistake with suggesting certian people try Android over iphone... and since Android allows you to have more control... those people couldn't figure out how to install apps, blah blah blah. I don't have time to go help someone every time they can't figure out something on their phone. Don't preach the gospel if you don't want to hear the confessions.

I am an IT professional so i know these things...

Okay, sorry for the last jab... kinda.
User Rank: Apprentice
4/8/2013 | 3:35:16 PM
re: Microsoft's Influence Fading Fast: Gartner
Here's a highly technical reason why a tablet will never replace my PC...the screen is too small for my 59-year old eyes! And, yes, I've used my kids' iPad to arrive at that conclusion. Oh, and my fingers are too big for those itty bitty icons for the GUI to ever be user friendly...
User Rank: Moderator
4/6/2013 | 8:40:06 PM
re: Microsoft's Influence Fading Fast: Gartner
It is really too bad that Microsoft has managed to alienate many of their existing desktop users with the Modern/Metro interface. I think it is a good environment with a lot of pluses for programmers, but they missed the boat in so many ways.

1) there should have been a set of killer apps at the rollout. Instead of the pathetic mail, music, pictures, etc. apps, a comprehensive set of apps that would have appealed to more than the most basic of casual users would have gone a long way.

2) Metro/Modern as an option. Some people love it, some hate it but forcing it on all existing users whether they want it or not was a big mistake as it generated a lot of public unhappiness among the existing user base - the very people who should be interested.

3) Removal of chrome. This sounds trivial but the removal of "nice" display options on the desktop simply smacks of Redmond slapping existing users in the face. There isn't any technical reason for it, which implies that Microsoft did it just to spite their users.

4) Single-screen only. For a desktop OS this was artificially limiting. Again there was no technical limitation so it was a conscious Microsoft decision to ignore the greater power of desktops and only design the OS for tablets/pads. It sounds like Blue may partially eliminate this limitation but in doing so it introduces the same problems for programmers that Metro/Modern was trumpeted as eliminating - worrying about multiple resolutions and how to arrange screen elements as resolution changes.

5) Lack of business IT support. Being relentlessly consumer-focused, Windows 8 introduces a new set of issues for business with very little tools to manage them. Want to lock down the start screen centrally? can't, no GPO's to do it with. Want to pre-install Metro/Modern apps for each user on the computer? can't no GPO's to do it with. You can prevent access to the Microsoft Apps store, but its a all/nothing toggle. There is no way to allow access to productivity apps and prevent access to games. What happens if you log in with your corporate account and share to facebook? how will companies prevent corporate secrets from getting out - almost no tools exist for locking down, managing and tracking in the new environment.

6) App limitations. Apps must be individually installed for each user of each computer, with a limit of 5 computers. That sounds fine for the casual user downloading fruit-ninja, but does not sound very easy to manage with a company with a few hundred computers and users that move around. A comprehensive set of tools to allow settings to be pre-loaded and configured should have been included. A replacement App store can be created but what little I have read looks like a nightmare to manage so only the biggest probably will try it.

7) In my personal case, I am unhappy about the conscious decision by Microsoft to remove all choice in the look and feel of the Metro/Modern environment. Want to change font size because it doesn't work for these tired old eyes? nope. I think the scroll bars are too small and the light-gray on white is virtually invisible, any chance I can adjust it? nope. Tired of black on white and want a little less contrast in a screenfull of text, can I adjust it? nope. You get ZERO options to adjust anything. I don't know if that is a Metro/Modern thing or just every programmer has decided it's too much work but I know I personally avoid most Metro/Modern apps because they are so difficult to use.
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