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Microsoft Sells 200M Win 8 Licenses: Yawn
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petey
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petey,
User Rank: Strategist
2/18/2014 | 10:13:16 PM
Re: Unbelievable
I've read information week for over 25 years. It is amazing the transformation of digital information during this time. Even further, this transformation has exploded this past 6-7 years and I expect this trend to continue. Companies like Microsoft, while dated, in the eyes of this generation, are the foundation for this revolution. Not that their products are or were ever perfect, I think it's important to realize just how much of today's technology depends on their products. I think we take for granted how well some of these older tech companies have integrated their products. This is not about win 8 taking over the world, but more about ms still being profitable and viable all these years later given their legacy status. I'm impressed.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
2/18/2014 | 9:57:22 PM
Re: "Failure" seems a bit much
I'll concede that one, Joe. I stand by "underwhelming," which I think the analysis supports, but "failure" is too harsh, at least at this point. I think Microsoft can still turn it around, but we're reportedly at least an update away from a tenable model for balancing the Modern and desktop UIs-- and that's only if the alleged "Threshold" updates are a) real, and b) more motivating to customers than Windows 8.1 has been. It will take a while to wrestle market share away from iOS and Android, as you pointed out, but Microsoft can't afford to move at a glacial pace forever. Microsoft might not have totally failed with Win 8, but given the intrinsic advantages the company wields and the aggressive manner in which it has tried to push the new OS, Windows 8's achievements to date have to fall on the lower end of the expectation spectrum.  
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
2/18/2014 | 9:48:57 PM
Re: Unbelievable
No disrespect taken, petey, I suppose it's a fair enough question, and I appreciate your active participation in the conversation. The article wasn't necessarily meant to be legacy-defining, though. ;)

Benjamin Disraeli is alleged (by Mark Twain, rather apocryphally) to have said, "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."

Regardless of the phrase's true authorship, I generally agree with its commentary; numbers are used all the time to mislead. As you rightly suggested, it's not an issue of life or death in this case, but the point remains: A lot of statistics get simplified, especially when companies use them for marketing purposes. Granted, Microsoft revealed the 200M figure in fairly low-key fashion this time-- but they (like most big companies) have been guilty before of trying to pass off creative accounting as legitimate financial successes.

Some customers are appropriately skeptical of these statistics, but others not only accept them, but also use them to make purchase decisions, or to otherwise inform their opinions about a certain product or company. As a result, I find it useful to examine provocative statistics from multiple angles, and to encourage a healthy conversation (like we are fortunate enough to have here) about what the numbers actually mean. To some people, 200 million sounds unequivocally impressive under all circumstances. But this is demonstrably not the case; the value of a number is usually, if not always, contextual. What is the appropriate context in this case? Well, that's what I attempted to answer with the article.

Also, if recent InformationWeek comments threads have shown everything, it's that our readers are passionately divided about whether Windows 8 is any good, and whether tablets are really surpassing PCs in relevance. It's fun water cooler discussion, and this article was intended to tap into this vein. If people are going to have "Mac vs. PC" or "Windows 8 vs. Windows 7" or "tablet vs. laptop vs. hybrid" arguments anyway, I hope articles like this one can enrich the debate!

Also, just to make sure I wasn't understood (per #3 in your mesage), the point was not that Microsoft is dying. Outside of Windows, most of the company is actually doing really well. But Windows has been a traditional cornerstone of the company. I don't think Windows is going to die, per se, but it's changing in relevance, which means the whole company's emphasis is changing. I think this is relevant to many people who use Microsoft products, especially those with investments that will be impacted by the company's future strategies.
rradina
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rradina,
User Rank: Ninja
2/18/2014 | 6:07:17 PM
Re: 100 million since may 2013
Regarding the work-arounds (Start8 and ModernMix), why haven't more folks customized their systems with these tools rather than dissing Win8 and searching for deals on Windows 7?  If one is sticking with Windows, Win8 fitted with these tools is as good or arguably better than Win7.  Some of the modern apps (for instance Netflix, some games, Kindle, Nook, etc.), are even good on touch-challenged desktops.
danielcawrey
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danielcawrey,
User Rank: Ninja
2/18/2014 | 4:46:46 PM
Re: Unbelievable
I'm sorry, but the real reason why Microsoft has to fudge around these number is because of the fact that Windows 8 is just not a very good OS. I applaud them for trying something different, but as a very mass market product this version is just not very good. 

Windows 7 was much better because it was built specifically for a PC. Windows 8 is not sure what it wants to be. 
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
2/18/2014 | 4:41:43 PM
Re: 100 million since may 2013
The UI is a big issue. If Microsoft had gone with the model of conditioning users from a win7 UI to a win8 tile UI then it would have allowed them to gain some data on whether users actually wanted it, but the model was to hit everyone with an alien UI out of the box. After using a PC for so many years, I found it difficult to navigate.
rradina
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rradina,
User Rank: Ninja
2/18/2014 | 8:45:58 AM
Re: 100 million since may 2013
Do you think the issue is awareness or cost?  

Once the special offer grace periods expire, most do not approve of Microsoft's upgrade fees.  A number of folks seem to refuse Windows 8 on the principle of not wanting to pay for an upgrade and then pay even more for a fix.
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
2/18/2014 | 7:08:33 AM
Stats
Game developers use similar stat blurring to make them seem more successful. They talk about games "shipped," which sounds impressive, but in reality just means ones sold to retailers - it has nothing to do with consumer purchases. 
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
2/17/2014 | 11:42:07 PM
"Failure" seems a bit much
I'll stipulate to "underwhelming," but I'm not sure "failure" is the right word here.  Rome wasn't built in a day, and it's all part of Microsoft's mobile strategy of integration -- and it will take some time to wrest the power away from Android and iOS.

Besides which, no doubt the release of 8 has helped provide a much-needed kick in the pants to get customers to migrate from XP to at least 7 -- where threats to cut off support have not worked.
awebb199
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awebb199,
User Rank: Strategist
2/17/2014 | 9:20:15 PM
Re: 100 million since may 2013
We mostly agree on the facts of the matter. 

But you insist the glass is half empty because the glass filled faster last time, and Microsoft wanted the glass to fill faster than it did.  That is the translation of  "Put into historical or aspirational context, Windows 8 and 8.1 have underwhelmed."

 

 

 
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