Lots of Lessons
Things will improve when MS finally cries uncle and realizes that a mobile OS is not a desktop OS just as they learned that a desktop OS is not a mobile OS a few years back. Apple knows this, Google knows this, and eventually Microsoft will realize this. Here are some other lessons that Microsoft could learn:
1. Give people a choice. Keep a legacy UI as an option but also allow a new UI if that makes you feel innovative. Honestly people only want three things from their UI. They want it to be secure, stable, and fast. Making it affordable would be a bonus and speed adoption. Windows should not cost more than $50 and should not be version crippled. No one else does that and that is why the other OSes are seeing increased adoption rates.
2. Stop forcing PowerShell upon admins. If you want businesses to adopt new server versions then don't force them to learn PowerShell to enable critical features/functions. A CLI is designed for systems that cannot support a GUI or to enable repetition/batch commands and script automation. It is not efficient for turning things on and off in most cases. For MOST users, figuring out the arcane command sequence takes way more time then checking a box. I do realize that there are folks who live on the command line and more power to them, but they are the minority. PowerShell is a great option to have but it should not be the only one.
3. Lower your license fees; not to mention stop making them so insanely complicated, and you will observe higher adoption rates, less piracy, and increased revenues.
4. People are ONLY buying less PCs/Laptops because the OS and hardware improvements have extended longevity of their current hardware. How many people reading this have had a two or three year old computer and dropped an SSD in it? That easily gives you another one to two years of usefulness due to the speed bump. The average lifespan of a PC/Laptop has gone from 3 to 6 years. I firmly believe that is the cause for at least 70% of the drop in sales. Not because people only want tablets. Tablets filled the gap but in the next two years you will see PC/Laptop sales increase as these older machines become unusable and start to fail. You cannot comfortably operate Excel or Word (and many other business applications on a tablet!!!) The other issue is Windows 8. How many people have you heard say "I need a new laptop but I don't want Windows 8"? Come out with Windows 8.2 and a start menu, with Metro as an optional screen that can be turned off and you will see sales surge. I know it sounds silly to the "I love change", bleeding edge types, but that is the way most end users feel.
The solution isn't difficult it just requires some humility and willingness to listen to their customers, what they are actually saying, not what MS wants to hear.