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4/17/2013
03:39 PM
Jeff Bertolucci
Jeff Bertolucci
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8 Ways Microsoft Could Save Windows 8

Windows 8's coming-out party was a bust. How should Microsoft revive its flagging Windows franchise?
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Microsoft's bold new Windows 8 has been a bust so far. Featuring a radical makeover -- the first truly new interface since Windows 95 arrived nearly two decades ago -- Windows 8 isn't exactly inspiring consumer or enterprise users to upgrade from earlier versions. Nor is it spurring them to buy new PCs. According to IDC, worldwide PC shipments in the first quarter of 2013 fell nearly 14% from the same period a year ago -- the biggest decline since the research firm began tracking PC sales in 1994. And if you think IDC's math might be bad, think again; Gartner pegged the sales drop at a slightly-less dreadful 11.2%.

Windows 8 isn't solely to blame for lagging PC sales, but it doesn't seem to be helping, either. Its anemic launch contrasts greatly with Windows 7's debut, which boosted third-quarter 2009 sales of Windows PCs by 49% year over year, according to The NPD Group.

So is Windows 8 really that unappealing, or are other factors to blame? To be fair, PC sales likely would have lagged anyway, with or without Windows 8. Consumers are flocking to tablets, a market that Windows' new touch-oriented Modern UI is designed to infiltrate, and one where Microsoft is conspicuously absent. Rather than replace or upgrade their old Windows PCs, people are snapping up iPads and Android slates for entertainment, email and Web browsing.

As for enterprise users, they're in the process of upgrading to Windows 7, which retains the traditional desktop user interface and is less expensive than Windows 8, particularly when you add in the cost of retraining staff to use the latter's new interface.

Microsoft, it seems, has a dilemma on its hands. The market is unhappy with Windows 8, which is better suited to multi-touch tablets than mouse-and-keyboard PCs. The addition of touchscreens to laptops and desktop PCs could help Windows 8's chances, but it's unclear how touch would improve the traditional computing experience, particularly for business users who spend most of their day inside Excel spreadsheets and Word documents.

The next Windows upgrade will be telling. Will Microsoft stay the course and continue to tinker with the Modern UI, hoping that its sizable customer base sees the virtue of Windows' new look and feel? Will it bring back the old Windows 7-style desktop, at least for PCs? Or will it drop the old interface entirely and force its customers to adopt the Windows 8's Modern UI, warts and all?

Our slideshow explores eight steps that Microsoft could take to revive its flagging Windows franchise. What do you think Microsoft should do? Add your take below.

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eminkler925
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eminkler925,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/3/2013 | 10:40:32 PM
re: 8 Ways Microsoft Could Save Windows 8
Win 8 works fine on the SURFACE as is. However; on mouse driven laptops/desktops I feel the previous desktop icon format is more appropriate. In fact that is what I have done; setup the desktop the way I'm use to accessing apps. Deleted the Metro Icons.. A plus for WIn 8 is "UP AND READY TO GO ONCE YOU ENTERED YOUR PASSWORD". Plus in my case its the same password I use to access the internet; since I have an internet MSN account.
Snidely70448
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Snidely70448,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/29/2013 | 2:23:12 PM
re: 8 Ways Microsoft Could Save Windows 8
Please. Give me back XP. After a dozen years the momsers finally got the bugs out, and they've f****ed around with Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8, none of which I've liked. MS wants to do tablets and smartphones? Good. Write a new OS for those things. Port 'em to laptops, but allow the people who want a desktop for work - you know, work? - to have a new computer that runs XP that they don't have to learn the changes in the new OS.
foddermail
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foddermail,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/24/2013 | 4:54:18 AM
re: 8 Ways Microsoft Could Save Windows 8
because I can replace my 7 lb workstation laptop with a cheaper 2 lb tablet that can do everything the laptop could do and support touch. also because the integrated app store is very handy for a full PC platform. Have you tried it for more than a couple days? There are nuisances, but the trade-offs are worth it.
foddermail
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foddermail,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/24/2013 | 4:52:24 AM
re: 8 Ways Microsoft Could Save Windows 8
I agree. There wasn't really anything useful in this article. Just let Microsoft run their business. If they run it into the ground, we will use something else. If not, great! So far, there is no threat of any significant shift away from Windows or PCs. The typical PC is just lasting much longer, that's all. The recession has really made the point that people don't need a new machine every 3 years any more... When they buy iPODs, tablets and smart phones, they are primarily buying toys. I like toys, but toys really don't have any impact on my need to have several PCs.
foddermail
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foddermail,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/24/2013 | 4:40:59 AM
re: 8 Ways Microsoft Could Save Windows 8
Why on Earth would the government have any right to meddle in anything to do with Microsoft at this point? They certainly cannot go after them as a monopoly at this point... The real solution is for you and I to vote with our feet and our checkbooks. That is all.
foddermail
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foddermail,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/24/2013 | 4:38:42 AM
re: 8 Ways Microsoft Could Save Windows 8
I use Windows 8 every day and it is fine on a desktop, but sorta missing the point. I cannot wait to permanently make my overly large laptop into a server and never carry it again as soon as my Surface Pro arrives. What Microsoft is obsoleting is the traditional laptop. I don't even think they are going after the consumer tablet market. There is really nothing wrong with their strategy. Metro was a good first salvo into reinventing the laptop, and now its time to iterate...
foddermail
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foddermail,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/24/2013 | 4:33:02 AM
re: 8 Ways Microsoft Could Save Windows 8
The entire purpose of Windows 8 is to extend the PC into a touch arena. If you have Windows 7, there is no reason to upgrade anything to Windows 8 unless you want touch. Microsoft knows. this. What did people just move off of to move to Windows 7? It was Windows XP released in 2001. SO now Microsoft has time to experiment and try something new. They did and I like it. I am buying a Surface Pro. What I am not doing is upgrading anything non-touch. I don't need to. Windows 7 kicks butt. So what is the problem? By the way, the IDC numbers don't count tablets or anything with a detachable keyboard. So basically they aren't accounting for the entire impact of Windows 8. Great reporting...
UberGoober
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UberGoober,
User Rank: Strategist
4/23/2013 | 6:35:01 PM
re: 8 Ways Microsoft Could Save Windows 8
You ain't gonna like the price of a 15" touch laptop. It will be $100-200 more than an equivalent non-touch laptop (20-40% in low-end product) and that will put a lot of folks off. Folks without the deep pockets (a la M$) to push a concept and buy market share have to make what people want to buy at a price they are willing to pay. I doubt Asus or Dell is willing to lose $100 a unit in hopes of buying future market share in an almost fully commoditized market.
midmachine
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midmachine,
User Rank: Strategist
4/23/2013 | 6:05:58 PM
re: 8 Ways Microsoft Could Save Windows 8
IS IT JUST ME? I am not going to get in the middle of this, I like the system and yes, the UI needs some tweaking. Some of the analogies made here are way off base and only show a bias against MS, no matter what they do. My real point in posting is...why is the font for our comments so much smaller than the text on the page. A little smaller to save space...okay...but I am going blind trying to read comments on Info Week unless I up the zoom level on the browser...just my 2 cents...anybody else notice this or have I finally gone over the edge?
Manguan Da
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Manguan Da,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/23/2013 | 7:48:52 AM
re: 8 Ways Microsoft Could Save Windows 8
ok
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