Software // Operating Systems
News
2/19/2013
09:39 AM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Windows 8: Microsoft's Progress Debated

Windows 8 is one of those good news-bad news Microsoft products. For every sign of success, unanswered questions or signs of flagging momentum appear.

Windows 8: 8 Big Benefits For SMBs
Windows 8: 8 Big Benefits For SMBs
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
To be fair, Microsoft's new platform is making progress. Windows CFO Tami Reller has pointed out, for example, that more than 100 million apps have been downloaded and that more users are visiting the Windows Store. Users are also finding alternatives for some of the top missing apps, like PRadio or Rhapsody in place of Pandora. But developer activity has slowed since the holidays and in December, Google nixed Windows 8 plans altogether, dismissing the OS's user base as too small. The 43,000 apps currently available hardly constitute a flop, but at least one Microsoft exec predicted the store would boast 100,000 apps by now. Neither HP's recent experimentation with Google platforms nor Acer CEO JT Wang's condemning remarks are making it easy for Redmond.

The new Windows ecosystem has underperformed without diminishing its potential, in other words -- and that's where Microsoft Office comes in. Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Holt reportedly estimated in a research note that Redmond could generate an additional $2.5 billion by releasing Office for iOS and Android. IDC analyst Bob O'Donnell similarly said in January that such a move would allow Microsoft to "print money."

[ Are you asking the right questions? Read Microsoft Surface Pro: 7 Questions To Ask. ]

Industry-watchers had expected Microsoft to release iOS and Android-friendly versions in November. Redmond CEO Steve Ballmer has declined to discuss the matter, except to suggest that Microsoft thinks its current lineup is sufficient.

Though negotiations with Apple might be delaying new Office options, IDC analyst O'Donnell suggested another why Microsoft is keeping the product line close to the vest: iOS and Android versions would effectively kill Windows RT. Indeed, a pre-installed, if limited, version of Office is one of the key characteristics separating Surface RT from other tablets. What's more, a multi-platform mobile Office would make millions of iPads and Android tablets that much more equipped for enterprise tasks, meaning that whatever revenue Microsoft gains would have to be weighed against hits to Windows 8's growth prospects.

What to do with Office, then, will be part of Microsoft's shifting strategy as it adjusts to Windows 8's hit-and-miss first quarter. Ongoing Windows Blue rumors, which were fueled most recently by a job posting discovered over the weekend, foreshadow some of the possible changes. Blue is expected to transition Redmond's OS updates to an annual model reminiscent of what Apple uses for OS X. It's also expected to further unite the Windows 8 ecosystem, and to form the basis for future app development across all platforms. It remains to be seen, though, if customer-oriented changes -- such as UI tweaks -- are in the cards.

For the present, Microsoft seems content to let devices catalyze Windows 8's momentum. Surface Pro's dual personality as both a laptop and tablet might allow it break through, and if Redmond's new tablet doesn't soar, buyers will have more options once Intel's new Core processers start shipping. Whatever the case, Microsoft and Windows 8, still lacks an unqualified win, and the longer it takes for one to emerge, the more questions lingering questions will eat at the platform's accomplishments.

Previous
2 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
droden212
50%
50%
droden212,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/27/2013 | 4:41:58 PM
re: Windows 8: Microsoft's Progress Debated
The consumer PC market is shrinking and the business case for Windows 8 is very weak, especially for firms that have already moved to Windows 7. No matter if you like Windows 8 or not, sales figures can't help but be disappointing when compared to Windows 7. For the first time in a long time, there is legitimate competition - not in a traditional OS vs. OS or app vs. app, but platform vs. platform. It's reminiscent of the early days of the PC, when glasshoused mainframers scoffed at the PC. Microsoft has tried to overcome this - by creating an OS that manages to alienate the old guard desktop users and at the same time doesn't measure up to the current tablet competition. Microsoft continues to act as if it can do whatever it likes and users will just accept it. Well, mainframes are still around too,they're just not the market force they once were.
Mike_Acker
50%
50%
Mike_Acker,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/22/2013 | 11:48:02 AM
re: Windows 8: Microsoft's Progress Debated
msft is fighting a Classic Battle against Open Source: them against the General Computer Community . it's a guaranteed loss unless you can monopolize the market. erosion is well under way and will accelerate now that they are attempting to push w8 into the market .

the old "their stuff don't work with our stuff therefore their stuff is defective" only works while you hold a monopoly position . Open Standards like ISO will soon put the lie to the claim but there will still remain a lot of market inertia .

except that w8 can very easily help energize the revolt -- as if the security problem were not enough by itself
Mike_Acker
50%
50%
Mike_Acker,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/21/2013 | 11:19:35 AM
re: Windows 8: Microsoft's Progress Debated
my first experience with windows/8

my sister in law bought one, stating no one would sell her a windows/7 unit

she was at a total loss as to how to work it . i could have sat her down in front of my Linux/Ubuntu unit and she would have come up to speed more quickly

Tech-e
50%
50%
Tech-e,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/18/2013 | 4:38:13 PM
re: Windows 8: Microsoft's Progress Debated
It may be a simple fix, but what does it say for our society that placing the Start button (which is less efficient than Win8's global search) would cause upgrades to "fly off the shelves"...
Palpatine
50%
50%
Palpatine,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/5/2013 | 2:12:46 PM
re: Windows 8: Microsoft's Progress Debated
On a related note, as W8 web traffic grew a meager 0,4% of the total, ChromeOS web traffic exploded 7 fold...
Palpatine
50%
50%
Palpatine,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/1/2013 | 11:07:44 AM
re: Windows 8: Microsoft's Progress Debated
Windows GUI was great and sold well for two decades.
Zune-like tiles GUI s*cks bad and failed everywhere.
Now they glued tiles before windows, and Windows 8 is falling like a brick.
Even this month, with the release of Office 2013 and Surface Pro, the market share increase was just 0.4%, even an epic fail like Vista increased 1-2%/month at launch!
WinRT/Metro is a content delivery environment, just like iPad and Android ecosystems: MS with W8 plainly said: I surrender, I'm no longer willing to provide you a platform where OEMs and developers can be independent in distribution and make money, I'm just going to clone Apple's and Google's business plan... 5 years late!
Hoping to make money in a now mature market like Apple and Google did 5 years ago when the market was exploding! Totally crazy.
It is the worst business plan I've ever seen, and it's quickly killing Microsoft, see real users adoption figures!
AustinIT
50%
50%
AustinIT,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/27/2013 | 5:24:04 PM
re: Windows 8: Microsoft's Progress Debated
Yeah, sure, whatever, fail.
Andrew Hornback
50%
50%
Andrew Hornback,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/27/2013 | 2:13:27 AM
re: Windows 8: Microsoft's Progress Debated
So, I took it upon myself to "bite the bullet" and try out Windows 8 on my primary workstation at home (dual quad core Xeon, 12 GB of RAM, SAS RAID array with 15k drives). Been running it a few days now and I can say that I'm not thrilled with it to the point that I can't come up with a possible business case where anyone in an enterprise should upgrade to it, period.

This system flat out flew with even a munged up installation of Windows 7 Ultimate. Now, with Windows 8, I feel like my Android tablet has better responsiveness when compared to the Metro UI. Sure, there are neat features - the Windows 8 app store, having Live Tiles on the main screen, etc. But, these neat features really don't improve anything with regards to my personal home use case.

As far as the GUI goes - absolutely, it makes your PC as easy to use as your tablet. That's great, if you want a uniform GUI between your PC and your tablet and have a Microsoft tablet. Again, I'm somewhat of a dinosaur as I believe the pinnacle of GUI design was IRIX or OpenLook, back when compute cycles cost more and the idea of using those cycles just to render the console was seen as a waste.

@ePractical - Windows 7 got a lot of upgrade licenses when it launched because of just how bad of a failure that Vista was. People wanted to get out of Vista or get around the landmine that Vista was by going straight from XP to 7. I've done my share of those migrations (XP to 7) - even as late as last year and I know of organizations that are still relying on XP as their primary desktop because they haven't migrated to 7 yet. Honestly, I don't see a compelling reason for them to go to 8 over 7 at this point.

Quite frankly, I'm going back to Windows 7 on this system... 8 cores and 12 GB should run ANY modern OS with little to no application load in a pretty snappy fashion.

Andrew Hornback
InformationWeek Contributor
Faye Kane, homeless brain
50%
50%
Faye Kane, homeless brain,
User Rank: Strategist
2/26/2013 | 12:49:50 PM
re: Windows 8: Microsoft's Progress Debated
"I've used Windows Phone since it first came out in 2010. I now have my desktop and two laptops running Windows 8."

Yes, but you got an employee discount.
Faye Kane, homeless brain
50%
50%
Faye Kane, homeless brain,
User Rank: Strategist
2/26/2013 | 12:46:51 PM
re: Windows 8: Microsoft's Progress Debated
==--
Sanity?

Ain't happnin' until Gates wakes up and lets the board fire his buddy.

Frankly, I hope he never does. This is a car-wreck kind of spectacle. For once, an arrogant, incompetent manager is going down in flame 'n shame and I like watching it unfold.
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Government Tech Digest Oct. 27, 2014
To meet obligations -- and avoid accusations of cover-up and incompetence -- federal agencies must get serious about digitizing records.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
A roundup of the top stories and community news at InformationWeek.com.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.