Software // Operating Systems
Commentary
5/8/2013
07:19 PM
Mike Feibus
Mike Feibus
Commentary
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Windows 8 Users See Red: Is Microsoft Listening?

Microsoft's Windows 8 update, Windows Blue, must give PC users a more familiar way to work. Microsoft used to manage transitions better -- instead of opening the door for its rivals.

8 Things Microsoft Could Do To Save Windows 8
8 Things Microsoft Could Do To Save Windows 8
(click image for slideshow)
For more than a month now, the unrelenting flood of news, gossip and opinion surrounding Windows 8 has been focused on Windows Blue, the code name for the upcoming Windows 8 refresh, and what it can do to repair the ailing PC platform.

This week, finally, Microsoft formally acknowledged Windows Blue and confirmed that the Windows 8 follow-on, which comes closer to a service release than an all-new Windows version, will make its way to the market by year's end.

Bloggers already have spent weeks combing through the various leaked builds of the upcoming refresh and exposing new features, performance enhancements and UI improvements. Company representatives haven't yet confirmed any of those discoveries, saying only that Microsoft has been listening closely to customer feedback and will be giving a full-on demonstration at Microsoft's Build 2013 developer conference at the end of June.

[ What else can Microsoft do to mollify Windows users? Windows Blue: Restoring The Start Button Isn't Enough. ]

The tech press has been fixated on discerning just how closely Microsoft has been listening. Indeed, it has written so much lately with so little to go on from Microsoft that the coverage has taken on the tenor of an Access Hollywood report before a Kardashian wedding.

I'm making light, but in many ways the onslaught of articles is justifiable. Certainly, it underscores just how much is riding on Windows Blue. With all the hype and glitz surrounding smartphones and tablets, it's easy to lose sight of how critical a role the PC still plays in many of our lives. No, it's not the same role it played last year, or the year before. But for many of us -- certainly for most of us in IT -- a Windows PC is still a go-to device in our quiver of electronics tools. And because of the pace of change in the enterprise segment, Windows is guaranteed to play a central role for several more years at least.

In that sense, Microsoft isn't just gambling its own fortunes. It's messing with how many of us get things done every day.

That's why the anger over Windows 8 has been so palpable, and why fixing it has become so important. Forcing us to take longer, more circuitous routes to what we do every day feels like starting breakfast one morning only to find that your roommate has rearranged the kitchen. The more often you reach for a fork in what's become the towel drawer, the angrier you get.

If Microsoft is really listening to customers, then Windows Blue will give users a way to do things the way they're used to. Microsoft understood that wisdom back in the early days of Windows, when it used a two-step process to woo Lotus users over to Excel. For years, Microsoft gave diehard Lotus fans their old menus and keystroke combos. So those users came over to Excel. And eventually, those users got to know Excel and they dropped their demands for Lotus commands.

In the same way, Microsoft needs to let customers do things the way they've always done them if it's ever going to engineer a successful migration to its Modern UI. Apparently, though, that institutional knowledge has been lost at Microsoft. When the incumbent forces customers to change in ways they don't want to, as Microsoft has been doing, it opens the doors to competition. Of course, the Mac is always welcoming frustrated Windows users. Some Linux bundlers, successful in the server space, increasingly are setting their sights on the PC client. And now Google is readying an assault on Windows' turf with a new generation of Chromebooks due out in the second half of the year.

A larger desktop tile on the Start screen, as Windows Blue reportedly has, won't placate long-time Windows users. Microsoft will have to give folks who have no use for tiles a way to work the way they do now. If Microsoft doesn't do this, users will keep seeing red -- until, eventually, this issue won't be important to them any more.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
<<   <   Page 3 / 5   >   >>
Doug in Skagit County
50%
50%
Doug in Skagit County,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/11/2013 | 1:24:52 AM
re: Windows 8 Users See Red: Is Microsoft Listening?
Very well put, thank you!
Doug in Skagit County
50%
50%
Doug in Skagit County,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/11/2013 | 1:16:14 AM
re: Windows 8 Users See Red: Is Microsoft Listening?
The example used by the author uses an image so simple yet accurate that, hopefully, the thoughts are read and comprehended by someone very important at Microsoft. Nicely put!

For a business employing many highly-paid workers (E. g., engineers), very quickly it gets very expensive when said employees reach into the wrong drawer for the tool that they have always stored in that drawer, and now have to open every door in the kitchen, and perhaps drawers in the garage and the shed out back, never knowing where Microsoft has stored those tools, or of they have shrouded the tools behind curtains, and applied misleading labels on the curtains.

For a business to justify a change, that change must improve efficiency of each end every employee, not slow those employees, which makes the new OS very expensive to operate, on a dollars-per-hour basis.
DDURBIN1
50%
50%
DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Ninja
5/10/2013 | 6:50:33 PM
re: Windows 8 Users See Red: Is Microsoft Listening?
I'm glad you put in the work and effort to get to use Win8 but you shouldn't have too. The writer's analogy to the kitchen being re-arranged is spot on. A whole lot of arbitrary changes from Win7 that didn't need changing.
AustinIT
50%
50%
AustinIT,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/10/2013 | 6:23:23 PM
re: Windows 8 Users See Red: Is Microsoft Listening?
My reply was not addressed to you. Ignore it if it doesn't apply to you. Your ranting doesn't elevate your cred as "an engineer".
CopyingAppleIsDangerous
50%
50%
CopyingAppleIsDangerous,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/10/2013 | 4:36:24 PM
re: Windows 8 Users See Red: Is Microsoft Listening?
What a crock. You can get on the phone right now and call Dell and ask them how their customers feel about Windows 8. Everyone knows that the hate for Windows 8 has been PROFOUND. It's all over the Internet.

Shill.
CopyingAppleIsDangerous
50%
50%
CopyingAppleIsDangerous,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/10/2013 | 4:33:33 PM
re: Windows 8 Users See Red: Is Microsoft Listening?
You seem to forget that the whole reason many of has been loyal to Microsoft is because we do not want a company, that SELLS us something, to keep their greedy paw extending, trying to milk us for more $$$ AFTER we have already bought their OS.

But don't worry. If Microsoft doesn't fix the abomination that is Windows 8, it will learn how stupid this stunt is.
CopyingAppleIsDangerous
50%
50%
CopyingAppleIsDangerous,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/10/2013 | 4:31:12 PM
re: Windows 8 Users See Red: Is Microsoft Listening?
I read about 40% of your reply until I thought, "This is friggin' ridiculous. I am an engineer, not some idiot who doesn't know how to use computers."

Windows 8 sucks.
Palpatine
50%
50%
Palpatine,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/10/2013 | 6:46:51 AM
re: Windows 8 Users See Red: Is Microsoft Listening?
There are billions of desktop machines.
There are billions of desktop users.
There are billions of dollars in multi year plans on desktop machines hardware, software, maintenance, services.
There are billions of dollars invested in desktop environments productivity, development, content creation skills.

There are, you know, billions of DESKS where ultramobile users may place desktops to live a different computing experiences for some hours/day.
You, insane clown Ballmer, OWN 95% of that market: stop insulting billions of us, stop threatening our bucks, stop saying desktop is dead legacy, start working to provide us a product which is make us love and keep alive your company.
dnationsr
50%
50%
dnationsr,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/9/2013 | 11:38:29 PM
re: Windows 8 Users See Red: Is Microsoft Listening?
I have a program that returns windows 8 to windows 7 and disables the metro..you will never see it again. anyone interested E-mail me @ dnationsr@gmail.com
AustinIT
50%
50%
AustinIT,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/9/2013 | 9:28:03 PM
re: Windows 8 Users See Red: Is Microsoft Listening?
The new Modern UI makes it simple to find things by using the Search feature. All you have to do is start typing. For instance, I can find Wordpad by simply typing in the first three characters of the name Wor and up pops a list of apps that are installed. In my case, Word 2013 and Wordpad both come up. By clicking on Wordpad, the UI switches to Desktop (legacy) mode and the WordPad app starts.
The fact that you can get to any of your old favorite apps and utilities via Search is why Microsoft canned the Start button in the first place. The Modern UI is just an entry point that supports all the legacy stuff and the new Modern apps and utilities.
If you want to create a new user account, there are a number of different ways to do it but an easy way is to simply start typing User and the Search screen appears. On the right side, click Settings to change the Search category (from the default of Apps) and the User Accounts link/icon will appear in the second column of search results. From here, you can create a "traditional" local user account. Or, you can create a Microsoft Account which doubles as a logon account for your PC as well as an online account that gives you access to all of Microsoft's online services (all with a single sign-on to your PC). To do this, click the "Manage Another Account" link. On the Manage Accounts screen that appears, click the "Add a New User in PC Settings" link.On the PC Settings page, click the "Add a User" link on the bottom right. The default is to add a new user by creating a Microsoft Account for them. If you want to simply create a "local" account (not an online account) then click the "Sign in without a Microsoft Account" link. Then click "Local Account". Fill in the name and password and you are done.
Try using the Search feature in the Modern UI. You will see how easy it is to find everything you were used to before but in a more intuitive way. Control Panel, Devices and Printers, etc.
one more tip - press the Windows flag key to toggle between the Modern and Desktop UIs.
<<   <   Page 3 / 5   >   >>
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.