How Windows 8 compromised Microsoft, perhaps terminally

How Windows 8 compromised Microsoft, perhaps terminally

For a long time people with iPhones and iPads predominantly used Windows. In previous years the vast majority of people who read iMore read it using Windows. That's been changing. Right now, the number of people who read us on iOS is exploding, and Windows, shrinking. Right now, the number of people using iPads for things they used to use Windows for is increasing. Part of the reason for that is certainly the success Apple has had with their devices over the last few years. The other part is Windows 8. While some might imagine I'm biased, here's Paul Thurrott of Supersite for Windows:

Windows 8 is tanking harder than Microsoft is comfortable discussing in public, and the latest release, Windows 8.1, which is a substantial and free upgrade with major improvements over the original release, is in use on less than 25 million PCs at the moment. That's a disaster [...] And though Microsoft will always be able to claim that Windows 9 wouldn't have been possible without the important foundational work they had done first with Windows 8—just as was the case with Windows 7 and Windows Vista—there's no way to sugarcoat this. Windows 8 has set back Microsoft, and Windows, by years, and possibly for good.

I used Apple and Amiga, but eventually switched to Windows 95 and stuck with that as my primary OS until Vista. I got a brand new, top-of-the-line Dell Vista laptop at work and... no driver existed for the graphics card it shipped with. It never got better, so eventually, in frustration, I switched to OS X Tiger and a MacBook Pro, and from there I went from a Treo Pro to an iPhone, an Xbox to an Apple TV, and so on. Vista was my egress from the world of Microsoft, and while they recovered valiantly with Windows 7, they didn't learn, and they went entirely the wrong way with Windows 8.

It's maddening, not as someone who uses Apple products, but as someone who wants to use great Microsoft products as well. I love my Lumia 1020, but where's my tablet running Windows Phone OS, with amazing, touch-optimized versions of Halo, Office, Sharepoint, Gears of War, and more?

Microsoft might have won the PC war, but it's the post PC-era now, and it's a bigger, badder, battlefield than ever, thanks not only to Apple but Amazon, Google, Facebook, and who knows who else. Microsoft is big and smart enough to be one of the victors, but unless they want to become the next IBM — brilliant but invisible to consumers — they need to get their act together and quickly.

Who they choose as their next CEO, and how, will be the first, best indicator that they have a chance.

Site: Supersite for Windows

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

How Windows 8 compromised Microsoft, perhaps terminally


I absolutely hate my windows 8 laptop. I now use my iPad mini for all my internet browsing, bill pay and email, etc. I haven't been able to sync my iPhone or iPad with the windows 8 laptop since I got it. I'm going to have to either go back to a windows 7 laptop or buy a Mac. I'm absolutely disgusted with the whole situation.

Aow that's too bad. I have no problems syncing everything with my Lumia 1520 windows phone and I love windows 8.1. MS did it right.

Ok, it works for you. That's nice and all, but that doesn't help him in any way. Your post comes off as simple boasting.

I had a Windows 8 laptop, and it did sync great with my iPad Mini 2. But, it helps no one by boasting that it works for you and not for them. Just sayin...

"Aow that's too bad."

I did read it again. In my opinion, the first part of your post comes across as arrogant and sets the tone for the rest of your reply. That's all.

LoL! He's MERCDROID---(don't put the bottle down!) was YOUR comment, not the original that came across as a boast. For the 2%'ers out there WITH Window's phones, I'm sure it's simple. As Rene is asking, why not for iOS? Android? iTunes has never run as efficiently on a Winbox BUT it worked, and was reliable through Win7. WTH did Win 8 come from? I'm with ya Rene. I use an iPhone 5s as a personal phone, Note3 as my business line....most of my day job Is spent on Win7 boxes in the largest radio and 'entertainment' company in the world. Mac when I'm home and my business. Win8 isn't even being considered in enterprise, surprised? Might work with your Lumia, but that doesn't help about 98% of the 'other' smart phone users....the basis of the article....right?

I hate windows 8 on my laptop as well. Sadly, Apple won't put the hardware to go with their software. By hardware I mean video card capabilities on laptops ($2600 for a GT750) and the fact that you can't upgrade ram after purchase (at least not with retina, and really, what else is there?). I do love the industrial design of the macbook pro and OSX as an operating system, just not a fan of some of their hardware internals.

Does iTunes see you iPad or iPhone? Make sure iTunes and your iOS is fully up to date.
I think you have to plug the iPad/iPhone into the pc for the first time before you can enable wireless sync.
If it doesn't find it, reboot the iOS device, pc, uninstall/reboot/reinstall itunes on pc, and try a different cord or USB port. Press Windows Key + X for the System Menu, and select 'Computer Management.' Check the Device Manager for Driver issues, particularly USB.

Windows 8 is much faster(especially on an SSD) and simpler to use, once you figure out the new interface. Just ignore the Modern UI stuff for the most part.

The problem is when I plug the device in I get "cannot read contents of device" and prompts me to restore. When I try to restore the process gets hung up after the phone restarts. It's like the computer can't recognize the device is plugged in and says "waiting for iPhone/iPad" forever. Then I begin a long process of going into mobile drivers, rt clicking on usbaapl.inf, choose install, restarting the computer, putting the device into DFU mode, shift + restore to manually choose the firmware (that I had to previously download to the hard drive) and then it will restore. But, the very next time I plug in-- "cannot read contents" again.

Now I think my devices are corrupt because I tried plugging into the old windows 7 laptop last night and I get the same error message. I'm at a loss as to what to do. The apple store was no help and now I am terrified to attempt another restore even with my old computer because apparently DFU mode is something mere mortals shouldn't attempt. What am I supposed to do when it gets hung up? I feel like I'm going to be forced to get a Mac to get my devices (2 iPhones, 2 iPods and an iPad) working again which seems extreme and it all started with a stupid Asus windows 8 laptop. I was fine up until then. Sorry for the long post but I'm distraught.

I should also mention I did have Apple support walk me through the correct way to uninstall and reinstall iTunes and it did not help.

If anybody has any ideas I would be grateful.

Try a different cable? You didn't mention if you had or not. I was having sync problems with an ipod once, turned out it was the cable.

Windows 8 is reviled in our offices, but MS problems go much deeper. In 2004, it was a given truth that to do Real Work (TM) required Office, and Windows. By 2014, people have used iPhones, iPads, and Macs for work purposes for years, and discovered that their business worlds did not collapse. Now we are even seeing instances of Chromebooks gaining traction in some organizations.

Windows/Office may still be the best choice for a lot of businesses, but it is no longer viewed as the reflexive *only* choice. No matter how good Windows 9 is, those days are gone, and they ain't coming back.

I foresee Google/Chromebooks really amping up Business and School market share. With such an inexpensive machine, they're able to get productivity apps that they can control on the backend into many users hands.

I hear everyone saying that Apple will destroy MS. But in reality it will be Google that does it. Apple will continue to be a niche product for the wealthy and those who prefer higher end products. But that definitely isn't the majority of people using tech. Google will slide their Chromebooks and inexpensive smart phones into the hands of people who don't give a shit, the same people who used MS products for teh last 2 decades.

Can't wait to see how the future unfolds.

Google apps in the Google Cloud on those Chromebooks? Do you really... I mean really trust Google with all your data? I don't.

For many things, yes. For business things, no - but I would not put any business critical functions in cloud that I did not control (or at least had a very specific SLA for). And that is what Google or a Chromebook OEM is going to have to address if they want to go after the low-end office space. You can already use Chromebooks without a Google account temporarily, but they will either have to make that a much more first class option, or start offering a SaaS package with specifics of the service spelled out for clients.

Edit: will have to do that if they are serious about going after Microsoft's low-end office space.

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I agree. I could see them going the route of Amazon for business though, and try to change their persona from strictly single user/smaller business people to larger corporations. Not really that difficult if they decide it's something they want to do.

From you're picture, you look older. Kids growing up today don't care about those sorts of things. Their whole lives are online now and nothing really scares them about it like it does us. Give it another 10 years, and i don't think much of our information WON'T be online and in the hands of others. Google will either rebuild it's trusted reputation, which isn't really that tarnished outside of nerds like us, or they'll start to fold like MS. I'm going to bet on the former.

Sad that you make such ageist assumptions. 'Kids' have been so dumbed down that they don't even realize that privacy matters. That too is sad.

I don't, I quit using chrome and moved to Firefox. I use my gmail for very little purpose, the kind of stuff I don't want filling up my main email. Microsoft needs to get windows 9 out, a lot faster than April of 2015. From what I have been reading it will have less of a mobile interface and more towards a windows 7 feel. I really hope they turn it around I run both 7 pro and 8.1 on my MAC for learning purposes and I have always enjoyed windows 7.

Thats guys a total d-bag. Anyone stupid enough to "know" what everyone else in the world is thinking:

"I don't personally feel that Chromebook or Chromecast are good values, generally speaking, at all. Neither exists to fill a need that users have, "

can go nut-punch themselves.

Back in the real world, some people actually do a cost analysis before making a purchase. I used to rib my buddy who bought netbooks, always showing off my 15in MBP. I asked him why he bought cheap shit that eventually broke down after a year. He showed me the math and he was making out way better than I was because he didn't need the machines to do as much as me. He'd buy a new one every year and still spend way less than me over the long run.

Everyone needs to make their own educated decisions for what they need, not what some jerk-off blogger tells them they need.

Nice job picking one sentence out of context and condemning the whole analyses based on it, well done indeed.

And any sane person's cost analyses would tell them that they can do a hell of a lot more using Nexus 7 than any Chromebook and do it at a cheaper price.

Please tell me how that quote is different from his overall thesis of the post.

"And any sane person's cost analyses would tell them that they can do a hell of a lot more using Nexus 7 than any Chromebook and do it at a cheaper price."???

The Nexus 7 and Chromebooks start at the same price. Older smaller netbooks like I referenced are even cheaper than the Nexus 7 and come with a keyboard. So...what are you talking about?

ChromeOS - if it goes anywhere - is going to go in the places where little more than a dumb terminal is needed. Your link points out it's not going to run Photoshop or Illustrator, or allow certain tab operations, true. But there are literally hundreds of millions of Windows boxes out there where that just doesn't matter.

ChromeOS is not going to threaten Macs, or even Windows for anybody who needs more than the basics. But those basic users are still a huge market. Does that mean Chromebooks are the future? Of course not - but they threaten yet another flank Microsoft has to defend.

Sorry, didn't really follow your thought process.

There are hundreds of millions of users who don't need photoshop or illustrator. That is EXACTLY why Chrome OS is going to threaten Macs and Windows machines. 99.9% of humans don't need them, they can get by just fine with Chrome OS.

Look at the decline of Mac comps because of iPads and iPhones and you'll see what will happen even more over the next decade as 3rd world nations get online for cheap. It's the very reason Android is decimating iOS globally.

Sorry, I thought this was your point:

"Does that mean Chromebooks are the future? Of course not - but they threaten yet another flank Microsoft has to defend."

Which I disagree with for the reasons stated above.

Sorry - I should have said "does that mean Chromebooks *are guaranteed to win* the future"

I agree they stand a good chance at eating away at MS on the low end - just that it is not certain.

ahh, haha. Finally following the thought process. I agree, nothing is certain, but they're taking a good approach with mobile and Chrome OS.

"their business worlds did not collapse."
That's probably true, but that should not be the only measure. I support people and businesses trying new (to them) technologies, but there needs to be a compelling reason to do so. "Just like my current [technology], it will not fail" isn't a good argument.

"no longer...the reflexive *only* choice."
This I see as a good thing - competition leads to product improvement or lost market share, so the more companies willing to compete, the better.

I think you missed my tone - it was not about technology failure at all :)

I meant simply that in 2004, people thought MS Office was a *requirement* to do actual work. People have since dabbled in alternatives, and found, perhaps surprisingly, they could in fact get work done without MS software.

I actually prefer Windows 8 to Windows 7, I like the user interface in general, live tiles, and the App Store - moving apps from one Windows machine to another has always been a nightmare. However, it fails to do what has been needed for a long time - blowing Windows up and starting over from scratch, as Apple did with OS X. Windows is for Microsoft what iTunes is for Apple, something that was designed to do a few basic things and has had every function in the world grafted onto it, making it slow and bloated. They need to start over with a small, fast, secure core, and run old software through virtualization (and Microsoft owns good virtualization software, this was a no-brainer).

The absolute worst thing they did, however, was to decide that Windows 8 was an appropriate operating system for tablets. Gobbling up almost half the disk space on a 64GB tablet SHOULD have been enough to make beta testers realizes that this was a bad idea, right? So should an OS so bulky that the first versions needed an Intel Core i5 processor AND A FAN!!! Windows Phone would have been a far better choice for a tablet OS.

The problem is that when Apple wants to do something, they tell their users 'this is how it's going to be, and you're going to like it. We're going to make the box real shiny to make you forget that we're shipping products with half the functionality of the competition, but since it's sexy to look at, you will think of it as a premium device.' And in general, Apple users usually respond with 'Baaaaaaaaaaaah'. I think MS thought they could do the same thing.
However, either Windows users are too intelligent for that nonsense, or Apple's marketing department is a lot better than Microsoft's, so it didn't work. Apple could literally put turds in a box, and as long as the box was shiny, they could advertise it as 'magical', and have people lined up around the block. I don't know how Apple does it, but MS just does not have that kind of cult following.

If any company is putting turds in a box, it's not Apple. You are thinking of the competition. "Windows users are too intelligent" ah yeah, no. Windows users, are not the most intelligent, in fact it's the opposite. They're the ones that go in into a big box store and ask, where's the cheapest crap I can buy? Oh that hideous POS over there? Cool, I'll take it. Ask any random PC user, what version of Windows they're running. You get blank stares. We OS X users, know what we're running and know the difference. That's why we pay more. I've built my own boxes in the past. Now I don't. It's a waste of time, and I end up with a noisy, unattractive pile of dung.

You know what you're running? Maybe (I won't dispute that).

You know the difference? I think you're speaking for a TON of people, of which most would not back up your statement.

That's why you pay more? Because you know what operating system you're running? That doesn't sound "more intelligent" in the slightest. Because I could buy at least three "POS" Windows machines for the price of ONE new model of Apple laptop, and probably have enough left over to buy different OS licenses for each...

Spec to spec comparisons have been made for years. A comparable Window's box to a current rMBP with 16GB of RAM, Haswell core i7 procs and PCIe SSD storage with its's I/O options, HiDPI us, ALL of us snobby, rich OSx users the Window's box that compares, with some digits (pricing) PLEASE! I think you'll find MOST OSx users are extremely intelligent when it comes to technology, have spent years....decades for me with Winboxes, and in the last decade or so (since Vista?) have 'found' OSx as a viable computing platform, maybe a bit more price wiser than most counterparts BUT filled to the 4 pound brim with the latest, fastest technology, stable operating system, a MASSIVE selection of well as the tertiary options to run your devices, in sync....tabs, phones, family's different accounts, etc from a single machine. Then, three or four years later, that Mac laptop will pick up 50% of its value back on Craigslist eBay or the like. Ever tried selling even a YEAR old PC? That's an act of futility, regardless of how comparable it is.
Their are younger folks with Macs as well. I don't blame it on money, status, or any of the bullshit you're trying to sell. Macs have been in the school systems since I was a 7th grader....the IIe, then IIc(s) in our freshmen lab. My son, an eight year old in third grade has seven iMacs in his room. It's a 'familiarity' thing

Oh you are so special. Please, I would like to see the price and specs of your 3 windows machines for the price of one laptop. And no, do not compare 3 turds to a steak.

"... MS just does not have that kind of cult following."

"cult following."

Lazy trope. And untrue.

"I don't know how Apple does it"

Apple does "it" by making products that actually appeal to people. That's not a cult. That's a company with a good handle on what its customers want.

'Apple does "it" by making products that actually appeal to people. That's not a cult. That's a company with a good handle on what its customers want.'

In other words, they dumbed down the interface to the point that even a 2yo could use it, and now even your average tech tard can download apps easily. And hey, my parents love their iOS devices, so that's great. But how come MS tried the same thing with Windows 8/RT/Phone and failed? What is the difference? Personally, I think Metro has a lot of advantages over iOS, but didn't catch on for whatever reason. And it seems to me that the reason is because MS isn't Apple.

Microsoft "failed," because they didn't execute. Period. And, quite honestly, I wouldn't even say that they failed. But, they do have to take a more hands-on approach to getting their products into more hands.

Apple has been successful, because they made many of the markets popular that they're excelling in (iPods: PMPs, Macs, iMacs: all in ones, iPads: tablets, etc.).

Apple and Microsoft took drastically different approaches to mobile - in many ways.
The main area where MS failed was in pushing a touch interface "metro" onto traditional computers (laptops, desktops). Apple's iOS, while based off the same Darwin kernel that is used for OS X, is (and was) radically different - for good reason. Apple has kept OS X more traditional (though they have made some dumb choices for parts of it).

Microsoft's "no compromises" has cost them - and it appears true - MS simply does not "get it" and they fail hard - about every other major OS release.

iOS is a lot dumber and simpler to use than Windows 8 was when it was released, at least for someone who is not tech savvy and has no interest to learn something new.
And since a huge section of the population unfortunately satisfies those criteria that is why Apple is where it is now. Their only downfall in terms of market share was their focus on high end overpriced hardware which outside the US subsidized system only a small percentage of people can afford or justify.

'Dumber and simpler to use?'....yet there are ten times, a hundred times the apps available? Isn't THAT what you spend your time doing on a smartphone? Using software? Who in the world wants their phone to me 'hard' to use? And why are you comparing a desk/laptop OS to a mobile OS? Oh....that's right, the 28GB OS they decided to out in their 'tablet' @ $999 leaving you with three or four 'gigs' of room on your machine for those 17 'apps' that exist and the massively overweight Office, right?
Windows isn't catering to third world countries any more than Apple in the mobile sector. They're more expensive in most instances (RT is a joke). Windows isn't making the 'boxes'. That's HP, Dell, Lenovo, ASUS, et al. So.....apparently your 'facts' are pretty loose I'd say. Not to mention the incredible resale of iPhones, even two or three years later....that end up often going overseas to smaller and less lucrative countries. Android is dominating the 'world' market EXACTLY because of this. Put Froyo or 2.XX, whatever on a $50 Wal mart phone with a card for $50 and 1,000 minutes/texts, you're set. BUT, six months later, it'll break. Buy a new one, do it again. Android may have 75-80% phone share but Apple's garnering 70-80% of the profits. Have you ever owned, ran, managed a business? This is the 'goal' .....Android's higher end (Galaxy, One, Xperia, etc) are JUST as expensive as an iPhone. Unfortunately two years later, when you're done, they're worth NOTHING (I use both. Upgraded from Note 1-3 & couldn't sell the Note on eBay or Craigslist but for maybe $50!---ended up trading it in to AT&T with a hundred dollar credit to my bill, lol). Now, where's Ballmer again?

Microsoft has put "turds in a box" for so long, no one expects anything from them to be magical anymore.

Sent from the iMore App

I can tell you that Windows 8 runs incredibly fast, even on an older Core2Duo.
A fast SSD and RAM make a huge difference.
Adobe Flash tends to max the CPU playing full screen HD video.
8 is fine for tablets, but they need lots of storage space. Even OS X would take up some GB.

I just got the Surface Pro 2 with 512gb of storage. Wow... In heaven now. iPad will primarily be for the cookbook app and internet radio player. My iPhone 5S though is staying put, definitely my preference for a smartphone.

I didn't care for Windows 8 on my previous laptop, even with the touchscreen. Then my work got me a Windows Phone 8 device for business use and I 'got' Windows 8. Now that I have the hybrid device I've no inclination to get a MacBook, which is where I was leaning.

I think this blog posting is born of ignorance combined with post-CES news scarcity -- gotta fill these pages with something I guess.

MS knew they'd be in it for the long haul, and with the Surface Pro 2 -- it's starting to pay off :-)

I really don't get all the Windows 8 hate. Other than (at first) lacking the familiar Windows button, it wasn't that different from Windows 7, and now the button is back. Full screen apps look great, and there are more in the store every day. I don't have a Windows phone or tablet so I'm not 100% in the Microsoft pool, but it plays well enough with my other devices. I agree with benjitek's assessment that this is a long term process to make a great OS that looks and functions the same no matter what device the customer is using.

The button is back but the start menu is not. Somewhere to go and find everything you need. Windows 8 doesn't have such a thing. Everything is buried in the new interface.

I never and I mean NEVER go into the new windows unless I'm forced to because the thing I'm looking for is only there or otherwise hidden deep in reguler windows.

I don't need or even want a touch screen laptop.

I've been tempted to get a Mac but for some reason my brothers $2000 macbook pro is super slow after a year and my 400$ dell with i3 processor is going strong and butter smooth after 3 years. He ses it's because he has so much stuff on it but that's retarded.

Drivers are a complete disaster with my windows 7 dell being upgraded to Windows 8. Dell neglecting the older laptop and Windows being a cluster of PC makers. If something goes wrong it's a huge ordeal getting everything working again

Updating an older [i.e. 1y+] laptop to a new version of Windows is always a huge clusterfuck and all the blame always lies with the damn lazy OEMs. The worst OEMs from personal experience are 1. Sony [could not upgrade from Vista to Win7 because of no updated driver release and because Sony banned Nvidia from releasing drivers for them]; 2. HP huge fail when it comes to driver updates even for top of the line $1.8K+ laptops still in warranty, stuck on Win7 and can't run bunch of software because of old 2011 AMD 6770m drivers that HP did not update since laptop release]; 3. Dell's alienware M17x R2, no new drivers provided had to search for workarounds and install generic drivers for newer games like battlefield to even launch, which is unacceptable for a really expensive gaming laptop.
So none of the above will ever get my $$$ in the future, unless they come to their senses and release new drivers for the products that I have now.

Windows 8 is failing not because of hate. It's failing because of apathy.
Consumers just don't care.

And in the enterprise space (Microsoft's fall-back market that they will be retreating to from now on) there's active resistance. Because new OS features require re-training employees, re-working corporate IT procedures, re-training system administrators, re-writing custom business middleware, re-imaging employees' peecees, and maybe even re-negotiating support and license contracts with Microsoft. In corporate IT, change is bad. Unless it provides distinct advantages over the old system. Advantage Apple.

So Microsoft is facing apathy in the consumer space (as always) and resistance to change in the corporate IT space (as always). But there's a new problem that they have had zero success in solving: the encroachment of iOS devices in the corporate IT space. And that's the real killer.

In corporate IT, it is not so much that change is bad, it is that there is very little upside to Windows 8 and a whole lot of downside ... in time (re "training", upgrading software, testing software, rebuilding in house software, etc...) that may not be possible ... and of course the monetary cost ... there is no point for any (or most) business to go to 8 - many are still using XP - so when it works - when it gets the job done, why should anyone pay more for a less efficient solution?

Yeah, same here.

- In Windows 7, if I want something from the start menu, I press the windows key and start typing until it comes up
- In Windows 8/8.1, if I want something from the start screen, I press the windows key and start typing until it comes up

Some people hate Windows 8 so much, they're not even aware of all the features it has. Like one guy the other day still using Windows 7 expressed surprise that some of us were talking about Windows having task bars on multiple monitors, and asked 'When did that happen?' Um, in Windows 8. Duh :P

"they're not even aware of all the features it has"
Microsoft is partly to blame for this because they always assume that users will discover all the hidden features on their own, which is simply never the case for 99% of users.
Also MS did not help themselves by removing UI elements from Win8 that were present in Win7 like wifi network management UI screens in control panel, which you can now only do by using cmd.
And let's face it the average user does not even know what cmd is, so they automatically assume those features are now completely removed, which again just works against Win8.

"Who they choose as their next CEO, and how, will be the first, best indicator that they have a chance."

If Steve Ballmer were still alive, he never would have let Windows 8 out the door.
Windows 7 was "good enough" the way XP was "good enough" for 12+ years.
And Microsoft's now-crumbling empire was built on "good enough."

I still prefer Xbox over any other streaming device (i.e. AppleTV) and Windows 8 doesn't bother me as much as people claim it fails. It still feels like Windows with just a fancier look. I never did get into MacOS. I have a Surface and it's great. Not interested in the iPads because I have my iOS fix on my iPhone. The Windows phone fails because of lack of developer support, same with the Windows 8 App Store. Otherwise, they function quite nicely. I guess I will always be a hybrid consumer.

Sent from the iMore App

Funny enough, I'm the opposite.

I just got an Apple TV and am looking forward of being able to get my Netflix fix on it and not have to: wait for my XBox to boot up, wait 10+ seconds for my gamer profile to log in, wait for the Netflix app to start up. Each of those actions has a inconsequential wait time for each that gets annoying after a while. I guess if I left the 360 on and logged in all the time it would cut down on the wait time, but I'm pretty sure my electric bill would go up as a result. I like my 360 for games, but using it for other apps feels like I'm trudging around 7 year old hardware (which it is). I'm sure the Xbox one is a lot 'snappier' in the same actions, but I won't be in the market for a new gaming console for a while.

People don't like drastic change and by the time their mind gets comfortable to the new ideas it's time for a new system release, hence Vista problems and 7 success. Personaly I'm always less interested in 'more of the same in new box/colors' and less enthusiastic about microwaved dish that Microsoft serves a second time but maybe 9.0 will be different. My respect for Windows was never higher than it is now with their current 8 version, I always hated XP (from the moment it was released) and only in Vista I've seen worthy change that was more to my taste, 7 was only a polished update.

I think the biggest reason for this trend is not Windows 8, just the fact that most people in the consumer space don't need a personal computer anymore. Anything done at home - email, Facebook, web browsing, video chat, casual games - can essentially be done better from a tablet or phone. The non-tech savvy mom's and dad's of the world used to buy low-end $500 or less laptops. Now that gets you a non-touch enabled Windows 8 machine with shitty hardware and build quality. It makes more sense to get a solid, useable iPad instead.

Windows is losing relevance. I bought my first Mac 512k E in '86 while in college after being blown away with the original 128k when it came out. From there I went through many models over the years. In 1996 I sold my Mac 6100 when my job really was dependent on knowing and using DOS and Windows.. Although I used Windows, I never loved it like I did the Mac OS, and always followed Apple news and keynotes over the years. The constant struggles with the registry, DLLs, and crappy software finally took it's toll. I converted my PC to a Hackintosh in 2010 and in 2011 went full in. My home now has 5 Macs, 4 iPhones, 4 iPads, and two Apple TV's.. I still work primarily in a Windows world, but choose to run it in Parallels, knowing the OSX is keeping it in check. I'm pleased to be back in the Mac fold. It's like a warm blanket and it's pleasant to be using an OS that just works and works well.

The Mac OS feels very dated, almost like windows XP, windows 8.1 is great feels more like apple iOS platform then windows platform, colourful has apps the start menu is more like the apples spotlight search Great little feature. Apple has great hardware and stuff works granted but always playing catch up. I've held onto my iPhone 4S hoping they bring out a larger screen it's rumoured to be the next iPhone. Or I could just change manufactures like 2 years ago for a bigger screen galaxy s3 now s4 soon to be the s5

Agree completely, Mac OSX is very dated. It's the old, tested/trusted way of computing and it doesn't have a bright future in the world we live now. Sure, it does what it has always done but it's still something everyone is used to. I'm surprised that people are clinging to only one formula without wanting to experiment more, I cannot imagine using something the same way for over ten years without thinking if there's not a better way of doing things. But let's look at cars and how they're used - same steering wheel, eternal three pedals, gears etc. because "people are familiar with it" (God forbid we would have to become accustomed to something new like for example computers in 80's and 90's).

Current marketing plan indicates they don't get it.

"Windows: One experience. On every device. For everything in your life."

The thing is, most people don't want the same experience everywhere because they devices serve different purposes.

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Windows 8 as a PC platform is fine, short of the inability to network properly with Mac OS X Maverick without upgrading to Pro. However, Rene hit the issue right on the head for Microsoft... "where's my tablet running Windows Phone OS, with amazing, touch-optimized versions of Halo, Office, Sharepoint, Gears of War, and more?" Apple became a powerhouse by enabling their mobile devices to be on one OS that was easy to use and their PC/laptops on another but they were able to work together for a seamless experience. If Microsoft had put their Windows Phone OS on their tablets to begin with, I think it would have caught on better.

Wait... You used Windows 95 until Vista came out? In 2007? Windows 95 that could be uninstalled back to DOS?

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The "King" on the chessboard that needs to be protected and remain standing for Microsoft is Office, not Windows. Even though Chromebooks aren't great alternatives to a Windows laptop, it's proving that how you get to files and media is a lot less important than it was in the past. When businesses get real alternatives to Word, Excel, etc. then Microsoft gets in big trouble.

Right now we have files and media in the cloud being accessed by Android, iOS, Mac OSX, Chrome, and Windows (and Linux too I guess). I don't feel compelled to access the Excel spreadsheet I was working on at work form Starbucks with a Windows laptop anymore...I may just as well access it from an iPad. In fact I'd very much prefer to access it when out and about with an iPad. The fact that lots of people are doing using "non-windows" devices to access work product created through Microsoft Office is damaging to Microsoft.

When people (businesses) realistically can start accessing their work product (like a CPA's Spreadsheets or a Lawyers legal documents) with a non-windows device and the file was created by non-Microsoft software as well, the game's over for MS.

Windows 8 is really crappy and user unfriendly. When I bought my new laptop last year it came with Windows 8. I ended up formatting the hard drive and installing Windows 7 Professional the same day. Same thing happened with Vista. I used it for a day, then downgraded to XP. My next laptop purchase will be a MacBook.

Wow, a whole day? It's obvious you really tried hard and didn't reflexively react against something new and stubbornly refused to try it. And obviously, with all your in-depth usage of the OS, I'm sure you're clearly expert enough to declare it crappy.

I have no problem with you not liking the OS, but to pass it off so quickly without even trying it is bothersome, much akin to how half of the people who upgraded to iOS 7 quickly dismissed it also.

Yeah, a day is definitely not a long enough time to pass judgement. I don't understand the hate about Windows 8: it's different and fresh. It will only improve from here, if Microsoft is given the chance to do so.

This is a pretty desperate post lets be honest here! Next you'll be saying Mavericks was a decent release on OS X. Plus, as far as Microsoft having trouble with Windows 8, look at Apple with iOS 7, no one completely likes it to the point of which Apple are making future versions more like iOS 6. Sure Windows 8/8.1 aren't perfect, but lets be honest, there's much more iOS 7 users pissed off right now

Pissed off ios7 users????? 80% of iOS users are on 7.... and iPhone 5s is the most popular phone out there???? I just don't see the pissed/offness out there. And, And, if there are more ipissed off iOS 7 users than Win8/8.1 users... wow that says a lot about Win users... not many. /s

If you're simply basing popularity on people loving their devices, then how come Windows 8 alone outsells ALL Macs, irrelevant argument yes, but so was yours. The iPhone 4 was the most trading in device ever last year, simple reason iOS 7, buggy, laggy (a first for iOS) even on the 5S I had before taking back, now that's not right is it! iPads have never felt more like a phone OS expanded since iOS 7. As for the sales of the iPhone, well there's always people out there who will Apple just to go all weird over the fact its Apple, cue Mac Pro customers. Software Update wise, average consumers will just install updates without knowing what their going to get, that goes for any platform, and when its so vertical like Apple's platform is, no one is surprised iOS users are up to date. Although you have to admit the point in this post saying more Apple users view an Apple site is a bit facepalm, isn't that kind of obvious, I'm sure Android Central, Crackberry and WPCentral could say the same?

Windows 8 certainly got off to a rough start, and definitely has been causing Microsoft to stumble, but I don't think it's all doom and gloom just yet.

Yes, people still somewhat loath Windows 8, but it's starting to cool off, and being replaced with curiosity (especially as computers with Windows 7 are a rare breed, and OEMs are finally making some really cool designs to take advantage of Windows 8). I'm currently browsing this website and typing this comment on my Surface Pro 2, and honestly, you couldn't pay me to go back to my old laptop + iPad combo. Yes, others might disagree and want to keep work and play separate, but I love this thing with all my heart (however, some of the other offerings on the market are catching my eye, so I might be picking up something from Dell or Lenovo when it comes time to upgrade).

And at school, whenever I pull this thing out, I get all kinds of looks, stares and "ooohhhhs" and "aaahhhs." Again, now that the initial gag reflex against Windows 8 has died, it seems (where I live, at least) people are cautiously curious. Lots of kids bring all kinds of computers and Macbook Airs and such to my school (to avoid using the dreaded ancient PCs that have been in used for nearly 10 years), but my Surface seems to garner the most attention, if not for being the most rare.

Don't get me wrong, Windows 8 still has a long way to go, and the "one experience for everything in your life" campaign Microsoft is running has a solid foundation (same UI across all devices, powered by SkyDrive), but still seriously needs to be built upon and further sculpted (why don't my IE favorites sync between my Lumia 1020 and my Surface? Why can't I back up my app and game data to SkyDrive? Aarrgh!!!).

But to say Windows 8 has doomed Microsoft? Please, lets not get carried away here. Again, Microsoft has a long battle ahead of them to regain both marketshare and mindshare, and while they got off on the wrong foot, I think they have a chance. Let us not forget Apple's own iPad was initially laughing stock as merely a "giant iPhone," and many felt no consumers would be really interested. Well, once people saw how kickass the iPad was, they quickly started selling like hotcakes and pretty much ignited the fire for the so call, Post-PC Era we're entering.

So best of luck, Microsoft. You've got a solid foundation, and from my observations, a consumer public to see what you can make of this new Metro UI. However, if you want to succeed, Microsoft, then it's essential you perfect things asap, or else fade from the public eye, same as IBM.

Windows 8 works perfectly with my iPhone, iPad, and my Linux & Android devices.
The new Start menu is great. Just take a few minutes to learn something new.

Windows 8 is meh and the metro interface is horrible. The PC is pretty much dying anyway, so it really doesn't matter.

1. "no driver existed for the graphics card it shipped with"
That's Dell's fault, not Microsoft's. It's the manufacturer's job to get software to work with its hardware (i.e. write drivers). You should have blamed Dell. Clearly you just shriek and jump ship any time there's a problem, without regard for who is at fault. Also notable: you would not have this problem with any device for which Microsoft handled the hardware (Surface, for example).

2. "an Xbox to an Apple TV"
For what, exactly, were you using your Xbox, such that it could be replaced with an Apple TV? Clearly not its intended purpose as a GAMING console.

3. "where's my tablet running Windows Phone OS, with amazing, touch-optimized versions of Halo, Office, Sharepoint, Gears of War, and more?"
- First off, do you really want to play touch-only shooters on a tablet? How would you handle everything? A button for "turn left", another for "turn right", another for "tilt up", another for "tilt down"? Not to mention reloading, shooting, switching weapons, MOVEMENT, asynchronous chat (if applicable). Furthermore, tablets are small. Few people want to play on a ~10-inch screen. Also, there's already a huge market for that in PC gaming. For it to be even remotely enjoyable, you'd use a keyboard. So there's no reason for game studios to develop touch-based versions of games suitable for a PC or a console. Lastly, notice that I used the words "game studios." That means that, once again, it has nothing to do with Microsoft, and everything to do with individual studios caring about their income (for most games, that is. Since you didn't do any research before writing this article, you CAN find a touch-based version of Halo - just search for it. I'd post a link but this would be marked as spam.).
- Second off, have you attempted the touch version of Office? It uses touch elements where appropriate. Also, SharePoint is for (mostly professional) collaborative workflow. Is that REALLY something you want to be doing on a tablet? Someone who can't make it to a true computer?

Your article is not poorly-written, but shows a severe lack of depth. You've done little to no research, and have little to no experience with the technologies you condemn as the final nail in Microsoft's coffin.

I am making the switch too. I was fed up with slow boot ups, slow application launch. With MACOsX 10.7 I am more than happy. Fast boot up, fast application times and YouTube streams better on Mac.

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i think this is the reason balmer is going, because he tried to impose what he though was right down everybodies necks. I certainly think apple, if they do decide to release an iPad pro, will try to kill off ms, and i also think that apple will try to move more into the enterprise business. I don't think apple has forgotten what ms did to them all those years back. i think that windows 8 is better for touch, better than iOS in some regards, but with those awfully big buttons, what i waste of real estate. i think that if apple can get the iPad pro right in terms of size and os then they will have the opportunity to kill off the golf ball target (ms & windows). but will that be good for competition, and ultimately us the consumer.

It's all a matter of taste I guess. Love my Lumia 920 and my Asus Zenbook. Looking forward to the delivery of my 256gb Surface Pro 2 soon. If anything, Apple was the one who ruined my iPad experience with their inane iOS 7 design, killing what little goodwill I had for them to begin with.

It not really the "post PC era" though, is it? Want to get some work done in Photoshop, Zbrush, Maya, or 3DS Max? (for example) You'll use a PC, or perhaps a Mac.

I have an iPad and read this very site with it often, but it's just a toy, and will never be any more. PCs will never go away and they will always totally dominate business.

With regard to the Xbox to Apple TV switch, that's an odd one. As a games machine, there's obviously no comparison. As a media device, the Xbox has access to just about every streaming provider internationally, while the ATV offers very little outside of America.

Read the same article about Windows Vista years ago. It was wrong too. There may be many people surviving without a windows machine, but there are MANY MANY more using machines for serious work. The post PC era will have many Windows machines. They may not be sitting in a coffee shop browsing Etsy, but they will be running Catia to design the next generation Lear Jet

I would personally buy a Mac if I could afford one. I don't mind getting something second hand but I do not know enough about the supply and demand of these machines in the second-hand market to fairly counter some of the high prices I have seen.

Win 8 is not necessarily a joke, but it isn't Microsoft's savior. That won't be Windows 9, either. Microsoft needs to switch from a provider of products and move to services akin the Google model. If they can out perform Google in this metric they will succeed.

I don't like Windows 8 as I feel it is a bodge, don't get me wrong I like changes and eargely anticipate new versions but Windows 8 seriously dissappointed me. In this case Microsoft lost the plot.

Whilst Windows has a large domestic market it has a far bigger business market and with any major changes with an interface like that of Windows 8 this will result in retraining for the majority of people who are not computer literate and this incurs major costs. In essence Microsoft has lost sight of it's biggest market in chasing the domestic home user and trying to out do Apple with one style of interface for all devices, whilst Windows 8 may be OK for phones and tablets it is not that brilliant for Desktops and Laptops especially those without touch screens. Apple has the common sense to have the appropriate interface for the appropriate device!

The biggest bug bear for the majority of users is the loss of the orginal Start button, it is the most common way for people to naviage Windows so why get rid of it! The changes in 8.1 are no better. Baby and bath water come to mind!

If Microsoft had had any sense whatsoever it should have kept the fimilar Windows 7 front end and given the user the option to change to the new tiled App front end if they so desired. In a way Apple have done this in OSX with Dashboard and Launchpad without the need for scrapping the familar user interface.

I still don't believe in the "Post-PC" era. We are in the "multiple form factor-PC" era now. Windows isn't the only way to get your computing needs filled now. But that doesn't mean it's going away. All these mobile devices (tablets, phones, media players) are TOYS. You cannot do work on them. They are great on the go and awesome on my couch. But those toys do not let me do work and get things done.

Microsoft's problem is that they chase. They don't plot their own course, they respond to the environment that are in, typically late. Windows 8/8.1 was an attempt to plot their own course but really all they did is try to guess the future and be first at something. They thought touch would be everywhere in that future and that one OS for all devices would be appealing. Unfortunately, they botched the single OS implementation and it turns out touch isn't ready for nor the tool for all jobs. The grass needs to be cut, gutters hung, landscaping...there is work. And touch isn't suited for most jobs like coding, manipulating data, infrastructure. Their mistake, and many writers make this mistake, is thinking the PC is gone. The PC is going to yield marketshare but it's still a tool. Tablets are another part of the market. They're taking over the consumption duties but PC's are retaining the creation and construction duties. As Leo says, they are trucks. Tablets and phones are the cars, motorcycles, and Segways. Microsoft has to stake out new ground. They need to imagine.

I wish there were just two main computing platforms out there... Amiga and Apple. Windows destroyed Amiga which still bugs me now!

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I use both Windows and Mac on a daily basis. I also work at a place with 90% Windows machines. While Windows can be setup like crap, always crashing, slow, etc. It can also be setup properly and work. I have been using Windows for over a decade and have not had problems. I have also been using Windows 8 since beta and my honest opinion is that if users could get past the shock of the changes it actually isn't as bad as it looks. The problem I think is that Microsoft didn't listen to users. They took over a decade to teach people how to use Windows and then they thought they would force people to re-learn how to do things. It's a stupid thing to assume and now they are paying for it. Windows 8 is actually lighter and cleaner than Windows 7 which was a very loved Windows OS. So they had a chance but blew it doing stupid things. Like why is logging off and shutting down separated now into two different places? I'm eagerly waiting to see what Windows 9 does. The Start menu coming back I think will be a big step to getting users back.

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I would be buying a new pc at this time, but will not do so because of Windows 8, I simply don't want to use it on a desktop, or indeed a laptop. I am putting in an SSD as an upgrade meanwhile and will either stick with 7 or hope that they go back to the future with 9. I have a phone, tablet, pc and ultrabook: all serve their purpose. Windows 8 is no part of any of these. It's a real pity, as I am a Windows fan, even after the Vista failure.

It's amazing what the Paradox of Choice does to us. Would it be better to simply have only The Peoples' Operating System?

We have individual tastes, preferences, desires, likes and dislikes. There is no "best" between Microsoft, Apple and Google.

I highly doubt Windows 8 is going to cause Mainstream Corporate America to switch from Windows to Apple. They'll just wait for Windows 9. Just like Vista. Any company that adopted Vista should have learned their lesson by now. Don't buy the experimental OS.

I will never install a MS operating system EVER AGAIN. Even windows 7 was pulling your leg. I am over trying to turn on my computer and I get BOOMGR is missing. Im over windows fucking update. Media player is shit. Windows doesn't plug and play like mac. (printers, Digital cameras, Sound devices etc etc... Windows hoggs more resources. Windows got rid of the start button... Windows is shit. Its over MS, just bend over and take it from OS X like you should have from day one. Now im no apple fanboy - but let me say this... I have an iBook G4 laptop from 2004, it has 1.2ghz ppc and 1gb of ram (terrible right!). It has the 3rd latest OS from mac and it runs like a charm - I can even stream videos and music to my TV without any pain. Can you imagine even powering on a laptop from 2004 with any form of windows on it? You'd be there for 20 minutes waiting for the desktop. Hence why I made a hackintosh! I always get called a fan boy, but you know what - Its the people who stick up for MS (a multi billion dollar company who really doesn't give a shit about you) they are the fan boys.