Report: Microsoft Eyes Return to "Dying" Windows 7 Path After Windows 8 Flop
May 13, 2013 9:50 AM
Windows 8.1 will feature a start button, more mouse support, and boot-to-desktop, moves away from Metro
Late Apple, Inc. (
) CEO Steven P. Jobs famously said, "People don't know what they want until you show it to them."
But for his perennial rival Microsoft Corp. (
) that formula doesn't seem to be playing out well for Windows 8. The ambitious redesign has helped steer the PC industry into its
worst-ever first-quarter sales percentage drop
. Now some believe Microsoft may be returning to the more traditional Windows look-and-feel that some commentators believe was
a path towards a slow death
A big part of the problem is the complete lack of any kind of official tutorial for the average user when booting up the dramatic operating redesign for the first time. As a result many customers who have bought Windows 8 devices simply don't understand how to use their devices (to be fair, many features in OS X, such as the application launchers are as complex or more so as Windows 8's at-times-bewildering interfaces).
Windows 8.1 will reportedly somewhat prune back and revamp Metro's role.
[Image Source: The Verge]
Following reports that Microsoft is moving to
allow users to boot to desktop
some semblance of the Start button
(albeit one that dumps users into Metro),
's Windows chief blogger Mary Jo Foley reports that Microsoft is
working to remedy
another major problem of Windows 8 -- poor mouse support -- with the upcoming Windows 8.1 upgrade. She says the improvements, which will look to make the interfaces as easy to use with a mouse as with touch, may not make the
release preview coming at the end of June
but "still could make it into the final product."
In terms of
, she points to a blog post that
former Windows President Steven Sinofsky
posted early this month.
Sinofsky (left) shows off Microsoft Surface [Image Source: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]
Mr. Sinofsky, who masterminded both the well-received traditional upgrade, Windows 7, and the much-villainized redesign, Windows 8,
If you listen to customers (and vector back to the previous path in some way: undo, product modes, multiple products/SKUs, etc.) you will probably cede the market to the new entrants or at least give them more precious time. If technology product history is any guide, pundits will declare you will be roadkill in fairly short order as you lack a strategic response. There’s a good chance your influential customers will rejoice as they can go back and do what they always did. You will then be left without an answer for what comes next for your declining usage patterns.
If you don’t listen to customers (and stick to your guns) you are going to 'alienate' folks and cede the market to someone who listens. If technology product history is any guide, pundits will declare that your new product is not resonating with the core audience. Pundits will also declare that you are stubborn and not listening to customers.
That "d-mned if you do, d-mned if you don't" dilemma appears to be what Microsoft is facing now. Ms. Foley belives Microsoft is currently moving towards going back to Option A (returning to its previous path), but she warns that option could prove fatal to the company in the long term.
Still, she optimistically adds, "I believe Microsoft can stay its Metro-centric, touch-centric course with Windows Blue, while still making some changes that will make the OS more usable and comfortable fora bigger pool of users. While it would have been great if Windows 8 debuted this way last October, I say better late than never."
Learn By Shipping [Steven Sinofsky]
"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher
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