Linked by Howard Fosdick on Tue 2nd Jul 2013 21:04 UTC
Editorial Like many of you, I've been watching the big changes in user interfaces over the past few years, trying to make sense of them all. Is there a common explanation for the controversies surrounding the Windows 8 UI and Unity? Where do GNOME 3, KDE, Cinnamon, and MATE fit in? This article offers one view.
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Comment by Nelson
by Nelson on Wed 3rd Jul 2013 00:07 UTC
Nelson
Member since:
2005-11-29

The issue I see here is conflating the rough edges of a product with an outright rejection of the paradigm shift.

Windows 8 had some things about it that were understandably shocking and off putting to traditional PC users. Full screen apps, hidden UI elements, and some other things.

That's fine. But in the grand scheme of the radical shift that Windows 8 undertook, they are relatively minor gripes. You can make a case that Windows 8 is uncomfortable to mildly annoying to use -- but it is not unusable.

As a result of the aforementioned issues, along with colorful commentary by the tech blogosphere which didn't help with perception, and tonedeaf, timid OEMs there was a feeling that Windows 8 was underperforming.

This wasn't helped by the fact that the PC market was slowing and that PCs have longer upgrade cycles than mobile phones. When the growth in the market tapers off, the churn of hardware depreciation is the only renewable source of income.

So here we are, 100 million Windows 8 licenses later, 100 thousand Windows 8 apps later, and some how Windows 8 is labeled a failure.

Windows 8 tablets captured 7.5% of the market, Surface sales boosted Microsoft's PC revenues amid a softening of OEM sales.

Some people will always doubt Microsoft's license numbers (As they have done for every Client version of Windows ever) but even if you take usage share into account with the size of the PC market you can easily arrive north of 60 million copies sold. This is not a failure.

With 8.1 a lot of the issues with Windows 8 are fixed. Desktop power users are thrown a bone, general Metro usability and performance fixes are incoming, and the WinRT platform as a whole became more capable.

Relatively minor fixes which will have broad implications for the product. If Windows 8.1 is able to clear the air surrounding Windows 8. Then it will go some way towards proving that the softening of PC sales does not necessarily indicate a rejection of the paradigm changes that took place in Windows 8.

Helping them are the more power efficient and powerful Haswell chips by Intel as well as new generation ARM chips.

Expanding to more form factors (sub 10 inches for tablets, and supporting higher resolutions with improved DPI scaling) should help broaden the Windows ecosystem.

Joint marketing with Xbox, Windows Phone, and Windows pushing a common UI is the apex of Microsoft's multi year alignment strategy.

The upcoming reorg (where Windows Phone is rumored to be folded into Windows Division) should also boost the company effort behind Windows Phone (which has been half hearted at best) and help get them into high growth markets.

I'm bullish on Windows 8 because it is an inevitability. The enterprise clout of Windows will vault Microsoft's tablet efforts in that area. Surfaces are just now being given to authorized resellers. There's an obvious internal company push to be more aggressive in their efforts.

Android will likely always consume the wafer thin margins of the low end junk tablet white box market, but I don't think their tablet fortunes are in any way guaranteed to continue.

The tablet market is about to heat up in a major way though, and time will tell who is right in the long run.

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