Thursday30 March 2023

How Microsoft Is Hurting Their Own Chance For Sucess With Windows 8

Reading time is around minutes.

Microsoft just cannot get out of their own way in making some very bad decisions over the past few months. First they have pushed an OS on the public and OEMs that does not make all that much sense based on real consumer feedback. Next they dove headlong into the market with their own unsustainable product in the form of the Surface tablet. Finally they stabbed their partners in the back by offering an update to Windows 8 Professional for $40 including installs of XP, Vista, Windows 7 and even the Release Preview of Windows 8. Microsoft has been pushing the claim that Windows 8 will be compatible with existing hardware as well in an attempt to bring even more people to the new OS. All of this is going to seriously impact partner sales and has caused more than one company to rethink their Windows 8 plans.

We do not know what happened at Microsoft to cause this base shift in attitude toward their partners or even the market in general, but it is going to have major ramifications for Windows in the future. The funny thing is that when we first saw Windows 8 we were excited about it, here was an OS with a touch based focus that could bring out the x86 tablet in force. Current implementations of Windows 7 on a tablet are ok, but they can be clunky if the manufacturer does not plan for and provide a solid interface to work with. Windows 8 seemed to promise this; at least at first.

What we soon noted was that Microsoft had a mission. They were not very responsive to feedback on Metro or on the disappearance of the desktop behind it for desktops and laptops.  We noticed that Microsoft kept repeating that this was the best way of doing what they wanted and that we would like it… The fact that this UI was built on a format (Windows Phone 7) that has less market share than the now unsupported Windows Mobile only highlights that fact that well… people do not like it. Still Microsoft has plowed on making changes to almost every part of the OS to be more like their failing phone OS and to converge this on the Xbox.

As this started happening their OEM partners began to notice that Microsoft was pushing more and more of their own services while leaving the very lucrative OEM bundles out (this was a big issue with the way Windows 7 worked).  The more the OEMs and other partners look at it the more Microsoft is trying to cut them out of their normal revenue streams and push them right back to Microsoft. You can even see this in Microsoft’s deal to allow their OEM partners to bundle Office 365. Microsoft is going to get the lion’s share of that revenue and not the OEM that packages it. Of course software bundles are not the whole story here as they are also coming to grips with Microsoft’s big push into ARM country. Many OEMs have deals with companies like Samsung, Texas Instrument and Qualcomm and have not been able to get proper drivers ready for these SOCs. This will delay their releases of ARM based products and leave the market for Microsoft and Asus (for the most part). The rest of the partners are not happy about that at all.

On top of being shut out of revenue and ARM based hardware sales companies like Acer, HP and others are seeing that their desktop and laptop sales will go down with the much lower expense of just upgrading over needing to buy new hardware. This means that while Microsoft might enjoy a good H2 2012 they (the OEMs) are not likely to. Steve Ballmer might be talking to the press and saying he wants to bring the OEMs along for the ride, but it is pretty clear that to get in the care they need to also pay for the gas to get where ever he is going… We expect more companies to change their forecasts for growth through H2 -2012 citing a slow market and a lack of confidence in Windows 8 PC sales.
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Last modified on Friday, 13 July 2012 14:16

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