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Monday, September 3, 2012

Windows 8 - What was Microsoft Thinking?!


I guess time will tell if Microsoft really knows something more that many users and usability experts seem to find when they first start using Windows 8.  That is they find it difficult to understand how to use when compared to Windows 7.

See an example article on this topic:
http://blog.laptopmag.com/usability-expert-windows-8-on-pcs-is-confusing-a-cognitive-burden

So this seems to beg the question... what was Microsoft Thinking?!

It would seem at first glance that Microsoft has put desktop users in second place compared with tablet and phone users, making it work out of the box well for those devices (in theory) but not for desktops.

This doesn't seem to be a good way to get people with desktops to upgrade and since there are possibly billions with windows machines that doesn't see to be a good way to entice those users.


Some working theories, please feel free to add comments for your own:

- Microsoft perhaps sees that phones and tablets and wanted to focus on the future rather than the past since there will be more sales of those than PC's.

Seems plausible but it might take 3 years time for the majority of windows desktops to move to the new OS, and if the new OS really wants to be your main platform for everything, that's quite a time to wait for a return since that is close to when Microsoft would want to release their next version of the OS perhaps.


- Microsoft didn't have time to customize and considered it more important for now to get it right for tablets and phones.

Seems less plausible since it should have been easy to fix if they had wanted to


- Microsoft forsees that all computers will have touch screens in the future, even laptops and desktops

Again this seems plausible but again it will take possibly 3 years to get a large portion of people to get on the new touch screen hardware given the upgrade cycles of desktops/notebooks.



-Microsoft forsees people buying a Microsoft slate/tablet that can be used with any windows 8 PC to act as the touch screen

Interesting and falls in line with stories about tablet/phone use connecting to xbox and the like, it isn't a far stretch for this.  But presuming everyone would get a tablet soon to make windows 8 easier on a desktop again is a bit of a stretch.


- Microsoft sees the app store as a profit model and wants to push people towards metro apps

There is some possibility here, MS does appear to want to grow their version of the app store and what better way than to make the Metro/WinRT desktop ubiquitous.   The question is, will the usability issues sufficiently detract from this and blunt the uptake.


Have any ideas of your own?  I'm sure there are lots more...



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