The reviews are in. The changes to Microsoft Windows 8 are a success at first glance. But will it help sales?
In a nutshell -- and at the heart of the changes -- the Start button is returning to the user interface on the lower-left corner of the screen. When you left-click that icon it pulls up the Start screen, though, rather than the pop-menu Windows used in previous versions. A right-click calls up a menu including the Task Manager, Control Panel, search and other tools.
Other changes include the ability to boot into the desktop interface, saving a few clicks. There are also new personalization features, a new search paradigm and Xbox Music has been redesigned with what Microsoft hopes users will find to be an easier-to-use interface.
For analysis on the potential impact of the upgraded Windows 8, we turned to Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT. He told us Windows 8.1 seems to answer most of the issues and concerns in the marketplace, particularly among enterprise customers.
"The initial launch of Windows 8 obviously has to be considered one of the more colossal screw ups in the company's history," King quipped, "but I do think they've done a pretty good job in redressing that."
Will it help drive more sales? That depends. King said it's critical for Redmond to get buy-in from enterprise customers.
"Going back to Start menu and making the tile interface an option on the task bar is probably what the company should have done in the first place," King said. "It makes the Windows 8 environment much friendlier for businesses and a lot less disruptive than the original version."
Waiting for Haswell
Windows 8 may get an additional boost later this year. That's because although the operating system works well on Intel Ivy Bridge-processor PCs, laptops and tablets, most analysts agree that the next-generation Haswell-processor systems that come out this fall will make it shine.
"The overall performance and new features on those systems and the commonality of the touch interface will be so powerful -- and frankly kind of cool for many users -- that whatever questions they may have had about Windows 8 will fade into the background," King said. "Windows 8 on a Haswell system will be a pretty seamless experience."
As King sees it, part of problem with Windows 8 at its initial launch was the fact that it was designed for touch. Most systems didn't have touch, and trying to navigate the interface with a mouse was awkward. All things considered, he said he expects sales of Windows 8.1 to stabilize and probably improve over time.
Posted: 2013-10-16 @ 5:45am PT
Sell Windows 9 to customers who want touch screens and New Microsoft CEO needs to offer Windows for Seniors.... Seniors and older adults don't want touch screens. they are for young people and next generation humans...... Young people want touch......Not moms and dads. When Windows 9 arrives, you can offer O.S. with full start menu for Older generation.
Posted: 2013-07-02 @ 7:02pm PT
Colossal Screw-Up is an understatement. There should have been a specific Windows 8 "Tablet Edition" with the preschool touchscreen GUI, and more importantly a traditional enterprise desktop version. IT professionals, business users and desktop owners are all complaining: don't turn my professional workstation into a Windows phone! 8.1 isn't going to fix anything. Do yourself a favor, skip Windows 8.anything and pray Microsoft executives get their heads out of their @$$es.
Posted: 2013-07-01 @ 1:37pm PT
King is wrong; his analysis is deeply flawed. Tablets and desktops are two **completely** different usage scenarios. On a tablet, it is natural and efficient to use a tablet interface; on a desktop, it is clumsy and inefficient, esp. if the computer is not touch-enabled. But even if it is touch-enabled, who the hell wants to constantly lift his arm to touch the desktop screen (and soil the screen at the same time)?? Who wants to run Metro apps in full screen or near full screen, esp. on a 27-inch, high-resolution monitor? King is making no sense whatsoever. It bears repeating: tablets and desktops are two completely different usage scenarios.
Posted: 2013-06-28 @ 8:55am PT
The only reason Microsoft sells so many licenses of a new OS, is they force OEM's to sell computer with the new operating system. This is not the free market.
Posted: 2013-06-28 @ 8:51am PT
When Intel started making the Core 2 Duo processor they made them so well that most people may not see a real need to upgrade a computer unless it really gets old or starts breaking down. Computers just work so well that there is no reason to replace them as often unless they are really being overused.
Posted: 2013-06-27 @ 9:49pm PT
Sometimes I feel like I am beating my head against a brick wall.
Everybody, like the writer, keeps on thinking the stilt in sales is related to the OS... ITS NOT!!!
Its a complete shift in the way of thinking, which requires a hardware refresh, and it is coupled with a MASSIVE shift away from traditional desktops (and even laptops) and onto more portable and mobile devices....
As such, the uptake will ALWAYS be much slower, regardless of how good the OS is, or what it can do.
C'mon guys! Get with the program!! Its not like you just wander down to the local store, grab a copy, install it and hey presto everything works! Yet you expect sales to remain constantly high in the face of such a change????
Seriously. Open your eyes!