Word on the street suggests Windows 8.1 will be released in October and for many, the new operating system can't come soon enough. After dealing with plenty of grief over Windows 8, time is of the essence for Microsoft.
The lack of popularity of Windows 8 has caused a vast majority of PC users to stay with their previous OS rather than upgrade. Since Microsoft is a company built on software, failures on that side of their business can have catastrophic effects.
Along with launching Windows 8, Microsoft also entered the hardware market with introduction of its Surface tablets. Based on results thus far, since the Surface RT and Surface Pro launched, industry observers say Microsoft should keep its focus on squarely on software, which is what it does best.
Will Windows 8.1 Save Microsoft?
With current reports predicting that Windows 8.1 will come out in October, and leaks of the almost finished OS already available on torrent sites, Microsoft might strike gold with Windows 8.1. Specifically providing what people have been asking for should help Microsoft win back customers and get them to upgrade.
Windows 8 adoption rates have been absolutely horrendous. Some attribute the failure to the fact that touchscreen displays are expensive yet almost essential for Windows 8 to be beneficial. As of July's adoption rate report, Windows 8 only controlled around 5% of the market, whereas Windows 7 had 44%.
Hopefully, Windows 8.1 will bring back some of the core features necessary for people to use it in desktop mode without feeling limited. One problem with Windows 8 is that it does not have the start button in desktop mode that users were accustomed to using in earlier versions. That issue alone has to countless negative reviews and low adoption rates.
With Windows 8.1 presumably bringing back many of the necessary Windows features, Microsoft should see better adoption rates of the OS moving forward. I personally use Windows 8 and can say there are definitely some great things about it, such as improved boot times, for example. However, because of its heavy emphasis on touchscreen functionality, and touchscreens still not the norm on the desktop, Windows 8 has not been able to provide an adequate replacement for Windows 7.
The Surface Conundrum
The other aspect to Microsoft's failures with Windows 8 is related to its Surface tablets. Windows 8 relies on touchscreen controls and there are very few mainstream computers or tablets offering touch screens at a reasonable price. Microsoft tried to speed up adoption by introducing the Surface, but things did not go as planned.
The Surface Pro -- Microsoft's flagship device -- has not offered the level of performance expected from a nearly $1,000 device. Battery life has been horrible and with many people wanting to use laptops and tablets without them being plugged in, battery life is very important.
Unfortunately, the Surface RT and Pro have been unable to provide an increase in Windows 8 usage, as Microsoft would have hoped. Although other manufacturers are now hopping onboard and coming out with their own Windows tablets and laptops, Windows 8.1 is still necessary for widespread adoption of the operating system.
Posted: 2013-09-01 @ 6:49am PT
Since when has "offering more choice" become "ramming down our throats"? Windows 8/.1 offer the choice of mouse and keyboard, touch. Heck, eventually there will be gesture and voice in there too. All this is isn't there to annoy you but for consistency from device to device. Most complaints have to come from people who haven't even used the OS. Get off the bandwagon and educate yourselves.
Posted: 2013-08-23 @ 12:18pm PT
Windows 8.1 is not going to save the day. I think as hard as MS wants to ram Metro/Modern down our throats, it's already doomed...
Unless Developers jump on the bandwagon, it's not going to have any reason to exist and with so few people liking it, I can't see developers getting on board soon... And truthfully, I can't see the developers taking the time to learn what they need to program for Metro, with little prospects for revenue... and a much greater chance that all that effort and learning, etc... may be obsolete in a year.
Windows 8.1 offers me no reason to upgrade and several reasons NOT to upgrade...
Posted: 2013-08-22 @ 1:23pm PT
An essential part of any operating system is choice. In different computer use environments this "choice" may have a different outcome than others. The individual and independent user may want a choice of desktop appearance, while an IT administrator with dozens or even hundreds of users may wish to implement a different "choice". In my view Microsoft is attempting to limit "choice" in a big way, much like Apple did way, way back. I don't see how limiting choices is a good way to market an operating system that has been open to choice for many years.
Posted: 2013-08-21 @ 4:29pm PT
"With Windows 8.1 presumably bringing back many of the "good old" Windows feature"
Is this supposed to be a sick joke? W8.1 brings back nothing but a Start Button that simply takes one back to the hated Metro UI screen. There's still no Start Menu in sight, and filetypes still default to the hated Metro UI, causing bizarre and unexpected returns from the desktop to the productivity-killing Metro UI.
No restored Start Menu means Microsoft is lying though their teeth about listening to their customers. The restored Start Button is yet just another way to force the user back to the execrable and hated Metro UI, meaning Microsoft has pretty much just spit in the faces of their users and has indicated that it no longer has any real interest in remaining in the business of making products its customers want. The outrage that will be engendered by such a slimy move will make the anger triggered by the original Start Menu removal look trivial.
Posted: 2013-08-15 @ 5:27pm PT
Win 8 does not rely on "touchscreen controls". I used it for a day on a keyboard alone and it works perfectly OK without a touchscreen.
All the short cut key commands are largely the same and swinging your mouse into the corners gives you access to the rest.
What's the problem?
Posted: 2013-08-15 @ 9:31am PT
8.1 is nothing but a ruse by MS to try to get people to actually use it. The 'Start Button' is a con, and does nothing but dump you back into Metro (so boot to desktop doesn't actually achieve much either). All the file associations still link to Metro, and allowing the desktop wallpaper to be used in Metro does nothing but 'fool' the user into thinking it's more integrated. It isn't. It's exactly what it was before, and complete waste of space as well as time and effort.
As most/all of the control panel functionality has now been replicated in Metro, you can really see how MS are pushing this thing down our throats, but in a way that (they hope) doesn't look like it to most.
Believe it, Metro is still where MS want to be and are going. The desktop is now 'legacy' and will not be there as we know it in Windows 9.
Posted: 2013-08-14 @ 7:41pm PT
If you're the IT director Trey, I feel bad for your school's staff and students. Windows 8 in dual monitor desktop mode is faster, more fluid and more accessible than Win7. I use it exclusively on desktops, touch all in ones, a Lenovo laptop and two tablets. It's touch friendly when it needs to be, and a desktop workhorse when it needs to be. The fact that you can't figure it out and your customers suffer is a shame. Especially since you're wasting tax dollars on your ineptitude.
Posted: 2013-08-14 @ 1:31pm PT
Windows 8 is complete garbage for any institutions with many computers. I'm the IT director at a large K12 school and we just finished upgrading from XP to 7 over the summer. We spent about a month with Windows 8 in the lab testing it and seeing exactly what the learning curve would be. Our conculsion was that we were going to have to completely retrain our staff and students to use a new OS that offers virtually no increase in productivity. You think the metro start screen looks sexy? I wonder how sexy it looks running 50 sessions via remote desktop services? Our network is mostly thin clients. Microsoft has effectively abandoned the larger business/educational markets in favor of pleasing home users with an OS that has been designed to run on tablets. My opinion is metro should have been there, I mean it does look kind of cool. But it should have been an *OPTIONAL* part of the OS that you turned on if you wanted it. Maybe even turned it on by default in the devices sold for home usage with an option to disable it. Saying that "people need to get with the times" is ridiculous.. There's no point in completely reinventing the OS while what we have is serving our needs. Comparing it to moving from DOS to Windows is also stupid... that move brought in multitasking and a huge increase in productivity. This move has nothing to offer business users.
Posted: 2013-08-14 @ 1:11am PT
I'm very excited to see what's to come in this upgrade and its features. I love new things to explore and I think 8.1 will be worth the wait.