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Why is Windows 8 a Flop?

sinking shipAlthough I’m now primarily a Mac user at home, that had nothing to do with a dislike for Windows. In fact, I loved Windows 7. Shortly after its release, I installed it on both of my personal machines, and I was one of the early adopters at the office. In years past, I would have been eager to install Windows 8 on my remaining Windows machine and on my Windows 7 partition on my Mac, given my affliction with G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). I haven’t felt that urge for Windows 8, and it appears that most other users have felt the same way. Based on some recent data, it seems that Windows 8 is a flop. Why?

ExtremeTech recently reported on Windows 8’s dismal adoption rate.

In the month of February, according to Net Applications, Windows 8 gained 0.4% of the desktop market, moving from 2.26 to 2.67%. In comparison, Windows 7 had a market share of over 9% after four months of public availability. A growth rate of 0.4% is absolutely horrendous, and — if we assume that PCs are replaced every five years — actually below the natural attrition/replacement rate. If growth of 0.4% wasn’t bad enough, it’s also worth pointing out that it’s down from 0.5% in January — yes, Windows 8 adoption is slowing down. Windows 7, after a small dip last month, actually gained market share in February.

I’m not a sales analyst, and I don’t use Windows 8, so I’m not going to pretend to have a clue as to the reasons for the slow adoption. My guesses are just that – guesses based upon various reviews. Based on those reviews, I can speak to my own reasons for not feeling the need to kick the tires on Windows 8. Here’s my take:

1. People don’t like too much change. By all reports, Windows 8 is a drastic change from any prior version of Windows. Whether Microsoft is ahead of the times, or just missed the ball entirely, Windows 8 was too much of a move.

2. Mobile and Desktop should be two different experiences. Unlike Microsoft, I’m not sold on the idea that the mobile experience and desktop experience are interchangeable. I cringe whenever I hear that Mac’s OS X will gradually become more like iOS. The two experiences are different, and require different user interfaces.

3. Mobile is killing off the desktop. I’ve heard it and you’ve heard it. Mobile is on the rise, and the desktop is dying. Not good for a company whose bread and butter is the desktop.

4. Too expensive. After spending $20 for the latest OS X upgrade, I have a hard justifying spending 5 times that amount on a product with mixed reviews.

4. Bad marketing. I haven’t tried Windows 8, so points 1 through 3 could just be based on bad press. Am I off base, and Microsoft has just done a bad job at marketing Windows 8? Should I bite the bullet and purchase Windows 8?


I’m willing to admit that my opinion is uninformed, and I’m giving an opinion from the outside looking in, since I haven’t tried Windows 8. If you have tried Windows 8, let me know if I’ve completely missed the boat.

Image from mad maven via stock.xchng