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What the Heck is Happening to Windows? Article on Windows 8 Disaster

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I could not resist posting an extended quote from this article on the Windows 8 disaster and the possible road back for Microsoft:

After watching Windows Vista get mismanaged and then slapped around by Apple, it tapped Steven Sinofsky to reimagine Windows. It's fair to say that this man shares many of the same character traits—and flaws—that defined Steve Jobs. He was belligerent and one-sided, didn't work well with others, had no qualms about tossing out features and technologies that didn't originate with his group, and had absolutely zero respect for customer feedback. Here, finally, was a guy who could push through a Steve Jobs-style, singular product vision.

And he did. Sadly, the result was Windows 8.

The reason this happened is that while Sinofsky had the maniacal power and force of will of a Steve Jobs, he lacked Jobs' best gift: An innate understanding of good design. Windows 8 is not well-designed. It's a mess. But Windows 8 is a bigger problem than that. Windows 8 is a disaster in every sense of the word.

This is not open to debate, is not part of some cute imaginary world where everyone's opinion is equally valid or whatever. Windows 8 is a disaster. Period.

While some Windows backers took a wait-and-see approach and openly criticized me for being honest about this, I had found out from internal sources immediately that the product was doomed from the get-go, feared and ignored by customers, partners and other groups in Microsoft alike. Windows 8 was such a disaster that Steven Sinofsky was ejected from the company and his team of lieutenants was removed from Windows in a cyclone of change that triggered a reorganization of the entire company. Even Sinofsky's benefactor, Microsoft's then-CEO Steve Ballmer, was removed from office. Why did all this happen? Because together, these people set the company and Windows back by years and have perhaps destroyed what was once the most successful software franchise of all time.
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"Destroyed" ;D

It is still the mainstream form of computing and will be for a long time. Macs still, yes still, occupy a small section of where most people go to buy computers and most people don't associate the Apple store with computers but with "gadgets".

I think one interesting thing about this article is the recommendations at the end:

I always accepted the messy bits of Windows in the past because the system addressed such a large audience. But given the way things are going, Windows should evolve into a system that is laser targeted to the customers who will in fact continue using it regularly. That's mostly business users, but even when you look at the consumers who will use Windows, that usage is almost entirely productivity related. Windows should focus on that. On getting work done. On an audience of doers. Job one should be productivity.
--- End quote ---


To add to some melodrama:
Way back in 2004 I built a system on XP with a buddy with the specific intent to ride out these shenanigans into the next "safe harbor". We put a few bucks into quality parts, and except for OS crankiness that annoys Skwire, Mission Accomplished.

I could have bailed at Win 7, but I have held on.

We then saw 1-2 (depending how MS counts them for support rules purposes) Win 8 and 8.1 releases. Yuck. But then they changed CEOs, and that new guy is supposed to know his nuts and bolts and not be a mere marketing hack. What if he went "back to basics" and stripped the 23% of cruft in the Windows code and made a lean mean copy of Win9?

That would be the completion of my decade-long goal.

I just had a lengthy email debate about this very article. I won't re-post my entire reply as it was very long, but Windows 8 was not a disaster. It presented a different way of doing things that people who had been used to doing things a certain way for nearly 30 years had trouble adjusting to the new way. People complained that Microsoft moved too far away from a work-flow that was suited to a desktop and Microsoft listened. The release of Windows 8.1 came out which addressed a lot of these complaints and most of the criticisms have melted away.

Come next month, Microsoft is going to be releasing Windows 8.1 Update 1 which offers even more goodies for desktop users (I'm running the leaked version right now & it's pretty nice).

Why do people take this Thurrott fellow seriously? Why is it that when a new Microsoft operating system is about to be released, he has nothing bad to say about it? Well, that's because any criticism would hurt his book sales, that's why. However, tech book sales are not like normal books. They wane over time as the market is saturated and people start looking towards the next version of the program or operating system. This is when tech writers have to drum up business if they want cash to keep flowing into their pockets. Best way to do that is to get traffic to your site to surge so you can get some of that ad revenue.

Hmm...what would cause a spike in traffic? Another article on how good Windows is? Or perhaps doing a 180 and try to incite some rage from the user base? Then these users will email their friends and post in forums to get more people over to the site to view ads. I wouldn't care, but it irritates me that people fall for this every single time. Yes, he's done the exact same thing with previous versions of Windows. About a year after the OS has released and sales are down, he tries to spark interest in his site again by raging against the Windows OS du jour.


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