Windows 8 Negative Responses Are Overwhelming Amid Close Release Date, Said to be 'The End' of Microsoft, But Company Staying Optimistic
Microsoft is planning to make a comeback with its new Windows 8 software. However, it's already getting a bad response and reports say this might not work for the future of Microsoft.
According to the Associated Press, the new software might confuse and alienate customers.
Windows 8 is getting a completely different look from Windows 7 that will force users to learn new ways to get things done, AP reported. Windows 8 combines PC, tablet, and phone in one look. However, reactions are not so friendly.
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"It was very difficult to get used to," Tony Roos, an American missionary in Paris said. Roos installed a free preview version of Windows 8 on his aging laptop to see if the new version will make the PC faster and more responsive, but it didn't. "I have an 8-year-old and a 10-year-old, and they never got used to it. They were like, 'We're just going to use Mom's computer."'
With PC sales expected to shrink this year for the first time since 2001 because of tablets and smartphones, the question is whether the new Windows 8, which can run on tablets, and smartphone, can satisfy the needs of both types of users, AP said.
"There are many things that are hidden," said Raluca Budiu, a user experience specialist with Nielsen Norman Group. "Once users discover them, they have to remember where they are. People will have to work hard and use this system on a regular basis."
"I am very worried that Microsoft may be about to shoot itself in the foot spectacularly," said. Michael Mace, the CEO of Silicon Valley software startup Cera Technology and a former Apple employee. Windows 8 is so different, he said, that many Windows users who aren't technophiles will feel lost, he said.
"Most Windows users don't view their PCs as being broken to begin with. If you tell them 'Oh, here's a new version of Windows, and you have to relearn everything to use it,' how many normal users are going to want to do that?" he asked.
In another report, CEO of Intel Corp., Paul Otellini, doubts that Windows 8 will have a huge impact on sales.
While he is "very excited" about the new operating system, he expects the usual holiday bounce in PC sales to be half of what it usually is, according to CIO-Today.
"The sentiment around Windows 8 was overwhelmingly negative," Brian White at Topeka Capital Markets said after meetings with suppliers. "We believe the PC industry is headed for a muted December quarter and well below the ramp expected with new products."
Analyst Mary Jo Foley at UBS is "leery" of Windows 8, noting that it has an entirely new look and feel. It could either be a big success, she said, or it could confuse customers and turn them off.
Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff even predicted that Windows 8 will mark "the end" of Microsoft's dominant OS due to increasing competition, including big rival Apple, and choice sparked by alternatives, according to ComputerWorld.
"The big catalyst of the next shift in the enterprise is Windows 8," Benioff said. "People are asking do I go to Windows 8 or not," he added, calling the situation a "gambit." However, he said, "This was not the case with Windows 7. You heard about the Windows 7 upgrade cycle; you're not going to hear about the Windows 8 upgrade cycle. This is the end of Windows."
Microsoft is optimistic despite negative responses. According to AppleInsider, Microsoft saw strong pre-sales for its next-generation operating system ahead of its Oct. 26 launch.
"Though sales through Microsoft's Windows division were down by a third in the most recent quarter, the Redmond, Wash., software giant saw $783 million in pre-sales for Windows 8. That's a number 40 percent higher than comparable pre-sales for its predecessor," AI reported.
Microsoft did acknowledge that "competitive pressures" in the market contributed to a 33 percent decline in the previous quarter.
"The launch of Windows 8 is the beginning of a new era at Microsoft," said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. "Investments we've made over a number of years are now coming together to create a future of exceptional devices and services, with tremendous opportunity for our customers, developers, and partners."
Microsoft's new Surface tablet and Windows Phone 8 could help the company get back to where it was. Nokia fans are looking forward to the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820, as well as the HTC Windows Phone 8X and Samsung ATIV S. Microsoft will hold an event to announce the final version of Windows Phone 8 on Oct. 29, just nine days away.