Windows 8: Microsoft's Newborn Deserves Nurturing

I am not a well known technology blogger, nor do I work for or contribute to the likes of CNet or PCMag or The Verge and so on. Like many, I am just an average IT professional, who work extensively with and the Microsoft stack and develop on/for it.

Am I a fan of Microsoft? Yes.

Do I think Microsoft is perfect? Not at all.

Throughout it’s history, Microsoft has faced many triumphs and trials. Through it all, they pressed on. Microsoft has come a long way and whether we like it or not, Microsoft has every intention of staying.

I believe Microsoft is one of (if not the most) scrutinised tech companies in the world. To some extend, it is easy to understand why. When you are the “the world’s largest
software company based on revenues” (Wikipedia), everyone is going to slice and dice you. Some folks need to do this because it needs to be done.

However, there also seems to be an established and accepted practice of bashing Microsoft, that is well and truly unprofessional and unfair for all practical purposes. If those who engage in this type of behavior were to treat every tech company in a similar manner, I wouldn’t make a big deal of it. Correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t see these folks taking Apple (or similar companies) to task and tearing them apart. It’s bullying if you ask me. When someone (with a voice and reach) says something negative about Microsoft in general or a product/service in particular, all the others repeat it like parrots. These individuals either don’t care about the truth and don’t see the need to verify facts or don’t have the intelligence/insight to do what needs to be done before running their mouths. Here I was thinking facts/truth mattered and that’s what these folks were all about.

Take for example, this IDC press release: PC Shipments Post the Steepest Decline Ever in a Single Quarter, According to IDC

It seems that the only thing many have gathered from this press release is that Windows 8 is to blame. When I read that release, I clearly saw the following reasons listed and I quote:

  • “Fading Mini Notebook shipments have taken a big chunk out of the low-end market while tablets and smartphones continue to divert consumer spending.”
  • “PC industry efforts to offer touch capabilities and ultraslim systems have been hampered by traditional barriers of price and component supply”
  • “as well as a weak reception for Windows 8”
  • “PC industry is struggling to identify innovations that differentiate PCs from other products and inspire consumers to buy, and instead is meeting significant resistance to changes perceived as cumbersome or costly.”
  • “Mid- and bottom-tier vendors are also struggling to identify growth markets within the U.S”
  • “Among the most vulnerable group of vendors are the whitebox system builders, which are undergoing consolidation that is affecting shipments as well as the distribution sector”
  • “The industry is going through a critical crossroads, and strategic choices will have to be made as to how to compete with the proliferation of alternative devices and remain relevant to the consumer. Vendors will have to revisit their organizational structures and go to market strategies, as well as their supply chain, distribution, and product portfolios in the face of shrinking demand and looming consolidation.”

Despite all those factors, Bob O’Donnell, (IDC Program Vice President, Clients and Displays) chose to squarely put the blame on Microsoft and Windows 8. Here’s how he put it and I quote:

“At this point, unfortunately, it seems clear that the Windows 8 launch not only failed to provide a positive boost to the PC market, but appears to have slowed the market. While some consumers appreciate the new form factors and touch capabilities of Windows 8, the radical changes to the UI, removal of the familiar Start button, and the costs associated with touch have made PCs a less attractive alternative to dedicated tablets and other competitive devices. Microsoft will have to make some very tough decisions moving forward if it wants to help reinvigorate the PC market.”

I have quoted nearly half the IDC press release and you can see why.

Windows 8 is listed as one of the reasons, yet Bob is quick to place all blame on Windows 8 and by extension, Microsoft.

Windows 8 is fairly new to the market. Windows 8 hardware is new as well. Windows 8 apps are slowly but certainly being added. Surface RT and Surface Pro are Windows 8 products, like all other devices launched by Microsoft hardware partners, not intended to be saviours of the platform.

Just as a baby who comes out of his/her mother’s womb isn’t expected to immediately run 100m sprints in world record speeds (as absurd as that sounds), it was an absurd notion on the part of many people to have expected Windows 8 to become an overnight success and placed all responsibility of saving the PC industry, on the shoulders of Microsoft.

I wonder if anyone has stopped to think that just may be, Windows 8 hasn’t had widespread adoption because Windows 7 was/is just that good. Perhaps, consumers aren’t running out to buy Windows 8 tablets or PC’s because their Windows 7 (or dare I say XP) desktops and laptops are still meeting their needs.

One can come up with many plausible reasons to explain the situation concerning poor PC sales. I suppose, doing actual research to figure out the real reasons means that those covering such stories will have to do some serious work, that involves time, effort and energy. Perhaps, it’s just easier to go with the tried and tested garbage and just blame Microsoft for everything and most people just gobble it up.

I for one, haven’t given up on Windows 8. When Microsoft introduced Windows Phone, many were of the opinion that the latest smartphone OS out of Redmond was doomed to failure. My Nokia Lumia 820 Windows Phone 8 device says otherwise. Windows 8 may have had a slow and rocky start, but let’s not be writing its obituaries yet.

Instead, let’s be patient.

I urge Microsoft to keep improving Windows 8 and set hardware standards by continuing to innovate the Surface series.

I urge Microsoft’s hardware partners to keep innovating and introducing new experiences based on Windows 8.

I urge developers to keep creating extraordinary Windows 8 apps.

I urge analysts and journalists to be fair and honest when writing their masterpieces on Windows 8.

And finally, I urge consumers to make their Windows 8 decisions based on first hand experience, not hearsay.

If we all play our part, may be, we can all win.

Thanks for reading.

Thank Sri :)Thank Sri 🙂

2 thoughts on “Windows 8: Microsoft's Newborn Deserves Nurturing”

  1. Hi Srikant,
    Nicely written. This is why I’ve unfollowed all the techbloggers. Recently I was literally getting upset with their bullshit and spending hours writing counter-arguments, until one day I sat down and unfollowed all the naysayers!

    Windows 8 is awesome, warts and all! PC == Personal Computer == A Form Factor! Form Factors are changing and Microsoft has it’s money pat down where its mouth is! Both Surface and Windows 8 will succeed, it’s just a matter of time (and maybe a legup with the h/w pricing)!


Leave a comment