We know from well-connected Microsoft reporters and even directly from Microsoft employees that Microsoft knows it stumbled badly with Windows 8. Indeed, the Windows 8 brand has become so toxic that the company’s employees have reportedly dubbed it “the new Vista.”
While Microsoft did its best to make significant improvements to the platform with its subsequent Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Update releases, the company is mostly now ready to move on from Windows 8 by releasing Windows 9, which will reportedly bring back many of the key desktop features that PC owners say they sorely missed with Microsoft’s first touch-centric OS.
With Windows 8 soon to be on its way out, it’s worth examining just what Microsoft did that was such a mistake. There were some obvious problems with Windows 8 but one quote from a very unlikely source may sum it up the best.
In his Techpinions column this week, John Kirk cites the following quote from, of all places, the Twitter account of Startup Vitamins to show exactly where Windows 8 went wrong: “A user interface is like a joke. If you have to explain it, it’s not that good.”
And that’s pretty much it with Windows 8. The platform’s biggest defenders always pointed out that you could easily make it just like Windows 7… if you changed some of its default settings and downloaded third-party apps to bring back the classic Start menu. While Windows 8’s champions may have been right that doing these things was “easy,” it also raised the question of why users should bother to pay to upgrade from Windows 7 if they’d have to do extra work just to make Windows 8 behave the same way.
The bottom line is that Microsoft has had to spend a lot of time explaining Windows 8 to a big portion of its user base. That right there should have been a warning sign.