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Microsoft’s big Windows 8 problem: Touch not seen as important for PCs

Microsoft Windows 8 Criticism

In developing Windows 8, Microsoft made a big bet that adding touch capabilities to personal computers would help revive an industry that was getting eaten away by smartphones and tablets. But Creative Strategies president Tim Bajarin, writing over at Time, says his research has found that making touch such an important part of personal computers was a serious strategic error on Microsoft’s part. The reason, he says, is that PC users are so used to using mice and keyboards that they see no advantage to touching their screens to get work done. So while touch interfaces make perfect sense for smaller, portable devices such as smartphones and tablets, they make little sense for personal computers that have larger displays and that already come with trackpads or mice.

“While adding touch input to screens is not a bad thing, people being able to adapt quickly to touch as a primary form of user interface input on larger PCs does not happen overnight,” Bajarin writes. “Early on, Apple’s scientists studied the kinesiology of arm movements in relationship to keyboards and mice, and concluded that implementing any gestures into the user interface worked best through a trackpad. The company also determined that picking the hand up from the keyboard area and moving it to touch the screen was unnatural, and factored that into the final decision to add gestures to the Magic Trackpad instead.”

Prior to joining BGR as News Editor, Brad Reed spent five years covering the wireless industry for Network World. His first smartphone was a BlackBerry but he has since become a loyal Android user.