They (Microsoft) had no clue how attached people had become to their beloved start button and the comfortingly familiar desktop.
“Hey, look! Here’s a cool new touch feature to play with!” Would have gone over so very much better than the “Hey look! We took away everything you like and replaced it with a cool new (mandatory) feature most of you can’t use!” we all received.
Initially, Microsoft stood firm, claiming the start button was dead forever and renewing their declaration that the touch-based tile interface was here to stay, but as the majority of their customers continued over time to refuse to buy Windows 8 and more people clamored for continued support of XP; Microsoft was left with very few choices.
So they did what they do best, follow the money. Windows XP, Microsoft’s most successful and innovative product was summarily cut down and burnt at the stake. A marketing blitz decrying every fault they could find or manufacture about Windows XP hit the world stage, complete with security dire warnings of horrible consequences for anyone who continued to use XP. What they had once touted (and the world at large confirmed) as the world’s most effective operating system was newly declared to be feckless and full of security holes.
Microsoft would soon eat those words as revenues plummeted and hardware manufacturers started exploring offering customers Linux duel-boot options for desktop computers and Chrome or android as options for laptops. As their bottom line took its biggest hit ever and adoption of Windows 8 stood below 10 percent several years after its release.
Their resolve began to crumble…
The start button came back, then the desktop was more readily available, and finally the option to avoid the tile interface entirely. Step by agonizing step, Microsoft swallowed each bit of bitter crow on its painful journey back towards giving their loyal customers what they wanted all along: Something they could use.
If Microsoft had presented the tile screen and the start button as an option, home and tablet users would have been able to enjoy its new and unique qualities while business users could have ignored it and stayed with a productive and useful interface. I suspect that is exactly where Windows 8 will end up when all is said and done, with classic options that reinstate the non-touch effectiveness of Windows 7 while keeping the under-the-hood improvements made within Windows 8. There’s a lot to like about what has been done within the heart of Windows 8, but all of that has been completely overshadowed by their touch-only approach and heavy-handed tactics.
Where does Microsoft go from here? Have they learned their lesson, or will they continue to ignore the will of their customers and shove us all over yet another cliff with the next shiny bauble they dangle in front of us? Will there be a hidden trap-door under that one too?
One can only wait and see, and hope; perhaps to dream…
Of a better day and a better Microsoft.
Or a more worthy competitor?
As always; this is just my view from the cheap seats.