The release of Windows 8 failed to give Microsoft and hardware makers the boost they were expecting. We knew there was a problem early, when no CAD vendor made a fuss at the launch, and that most haven't bothered certifying their software to run on the crazed-hybrid operating system. You could say 8 is the anti-XP.
There are two reason for 8's failure to ignite sales:
- The touch interface is a FAIL on non-touch computers, and Microsoft's advice to memorize lots of keyboard shortcuts is no solution for those users who haven't even mastered Ctl+C/Ctrl+V.
(My neighbour last week got a free laptop from his cable company for signing up with their fiber optic service. "I hate Windows 8," he yelled at me across the lawn.)
- The market has shifted to portable devices. You know, this is the one Microsoft has been championing since 1992, when it released Windows for Pen Computing; except that the market skipped past Microsoft's sumo-wrestler-weight operating system and on to iPads, Androids, and ebook readers.
Mary Meeker does an annual overview of the tech industry, and here is the slide that illustrates the problem for Microsoft (who has essentially no presence in mobile) and the wonderful news for everyone else: