The Digital Future
5:00 am
Tue May 28, 2013

Is Windows 8 doomed?

When computer sales declined 14 percent in the first quarter of this year, fingers immediately began pointing at Microsoft.

The release of a new version of Windows is supposed to stimulate PC sales. But Windows 8 has received a lukewarm reception.

Strategic News Service publisher and KPLU technology commentator Mark Anderson doesn’t mince words. He thinks Windows 8 is a bomb.

The numbers aren’t very encouraging.

According to NetApplications, Windows continues its domination of the desktop with a more than 91 percent share of the market. But most of that is Windows 7 (44.72 percent) and Windows XP (38.31 percent).

Windows 8 only accounts for 3.82 percent. Even the much-maligned Windows Vista still has a 4.75 percent share.

These numbers are from 6 months after the launch of Windows 8. By comparison, NetApplications reports Windows 7 had an 11.94 percent share at the same stage in its life cycle.

Mark gives Microsoft credit for taking a risk and coming up with an operating system that’s spread across desktop, pad and phone platforms. But what works well on a phone isn’t necessarily the best solution for a PC.

Moving back and forth between a touchscreen and the traditional keyboard/mouse combo, for example, strikes Mark as a bad case of ergonomics.

Microsoft survived the poorly received Windows ME and Vista. Will Windows 8 do any real damage?

Mark thinks Windows 8 will hurt Microsoft and the PC industry in the short term. But three years from now, it could be a much different story.

Aside from the problems with Windows 8, Mark says Microsoft has actually turned a corner. He sees a complex, nuanced company with some really cool new products. The software giant has taken risks that have allowed it to enter new markets.

Microsoft is preparing a free upgrade, Windows 8.1, that’s expected to address many consumer complaints about the operating system. The company will offer a public preview in June.