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Windows Blue: Is It Still Too Late?

Microsoft has released a statement regarding a Windows 8 OS update called “Windows Blue”, of which we will have more information on by late June 2013. But I’m still not sure how much this would help the company.

windows blue

When Windows 8 came out in 2012, people approached it with both excitement and trepidation. On the one hand, it was an extremely exciting way to look at operating systems—it meant to bridge the gap between desktop-type computers and touch-based technology. It LOOKED sleek. It LOOKED easy to use. And, because it was produced by Microsoft (which built its reputation on making computers accessible for everybody), many long-time users trusted that getting used to the new OS would be a cinch.

Now, more than half a year later, many people are still complaining about it.

The real issue here

Look, it’s all well and good that Microsoft is trying to better itself by trying to outdo Apple with innovation. I get it. And I say that what it’s tried to do with Windows 8 is admirable at the very least and mind-bogglingly awesome at the very most.

BUT—and this is a really big BUT—it utterly failed to keep in mind that it’s going to be forcing people to figure out how to use it. For a company that made itself known for the user-friendliness of its operating system, this is a very serious misstep. It seemed to have forgotten that the vast majority of the people who actually use Windows are necessarily technically proficient. Many of them are not inclined to troubleshoot the whole thing. And even the tutorial wizard that supposedly comes with the new OS did not help. People like me resorted to Windows 8 for Dummies Cheat Sheets.

It’s slightly humiliating. And it’s more than a little frustrating. Many users felt betrayed by Microsoft by the time New Year came along.

Cautious optimism over Windows Blue

If we look at the supposed changes so far (which thankfully includes the Start Button; something that is sorely missed by almost everybody), the changes seem promising. It sustains the innovativeness of the OS while at the same time making the learning curve for new users less steep. With Windows 8, I had trouble integrating my RingCentral business phone service into the system—and I have to point out that the service is incredibly easy to use with previous Windows incarnation. I’m hoping that this update would rectify that, as well as the overall difficulty in accessing some of the files I’ve downloaded.

Still, even as a person who respects what Microsoft was trying to do, I find it difficult to get over the fact that the company failed a majority of its users when Windows 8 first came out. The things that they’re trying to implement in this update should have been there in the first place. They should have offered people who were comfortable with “the old Windows” some choices. They should have remembered who they were making this for; or at least, they should know who they’re doing this for.

It’s for the people who have supported them all this time. Sure, a huge part of this is for the future of the company. But the future of the company involves BUYERS. Many of whom they’ve alienated.

Is it really too late?

Normally, I would say it was too late the moment they released Windows 8; if only because it showed people that Microsoft has near-complete disregard for the majority of its customers. But the thing is, this has happened a long time ago—with Windows 3, which needed to be updated with Windows 3.1. It turned out okay, and the company can crow all it wants about how proud they are over their ability to listen to their customers.

That said, they STILL caused the problem in the first place. That is nothing to be proud of. You can say what you will about the adage “nothing ventured, nothing gained”, but when your success is hinged on OTHER people you have to make some compromises.

If we’re going to look at history, it might not be too late for Microsoft. But we’re looking at the future now, in which absolute consideration for end users is a factor. And in that context, Windows Blue may have come too late.

Written By

The author juggles being a wife to an engineer and a mother to a witty toddler. In her spare time, she involves herself in getting the word out about the RingCentral office phone system. Find Monique on Google+.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Frank Cern

    May 23, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    Microsoft is really behind the 8 ball on this one.

  2. Walt

    May 24, 2013 at 6:57 am

    Really?, I don’t have a college degree and I find Windows 8 extremely easy to use…in fact, it works exactly like windows 7 with the exception of two things:
    1. Instead of a start button, you have to move your mouse six millimeters father towards the corner and click. That opens up a huge start menu instead of a small one with a bunch of lists and folders, (It’s called the “Start Screen”).
    2. Instead of searching from a search bar in the start menu, you just simply go to your start screen and start typing what you’re looking for and Windows will search your entire computer for the file, app, program…whatever you’re searching for. Hell, it will even search the web if you tell it to. How great is that? Instead of opening up IE or Chrome or whatever you use, then typing http://www.google.com in the address bar, clicking “go”, then typing your search in their search box, you simply go to the start screen type your question or query, (that’s right you don’t even have to open a search box, just start typing from the main screen, and choose Bing, Google, IE, Chrome…whatever medium you wish to search the web with) and Windows 8 will go find it for you.

    Seriously…how difficult is that? Furthermore, as far as I know, Windows 7 is still supported, it’s still available to buy, so what’s the problem? if you don’t want Windows 8, then don’t buy it. As far as your comment on Microsoft’s success hinging on other people, well they sold 60 Million licenses for Windows 8, I’d say that’s pretty successful.

    Lastly, it amazes me how people say that consumers don’t like Windows 8. I work in a business where I’m exposed to consumers on a daily basis and I can tell you I’ve not run into anyone that knows how to use Windows 7 that dislikes Windows 8. I have run into a lot of people that say “I’ve heard Windows 8 is terrible” and when I show them the differences between Windows 7 and Windows 8, they always say things like, “So why is everyone making a big fuss about that?” or “That’s a really nice operating system, now that I know what it’s like, I’m going to upgrade.”

    In conclusion, it seems to me the only people pushing this “Microsoft doesn’t care about its users” crap are bloggers that secretly love Apple and hate Microsoft, you know the people that purport to be educated enough to throw their opinion around as if they are some type of authority on whatever subject they’re writing about, but not educated enough to learn how to use a new operating system that works exactly the same as the one they have with a few improvements; which begs the question, if you aren’t smart enough to figure out how to use what is by far the easiest operating system Microsoft has ever developed, why should anyone give any credence to your opinion about said operating system or the company that created it? Unless, what you’re truly trying to convey is not that the operating system is too hard to learn, (for crying out loud, I’ve seen six year olds use this operating system with no problems at all) but that you’re too lazy to take the time to learn it, and the reason that you’re truly upset with Microsoft, isn’t that they had no regard for their end users, but rather, that they had the unmitigated gall to inconvenience YOU by creating a new operating system. Before you try to defend your position, keep in mind that there aren’t 60 Million people complaining about Windows 8, so you may be in the super minority here.

    Just some food for thought 🙂

  3. Steve Morris

    May 24, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    Windows 8 does pose a learning curve for users, and Microsoft could have done more to minimise that. But so could every software company every time they update any product. Developers always want to make changes, and they get criticised if things appear to change too slowly. Windows 8 makes a lot of things easier for users.

    Microsoft needed to bite the bullet with Windows 8. At least they didn’t release a total failure like Apple Maps.

  4. Dan

    May 30, 2013 at 8:06 am

    Windows 8 is an interesting operating system, but the transition from the previous OS is slow. Windows 7 is very polished and popular and the people got used to it. It is hard to move from a well known OS to one which has an overhauled UI and removed an important feature (Start button). Let’s hope Microsoft will make the right choices and Windows 8 will be more attractive after the Windows Blue update.

  5. Dan

    June 3, 2013 at 11:14 am

    In my opinion Microsoft made a mistake by making Windows 8 too much touch based. Some of the controls are designed to touch devices and not for desktop. In fact the entire tile screen is for touch devices.

    In Windows 7 you had access to everything you need much faster by using the Start control while now using the search from the tiles screen it takes a while. Also I’ve noticed that search from the tiles screen is finding only categories (for example if I type Add or Remove programs it returns no results) not like in Windows 7 where you could type Add or remove programs and the “Search programs and files” would find the Add or Remove programs menu. In Windows 8 I have to type control panel and then access the control panel menu and from there access Add/Remove programs.

    Also another mistake is that they haven’t implemented the right click menu in the tiles menu.

    Don’t get me wrong I like the tiles interface and the new interface of Windows 8, but at my work place there are situations when I need to move very fast on my computer, I found very difficult to use Windows 8 even after using it after a long period of time.

    Another thing that I don’t like about Windows 8 is that some menus are very big because are for touch devices and not for desktop.

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