Windows 8ista: Microsoft admits failure

“Microsoft is preparing to reverse course over key elements of its Windows 8 operating system, marking one of the most prominent admissions of failure for a new mass-market consumer product since Coca-Cola’s New Coke fiasco nearly 30 years ago,” Richard Waters reports for The Financial Times.

“‘Key aspects’ of how the software is used will be changed when Microsoft releases an updated version of the operating system this year, Tami Reller, head of marketing and finance for the Windows business, said in an interview with the Financial Times. Referring to difficulties many users have had with mastering the software, she added: “The learning curve is definitely real.'”

“Richard Doherty, analyst at tech research firm Envisioneering, said: ‘This is like New Coke, going on for seven months — only Coke listened better.’ Coca-Cola dropped its New Coke formula in response to a consumer backlash less than three months after launch,” Waters reports. “Pressure has been building for Windows 8 PCs to launch the familiar desktop view when turned on — and to bring back the ‘start’ button featured in the lower left corner of the screen in previous releases.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If Microsoft had a brain among them, they could have simply read MacDailyNews on June 1, 2011 and saved themselves years and a world of hurt:

Microsoft, in trying to cram everything into Windows 8 in an attempt to be all things to all devices, will end up with an OS that’s a jack of all trades and a master of none (which, after all, ought to be Microsoft’s company motto)… We simply do not see the world clamoring for the UI of an iPod also-ran now ported to an iPhone wannabe that nobody’s buying to be blown up onto a PC display.

From what we’ve seen so far, Windows 8 strikes us as an unsavory combination of Windows Weight plus Windows Wait.

Not to mention that probably no one on earth knows how much or what kinds of residual legacy spaghetti code roils underneath it all (shudder)… If Microsoft’s going to ask Windows sufferers to “learn a whole new computer” (and that’s exactly how they’ll look at it, regardless of how Microsoft pitches it), millions will simply say, “Time to get a Mac to match my iPod, iPhone, and iPad!”

As if they needed it: More good news for Apple.

Told ya so.

Related articles:
Microsoft partners say Windows 8 caused ‘millions of customers’ to switch to Apple – April 18, 2013
Stick a fork in Microsoft’s Windows, it’s done – April 17, 2013
Apple Macintosh owns 45% of PC market profits – April 16, 2013
Steve Jobs’ revenge – April 12, 2013
Microsoft’s stock takes beating after putrid Windows PC shipment reports – April 11, 2013
Apple Macintosh on the rise as Windows PC market plummets – April 11, 2013
Gartner: PC Market posts 11.2 percent decline in Q113; Apple Mac sales up 7.4 percent in U.S. – April 10, 2013


    1. The Coke fiasco was not a fiasco all. it was actually the smartest marketing and product reformulation ever in the history of industry and they pulled it off without anyone knowing what they really did.

      Prior to new Coke, all Coca-Cola products except diet, were made with pure cane sugar. when new Coke rolled out it was made with corn syrup – high fructose corn syrup to be exact. Then they pulled all of the old Coke off the market for several months while The public was separated from their standard flavor. finally Coca-Cola was reintroduced as Coca-Cola classic -however what nobody noticed was it was now made with high fructose corn syrup also. The taste difference and consistency of high fructose corn syrup Coca-Cola was dramatically different but went unnoticed as long as the familiar old red and white can came back. Had they tried this without the obfuscation of a new Coke the results have been disastrous. everyone would have noticed a terrible shift with their Coca-Cola product – this way nobody noticed. Why you ask? well it’s all about the money. at that time high fructose corn syrup cost half as much as pure cane sugar. there really was no failure. Coca-Cola doubled its profits and nobody even saw it happen. Of course, Scully had left Pepsi for Apple before all this happened

      1. Yes, but a Coke costs less than a dollar and is trivial consumption. Windows cost much more and has a real world impact on companies and they support budgets. It was nothing but a sales disaster and changing it back now will only make it identical to Windows 7. Why upgrade at all?

      2. Coke also got twice the shelf space for awhile with New and Classic. They also got people to admit that they really, really wanted the old Coke.

        Microsoft gets people to say they really really want the old Windows.

      3. @Apprentice – “The Coke fiasco was not a fiasco at all.”

        Regarding your belief that Coke waited to introduce HFCS to the original Coke after reintroducing it as Classic in 1985:  “Since 1980 in the U.S., Coke has been made with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as an ingredient. Originally it was used in combination with more expensive cane-sugar, but by late 1984 the formulation was sweetened entirely with HFCS.”

        The company was embarrassed by the response of consumers to the new (sweeter) product and that’s why Coke returned to the earlier taste.  It was a major fiasco, which Pepsi capitalized on.  The New Coke campaign has often been described in marketing textbooks as a Classic blunder.

  1. @peterblood71: I’m sure Gates’ supportive comments from yesterday are no coincidence. A company the size of MS carefully orchestrates every bit of information or commentary that leaves their company as far as their executives, chair members, and their marketing agencies are concerned.

  2. Microsoft in my opinion cannot design a coffee cup worth its salt. How do you expect Microsoft to be anything but sloppy when it comes to designing an entire operating system.

    The only Windows I could use was XP. Windows 7 is terrible. Never really gave Windows 8 a try because I don’t want to hurt my eyes. But generally speaking Windows is a big hot mess. Things are scattered about everywhere with nary a thought given to usability or organisation.

    Windows truly is the McDonalds of OSes, cramming bits of awful tasting burger between an assortment of cheeses stuffed in willy nilly with no art. They truly have no taste.

  3. It is disingenuous for MDN to insinuate that MDN actually cares about Microsoft producing elegant and functional software. It is evident that the vast majority of MDN’s comments directed toward Microsoft are vile and vindictive. I am not an fan of Microsoft and neither do I think that Microsoft’s failures make Apple an inherently better company.

    1. We hate Microsoft because they got fat and rich from Apple ideas and from an ill-advised license overseen by a sugar water salesman. Now Bill Gates is using his ill-gotten gains to flaunt his philanthropy. Big deal. After spending $1b, what’s left to buy? What else are you going to do with that money but make yourself look good? Bill Gates is giving us the answer to that question. The problem with Microsoft is that they have never had an original thought. They’ve always rode in on somebody else’s coattails and used their leverage to muscle in on existing markets. We hate Google for the same reasons.

      1. Apple mocked Microsoft for imitating Apple. If Apple had a rock solid legal case against Microsoft Apple would have sued Microsoft.

        Do not forget that Microsoft lent Apple $150 million in 1997 when Steve Jobs was in charge. Without Microsoft’s loan who knows if Apple would have been able to grow to the the company it is today. I’m sure that some Apple fanbois resent the fact that Microsoft rescued Apple from oblivion nearly 20 years ago.

          1. Appe was on the verge of bankruptcy when Steve Jobs took Microsoft’s money and in exchange agreed not to sue Microsoft.

            Daniel Dilger is an unashamed Apple fanboy who live in a world of self delusion and pious ignorance. If Dilger is your only source of information you have made yourself infinitely more stupid.

            1. You must have missed the part about Apple having $1.2 billion in cash at the time of the investment (it’s not like it was given to Jobs in small, unmarked bills). But the lazy, selective reading that spawned your first hilariously incorrect statement seems to be your trademark. Sling your horseshit over in Engadget comments; people on this site are slightly more informed.

              Dilger is a proponent of Apple, but he’s also one of the most insightful writers on the Apple beat. He’s right much more than he’s not. If slagging him because he’s pro-Apple is your angle, you’re infinitely more stupid than your intellectually-bankrupt contributions have already suggested.

            2. Why did Apple borrow $150 million if it was flush with cash?

              You cannot answer that question, can you? You merely mimic other Apple fanboys awestruck respect for Dilger only because he writes what you want to believe.

            3. Microsoft bought $150 million in non-voting stock and it was a symbolic gesture, it wasn’t a make or break survival loan. Get that through your thick head. Microsoft took this money out later (and left plenty on the table). Dilger is 100% factually correct and even the Windows press at the time backs this up and you are bucking these facts? WinTard indeed.

          2. Fact: Apple (that is, Steve Jobs) took the money.
            Fact: If Apple (that is, Steve Jobs) took the money because it was needed.
            Fact: Apple (that is, Steve Jobs) agreed to accept Microsoft’s demands in exchange for the money.
            Fact: All else is mere opinion.

            1. Evidently you are either too young to know, did not follow Apple news at the time, or you read and believe all the news spin agents that keep repeating the news over and over.

              Apple was NOT in debt over their heads at the time. The 150 million was a sort of under the table peace offering for the “stealing” of the UI from Apple.

              Part 2 that you do not understand: MS took IBM to the cleaners so to speak and quite a few other companies over “innovation”. They innovated by buying hundreds and hundreds of companies, not for their patents like is done today, but for to squash competition. MS had a clause in their contracts with the likes of IBM, HP, Compact, Dell, etc etc that stated that they were not allowed to sell a personal computer with a competeing OS and enforced this for years. Back in the late 80’s Apple started the DeskTop revolution, so to speak and sparked the rise of software CD sales. MS was on the board of a company that I now forget but played a major part of influencing developers and who they developed for. Many Many software CDs at the time had dual Windows and Mac/Apple software. MS required that all software CDs be listed as Windows/MS sales. This played a huge part in developers jumping ship from Apple in the early ’90s. The president of the Software Association eventually resigned, not because of being caught but because he could not wrestle control from MS. He saw the action of MS as deliberate.

              I have given you only a few cases of well documented intentional actions by MS to put Apple and other companies out of business.

            2. BS BS BS

              Apple didn’t ‘take’ any money. The $150m was in the form of restricted shares of AAPL. MS later sold them with a nice tidy profit. What Steve Jobs did take (As per directive of an court settlement) MS agreed to continue producing MS Office for 5 more years, would purchase the above mentioned stock, AND gave an undisclosed amount of cash to Apple Computer for it silence on the MS quicktime code stealing fiasco, where MS not only directly lifted QT code, but demanded that Apple “knife the baby” and stop development of QuickTime.

              Jeees MacFreak, your unintelligent uninformed cubic metric buttload of BS FUD may fly and make you hero on the Samsung, Google, and HTC sites, but people here actually know Apple history. Better luck next time.

        1. Apple did have a rock solid legal case. So did Al Gore when the Supreme Court overthrew the Constitution by appointing George W Bush president even though he lost the election.

          1. You just HAD to bring politics into the argument, eh, flint? Well, too freaking bad for you that the past cannot be changed. Bush cannot be removed from presidential history, just as the current occupant of the White House cannot. Get over it and grow up.

        2. A few points:

          Microsoft didn’t lend anything to Apple. They bought $150million of non-voting shares which they later sold at a profit. Certainly one of Microsoft’s better deals.

          The rate at which Apple was burning through cash, a $150million did not make a scrap of difference. Besides which, they still had a billion in the bank.

        3. I can’t believe the questionably intelligent out there who still argue this old point. Microsoft bought $150 million in Apple stock as a measure of good faith. It wasn’t a make or break loan since Apple still had a billion or two in the bank. The main thing was Microsoft committing to make Office for the Mac for another 5 years but they deserve little praise for that because if they hadn’t anti-trust charges would have surely been filed against them. They were saving their own bacon actually.

          If Apple had still failed they could still say they tried their best to support Apple. And Microsoft made a lot of money off Apple Office sales. Plus if they had held on to the 18.2 million shares of stock they had bought and then sold 10 years ago it would have been worth approx 10 billion today. Easy money they left on the table and all they had to do was to hold on to it. But their own hubris and no doubt Gates thinking Apple was all but done for precluded this and now we have the situation today where the tide has niftily turned. Forgive me a particularly nasty cruel chuckle. Heh.

        4. MacFreek, you seem to think that $150M was some kind of rescue gift from Microsoft – it was nothing of the sort. Microsoft bought from Apple the right to put in their Internet Explorer browser on the installation disks and pre-installed hard dives. It was financial transaction, not some good-will gesture as you would like us to believe. And it was the business sense of Steve Jobs that saved the company, not the benevolence of Microsoft.

        5. “I am not an fan of Microsoft…” But you go out of your way trying to nake them look good… You do realize that you are contradicting yourself, right?

  4. I noticed MDN conveniently left out the part of the story that Windows 8 sold 100 million licenses. “Roughly on par with Windows 7.” I’m no Microsoft lover, but 100 million licenses sold since the fall isn’t exactly a catastrophe.

        1. Which means that the vast majority of Windows users are sitting tight with XP/Vista/7. Way back in January, OS X 10.8 had been adopted by fully a third of Mac users.

          1. The point was that the usage was on par with the current Mac OS. With MDN and others calling it a failure the big question is where is Apple? Why are they not advertising to exploit this?

            Oh, that’s right. Apple is all about dividends now, It’s all about iOS now. The Mac can wither and die as far as Cook is concerned.

            1. The PC market is a shrinking one. Don’t expect tons of R&D and innovation in this space. If we truly are in a post-PC world as Apple says, why would they focus as much or more attention on OS X versus iOS? I know some people don’t like to hear that, but it is what it is.

        2. FWIW, I’m using awstats on two of the websites I maintain. I just checked and neither has seen Windows 8 yet. Plenty of Windows XP, 2000, 2003, Vista (Longhorn) and 7. Even some BlackBerry! But no Windows 8. And, no, my sites are not Mac-specific.

      1. I’ll bet they are in a lot of schools as well. Those full MS institutions are given big incentives to take on these losers. I first saw Vista in our High School. (Cause, you know, that’s the operating systems businesses use).

    1. Those licenses were sold to manufacturers – who are being forced by customers to replace 8ista with Win7 in order to sell their boxes – otherwise, they won’t sell. The customers have gotten smarter. The really smart ones have migrated to OS X.

    2. Sold isn’t the same thing as used. Many people rolled back Vista to XP on new computer purchases and the same thing may be happening now. Computers on the store shelf and in warehouses may be licensed also but not used. How many are really using Win8?

    1. Except that they’re in the “Too big to fail” category. For them to wink out of existence, there will have to be a 6-continent train-wreck of failed document production, data management, and b2b p2p t2t comunications. Won’t be pretty.

      And it looks like that is what’s happening. Question is: ¿Hard or soft landing?

  5. This was an avoidable situation. Back when MS released the public preview of Windoze Weight, I downloaded a copy and ran it via VMWare to see what it was like and I was less than impressed.

    Following my curiosity, I looked at the Windows 8 developer blog and the comments from trial users had a very common theme: “How can I turn off the Metro Interface?”. It was obvious that people did not like it, many were confused by it, most thought it was not suited to a desktop machine and yet Microsoft under Sinofsky plowed ahead. This was almost a year ahead of the launch of the product- more than enough time to make changes or delay the launch until changes could be made.

    The verdict? Windows 8 seems to be the worst of both worlds. By attempting to impose a one size fits all interface on both tablet and desktop formats they have come up with a mess that satisfies nobody. Those seeking continuity and legacy app support are pissed, those who need a desktop centric UI are pissed and tablet users are left with a compromised kludge that can only run apps written specifically for it- essentially a different OS without the benefit of a fresh start.

    Meanwhile, Microsoft has disappeared retail copies of Windows 7 and shows no inclination to make it available again. What a cluster.

    1. “disappeared retail copies of Windows 7” Again? For as while they forced everyone to Win8 by denying they had Win7 available and then were forced to put Win7 back in the retail system. They just don’t understand the customer base, do they?

  6. I thought someone would bring up Apple Maps. No comparison. Maps is an app. Win 8 is an OS. M$ is a software company and Apple is a hardware company. For M$ to admit failure on their primary product is like Apple failing on their computers (which kind of happened with iPhone 4 and antenna gate)

  7. This comment probably won’t be popular, but Windows 8 does actually do some things really well: it is much faster and more efficient than 7, boots faster from a spinning HD faster than 7 or any OS X I’ve seen, and its desktop UI is kind of minimalist and nice while still being colorful. The thing that really sucks about it is that replacing the Start menu with that touch screen crap was terrible move that basically ruins the OS. If MS really does see the mistake, all the they have to do is switch it back to the old Start menu to have a solid OS – then again, being one version away from being a great product is a reacquiring theme for Microsoft – they always manage to to find a way for screw up their products by the time they released.

    1. Since, as a Mac user who never shuts his machine down, the start-up time from a cold boot is not very impressive. After all, just tap the trackpad and it’s up and running. What does impress is memory footprint of the OS. For example, iOS takes up just about 5GB. However, on a Surface Pro you find the OS hogging 34GB. To me, one is efficient and the other is bloated.

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