Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 timing is all wrong

“It is going to be very difficult for Microsoft to succeed with Windows 8.1, and that has little to do with whether the official build will include a Start button or boot-to-desktop option,” Mike Feibus writes for InformationWeek. “Rather, it’s because Microsoft picked a terrible time to release the upcoming follow-on to Windows 8.”

MacDailyNews Take: In Microsoft’s defense, they didn’t pick the time, they were forced to rush it out due to their pervasive incompetence.

“Windows 8.1 will not be available in the next six weeks, as it needs to be to make it into the first batch of next-generation PCs,” Feibus writes. “An October launch for Windows 8.1 means that back-to-school PCs will be saddled with a lame-duck version of Windows. (I’ve written before about how important it is for the PC OEMs to update in lockstep their entire product: hardware, OS, and aesthetics. That means we’ll see fewer PC sales than we would if PC makers were able to pair their latest hardware with the latest operating system.”

Feibus writes, “When Microsoft was forced to push out the Windows Vista launch to early 2007, for example, the final period of 2006 ended up being the PC market’s worst in the 22-quarter stretch from early 2003, when consumer notebook purchasing lifted PC shipments out of the post-Y2K slump, through the end of 2008, when the financial crash stalled sales”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Via their typical bumbling, Microsoft is only accelerating the inevitable.

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  1. with student’s migrating ever larger numbers to Mac laptops, a delay of this sort will only accelerate the migration.

    This is a good thing, as US students should be using the best technology available, and not just the cheapest available.

    1. I believe it was about 18 months ago that Mac laptops began to outnumber Windows at VA Tech. (They used to survey incoming students until a few years ago when nearly 100% brought computers.)

      1. twodales, that’s not exactly true. Cornell, the birthplace of TidBITS via Adam Engst, has been a massive stronghold of Mac technology for DECADES. Go to the law school and see if you can spot a SINGLE Windows laptop.

        As ever, there are subcultures that get caught in the swirling toilet of Windows PCs. Accountants, for gawd-knows-what-reason, still demand Windows boxes. Lawyers demand Macs. In science it’s a mixed bag depending upon the specific applications written for your particular science discipline.

        At the NYS Veterinary School, when I was working there circa 1988-1990, it was a rat’s nest of Microsoft tech. But when I migrated over to the Psychology department, it was all Macs.

        At university, you typically are forced to get the box that’s used in your discipline. Some disciplines are more enlightened than others.

        1. You mentioned “Accountants demand Windows boxes.” Isn’t that because QuickBooks is the #1 small business accounting software and accountants either use the Accountant version or some other software made to work with windows based QB? I for one would love to dump QB and Quicken, but have not seen a good Mac alternative for QB. The Mac alternatives for Quicken have made some headway. Not meaning to hijack the thread, but I just thought you might know of a Mac alternative for QB and would surely appreciate some guidance if you or anyone does. Thanks.

          1. I think QuickBooks has had a lot to do with it. I was friends with an accountant at a Mac user group who insisted that he could only do his work with QuickBooks and therefore required Windows. He tried running it in emulation (in the pre-Intel CPU days of Macs) and could not deal with the lag. So he ended up having both a Mac and PC.

            I’m not an accountant and can’t rate the Mac alternatives to QuickBooks. But over time I’ve found that every accountant I’ve known has used Windows. It’s like must graphics, music and arts folks using Macs. Then again, I know a terrific video maker who does it all on Windows. So there are no rules.

  2. Even if you use Windows, you don’t want a dozer laptop, so you pick the Mac and then choose a VM or native Windows in BootCap.

    This way you are NOT left behind.

    1. I still run Windows for a few odds and ends (and games!) via virtualization on both of my current Macs.

      Meanwhile, I inherited a Compaq laptop from a friend who joined the fairer platform. It’s sitting in pieces from when I cleaned it. I can’t gather up the enthusiasm to put it back together again as I just don’t care to bother with an actual Windows box ever again. I’m tipping it into the dumpster, just as I did with my old PC circa 1993 to make way for my first Mac.

  3. Timing is mostly irrelevant, because it’s still Windows. Customers choosing to get a PC, instead of a Mac or iPad, are going to get Windows. Whether the version is 8 or 8.1 is a only minor consideration.

    The real problem (for Microsoft and its “partners”) is that more and more customers are choosing to get a Mac or iPad… Windows “8.1” is not turning that trend around.

    1. I agree. Wonder how many purchasers of PCs would have bough a Mac, if they could have afforded it? I’m guessing most and to the uninitiated would be Mac user, comparing specs and price, it’s a tough sale. The more is better approach to evaluation would make things like no optical drive, no 17″ screen, way less ports, nil to minimal upgrade possibilities, and 5 times more money, a very tough sale to dear old dad who just wrote the tuition check. There are some pretty nice laptops out there for less than the cost of some iPads. If they would run OS X, it would be no contest. What would be left, battery life? Just saying…

      1. Comparing purchase price without noting the cost of adding MS Office, anti-virus software + subscription, and early replacement costs leaves you thinking you got a good deal, when smart money would have spent a little more initially.

        Some expensive universities have $1000 per year tuition, but end up costing $40K once you add books, dorm, etc., etc. The price tag can be a bit deceiving.

  4. “Let’s call it Windows 1.0, and then 2.0…”

    “It needs something, Windows 3.0, yeah that’s it”

    “You know, we need to snaze it up, let’s put a 9 in front of the 5, Windows 95, this is good”

    “You know, let’s develop two OS’s one weak and one strong, you know, I was watching ET the other night, let’s call it NT”

    “You know, we need to get in touch with the 80’s Reagan generation, let’s call this one Windows ME, yeah, that’s it, I want to keep em guessing”

    “Reaganauts are starting to die off, we need to get with this X generation, Windows X, nah, it needs a P in there.”

    “I no longer like numbers or initials that don’t catch on, let’s call this one, what rhymes with Windows, I got it, Vista, yeah, love it”

    “That whole word thing kinda sucked, let’s got back to numbers, what version would this actually be anyway, 47-1a, nahh, that will never do, I like that number Seven though”

    “You know, this numbering thing is pretty cool, let’s call the next version Metro, though. What do you mean that I can’t, there is an Electronics Chain that is already using it, damn. How about One, no, Two, maybe Five…no, no Eight, yes Eight. But let’s do like four versions, 8 for most people, something for the pro level too, I got it, 8 Pro, and tablets, can’t use d or i or a or d, did I say d, p, can’t use p, well, what sounds sporty, ahhhh, RT, yeah, and for our corporate clients, Star Trek was on the other night, I really like that word, Interprize, it just rolls off my tongue, Innnnteeeerrrrpriiiiiizzzzzzzzzeeeee.”

    “Oh Crap, 8 sucks, no one likes it, we need to fix it now, but, I do have time to come up with a new name, ok, ok 8.1 is fine… no wait, I have an idea…”

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