It’s been just over 2 months since Microsoft launched their revolutionised version of the Windows brand, Windows 8. With this hugely different operating system attempting to harness the soaring popularity in tablet usage by creating an interface that works both on PC’s and tablet computers, Windows 8 offers a whole new user experience. For example we now see the brand new Apple esc Metro interface when loading Windows 8 which allows users to download various apps from Microsoft’s revamped store and arrange them as tiles on the homepage. The launch of the app store along with the integration of the Metro interface shows the way in which Microsoft believe computer’s will be used in the future. And this vision seems to be heavily focused on touch screen usage. However without even considering how good a product this is to use, it is clear that Microsoft are moving Windows in a whole new direction. So, what does this actually mean for Microsoft as a whole?
It’s evident that Windows 8 is Microsoft’s attempt to challenge Apple and their huge influence on how the computing market has been shaped. Although Windows easily remains to be the most commonly used operating system on PC’s, Apple have clearly shaped how people expect to interact with their technology. Devices such as the iPhone and iPad have completely changed how we browse the web, thus decreasing our reliance on PC’s and Laptops. By launching the one size fits all Windows 8 which is designed for touch screen devices but also runs on conventional PC’s, Microsoft are clearly showing which they believe to be the most important device in the computing market at the moment. The tablet.
Yes, it is wise for Microsoft to adapt their product to meet the demands of the many customers who now seek to use tablet computers, however in focusing Windows 8 so heavily on the touch screen devices they risk losing their core customer base of PC users. The one size fits all approach to Windows 8 could end up suiting neither PC users nor tablet users. Apple would not dream of having their full Mac OS on an iPad and that’s the beauty of their devices, they each have their subtle differences. With Microsoft’s full scale attack on Apple’s PC’s, Phone’s and Tablet’s coming in one Windows 8 looking bundle, the firm could have planted the first seed for the demise of it’s stranglehold on the PC market. Only a week ago Fujitsu came out blame Windows 8 for their lacklustre PC sales over the festive period. The sales figures don’t do much to much to support Microsoft either. With their sales of Windows down 11% on this time last year, we instantly see that there is a wariness from consumers to upgrade to the new operating system. On top of that, only 4.5% of Windows 8 sales have been on touch screen devices. With only 4.5% of their consumers buying into Microsoft’s touch screen revolution it is seeming more and more possible that Microsoft is going to become stuck in a very tricky techy middle ground. If touch screen uptake of Windows 8 doesn’t pick up, Microsoft’s fling with tablet computers could be very short lived and when it eventually returns to it’s trusty PC market it is quite probable that the divorce papers will be sitting on the table.