Windows 8: The Last Desktop Operating System

Posted by Darren Tedesco

August 1, 2013 at 11:30 AM

It’s been a year now since Microsoft launched its latest operating system, Windows 8. The release includes some really cool features, particularly for touch screens, yet its adoption numbers are paltry. Although its user base has been growing consistently by about 0.5 percent each month (or at an annual rate of 6 percent), as of the beginning of June, just 4.3 percent of users were running Windows 8, according to NetMarketShare. Meanwhile, Windows 7 users accounted for 44.8 percent of the market—and that number actually increased from October 2012.

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark, and that smell may well be Microsoft. Here’s why:

  • When the iPhone was introduced in April 2007, it was crystal clear that touch screens were here to stay. It took Microsoft more than five years to bake touch into an operating system. In this day and age, that’s about two complete technology life cycles later.
  • Pull back the covers of Windows 8 and guess what you’ll find? Windows 7. For those of you who use Windows 8, you know what I’m talking about. You see the cool touch screen and flashy stuff on all the Microsoft commercials, but once you drill into Windows 8 on a PC, it takes you to screens that look and feel a lot like Windows 7. Why bother upgrading for a similar set of features?
  • We’re now living in a post-PC world. People like—and expect—fast. The tablet generation’s instant-on feature has been a driving force in the decline of the PC, but other core factors include reduced cost, battery life, and portability of mobile devices.
  • Microsoft is no longer hip with the young crowd. Look around: the youth of the nation aren’t carrying Windows Phones; they’re using Apple or Android devices. When you see a once-dominant software player losing out on features and trying to compete on price (as Microsoft has done in recent ads), you can be assured that the downward spiral is in full force.

Don’t get me wrong, Windows 8 does have some pretty nifty features, but the masses have spoken. Apart from the new PCs people are buying, no one is really upgrading. And based on the explosion of mobile tools and their growing dominance, I’ll go out on a limb and say that Windows 8 will never overtake Windows 7 in terms of user base and that Windows 9 may never be seen at all—at least not in the form of a desktop operating system.

What do you think?

Topics: Technology

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