Monthly Archives: January 2014
Can you guess what the biggest problem facing Windows is? Here’s a clue: It’s probably not what you think it is.
It’s not the lackluster response to Windows 8. Yes, pundits, analysts, and apparently even the general public were routinely antagonistic about Windows 8, a system that was force-fed to an unwitting audience in 2012 so that Microsoft could quickly make up lost ground in the new market for mobile personal computing devices. But while most of these critics begrudgingly admit that 2013’s release of Windows 8.1 fixed most of the issues they had with the original Windows 8 release, it’s fair to say that even this improved update doesn’t go far enough.
It’s not Linux, which never emerged as a force on the PC desktop.
It’s not Mac OS X, which despite strong sales growth over the past decade never hit double-digit market share worldwide, though Mac PCs sell strongly in very rich nations like the United States.
It’s not tablets, though I’d pinpoint this latest move to simpler personal computing to be a major contributing factor: People realize that they don’t just not need the complexity of Windows, they don’t even need most of the power of Windows.
Windows is in trouble because people simply don’t care about it anymore. It’s not outright hostility; there’s far less of that than the anti-Microsoft crowd would like to believe. It’s ambivalence. It’s ambivalence driven by the nature of “good enough” mobile and web apps. It’s ambivalence driven by the allure of anytime/anywhere computing on tiny devices that are more cool to use and even cooler to be seen using.
And make no mistake, this is a serious issue. With businesses keeping Windows on life support and users spacing out their PC purchases for so long that there might never in fact be another PC purchase, Windows is in trouble. This ambivalence is worse for the platform than outright defeat. In its current state, Windows can limp along for years to come. And that’s just long enough for the platform to wither and effectively disappear.