BELLEVUE, Wash. — It used to be that a new version of the Windows operating system was enough to get people excited about buying a new computer, giving sales a nice pop.Not this time. Windows 8, the latest edition of Microsoft’s software, failed to pack shoppers into a Microsoft store in a mall here last week, at a time when parking lots in the area were overflowing. The trickle of shopping bags leaving the store with merchandise was nothing like the steady stream at a bustling Apple store upstairs.Weak PC sales this holiday season suggest that the struggles of Microsoft and other companies that depend heavily on the computer business will not abate soon. Plenty of consumers already own PCs and seem content to make do with what they have, especially in a shaky economy in which less expensive mobile devices are bidding for a share of their wallets.While there are also many tablets running Microsoft’s new, touch-friendly Windows, they have so far failed to emerge from the shadow of competing products from Apple and Amazon and other devices that are being snapped up by holiday shoppers.Emmanuel Fromont, president of the Americas division of Acer, the world’s No. 4 PC maker, said sales of the company’s Windows 8 PCs had been lower than expected. He said one factor was the system’s unfamiliar design, which appeared to be making consumers cautious.“There was not a huge spark in the market,” Mr. Fromont said. “It’s a slow start, there’s no question.”
The clearest evidence of Windows 8’s disappointing introduction comes from the research firm NPD, which estimates that sales of Windows machines have actually dropped from a year ago.According to NPD, stores in the United States sold 13 percent fewer Windows devices from late October, when Windows 8 made its debut, through the first week in December, than in the same period last year.Those figures do not include sales in Microsoft’s own stores, which were the only place to buy a Surface tablet during that period, but because the stores are scarce, analysts believe it is unlikely they made a big difference.“I think everybody would have hoped for a better start,” said Stephen Baker, an analyst at NPD. “The thing is, this market is not the same market that Windows 7 or Vista or even XP launched into.”
And I mean people really don't like Windows 8. There have been some really harsh reviews of the system, including one by the Nielson Norman Group that panned every part of the Windows 8 system in a usability study.
So while Bill Gates spends all his time trying to privatize the public education system, make all of Africa and Asia eat genetically modified food, and solve global warming by whitening the clouds in the sky, the company he helped found has become a bigger object of ridicule than during the darkest days of Vista:
Microsoft (MSFT) is no stranger to criticism these days, and the company’s new Windows 8 platform is once again the target of a scathing review from a high-profile user. Well-known Internet entrepreneur and MIT professor Philip Greenspun handed Windows 8 one of its most damning reviews yet earlier this week, calling the new operating system a “Christmas gift for someone you hate.” Greenspun panned almost every aspect of Microsoft’s new software, noting that Microsoft had four years to study Android and more than five to examine iOS, but still couldn’t build a usable tablet experience.
“The only device that I can remember being as confused by is the BlackBerry PlayBook,” Greenspun wrote on his blog after using Windows 8 on a Dell (DELL) XPS One All-in-One desktop PC. The acclaimed computer scientist noted that Microsoft omitted all of the best features from the most popular touch-focused platforms and instead created a user interface he describes as a “dog’s breakfast.”
“Suppose that you are an expert user of Windows NT/XP/Vista/7, an expert user of an iPad, and an expert user of an Android phone… you will have no idea how to use Windows 8,” Greenspun wrote.
He continued, “Some functions, such as ‘start an application’ or ‘restart the computer’ are available only from the tablet interface. Conversely, when one is comfortably ensconced in a touch/tablet application, an additional click will fire up a Web browser, thereby causing the tablet to disappear in favor of the desktop. Many of the ‘apps’ that show up on the ‘all apps’ menu at the bottom of the screen (accessible only if you swipe down from the top of the screen) dump you right into the desktop on the first click.”
Bill Gates seems to know as much about computers, tablets and operating systems these days as he does about what works in a school classroom - he thinks Windows 8 is fabulous:
Bill Gates is giving some initial feedback about Windows 8, and it's no shocker that he thinks the operating system is pretty nifty.
The Microsoft co-founder and chairman, speaking in a video interview with Microsoft's Steve Clayton, echoes CEO Steve Ballmer in calling Windows 8 an "absolutely critical product" that combines "the best" of tablets and traditional PCs.
Gates noted that people will be "amazed at the energy" Microsoft is putting behind its new products, and he said Windows 8 "is key to where personal computing is going."
"This is the big time for us," Gates said.
He added that he has been using his Surface tablet nonstop, calling it "unbelievably great."
Gate also hinted that the PC/tablet version of Windows and the phone version will eventually merge over time.
"We're certainly sharing between Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8," Gates said. "Over time, we do more and more of that. It's evolving literally to be a single platform."
Microsoft can merge the Windows 8 phone and computer systems into one single platform all they want - people can then hate one big operating systems instead of two little ones.
And I love how Gates thinks Windows 8 takes all of what is great from every other system while Greenspun the MIT professor and the Nielson Norman Group says it is just the opposite - Microsoft took the worst parts of every system and put them into Windows 8.
It's amazing to me that the people give credence to anything Bill Gates says about poverty, education or the environment when it is becoming increasingly clear that he can't even get computer and phone operating systems right - and that's a business he supposedly knows about.
What's worse, he seems to really think the system is fabo, showing just how clueless he truly is.
Microsoft Windows 8 is a nightmare system designed by people who think they're geniuses but who actually are clueless incompetents.
Pretty much like the people at the Gates Foundation who are involved in education policy, food policy, disease eradication and poverty alleviation.