Quoting: "Had Microsoft launched Windows 8 with the traditional look for PC users and its new tile-based interface for phones and tablets, as it easily could have, all might have been well. It would have kept its existing customers happy while gaining itself a foothold in mobile. But hubris intervened and it decided to give everyone the mobile interface, no matter whether they were mobile users or – as with 99 per cent of customers – using a PC. They were offered a product designed for another use and, unsurprisingly, they were baffled .... It is telling that Microsoft has reacted to customers’ resistance to Windows 8 by saying they are using the wrong computers."
Microsoft has just blown its oldest trick - FT.com
In the browser wars that began in the 1990s, it took more than a decade for regulators to stop Microsoft exploiting its dominance with users of Windows software. In today’s mobile battles, customers have done so themselves in six months. Microsoft’s
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- By the way, I usually don't post FT articles because of their annoying paywall, but this one is really good. You can get around the paywall by doing a Google search on the title if you want to read the full article (which, in this case, is well worth it).May 9, 2013
- I know this article is likely to get the usual "PC is dead" response from Microsoft haters and "just wait" response from Microsoft lovers, but neither of those is really satisfactory. Lots of people use PCs still. It would be great if they didn't suck. Whether you love or hate the company, a more functional Microsoft that made better software could impact a lot of people's lives for the better.May 9, 2013
- I think there are two key things: Microsoft has been run by MBAs for the past 15 years, and this is a classic MBA strategy move. 1) They know they needed a big change as their key advantages became irrelevant and became the cheap commodity solution, and they came up with a grand plan, but in the context of the overall market shift, 2) they were never in place to have anything they try work.
I mean what would have had to happen for them to stave off their inevitable decline? I don't think any form of Windows could do that.
I think they made a pretty audacious bet, and for them, that was a necessary move. I don't think any incremental bet would have played out any better. What they almost had was a unified design approach from phone to Xbox to table to desktop. Sounds good in theory doesn't it?May 9, 2013
- I think the strategy of running the software on PC and PC-like devices is a good one. The problem is the unified part. As a quote in that FT articles says, “There is absolutely no indication that desktops should have the same operating system and user interface as phones and pads. In fact, the opposite is true.”
"Unified" here should mean useful features people want. Sync and access to e-mail, calendar, and documents from any device. Automatic online backup of all your devices. Buying games and movies once and being able to play a version of them on any device. But that's not at all the same thing as trying to force the same UX on all devices, regardless of screen size and input device.May 9, 2013
- Right, but my point is that MSFT had no real viable mobile technology (esp. tablets), and had always tried to extend the Windows brand to every device.
Line extension had got them here. Microsoft never had the technical re-invention that Apple had when Jobs brought NextStep back. Even the 1995 internet re-alignment was re-papering of Windows.
But now, MSFT didn't have a viable tablet OS.
So what to do in the face of secular technology revolution (mobile/tablet)?
For MSFT, the best viable strategy was Metro design unification across phones / tablets / Xbox and Windows since the cupboard was otherwise bare and Windows was the unifying brand.
So I reject the post-mortems that say if they had "just kept Windows more familiar" things would be better. Microsoft was right that they needed a big change, and the Metro one was a better bet than the incremental Windows model, because at least it gave them a re-alignment chance on tablets.
It does seem crazy to try to force the tablet model on the PC, and they definitely didn't execute Windows 8 well, but at the MBA level, most of the decisions made sense. It's those damned engineering feature details that they didn't have the patience to figure out, isn't it?
Years of being run by P&G packaged goods line extension MBAs and not having strategic technical leadership left MSFT in that situation, I think.
In the end, if it leads to the exit of Ballmer, it at least precipitated the necessary condition for a relevant Microsoft in the future.May 9, 2013
- "resistance to Windows 8 by saying they are using the wrong computers."
Apple says you do not know how to hold the phone.
Microsoft says you bought the wrong PC.
Waiting for the day Google says you are using the wrong web browser!May 9, 2013
- It's fascinating how you can be perfectly rational and still be out innovated. Just like how Clayton Christianson said in Disruptive Innovation.May 10, 2013