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ZDNet Proclaims "Windows: It's Over"

Unknown Lamer posted about a year and a half ago | from the netcraft-confirms dept.

Windows 863

plastick writes "You can think Windows 8 will evolve into something better, but the numbers show that Windows is coming to a dead end. ZDNet is known to take the side of Microsoft in the past. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols explains: 'The very day the debate came to an end, this headline appeared: IDC: Global PC shipments plunge in worst drop in a generation. Sure, a lot of that was due to the growth of tablets and smartphones and the rise of the cloud, but Windows 8 gets to take a lot of the blame too. After all, the debate wasn't whether or not Windows 8 was any good. It's not. The debate was over whether it could be saved.'"

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But does Netcraft confirm it? (5, Funny)

Gothmolly (148874) | about a year and a half ago | (#43459861)

I haven't counted Usenet posts lately, so can anyone check with Netcraft?

Re:But does Netcraft confirm it? (3, Funny)

rvw (755107) | about a year and a half ago | (#43459865)

I haven't counted Usenet posts lately, so can anyone check with Netcraft?

You would have to ask Gartner. They probably can look it up in their excel sheet.

Re:But does Netcraft confirm it? (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460289)

Why bother when it's all over Geocities and Angelfire too?

Whats the alternative? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43459875)

Are people going to switch to Mac OS? Linux? Or stay on Windows 7 until a "spiritual successor" to Windows comes?

The article largely hinges on "Windows 8 comes out != PC hardware sales drop". Its just trolling for readers.

Re:Whats the alternative? (4, Insightful)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about a year and a half ago | (#43459927)

True, but MS cannot sustain an 'every other version is a flub' business model. People may stick with 7 like they stuck with XP, but MS will need to fix the UI and quickly.

Hopefully they'll soon realize that the desktop and mobile platforms need different UI models, and start supporting the separate primary interface models...

Re:Whats the alternative? (5, Informative)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about a year and a half ago | (#43459963)

Perhaps they are: Windows 8.1 will include boot to desktop [] . Good news if true, all they need to do then is bring back the Start button & menu.

Re:Whats the alternative? (2)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460059)

That would only equal to clicking the "Desktop" button from the Start Screen once after each boot.

Re:Whats the alternative? (3, Interesting)

Shadow99_1 (86250) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460163)

Stardock loves to remind me regularly that for a couple of dollars I can have the start menu again in Windows 8... Though I'm not running windows 8 anywhere, so I have little need for their software. If a 3rd party can do it, I'm sure MS could as well... The question becomes do they want to do that. Personally I don't think they do, screenshots of Blue show that so far they haven't bothered.

Re:Whats the alternative? (4, Interesting)

cheekyboy (598084) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460241)

Wow they will add a /start_desktop to the default shell on boot. WOW

Hell, maybe they have two exes, explorer.exe and metro.exe , and you just have to set it to the right shell. Easy to add a gui for that, dont even have to compile C++ code, in less than 4kb of wscript code, you could probably do it.

OT: why isnt *ALL* the windows gui aspects coded in a scripts, so its easy to update/change/fix/customize.

Re:Whats the alternative? (3, Insightful)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460295)

It's actually Windows 6.3 by the way. XP was 5.0, Vista was 6.0, Windows 7 was 6.1, Windows 8 was 6.2.

Re:Whats the alternative? (4, Interesting)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460205)

Neither fan the continue diversifying while neglecting their bread and butter. They wanted to be more like Apple, so they made a shitty flop of a phone. They wanted to be more like Google, so they made a shitty flop of a search engine. And all that time, when they should have been making W7 better, they came out with a shitty flop of an OS.

Re:Whats the alternative? (3, Interesting)

chromaexcursion (2047080) | about a year and a half ago | (#43459995)

There will likely be a market for Windows for quite some time.
Many businesses want a desktop/traditional laptop OS. Windows fills that need.
It is unlikely they'd switch to Linux, not while the distro wars are still going on. There needs to be stability for business to invest the time to switch. Apple keeps making decisions that businesses don't like

What's dead is the days when a new release of Windows drove PC sales.

Re:Whats the alternative? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43460183)

Many businesses want a desktop/traditional laptop OS. Windows fills that need.

Windows 7, yes. That lack of exactly that is what people are complaining about with Windows8 (and no, 3rd party workarounds does not make this a non-existing problem. They are proof of the problem).

If the solution is to stay with Windows 7 forever, then that can be described as the end of Windows.

Re:Whats the alternative? (4, Insightful)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460193)

"Many businesses want a desktop/traditional laptop OS. Windows fills that need."

If Windows 8 filled that need, we wouldn't be posting in this thread, now would we?

"It is unlikely they'd switch to Linux, not while the distro wars are still going on."

There are no "distro wars" going on.

" There needs to be stability for business to invest the time to switch."

I take it you have never been a system administrator in a Windows environment before. You certainly haven't a clue about Linux.

Re:Whats the alternative? (2)

jaymz666 (34050) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460317)

Most users want a traditional OS, one that has multiple windows you can see at the same time, that may even overlap..

Shock horror. This one window/two window or four window model Microsoft seems fixated on might work fine on the small screen that is a tablet, on large and or multiscreen PC, people want to be able to do more.

Re:Whats the alternative? (4, Interesting)

smash (1351) | about a year and a half ago | (#43459999)

I switched to OS X on my desktop. For what I do, pretty much all the apps I need are available. Most of them cheap off the app store or actually free or included in the OS.

If i was bound to an existing bit of hardware, I'd migrate to Linux, but I'm not... like the Mac hardware and happen to like the OS, too. ALL operating systems have their problems/trade-offs, OS X is the least annoying for me.

Re:Whats the alternative? (4, Interesting)

dingen (958134) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460021)

Windows is like Facebook: users are fed up with it, but since there is no viable alternative, they stick around.

The second something does come up that looks like it could be "the next big thing" it will be, because users are ready to switch anyway.

Re:Whats the alternative? (2)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460219)

It's more complex than that. Facebook at the core is about us sharing our personal stuff: we're both consumers and producers there. From a consumer point of view, it'll be clear early on if it's worth to jump ship; if something looks like it might be the next big thing, we can be confident that producers will move over as well because that's us (and our friends). And from a producer point of view, jumping ship comes at a relatively low price, plus being on two social networks at once is certainly doable.

On Windows, most of us are just consumers. It's not our friends that drive a potential migration, it's the producers (i.e. software companies), who are facing a serious investment when considering to move to a different ecosystem. They cannot afford to assume something will be the next big thing and just see how things develop, and Windows has a distinct advantage to many of them: it covers the business market, where Windows is still the ecosystem of choice. As long as the producers stick to Windows, consumers are unlikely to make the change.

Re:Whats the alternative? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43460293)

Windows is like Facebook: it's amazing how complete and satisfying your life can be while using neither.

Re:Whats the alternative? (1)

evilRhino (638506) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460085)

Most users are probably content to switch to iPads or competing tablets.

Re:Whats the alternative? (3, Insightful)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460089)

Are people going to switch to Mac OS? Linux? Or stay on Windows 7 until a "spiritual successor" to Windows comes?

Haven't you heard? We're all going to be using tablets from now on!

I just can't seem to figure out how to get Photoshop and Premiere to work on this thing.

Re:Whats the alternative? (2)

dingen (958134) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460133)

Do you seriously think the number of people using Photoshop and/or Premiere is at all relevant to the entire PC-market?

If photoshop worked on a 300mhz P4 (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460327)

So if photoshop worked well in 1999 on a 300mhz P4, then custom native libs, and gui in adk, its perfectly viable to have a good version running on a large tablet 9in +.

Re:Whats the alternative? (2)

lord_mike (567148) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460197)

The best selling laptop on amazon right now is the Chromebook. It's #1. There's a chance, a small chance, but a chance that Linux on the desktop may actually come to fruition as a viable alternative. If it happens, it will be wrapped in the cloak of Google, and it will be called Chrome.

What numbers? (0)

ZiakII (829432) | about a year and a half ago | (#43459879)

What numbers are they going off of? I just saw a bunch of ramblings of a lunatic in the article.

Re:What numbers? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43459897)

My ass is that of a princess, and it is open to you.

Re:What numbers? (5, Insightful)

dingen (958134) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460055)

The 15% drop in PC-sales last quarter, that's the numbers they are talking about.

But the real numbers are of course that 92% of desktop users world wide are using Windows. Hell, they could lose almost half their users and they still wouldn't be over.

Re:What numbers? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460281)

But the real numbers are of course that 92% of desktop users world wide are using Windows. Hell, they could lose almost half their users and they still wouldn't be over.

True, but gone are the days when everybody rushed out to get the latest and greatest as soon as it was released.

If a sizable chunk of your customer base skips every other version of your OS, and if people are starting to buy more tablet/mobile devices than your PC market ... your income base is eroding.

Microsoft makes most of their money from Windows and Office, and if people are deciding that the older version works just fine (I'm still running Vista for instance), that's going to really hurt their bottom line.

If all Microsoft can do is announce they'll be making a smart watch too, they're going to have to start actually working to get people to buy their stuff. And for a very long time they haven't had to do that, upgrades were just a matter of course.

From the sounds of it, the traditional desktop PC is being cannibalized in favor of tablet type devices -- and I don't get the impression that Microsoft's offerings in that category are exactly huge sellers.

Re:What numbers? (3, Informative)

chill (34294) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460301)

It would be as far as Microsoft's revenue is concerned. They don't collect a dime from all those existing OS installs. Unless they convince people to buy new versions, along with new versions of MS Office, their revenue will take a nosedive.

Excellent timing (1)

jimmetry (1801872) | about a year and a half ago | (#43459881)


Twain: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43459887)

"The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated."

Re:Twain: (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460259)

TWAIN [] is still kicking, but Windows is on the way out. That much is for certain. I just got asked by a person I know who is just an average user with little knowledge of computers if they should get a ChromeOS or Windows 8 system. You can bet your ass I didn't recommend Windows.

If Windows is dead, then we're in deep shit (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43459891)

Because the end of Windows would mean that there are only two alternatives left: 1) An open source operating system that has been shunned by practically all software companies which provide the software used by professionals. 2) An operating system which is made by a company that seems to raise prices whenever they run a risk of gaining market share, a company that wants to take a commission of every piece of software or data that is used with their products.

Re:If Windows is dead, then we're in deep shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43460015)

What do you mean shunned? They haven't shunned it, they've just not seen the potential and all their programmers are used to windows.

Re:If Windows is dead, then we're in deep shit (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460117)

They haven't shunned Linux. They just can't decide on which distro.

Re:If Windows is dead, then we're in deep shit (1)

smash (1351) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460029)

Uh.... i gather you're referring to apple with the price rises.... but their prices have been falling pretty much since they switched to intel?

Re:If Windows is dead, then we're in deep shit (2)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460093)


I remember buying my first Mac Mini when it first came out for £399 - the base Mac Mini available today is £499.

I remember buying my first Macbook when it first came out for £799 - the base Apple laptop available today is £849 (and its got a smaller screen).

Re:If Windows is dead, then we're in deep shit (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460199)

How long ago?

Re:If Windows is dead, then we're in deep shit (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43460263)

a) Windows 8
b) Windows 8

And... no big loss (4, Interesting)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about a year and a half ago | (#43459899)

I like some Microsoft products, but honestly, if they ditch Windows, and move their products to .NET... then ensure the .NET platform runs on Apple, Linux and a few other platforms (not terribly hard, since the tech is mostly there anyway), I think they might see some improvement.

TBH... I like what Windows was for a short time, in the 2000-XP era, when most of the security holes had been patched, and 7 is OK... but they are majorly ruining the UI. They are trying to be clever, edgy and push the envelope... but doing so in a manner that copies Apple, and tries to go one step further. So they not only lose the 'clever' appearance, for a copycat appearance, but they are copying some of the worst changes for the desktop environment, that Apple is making.

Then again... except for businesses, and a relatively small number of hobbyists, the desktop will be mostly eliminated in the next 5-10 years. So... Windows dieing on the desktop may not be such a big thing for MS. The people who will keep it, are probably the least likely to use Windows (except businesses). The desktop is for creating, most users are simply are fine with consuming, and they'll move to portable platforms which make that easier. Even the portable platforms are starting to be good with producing - particularly multimedia which doesn't require much typing. MS has the possibility to catch-up on the portable side, but it's isn't likely, even though they have a great mobile product, that market is fairly strongly set with other good/great products, and it will be a hard battle, one MS's prodigally inept PR department can only lose.

Re:And... no big loss (5, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460011)

While I agree with you here, you probably have overlooked the good ol' Microsoft arrogance. When MS have failed they it has been because of their own arrogance. While Windows 95 was mostly a win, people tend to forget that part of it was a failure: they were just SURE that MSN was going to win over this thing called the Internet. They tend to lose when they try to innovate because they're so damn sure they know what people want... then it turns out to be wrong.

I am guessing that Microsoft will beat the Windows horse until it is bits in pieces.

Re:And... no big loss (3, Interesting)

The_Revelation (688580) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460111)

To me, Windows XP really refined the Windows experience. I think the way they are forking their UI to Metro or whatever it is, may be taking the usability angle a little too far. I see far too many similarities between the Nintendo Wii OS and Windows 8 to possibly be coincidence, and the Wii has one of the most poorly thought-through UIs of all time. To be honest, I don't think the ribbon system works in Office very well, either - rather than de-cluttering menus it leads to hieroglyphic overload.

Re:And... no big loss (1)

hey! (33014) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460307)

I think the way they are forking their UI to Metro or whatever it is, may be taking the usability angle a little too far.

Well ... I don't know if what's driving it is *usability*; I think it's more that they've decided that touch interfaces are the way things will go.

The whole dual interface thing in Windows 8 reminds me of Windows 3; you had a new interface (a GUI), with only a few apps written for it, and you had your DOS shell which could run your important apps Like Lotus 1-2-3 and Wordperfect.

Windows has been "over" for me for years (4, Interesting)

Maow (620678) | about a year and a half ago | (#43459909)

I stopped with Windows around Ubuntu 8.04, was fully weaned on 8.10.

Cannot imagine going back, ever, unless they took FreeBSD and wrapped their stuff around that. Then, maybe.

But MS does deserve a smaller market share than before; I'm happy about that.

They aren't going away completely for a long time.

And going forward, Ubuntu is over. Still on 10.04 and kubuntu 12.04 and CentOS 6.3. Won't use Unity, will avoid Gnome 3 for as long as it takes to become compelling.

Love the choices available.

Re:Windows has been "over" for me for years (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43460099)

Linux Mint MATE or Linux Mint Cinnamon. Both work very well. I switched over to Linux Mint KDE and am mostly happy. I'm not perfectly happy with any of the current desktop environments. At the moment, KDE works best for me. I, too, doubt I will ever go back to Windows as my primary desktop. I've been a pretty happy Linux user since 1998. I occasionally use Word since it does tables and formatting really well and I like my resume/CV to look professional, because fact it, Libre Office still isn't there yet and the online offerings from MS don't handle tables and formatting well at all, otherwise I'd be using those.

All in all, Linux makes a better user experience if you don't need games and fancy software. All I do is surf, research, email. I can use my kid's gaming consoles should I fancy a bit of gaming.

Re:Windows has been "over" for me for years (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43460131)

That's amazing. Do you have any more personal stories to tell?

Re:Windows has been "over" for me for years (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43460251)

That's amazing. Do you have any more personal stories to tell?

No, but I do: you're an asshole.

Re:Windows has been "over" for me for years (5, Insightful)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460149)

To me 10.04 of Ubuntu was a perfect desktop. It had everything I needed, I had it set up so sweet and when people running windows saw it they were absolutely blown away. I don't know but I believe that eventually the UI, once it fits your needs, is done. Why change what works? Linux could certainly use more work but mostly under the hood. This madness with Unity I never have understood, it seems like Canonical decided to merge the desktop and tablet together and I can't deal with the mess. Maybe when they finish it but probably not even then. You know, at some point things are good enough but these companies still need to sell you something so now they are trying to creat a demand where there is no need.

Slow news day, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43459915)

Slow news day, eh?

MS missed the boat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43459917)

MS has missed the boat. Their issue? Not hiring visionaries, but instead hiring the old-guard mentality comfortable with the status quo.

Even the old guard had to see the writing on the wall what with things moving online. Even they had to see mobile coming. MS relied/relies too heavily on Office and Server license revenue. It's good money, sure, but that money is drying up in favor of SaaS, PaaS, mobile, etc. It's just a matter of time.

Internally, MS is in turmoil. They mean well, they really do, but meaning well and executing well are two different animals.

The baffling thing... (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43459921)

It isn't clear that MS has anything coherent in the 'stop ipads and cellphones and stuff from eating our casual customers' column; but all they'd have to do to move Win8 from 'Windows Vista's Revenge' to 'worthy, if not groundbreaking, series of incremental improvements to various aspects of Windows 7' would be to flip the switch and have non-touch devices default to 'desktop' and touch devices default to 'the UI formerly known as Metro'.

Pretty much everything is still present in Win8; but they seem content to just stick their fingers in their ears and ignore the problem, even as OEMs have started shipping ghastly craplets designed to vaguely resemble a start menu. I just don't get it.

Re:The baffling thing... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43460175)

They are ignoring the "problems" because they are attempting to force an application API and UI on developers which will produce apps for desktops, tablets and phones. Developers, developers, developers was what Steve Ballmer would rant about because it meant controlling the market if they controlled developers. Today, they must be thinking that is secondary to getting a boat load of apps which will work across their many platforms now so that one day they can pull the strings to control them once again.

So they can't give up on phones and tablets and they can't move away from a single application API until they get an application base worth a hoot. A large wave is sweeping the market and going to tablets and phones while the PC market continues the decline. Switching Windows back to the old desktop and application APIs won't stop the wave so they will stick with it.

It is likely they will be riding this wave right into the cliff wall.

Re:The baffling thing... (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460233)

Yeah, I bought Windows 8 when they first released it because it was only $40, and I knew that price wouldn't last forever. I have actually come to like it quite a bit. I really like the new task manager, and also like the way they have improved the UI for copying files. These may seem like little things, but they are things I see on a day-to-day basis. It's really nice to be able to see which program is monopolizing the hard disk, since that seems to be the #1 culprit for slowing down my computer. Overall it's been very stable, and has also performed very well. Which is nice considering I'm running it on a laptop that came out 2 years before windows 8 was released. If people would just stop harping on Metro, (honestly, you don't even see it 95% of the time) and just start using it.

Re:The baffling thing... GNOME3 anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43460291)

Software makers sticking their finger in their ears? ... sounds just like the GNOME3 story :)

It's Just Fine (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43459935)

Once you install's noticeably faster than previous releases.

Re:It's Just Fine (2)

Killjoy_NL (719667) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460005)

Correct, I am using it on my personal laptop and on my PC at work, it is fast and stable enough so far.
My home PC is still running win7 but that's because it is stable and if it ain't broke, don't try to fix it.

Re:It's Just Fine (3, Informative)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460023)

Grandma has no idea what you're talking about.

Re:It's Just Fine (1)

smash (1351) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460115)

So you mean to say i need to upgrade my OS, lose compatibility with a number of apps, go through testing for the rest of everything I use, and install some third party crap from some developer i've never heard of that may break with a service pack just to get the functionality I already have? I could just spend the money on some more RAM or an SSD instead.

UI in general is getting worse (4, Insightful)

Stirling Newberry (848268) | about a year and a half ago | (#43459937)

the new design principles of cow path work flow, one way trap doors, modal dialogs, and above all the great mouse click god are destroying the metaphor. We are building for fools and soon only fools will be able to use it. A/B testing is the worst idea in UI design since the rubber eraser joystick that was on lap tops from people too cheap to buy a track pad.

Re:UI in general is getting worse (3, Interesting)

tippe (1136385) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460223)

worst idea in UI design since the rubber eraser joystick that was on lap tops from people too cheap to buy a track pad.

Hey! Leave me and my clit-mouse [] out of this discussion, thank you. Long live the clit-mouse!

Re:UI in general is getting worse (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43460273)

Hey, the track-point is awesome! You can type AND keep your hands on the keyboard to use the mouse...far more efficient once you learn how to use it and set the sensitivity correctly. ;)

Oh look! (4, Insightful)

dywolf (2673597) | about a year and a half ago | (#43459939)

ZDNet is proclaiming the death of the PC / Windows...

Just more clickbait fodder.

Re:Oh look! (2)

ColdCat (2586245) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460139)

Maybe they are talking about Vista ?
Ho wait vista (the microsoft total failure OS) is still more used to surf the web that all mobile devices together, which supposed to be our future....

it's pretty simple: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43459941)

Phase I - all backend computing is going to "the cloud" (won't go there - topic for another post; suffice to say it is)

Phase II - all client-side computing is going to mobile devices (phones & tablets)

Phase III - M$ is hopelessly irrelevant in both spaces

Phase IV - != profit... (well, there's always patent trolling but like "the cloud" topic for another time...)

Microsoft's future (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43459945)

As a Microsoft partner and management consultant I don't understand:

  • why the Microsoft board hasn't fired Ballmer yet.
  • why Microsoft continues to have a reward and incentive program for staff that is based on ranking staff against each other rather than on rewarding shared achievements.
  • how the Windows 8 flop was allowed to happen at all, after the windows phone 7 flop. When the competition has superior products, trying to sell an inferior product at a premium while offering no compelling reason to change is simply a recipe for disaster.

Realistically Microsoft only has one chance at long term success, and that includes firing Ballmer, restaffing the board, and radically changing its staff evaluation processes away from Darwinian struggle to "what's best for Microsoft as a whole".

What I expect it will do instead is gradually fade into irrelevance:

  • MS staff will continue to sabotage each other and fail to integrate products into a compelling suite of offerings,
  • product planning will be more of the story of Microsoft's 'copy what the competition is doing now' combined with lengthy time-to-market.
  • MS's internal bureaucracy and inwards looking culture will result in lengthy delays in execution and further failure to identify changing consumer trends (rise of the web, mobile, etc).

So Microsoft's predicament is worse than a single product failure - at a CEO level Microsoft is simply not doing enough to change.

Blame the Board (4, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about a year and a half ago | (#43459947)

Forget Sinofsky. He was one guy and W8 has been coming down the tracks for what, four years now?

The blame here lies with Microsoft board of Directors. Windows 8 wasn't some backroom project, hardware spinoff, or specialised division. It was the company's flagship product, its core product, whose success literally makes or brakes the company.

And the board has fubbed it; Bigtime. The whole project was a disaster since its inception, and despite the recession it's very clear that the entire iDink paradigm Windows 8 attempted to hoist on users is so bad, so awful, that ordinary users are literally giving on on buying PCs full stop. A competent board would have been on top of this, foreseen the problems, and had them resolved before launch. We are now 8 months into launch and Windows 8 is a beached whale leading the whole PC industry pod onshore in its wake.

The first thing that needed to turn this around -- before any resigns, Service Packs, interface revamps, or marketing campaigns -- the very first things is that a swathe of the board needs to go. There's a cohort of bankers and industrialist there who probably have no idea how to run their own industries, let alone a computer software company. If my experience with Ireland is any indication, I imagine these directors are serial board hoppers anyway, so they won't be missed.

Microsoft is a software company. It needs software people on the board. Engineers, programmers, computer scientists, etc; with management experience, but who actually know what software actually is, and how it is developed, sold, and used. If MS puts qualified people in charge they can begin to turn the boat around; but they stick with the current shower of corporate BSers at the helm, this whale will stay dying on the beach for a very long time.

Re:Blame the Board (2)

Cenan (1892902) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460067)

Engineers don't always make for good managers, as many software professionals will be able to drone on and on about at length.
You don't need engineers with management experience on the board. What you do need is executives who know how to shut the fuck up and listen when their betters are talking. Taking input from a professional and putting it to good use is what is needed, you don't need 20+ years of coding monkey experience under your belt to achieve this.
It is false in the extreme to assume that because you're good at some aspect of a profession, that you somehow magically have the skills needed to run a successful business. Running a business is a skill entirely different from engineering.

Re:Blame the Board (1)

joebagodonuts (561066) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460249)

"A competent board..." sounds wonderful, but I can't think of one anywhere in the tech industry. Some are less incompetent than others, but where is a good one? Apple? Oracle? Less competent boards, rather competent CEOs.

Re:Blame the Board (2)

DarkOx (621550) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460299)

Microsoft's problems is IMHO is they are trying to segment the market to much. Yes there is some price discrimination to be done. Home vs Pro kinda makes sense. There are way to many versions of Win7 and they double the mess with Win8 vs Win8RT.

Windows is single biggest sell points are 1) backward compatibility and 2) You don't have to think about it.

2) They are messing up 2 with badly with so many versions. A consumer is forced to have to learn quite about about the product to decide which they need. Yes I am aware they can 'up sell' after the fact but psychologically nobody likes that; it feels like a gotcha. Truly the bundle model is a gotcha. Its pay to much for Ultimate Enterprise Ponies Edition and get a huge pile of stuff you will never need. Make it one simple base Windows license with nothing included and then offer a Chinese menu of additional licensed components so its completely a la cart; or just do (Pro Or Home) X ( ARM OR 86-64 ) and stop there.

1) Make compatibility a priority again. Okay don't try to make x86 binaries run on ARM, and they have already abandon win16 at this point, but make damn sure any application that ran on XP works on Windows $NEXT.

Really there failures here are what is killing them. The argument has always been "lets stay with Windows because it leverages our existing investment". There are other things Windows does well too, of course that make it a reasonable choice but the above is really what cut the legs off of any discussion of changing platforms.

it's happened before (1)

chentiangemalc (1710624) | about a year and a half ago | (#43459953)

Windows ME, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 8. The same headlines "windows is over" over and over again. Maybe this time it's for real. Maybe it finally will be the year of the Linux Desktop, that was apparently supposed to happen every year for the past 10 years. Maybe by the end of 2013 we'll only use iPads to do all our work

Re:it's happened before (1)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460165)

The problem is processors getting faster came to juddering halt about 4 or 5 years ago and wow now it's kicking into the 4 year upgrade cycle most firms are on oh and the economy is kaput.

Re:it's happened before (1)

smash (1351) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460189)

It wont ever be year of the Linux desktop. It will be year of the web delivery revolution and end user device irrelevance. It won't be iPads, Androids or any single end user device which kills Windows. It will be the end user device becoming irrelevant, and people using whatever the fuck they like.

I don't buy it. (5, Insightful)

FictionPimp (712802) | about a year and a half ago | (#43459975)

I'm not a windows guy. My laptop is a macbook pro and my day to day workstation is debian. However, I recently built a windows gaming computer and I like windows 8. Is it different? Yes. Does it have a learning curve? Yes. In the end it's stable, solid, easy to use, and looks nice.

The reason PC sales are down is because computing power has reached a point where we don't need a new computer every 2-3 years. My mac mini is 6 years old. I only need to replace it because apple won't support it any longer. Otherwise it's speed and power is fine. I expect my new desktop windows 8 PC will last me at least 6 or 7 years.

Gone is the day of the power computer. Desktop computing has reached the point where there is no leap in upgrading. It's incremental, people only do incremental upgrades when their old equipment dies.

Re:I don't buy it. (1)

Killjoy_NL (719667) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460031)

Don't replace the Mac Mini until it breaks or you want to do stuff on it that doesn't work anymore, replacing it because it has lost support is a bit of a waste I think.

Re:I don't buy it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43460141)

PC power is fine, the problem is Software to use the PC power. There hardly is any.

Re:I don't buy it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43460171)


If I can upgrade a First Generation Windows Vista PC that did everything the user needed it to do to Windows 8 and it runs noticeably faster, Why should I convince a company to go for all new PC's short of reliability concerns.

Re:I don't buy it. (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460195)

I bought a new mac mini because I wanted to speed up video editing and it was a cheap way to get a mac video editing system with a quad i7 processor. Other than that though my old macbook core2duo was perfectly suitable. I will say it's the best 900 dollars I ever spent on a computer, it makes video editing fun.

Microsoft is like "Biff" from Back to the Future (4, Insightful)

tippe (1136385) | about a year and a half ago | (#43459977)

Like Biff, Microsoft used to be so easy to hate (being the bully and all), but now, at the end of the story, they've become so reduced from their former self and are nothing more than a pathetic, blithering idiot, you almost feel sorry for them. Almost.

Anyway, I wonder if all of this negative news is enough to get Balmer tossed out.... Isn't that what is supposed to happen to CEOs when things go this wrong this fast?

Re:Microsoft is like "Biff" from Back to the Futur (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460207)

Ballmer is about as secure as CEO's get these days.

What a Fuctard article (2)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about a year and a half ago | (#43459991)

I suppose its nothing to do with the fact that the PC I bought 5 years ago is pretty much still as good as those I can get off the shelf today. Other factors include the global economy being in the toilet. Of course Tablets have had an impact but the office is still mostly PC based with some Mac thrown in for good measure. Blaming M$ for the decline in PC sales is like blaming Obama for starting the War in Iraq!

Re:What a Fuctard article (1)

Jeremy Nuss (2898697) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460017)

I agree, the only numbers I found were that of tablet share. Which has very little to do with Windows sales. I happen to like Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. I have had an iPhone and Android. I ran a Hackintosh and various flavors of Ubuntu for the past decade. I actually decided to buy Windows 8 when it was released, and am very happy with it. People love to trash Microsoft (I used to be one of them), but in reality MS has shaped the modern culture in a very substantial way. With so many servers and businesses running MS products with license agreements that span decades it is highly unlikely it will fall anytime soon. In recent months Google has become more like Apple in the worst way. They are walling off their garden, which 15 years ago they would have said, "That is evil. Don't do it." In todays world Micorosoft is becoming the more open company, trying to work with any companies system. This article is BS.

They could turn things around (4, Interesting)

astrashe (7452) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460035)

MS's main problem is that they still think like monopolists. That's the core of the Win 8 problem -- people at MS telling us what we'll take, and that we'll like it. That they know better.

I'm a Gnome 2 refugee typing this on a Macbook Air, not a MS apologist. But Windows 7 is a very fine desktop OS. All they have to do is to stop trying to kill it off. Put it back on the PCs in the stores. Admit that Ballmer screwed the pooch, and let him go. He's a leader from the monopoly era, and not well suited to this moment.

Active Directory is a huge asset for MS. There's a whole ecosystem of tools that people use to do work in companies that will be very hard for anyone else to displace. Excel is amazing, and it's central to the conduct of business all over the world. People in offices all over the world live in Outlook. These aren't small advantages.

in the old days, they had their boots on our necks, and we all hated them. I remember that very clearly. But now, as tech professionals, we need them to get it together, for the health of the tech industry as a whole. Too much is sitting on top of them for their implosion to be a good thing.

uhhh (1)

buddyglass (925859) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460047)

Steven Vaughan-Nichols is the biggest anti-MS pro-Linux zealot out there. His pronouncement that "Windows is dead" is approximately as credible as Bill Gates saying "Linux is dead".

Re:uhhh (1)

buddyglass (925859) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460053)

That said, I don't plan to ever buy another Windows PC. When XP finally stops receiving updates I'll probably buy a Mac.

Not over yet.. (1)

jcr (53032) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460065)

Saying that "windows is over" is excessively optimistic. It's going to take decades to die out. What is over though, is Microsoft's monopoly power. Their ability to push the hardware makers around is history.


microsoft always releases usless OS's now and then (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43460079)

MS has a habit of releasing expermintal/dud releases that we all skip. Eg = windows vista, ME, etc. Just skip windows 8 and wait for the coming "regular" OS.

Screw You Microsoft! (4, Interesting)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460087)

Lots of Windows developers warned you Windows 8 was going to be a big mistake. You ignored us and stumbled on like an angry dunk. I used Windows 8 in the shops. It sucked and was clear customers wouldn't warm to it. With the writing on the wall developers took the plunge to Tablet development. People still wanted their PCs, but instead of re-inventing the desktop and instead you laid another Zune and forgot to flush. You have squandered the biggest computing monopoly ever, but this time people are leaving so I don't think there is a come back. Bye Bye Balmer.

Windows 8 App Developer Says Process Stinks []
More Game Developers Unhappy With Windows 8 []
Why Microsoft has made developers horrified about coding for Windows 8 # warning signs as far back as 2011! []
Don’t Blame Us for Windows 8s Slow Sales, PC Makers Say []

Microsoft "in the Home" is over (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43460103)

Microsoft needs to focus on it's business users rather than trying to be a dog with two bones.

Nobody is going to be working with Excel spreadsheets on an ipad.

Third party hacks (5, Insightful)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460121)

There's a lot of comments floating around which say "when you install this this 3rd party start menu and make it boot straight to desktop, it's fine".

What they are saying is that if you undo all the big ideas that were added in Windows 8 it's fine. That's not good, you know.

you can have my solitare (2)

nimbius (983462) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460127)

when you pry it from my cold dead hand!

Oppurtunities Lost (1)

LiquidOxygen (15816) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460161)

While I know the business world will be on a Windows based system for at least another 10 years, it seems to me that Sony is missing an opportunity here by not adding Mouse/Keyboard options to their PS4. For that matter, I'd gladly pay more for a PS4 that had the keyboard/mouse and the ability to perform incremental upgrades.

Re:Oppurtunities Lost (1)

lord_mike (567148) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460227)

It would be like a 21st century Coleco Adam!! ;-) Actually, something like that could work as long as people are OK with their living room TV's being their monitor like in the 80's. The Ouya does offer bluetooth keyboard and mouse support, so there's a lot of potential there at least.

Nay-Sayers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43460179)

You hear the same crap every time windows releases a new OS.

No way to save it?? (4, Insightful)

scottbomb (1290580) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460187)

All it would take is a service pack. Let users decide if they want Metro or not. Let users decide if they want the start menu taking over their entire screen. I can't see how this would be complicated. The biggest hurdle is getting a marketing department to admit they made a mistake. The only time I can remember that ever happening was with New Coke. Coca-Cola sucked it up, gave the consumers what they wanted, and saved their brand. The ball is in Microsoft's court.

Bring back XP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43460229)

I would continue to pay for a supported, patched XP over buying windows 8.

Death of MS is probably exaggerated. (4, Insightful)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460245)

Look, guys, I have been anti-Microsoft to the point of being accused of being a fanboi.

But, again this report under estimates the staying power of PC in the corporate world. Very systematically they MS neutralized Unix and usurped all the corporate intranet. Exchange server has become the de-facto authentication server even for companies that use Google Apps to reduce their MS-Office/Outlook/SharePoint costs. It is well entrenched in the corporations. Home users and younger generation have stopped buying PCs/Laptops and are increasingly using pads, tablets and smartphones. Having to interoperate with all these devices have cut the traditional advantage MS had with its monoculture.

MS is on its way of becoming the son of IBM. Lots of well funded research projects, and stranglehold on some sectors, mostly staying in business world and staying away from personal and entertainment world. It will sell X-Box someday to concentrate on its "core mission".

Apple is NOT the new Microsoft. Apple is probably the new Sony. Google is probably the new Microsoft. Let us see if it can avoid following the same path as IBM and Microsoft.

I've been hearing this for over a decade here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43460255)

Make no mistake about the concept of a news reposting site like Slashdot. There's a groupthink and an agenda to be pushed. Damn near every article that proclaims the death of Windows/MS has been posted here for years and the fanboi crowd always come running and hollering about how it's the holy truth and that it's all over... everyone trade in your Windows PC at the door for the new found glories of [technology x].
So far the only consistency between these articles and the real world is that the articles have always been wrong. For people who suck at the teat of empirical evidence, these articles should be (by and large) written off as trolls from the get go.
And this isn't to say that MS doesn't make more than one mistake a day. Certainly not. But the reporting of their death is greatly overestimated by tech writers who normally never get beyond making a living off of throwing out random opinions.

Cursed brand (4, Insightful)

pmontra (738736) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460275)

People look at those new phones and tablets, see the Windows logo and think about the antivirus running on their PC at home and at work. Some of them even remember editing the register. They feel a shiver down their spine and move to the next shelf. That's the number 1 problem, IMHO.

Number 2, the UI issue the article is about.

Waffles (4, Informative)

AdmV0rl0n (98366) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460283)

Most posters so far don't seem to know or understand what happened in Winh8.

Its_not a UI change. Its a UI and core system change, and a turning most of what was Windows to 'Legacy'.

The problem is much deeper than the UI. The problem is MS has explained very poorly what the new core OS and APIs are, and what tools and development was needed to make it fly. Most ordinary windows devs were left simply not knowing what APIs were going to be new or legacy.

I've fitted and made Windows 8 work for me (care of classic shell, and a few tweaks), and under the bonnet frankly there are good engineering works to be had. But the new UI is on par with the poorest touch interfaces I have seen. Its compounded by brilliance like the keyboard shortcuts that MS pushed in relation for it. Nobody in the Windows team seemed to realise that requiring bucketloads of keyboard shortcuts in a UI that is supposed to be touch based is an absolute fail.

You can add in more brilliance - like screwing with Explorer and putting in the appalling ribbon menu bar. Only, they did not fix the ribbon. So its got groupings of small icons mixed in with some that are good enough for touch - and these are too small to work in a touch interface. Sheer fucking genius. And either make the control panel in the dekstop side, or in the new UI. In 8 for some reason the control settings and options get split on both sides and its a plain mess. How it passed UI testing and end user testing is beyond comprehension.

It was fascinating during the development cycle to read some of the justification for the changes. They took feedback collected from end user machines. But not mine. And probably not yours. I know of nobody sane who does not turn that off. So, they collated data from the wrong userbase - and then decided that 'no one is using the start button, lets get rid of it' (I know I simplified the background, but hey..)

The only place where Windows 8 with the new UI works is on ARM, and its been a mistake to put and drive this into the X86 and X64 world. Windows 8 with an option for he new UI should have been the default there, with desktop as the default OS and with legacy and current customer support for the long term being the objective.

And a couple more things from the new UI angle. The applications are tedious, poor, and low quality. And thats before you get into the full screen nature of them UI, and the horrendous square everything. Every single part of it is sharp edged, square, old. There is nothing fresh about it. It reminds me orf the simplifed UI from win2k. This may have reduced system load and it may have been required, but it does not look nice. It does not feel nice. It does not feel modern, or fresh. It just feels bad. And in doing this they had to throw away features from 7 that were previously touted and positive steps forward.

The bottom line is as a release OS - it is a trainwreck. And not just in look and feel, but way beyond. Its a train wreck at the API and engineering level too. Now 99% of the audience is on the wrong track. Moving them over requires that they are going to have to change the gauge on all their wheels.

This is an incredible uphill problem. Move everyone from what they know and like, to what they don't. and .. don't.

The real problem is that the Windows end client is actually the grounding for the MS server and application layers. If the end client fails, these will fail also. And this means that_right now_ the board at MS should be rolling heads.

Lol@ ZDNet is known to take the side of Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43460315)

Seriously, when has SJVN ever been even remotely close to even being impartial to an MS product? He's easily the most biased voice on their entire network.

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