Space Ramblings

Did Microsoft Expect Windows 8 to Fail?

The numbers are in and Windows 8 is predictably in Vista territory. It didn’t have to be that way, but Microsoft insisted on killing any interest for desktop users by putting its mobile experience first and shoving the desktop experience into the back of the box.

Desperate to break into the mobile marketplace before it was too late, Microsoft put its crown jewels in hock, creating a competitive app marketplace by leveraging its massive desktop user install base for app developers. It was a clever, ruthless and stupid move. It got Microsoft the app development it wanted, while completely alienating desktop developers, especially game developers like Valve, which is now pushing into Mac and Linux territory, and which with Steam, has the leverage to force producers and developers to make more non-Windows game ports, and alienating desktop users.

But Microsoft had written off Windows 8 as a desktop environment from the start. The best evidence of that is how little effort Microsoft put into promoting Windows 8 to business users, who are the core of its OS business. Most end users get their OS with a new computer, without making any decision about it. Business users however make a decision to go with one platform or another and make everything compatible with that. And because of that business users are hard to sell on new OS’. With Windows Vista, Microsoft failed to sell business users. With Windows 8 it didn’t even bother.

Windows 8 continued Microsoft’s drift into becoming another Sony. With its game console business, its game publishing business and OS commercials that focus more on the low end casual user, Microsoft seems determined to reinvent itself as something closer to a company that sells personal entertainment appliances that happen to run its software, then a very successful software company.

But the PC isn’t dead. Sony is. And Apple is quickly tumbling. And Microsoft is wasting its goodwill and trashing its core business to imitate a company that is on the way out.

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