Three weeks after Windows 8’s launch, Windows guru/newshound Paul Thurrott says that one of his Microsoft sources has confided that the new software isn’t meeting the company’s sales expectations. Thurrott gives several explanations, including:
Windows 8. It’s a floor wax. No, it’s a dessert topping. Microsoft’s new whatever-the-F-it-is operating system is a confusing, Frankenstein’s monster mix of old and new that hides a great desktop upgrade under a crazy Metro front-end. It’s touch-first, as Microsoft says, but really it’s touch whether you want it or not (or have it or not), and the firm’s inability to give its own customers the choice to pick which UI they want is what really makes Windows 8 confounding to users. I actually like Windows 8 quite a bit and can’t imagine switching back. But I do understand the complaints of customers who aren’t getting what they wanted or asked for.
I don’t know if Microsoft anticipated that Windows 8 would be an instant hit. But it’s such a radical departure from any version of Windows before it that I’m not the least bit surprised by the possibility that relatively few consumers are rushing to be early adopters. Even people who are intrigued are going to think this one over. And for most of them, there’s no particular reason to get Windows 8 until there are more Windows 8 applications.
Windows 8 was never (primarily) about driving PC sales for the 2012 holiday season. It’s a long bet on a future in which most PCs have touch capability and many of them are tablets. As such, any current conclusions about how it’s doing are hopelessly premature.