Despite spending billions of dollars on R+D Microsoft has only managed to snare 10 per cent of PCs run Windows 8 and most of this market share has been gained by default with PC makers loading the problematic OS onto new machines.
Today consumers are choosing devices that run software made by Apple and Google.
Research shows that one in five PCs still run on the 14 year old Windows XP, the bulk of Windows OS machines run Windows 7.
Now Microsoft is set to spruik Windows 10 in an effort to get consumers and business back onto a Windows OS.
Windows 8 is not the only Microsoft product that has problems. This week the US software Company who is spending millions on marketing via JB Hi Fi and Harvey Norman is attempting to fix problems with their Surface Pro 3.
Owners of the expensive Microsoft tablet that comes with a keyboard have been plagued with Wi Fi and battery drain problems.
4Square Media has been using a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 recently and when compared to the Lenovo Pro 3 which we used extensively at CES 2015 there is no comparison when it comes to performance functionality and ease of use.
Several media Companies including several leading technology journalists who have praised the Surface Pro 3 despite known battery and Wi Fi problems were given free samples of the Microsoft hardware.
SmartHouse and ChannelNews did not take a free machine instead we obtained a purchased model to assess the functionality of the device.
Currently Microsoft engineers are having to work on battery drain issues, various compatibility problems and DirectX performance issues.
Last week the Company used their TechNet blog to alert owners and resellers to fixes that included fixes for the Intel HD Graphics engine.
The blog read “Among them you have a number of extremely specific system hangs and crash patches, but also more general, far-reaching improvements”.
These include video display and zoom speed acceleration in DirectX apps, better compatibility with Samsung and Dell monitors, and expanded support for Panasonic and Actiontec Miracast adapters.
Also patched was issues relating to wireless network controllers and Bluetooth drivers. A visit to Windows Central reveals a list of complaints from unhappy Surface Pro 3 customers.
Currently Microsoft is setting up to migrate owners of Surface Pro 3’s leap to Windows 10 however Surface RT owners will not get the January firmware update Microsoft has announced.
Instead of partnering with the likes of Lenovo, Dell, Acer, Asus or HP Microsoft has moved into the hardware business taking business away from their traditional partners,
The move has angered several of these partners who are also having to compete with multimillion dollar Microsoft in-store marketing programs that priortise Microsoft hardware over their own Windows based hardware.
One major supplier told ChannelNews that his Company is currently working closely with Google and that shortly the Company will release several new hardware products that they claim are “superior to Windows based hardware”.
When Microsoft launched Windows 8 they were already up against the wall consumers were buying Apple and Android based tablets in the millions, Windows 8 was supposed to fix that problem.
Windows 8 was supposedly designed to take advantage of the growing number of touchscreens, with the OS set to move consumers away from the traditional desktop model.
What Microsoft failed to realise is that most users still wanted a traditional way to get to Excel, Word and the web, which remain the core uses for Windows.
The Daily Telegraph in the UK said recently “In Windows 8, the desktop environment felt little better than Windows 7, divorced from the main OS, and if you weren’t using it on a touchscreen then the first version was maddening. On machines designed for Windows 8, the software was superb and elegant; on a conventional PC, where most users encountered it, the software drew howls of protest. The update, Windows 8.1, offered improvements but it was too little too late”.
So, just like Windows 7 rescued Windows Vista from a PR disaster, now Windows 10 faces the same challenge. It will seek to offer a single platform for all Microsoft products, from phones to the Xbox, as well as tablets and PCs, with a single store to buy software from and developers only needing to write it once for all devices.
Microsoft and their PR Company Ogilvy and Mather does not like criticism or what they call “Negative” stories.
When SmartHouse exposed Microsoft’s now famous Red Ring of Death problems with their Xbox console retailers such as Harvey Norman, JB HI Fi and EB Games the Company were telling us that hundreds of consumers were returning their consoles with problems.
Senior executives at Microsoft categorically denied that there was a problem, they openly lied about the issue.
Weeks after we broke the story in Australia Microsoft announced a Billion dollar plus rescue package, on the day that the rescue package was announced a Microsoft Australia executive decided to speak out about the issue. Shortly after we published his response a director at Ogilvy + Mather subsidiary Pulse contacted SmartHouse pleading for us to drop “take the story down”.
We said “No”.
They then said “It’s not accurate”. When we pointed out that the interview had been taped the executive said “You will be black banned by Microsoft and your business will suffer”.
At the time we told them to “get stuffed”.
Since that day in 2004 we have not officially got any Microsoft press releases, this has not stopped us breaking Microsoft stories or writing on Microsoft products.
Recently chief executive Satya Nadella outlined a host of opportunities for the company all centred on the kind of core ‘getting stuff done’ right.
In the past Microsoft has derived huge amounts of revenue from Windows and it has been the platform on which global dominance in business has been built. More and more people are now walking away from Microsoft Windows choosing Apple, Android and Chrome OS over the Microsoft Windows offering.
The big challenge for Microsoft is multifaceted: it must prove that its tablets can do more than any other available and it must also demonstrate that the PC is still the best way of doing something, while conceding that it is no longer the only option. And all this while the world is moving inexorably towards a very cheap or free software models that primarily web-based that link with cloud based services.
If all you need is a web browser access to online apps including Office 365 via a Chrome based machine the cheaper option is a non-Windows solution.
Windows 10 already appears to be on shaky ground and just like Windows 8 it could end up a dismal failure.