The Windows 8 Dilemma

I made a trip to my local Best Buy. Unlike every other month of the year, the Best Buy was actually quite crowded. The reason behind this may be due to a failed Black Friday hunting spree and the pending Christmas holiday. It happens every year. A sign that capitalism is well accepted in our society. Supply and demand can be seen by the amount of people crowding certain products. The products that have a bigger crowd are obviously going to sell well. On my walk through my local Best Buy I noticed something quite shocking. Windows 8 computers had little to no people surrounding them. Now this doesn’t mean there is no hope for Windows 8 and it will not sell well for Christmas, but on further inspection it became quite apparent that Windows 8 was not doing well. What shocked me the most was that the Android tablets actually had more people around them than the Windows 8 laptops, a sign that times are changing. People really want a light weight entertainment machine. Windows 8 on the other hand was complicated, heavy and had terribly designed laptops.

The main problem was that most Windows 8 laptops had no touch screens. Why? Time and again I would see people try to touch the screen expecting something to happen. To their disappointment they would discover that it was just a regular old laptop with a new OS they had never used before. Why would retailers and laptop manufacturers even allow that to happen? Windows 8, in all honesty, is not as enjoyable when using a mouse and keyboard. The learning curve would automatically turn off any potential customers.

Another huge setback to potential buyers was the price. I walked through the tablet section to see that most of the Android powered tablets were below $400 dollars. PC manufacturers had no chance in swaying customers to their brand of laptops. The average customer didn’t even know they could run the desktop. Thus could not see the productivity advantages of Windows 8 like having the ability to run office and older programs. I know most tech readers here are probably thinking that I may be underestimating the casual buyers mind here, but when I saw a customer contemplate buying a Chromebook, let me say that one more time for emphasis, a Chromebook just because it cost less than most computers, I lost it. The man hardly knew the difference and thought it was Windows 7. On first view of Chrome OS I knew that buyers were going to confuse it for Windows 7 and I was right. Good job Google, you capitalized on Microsoft’s short comings.

Paul Thurrot, a trusted Microsoft insider, wrote a blog post that mentioned Windows 8 sales were “well below Microsoft’s internal estimated projections”. With the current line of Windows 8 laptops that were available at Best Buy I believed this projection from Thurrot. The insane transforming tablet/laptops were not displayed well and only seen as normal laptops. No unique Windows 8 devices stood out unlike Apple’s iPad which had a highlighted kiosk. Maybe if the Surface was available it would have caught people’s eyes but with its price it would still struggle against the cheaper Android tablets. Microsoft is not only fighting against the Apple crowd which has a massive following but also the Android armada which is fueled by techies who are waiting for devices that are on the bleeding edge and the casual buyer who wants a bargain. Can Microsoft snatch a piece of the pie before it’s too late? Perhaps but only time will tell if they find out how to properly market Windows 8.