Monday, May 13, 2013

Windows needs reboot to survive

 

By KAHENYA KAMUNYU

You cannot help but admire Microsoft. Without them, the computer would have taken a different route. Microsoft has been responsible for Windows since it started, and this includes Windows 8.

Windows 8 was an attempt at refreshing the desktop and making it more future-oriented.

Presently, desktops look the same, and Microsoft figured that it was time to break out with a new niche desktop. Sadly, few people liked Windows 8.

In the beginning, many users downplayed it because after Windows Vista and Wondows 7, mistakes could not be happening again. It was. Why?

The biggest problem for Microsoft is that it tried to cut corners when creating a Windows version for computers and tablets.

The “Start” button disappeared and was replaced by something that baffled users. The replacement is good to look at but not fun to play with. The colourful tiles on the desktop are simply confusing to the lay person who just wants to open a browser, send an email, and basically serve out nine hours in the office.

Secondly, Microsoft is pushing a mobile strategy that is, at best, weak. Trying to tie everything down to one ecosystem with a weak common base simply does not work. It is the equivalent of building a house on a poorly designed foundation with the premise that at some point, you will put in a new foundation and hope it all works out. It rarely does.

Microsoft needs to build a new solid base for everything, slowly, and then get down to making it look pretty. Not the other way round.

Windows has basically been a bloated operating system since XP. Windows tries very hard to make everyone happy, but that is not how the world works anymore.

Windows 8 requires attention. It needs very many clicks to make it work and suffers all the flaws the previous Windows have had: viruses, trojans, and hackers targeting it minute-by-minute.

A huge advantage over Linux

But it is not all bad news, and this could be the make-or-break point for them. Windows already has original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) still primarily shipping computers loaded with Windows. It is a natural match that gives Microsoft a huge advantage over Linux.

Windows has ridden this horse since its earlier versions. So it makes sense for them to first listen to what the OEMs are telling them instead of dictating what the manufacturers should make.

With the OEMs building what customers want and Windows meeting the software equivalent, Windows will finally find its way back rather than deciding who they will work with and what works and what does not according to their digital bible.

Anything short of this gives focus to alternatives. In this case, there is a general slump in new PC sales, primarily because Microsoft bored everyone.

Windows needs to forget the “Ribbon” bar, or whatever it is called. It is cool to have something fancy like that, but this is the real world. There is a basic simple menu where everything is. It works and will always work.

Microsoft needs to focus on stripping down Windows and improving stability. Comparatively, Windows still crashes more frequently than all other operating systems put together, and there are computers running into their third year without suffering a single hang-up.

With Windows, it is bound to crash at the end of the week, at least. This should have been fixed a long time ago. It has not.

Finally, Microsoft needs to stop obsessing over numbers of sales and profits and the new users acquired.

Here is the thing: Despite the slump, new PCs are still shipping with Windows. Linux missed the desktop mark a long time ago, so we know that Microsoft will always beat them on the desktop. Right? How do you counter this?

Listen to what customers are unhappy about and fix that. Once you start getting more favourable reviews, get back to the actual business of counting.

You can justify selling 100 million new licences of the operating system, but when it is bad, it simply says that you have got yourself 100 million unsatisfied customers who very likely will reconsider their position in the future.

To cut the long story short, it is time for Microsoft to rethink its strategy from the heart, not from the accountant’s office. It is not over for Microsoft, but the company really needs to get their act together.

It is no longer impossible to imagine that the reign of Windows as the de facto operating system might be over in the next couple of decades. Simply put, Windows is now as vulnerable as every other operating system.

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