Microsoft attempted something different and daring with Windows 8. It introduced a whole new interface and means of interaction with your PC that was identical to a smartphone or tablet. It threw out the “Start” menu and mouse-driven interface people had used for decades in favor of a touch-driven interface with tiles, some of which received active information updates.
And people hated it.
“They tried to get their entire audience to jump from a UI [user interface] they were comfortable with to a brand new one with a serious learning curve,” California-based Creative Strategies tech analyst and president Tim Bajarin said. “Had they done a more transitionary product, especially keeping the Start button, I don’t think the impact and perception would have been as bad.”
By removing the Start button, which had been a Windows fixture since Windows 95, Microsoft wasn’t just introducing a new way of using the operating system — it was trying to force people away from the only one they had known for two decades.
The result was that Windows 8 was slaughtered in the court of public opinion, often compared to the much-maligned Windows Vista released in 2006. It was an incorrect comparison; Vista was a technological hairball, a truly awful piece of software that often failed when people tried to install it on their PCs.
Windows 8 was technically sound. No one complained of crashing, slow performance or old apps not working on it. People noted it was actually a tad faster than Windows 7, they just hated how it looked. The result was slow sales for Windows 8, but Windows 7, the OS it was supposed to replace, kept selling like hotcakes.
“Its distinguishing feature was support for touchscreens but also legacy applications,” Endpoint Technologies President Roger Kay said. Endpoint is a Boston-based market research firm. “It ended up being a Frankenstein. So the good parts, like being a little faster and more reliable and more secure were almost totally invisible to the end user. So you could tell people it was faster and more reliable and they said ‘I don’t know how to use it.’”
nice write-up on Windows 8, and how microsoft is already looking towards — and probably pushing pretty hard on it — Windows 9… they’re adding the Start Menu back, but it’s probably too late by now… well maybe, i don’t know, just feel like most people have already made up their minds on whether they like it or not.