Why Windows 8 Bombed, and Why I Bought One Anyway
I bought my first PC In 1987. It was an IBM clone, and I installed Windows version 2 on something new called a hard drive. I unplugged my old typewriter and began doing all my work in the new word processor program. I began learning spreadsheets, and was thrilled that I could create brochures with the new desktop publishing software without having to drive to a typesetter. That first PC changed my office workflow forever. I still depend on the same core programs in Microsoft Office to get things done today.
Years later, I bought a PowerMac tower to run creative projects like ProTools, Adobe Premier and Adobe Photoshop. But to this day I don’t understand why Apple could never build their own word processor or spreadsheet programs that I could really use for my business process.
Even when Microsoft had problems with Windows Vista and Windows 7, I never found a reason to move away from Microsoft Office. As my business grew we added Outlook Exchange, which makes is super easy for everyone in my office to handle their email, and to share contacts and calendars. It’s my favorite tool for managing my day, and for collaborating with the others in my office with the power and flexibility that large corporations and IT departments depend on.
Then Apple hit it out of the park with the best mobile devices on the planet: the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. At the time, Microsoft’s Steve Balmer publicly proclaimed that the iPhone had no chance of succeeding in the market! Apple set the standard for consumer technology product design and made a quick fortune. Today there are over 900,000 iPad apps, and Microsoft is green with envy.
What came next? The enlightened brain trust at Microsoft set out to copy Apple’s success: Let’s see ... we need touch pads, a mobile app store, and some fashionable retail stores.
They grabbed a failing mobile front end, pasted it on top of Windows 7 and made it a touchscreen. They launched their own app store, powered by Bing. They wanted to be sure to dominate the market, so they introduced Microsoft Surface and opened Microsoft stores—using the same store designers as Apple in key markets. They pretty much copied everything Apple did and expected the same results—brilliant! How did their Apple-killer play out?
In my opinion, the launch of Windows 8 bombed big time. Here’s how it happened:
After Windows 8 PCs hit the market, you might have found nine or 10 of them if you walked into Best Buy. They looked cool and had good specs, so you took one home and fired it up. Right away you were happy to see all the cool “touchy” apps you saw on the TV ads. You try touching one, and nothing happens. You try swiping your finger, iPad-style, and nothing at all happens. Why? Surprise! You purchased a Windows 8 PC without a touchscreen. So then you click on a few of the apps with your mouse ... and lose interest in about two minutes.
OK, you think, maybe you can still use this thing without the touchscreen. So ... where’s my old familiar Windows desktop? Click, click, click ... Where did they hide my start screen? I’ll look in the control panel. Where the f*@k did that go?! Aargh!!
The next day, the Best Buy Geek Squad helped you return your Windows 8 PC. Did they have another model with the touch features? Not likely back then. And if so, the touch model was $1,400, or the RT version that couldn’t run Windows apps anyway. Talk about failure to launch!
But even though Microsoft bungled it and got the results they deserved, I want to point out that there is a very interesting upside here: Today, there’s a new crop of compelling touchscreen Windows 8 models that really deserve your attention. You can now purchase Windows 8 touchscreen PCs and laptops starting at under $499—that’s roughly the price of an iPad.
If you want to surf the Web, play Angry Birds, build a great remote control, take photos or run Facebook, get an iPad. But if you want to run business software like Word, Excel, Outlook, Powerpoint or QuickBooks, you need Windows 8, which has much more memory, processing power and flexibility than any tablet.
I always check out the latest tech gear, and I just bought a new Samsung ATIV laptop that looks like an iPad and has a great keyboard that snaps on or off. Whether in the office or on the road, I still like having a keyboard to type on. So now, with just one device I can run all the professional software I depend on to run my business—with type or touch. What’s more, I can yank off the keyboard and run the machine in tablet mode to surf the Internet and run mobile apps.
If you love the look and feel of a touchpad, I encourage you to revisit the latest Windows 8 laptops and convertibles like the Samsung ATIV, Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga, and others from Toshiba, HP, et al., that can run all the software programs you need for your business. These machines are the best of PCs and tablets, all rolled into one. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. •