back to article PC makers REALLY need Windows 8.1 to walk on water - but guess what?

An updated Windows 8 from Microsoft will NOT be the "miracle cure" for traditional PC makers in need of a sales and profits injection. And that's according to IT biz analysts Context. This is the second technology distribution channel watcher in a week to warn that Redmond's touch-friendly operating system tweak, namely …

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  1. Suricou Raven

    It's not that hard to see the problem

    Of course sales are down. Everyone who could possibly want a PC or laptop has one now. That state was reached years ago, so the industry kept running on upgrades. Now even upgrades are drying up as computers just aren't becoming obsolete as quickly as they used to. All that's left is population growth, replacements for failed devices and a slow trickle from those who finally decide their old P4 is past it. The boom years are gone.

    Tablets will go the same way, eventually. But not for a while yet.

    1. jason 7

      Re: It's not that hard to see the problem

      Yes the OS is irrelevant.

      It's the fact that since 2007 or thereabouts folks just don't need to upgrade like they did.

      If a customer comes to me with a old laptop that's got a dual core, 2GB of ram and a 160GB HDD and its in good condition I don't bother to tell them to buy a new one I just service it and tweak it and away they go. Probably good to go for another 2-3 years of Facebook use.

      I wouldn't have said that to a customer in 2007 who came to me with a 2000 spec laptop.

      I remember a time when I was upgrading my CPU every 4-6 months! Now its every 4-6 years. I can't be the only one doing this. This will have a knock on effect.

      In fact a lot of the newer gear I'm buying these days is 'less powerful' than the stuff I bought a few years ago. Why? It uses less power but still get the job done.

      It's the hardware that's the problem not the software. However, laptop manufacturers could pull their finger out to make the sub £500 laptop market a bit more interesting.

      1. Mage Silver badge
        Devil

        since 2007

        Or even about 2002.

        Huge massive difference between my 2000 laptop and the 2002 model. I'm still using the 2002 Model. 1600 x 1200 screen, 1.8GHz CPU. Internal Wifi, HDD, RAM upgraded though.

        The 2000 Laptop (450 MHz PIII mobile and 1400 x 1050 screen) made the earlier one from 1998 look like junk.

        I have a mix of Office XP and Office 2003 applications. And Libre Office. My replacement for XP will not be an MS OS, unless there is a miracle.

        Before 2002 to 2006 you replaced perfectly working machines regularly and updated OS. (WFWG 3.11 far better Win 3.0, XP "better" than NT4.0, Win98SE better than any of the 3 Win95).

        What compelling reason is there for Vista, Win7 or Win8 if you have a working computer with XP, OS X or Linux?

        Newer MS OSes and post 2003 MS Office? See Icon

        1. a_milan

          Re: since 2007

          Major problem today - can't get anything near as good as the screen you have in that "old" LT.

          Instead of improving the parts you actually use (screen, keyboard, RAM) manufacturers have been bled dry by Wintel duopoly.

          The sooner they're both gone, the better for manufacturers and customers alike. Sadly.

        2. jason 7

          Re: since 2007

          Well I struggle to agree at 2002. I see many single core laptops from around 2005 with 80GB 4200rpm HDDs and 512MB of ram in them and they are unusable compared to a simple C2D machine from just a few years later. Not worth upgrading either. Folks think those machines 'work just fine' but then sit them next to a modern dual core machine and you just see how much time is wasting.

          I always mandate that a dual core machine should be given a second chance but a single core goes to the skip/recylce ASAP.

          I agree to an extent of Office 2003 My copy of 2003? From my cold dead hands....

          1. peredur

            Re: since 2007

            "I see many single core laptops from around 2005 with 80GB 4200rpm HDDs and 512MB of ram in them and they are unusable compared to a simple C2D machine from just a few years later."

            Just rescued one of those for a charity I do some work for. It does have 1GB of memory, though.

            It died trying to do Windows Vista updates. Lost the user profile (of the only user) so it was impossible to log in. The charity wanted me to buy a new one.

            Since the laptop is only used as a resource for guest speakers, on the whole, and therefore just needs access to the Web, a mail client and the ability to display presentations, I stuck Mageia 3 on it just for fun, with LibreOffice, Firefox and Thunderbird.

            Works perfectly. Several hundred pounds saved.

            PAE and the ability to display presentations, I st

        3. mmeier

          Re: since 2007

          Aside from that fact that XP will be taken out and shot in early 2014? Well the fact that a 2002 hardware is itself getting long in the tooth and costing quite a bit to keep running in case of a notebook (Batteries have a 3year/1000 cycles average lifetime, displays age and die, fans die...) and will likely not be fully supported by Win7 or 8.

          OS-X may work - on Apple hardware. And even that is not granted, if Apple does not deliver the new version or Mac-OS and the last you can use gets retired - see XP.

          Granted, some special cases exist (no internet connected hardware mostly) but those are rare

      2. Wize

        Re: It's not that hard to see the problem

        "It's the fact that since 2007 or thereabouts folks just don't need to upgrade like they did."

        Unless you are doing something that is processor intensive, you don't really need to.

        The average user surfs the net and writes the odd letter. So, as long as it can display funny cat videos, it should be fine.

        It is also the downfall of PCs. Phones and tablets do the surfing now and not many write anything longer than a tweet, so they don't even need a keyboard.

        1. jason 7

          Re: It's not that hard to see the problem

          Well there is always the one in a million that actually likes/bothers to edit his home movies or the odd gamer. :-)

          But yes for 90%+ of the worlds population the need to up the CPU ended some time ago.

          Now replacing that HDD with a SSD that's another matter...

          1. Belardi
            Meh

            Re: It's not that hard to see the problem

            You got that right, most people needs simply work well with a tablet. I use my tablet (iPad 1) for internet use about half the time, because its more relaxing and I can do it anywhere. I even respond to blogs and such - even thou my Quad-core i5-3570 with a 24" 1920x1200 monitor is in the same room.

            I transferred hundreds of my VHS tapes into digital onto a single 2TB HD. I used an old 2Ghz AMD x2 CPU, it took many many months.... but it still got the job done. Not something for a tablet. But now that the videos are on a computer, I can stream those videos to any computer in my home :)

      3. Tom 13

        Re: Yes the OS is irrelevant.

        Not completely irrelevant. Yes, the hardware is the prime motivator and it has improved in quality and the need for speed increases has diminished greatly.

        BUT, if you do want/need a hardware upgrade, does the OS entice you or repel you? I've looked at a couple of sales now and when I saw the Win 8 sticker, backed away as quickly as I could. I want an OS that for me, works at least as well as Win 7 did. Win 8 isn't that OS.

        1. JEDIDIAH
          Linux

          Re: Yes the OS is irrelevant.

          Win8 is definitely a turnoff. It's pushing something that you are not looking for if you are buying a PC in 2013. It's bound to be another "downgrade" situation like with Vista. People will want to make sure they can put something ELSE on the hardware.

          Win8 tries to flush 30 years of accumulated end user experience.

      4. Nigel 11
        Mushroom

        Re: It's not that hard to see the problem

        No, the OS is NOT irrelevant.

        It's true that the PC market is a replacement market, and that people are now only buying new PCs because their last PC has broken down.

        But this particular PC user does NOT want Windows 8. To me, its value is NEGATIVE, in other words I will pay more in order NOT to have to struggle with its numerous deficiencies. If I didn't have access to corporate downgrade rights (ie Windows 7) I would buy something from Apple. Or something running Android. Or install Linux onto a PC that came with Windows 8, if that remains possible and if I cannot find any alternative.

        Microsoft is blind to this, and every day that goes by without Windows 7 or Windows 9-like-7 returning to Joe Public's marketplace is another day that Apple (in particular) eats further into Microsoft's home-user market. Folks DON'T NEED a new PC immediately, and they DON'T WANT one running Windows 8. Two different facts.

        1. jason 7
          Meh

          Re: It's not that hard to see the problem

          I would agree with you if my customers who are largely domestic and small business were telling me they didn't want Windows 8. Customers really don't mind. That's my fact.

          So far the only ones that have said they don't want 8 at this time are the ones running Sage. That's because Sage doesn't currently officially support it. That's fine because Sage can be a pig to get working on a supported platform at times.

          So far my experience of real world customers are not anti 8. They really don't care. The big question is "will it be faster then my old machine?" Hmmm its a 1.7Ghz single core with a 40GB HDD. Yes I think so.

          Downvotes because I dared cross the "You are not allowed to say you had a positive experience with Windows 8" picket line.

          1. Belardi

            Re: It's not that hard to see the problem

            But Windows8 is NO faster than Windows7. Other than its hybrid boot system is more than twice as fast. But get this, I put my Win7 computers to sleep... it wakes up in 1 second or so. I rarely reboot or powerdown my computers since I've started using Win7 (XP and older were never stable enough).

            Hell, LinuxMint boots up as fast as Win8 on an HDD... And nobody should be running a 1.7Ghz single core anything for desktop use. The P4s were always slloooooow, even for WIn98.

        2. JEDIDIAH
          Linux

          Re: It's not that hard to see the problem

          Yes. Win8 is a definite negative. It also has the problem of being associated with devices where you can't install the OS of your choice. It doesn't matter if that "alternative" is Linux or Win7.

          Microsoft's intentionally confusing marketing approach doesn't help.

        3. Belardi
          Holmes

          Re: It's not that hard to see the problem

          Sorry Nigel11, but WindowsOS has suddenly become irrelevant! That is exactly why MS has made such a radical change to Windows by coming up with a NON-Windows UI.

          Let me explain: If we go back to 2005 with Windows XP being used in 95% of personal computers (Mac at around 4%, everything else under 1%) and NOT including servers which were/are mostly Linux. Then as we see, Windows *IS* the OS to have. Everyone bought WindowsPCs and with Vista in 2006 being the performance dog it was - people had to spend a lot of money on CPU and memory to run that POS.

          FastForward a few years to 2009: Windows 7 is out, its leaner... but hardware is a lot cheaper. Quad core CPUs are $100, 4GB of RAM is under $100 (When Vista came out, 8GB of RAM would have cost you $400~600 - Hell, when I built my i5-3570K PC last OCT, I paid $75USD for 16GB of RAM).

          The iPhone 3GS and Android 2.0 entered market causing the smartphone market to really explode. Microsoft sales of Win7 is excellent, the Netbook sales are becoming popular. Microsoft controls about 94% of the PC market.

          Then in 2010 (5 months after Windows 7 went public), something happened. Which Microsoft and geeks said was a "fad" and laughed it off.

          The Apple iPad. Which ran iPhone software out of the gate. Its was $400~700 depending on configuration. Netbook sales tanked instantly. Then the iPad 2 came out just when Android tablets started coming out... which were sub-standard to the iPad1 and couldn't compare to the iPad2.

          Over the course of 2 years, as people bought tablets - they actually LIKED them. Sure, they were not as WORK savvy as a notebook, but for most people, it was an excellent portable device. Some of those same people started using their tablets over their regular computers. (( In one of my offices in which all desktops and notebooks are Win7, everyone *I mean EVERYONE* has an ipad and/or an iphones)). I know people who DON'T use their notebook computers anymore, just the tablet.

          I have a few notebooks in my home, but they require a power cord - their batteries at best worked for 2hrs and I'm not going to spend $100 replacing them. Ever tried using a notebook on a sofa while laying down? You can't. If I want to look up something I see on TV, I can press a button and start searching in seconds... with my notebook - I'd have to either power it up or wait for it to wake up.

          There is a trend here, and MS researched this big time. They dumped WinPhone6 to come up with WP7 that is totally incompatible with WP6, etc. It looks kind of slick (I ran an a WP7 Launcher on my Android 2.x phone). But in reality, it was WP6 under-the hood and has problems. WP8 will come out a year later and burn WP7 users - in the mean time - MS is like the titanic, too big, too slow to move. No tablet OS while iPad sales are 5~10m per month... Apple has out-sold the Xbox360 in 2 years, each one a profit.

          Now, 2013: Many people use their phones and tablets AS THEIR PERSONAL COMPUTER. My wife uses her phone 95% of the time, rather than her notebook or my iPad. So yes, ipads, Android tablets COUNTS as computers... and here is the thing...

          Most people NEVER liked Windows. I sure as hell didn't. Win7 is the first MS-OS I actually liked. I loved my Amigas, MS-DOS was always garbage. Windows3 was never an OS and is pure garbage. Win95 was functional hell. XP was finally a stablish OS. But no, people just wanted access to WEB/MySpace > Facebook and MS Office... the rest games. But, Microsoft makes consoles and help kill PC gaming, so less reason to buy a WindowsPC if the games you want is on a console! (Halo3? Gears of War 2~3? etc ) Yes, us people who use computers to MAKE things, like the PC and IT IS needed for the tools we use. Which is what most PEOPLE don't do.... hence, the tablet or smart phone works just as well - but far more portable.

          So again, 2013: Microsoft now has less than 24% of the computer market (not including servers). The IDEA for Windows 8 / TIFKAM / Metro is that Windows was always too hard to use, so they dumbed it down. They want to bring back the USERS to Microsoft. The idea is this: People will Love or learn to use Windows 8, which means they will LOVE Windows 8 tablets and phones. The LOGIC is sound, the execution was not.

          Microsoft FAILED to understand the form-factor and function of tablets vs desktop/notebook computers (read above). First, Metro *IS NOT WINDOWS*, there are no Windows in Metro. Metro is not a desktop-oriented UI... nobody ASKED for it.

          So, what MS did was take Windows 7, fixed it up a bit - took out some junk (good things), then they made it UGLY, then they bolted on TIFKAM and showed it to the world. Many were not impressed. I myself thought the logic of Win8/Metro was a good idea, UNTIL I USED IT. So now people are NOT buying PCs or buying Win7 when they can. (I have one un-used Win7 disc/lic to use if I ever need it as I migrate to Linux). Yes, the economy is poor. Even Apple desktop sales are down a bit. If that was true, Windows8 PC sales should be down by 5~6%, NOT 14+%! MS chose to ignore the warnings from us... but they offered upgrades for $40, even from the beta version! Win8Pro has never EVER been this cheap! Even cheaper than Win3.1!

          Microsoft has gone stupid and no easy ways to fix their problems. They are slow-middle-management no-talent types which is how you come up with crap like Windows 8. Office 2013 is blinding white ugly mess to go with ugly Windows8. Even IE10 for Win7 has been "Win8-skinned" for some stupid reason. So its UI elements doesn't match the rest of the system. This is childish and stupid on their part. Think Apple would be stupid enough to do this? (iOS7 UI is not a good sign - but thats another story).

          I've had clients buy extra copies of Office 2010 while they could. I've had one ask me to locate him an Office2010 as he just wasted $400 on office 2013 and doesn't like it. He's SOL... perhaps ebay, he can buy it for $400+, as its sold out in stores.

          So, other than a platform to run Office 2013 and a few other business programs - WindowsOS has become irrelevant! By 2014, WindowsOS should be under 20% PC market.

          This is what happens when we have a choice. Microsoft deserves to fail... they did it to themselves.

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      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's not that hard to see the problem

        I can supply an anecdote about the desirability or otherwise Win8 phones. My lad is - shall we say; not exactly a thinking person - and has just busted his Win 8 phone. He now has a replacement, which is Android, ane even he is wondering why on Earth he went for the Win 8 experience in the first place.

      2. Michael Habel Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: It's not that hard to see the problem

        Listen to this Man he speaks truth!

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's not that hard to see the problem

        Eadon - ever heard of the term "Correlation does not imply causation"

    3. jason 7

      Re: It's not that hard to see the problem

      Yea people have all the PCs and laptops they need generally. They also tend to buy them as and when they need them. Not just wait till Xmas. If you laptop packs up you need a new one pretty quick, not wait for 4 months.

      At Christmas last year most folks I knew were looking to buy tablets and smartphones to supplement the laptops and PCs they already had.

      1. Tom 13

        Re: Not just wait till Xmas.

        That actually depends a bit on the economy. If people in the consumer segment feel flush with cash, yeah they will operate that way. But if they don't, they'll limp by on the old system until it is Christmas time and give it as a gift to their SO or kids. Also, the manufacturers tend to put things on sale which also ought to drive up consumption at least relative to the rest of the year. That didn't happen.

    4. mmeier

      Re: It's not that hard to see the problem

      Classic example here:

      Will buy at least on new Win8 tablet pc in late 2013/early 2014 when the Baytrail platform is out and prices have stabilized. Until then the old desktop and tablet pc will do. Why buy a C-Trail when the far more powerful/useful follow up is announced

      Will buy a new unit for my parents in the same time frame. Again, wait for Haswell to hit the streets and then buy a non-Haswell notebook that drops in price on the "way out". Alternate is buy a Haswell tablet pc with dock for me and dad gets the core-i "sandy" tower I use now.

      And since, despite repeated lies from certain sources, Win8 does not need touch or stylus the (actually non existing) lack of "touch devices" is no problem either.

    5. Wind Farmer

      Re: It's not that hard to see the problem

      Just think how bad the sales numbers would be without the replacement PC sales arising from organisations finally beginning to move from WinXP... This long-deferred investment (akin to the pre Y2K splurge) must be propping up sales, but I bet most organisations are looking to install Win7 and avoid Win8/8.1

      1. Steve Knox Silver badge

        Re: It's not that hard to see the problem

        ... the replacement PC sales arising from organisations finally beginning to move from WinXP...

        Don't know about your organization, but the PC sales from my organization moving from XP were exactly 0 -- we upgraded OS, not hardware. Apart from a few poor planners, I'd expect similar from most businesses -- if they've been following a 5 year refresh, all of their hardware would be fine for running Win7, so why waste money on new boxes?

        1. monkeyfish

          Re: It's not that hard to see the problem

          Don't know about your organization, but the PC sales from my organization moving from XP were exactly 0 -- we upgraded OS, not hardware. Apart from a few poor planners, I'd expect similar from most businesses -- if they've been following a 5 year refresh, all of their hardware would be fine for running Win7, so why waste money on new boxes?

          The company I work for just gave us all new boxes, running win7. But our old boxes were all P4 types from about 2003, 10 years ago (with a bit more RAM thrown in along the way). But the principal still stands, I doubt we'll get another upgrade until 2023!

        2. mmeier

          Re: It's not that hard to see the problem

          Quite a few companies lease the boxes so they got "fresh" hardware in 2011/2012 and Win7 with it. Other hardware was getting long in the tooth or costly to upgrade anyway since companies skipped a cycle that is often three years (many skipped Vista)

      2. Gordon 11

        Re: It's not that hard to see the problem

        I bet most organisations are looking to install Win7

        They will have lots of already-running software. None of which is touch-enabled, so a touch-sensitive device is useless. And the do not want to have to train users - they want a UI that is consistent with XP.

      3. mmeier

        Re: It's not that hard to see the problem

        Most organisations have done the switch in 2012. And at that time any smart IT went with Win7 since two month is not enough to test all applications on a new OS. Most XP still out there are "borrowed the OS on eMule" or "lab-equipment, no internet anyway" these days with the "dads christmas present 2013" deferred replacements thrown in. Any IT that considered a switch to Win8 earlier than April should be taken out and shot. takes a 4-6 month test period on the average.

    6. Michael Habel Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: It's not that hard to see the problem

      So true I can get by on just a S754 AMD Ahtlon64 if I had to I even managed to play Black Mesa on that Rig to. I managed to come by a used C2D and have since used that. For the boost in Video Editing (i.e. being Dual Core) other then that. I fail to see the need to change One 2Ghz CPU for yet another. Just cause AMD and, or intel are feeling a pinch.

      In some cases its the same thing with XP. Which begs the next question what happens then?

      Me I made my decision to use Mint Linux, and have had no grounds to regret it...

    7. Randy Hudson

      Re: It's not that hard to see the problem

      The same will not happen to tablets. Hardware that is perfectly capable of running a new version of the OS will be disallowed or crippled. Eventually downloading a game that works with your back level OS will be a challenge.

    8. NeilMc

      Re: It's not that hard to see the problem

      So in summary there are many effects that are causing the drop in PC sales of frankly any type.

      1. We are pretty much all cash strapped... Governments, Companies and individuals all are

      2. Hardware is lasting longer....... or perhaps we see no genuine advantage in following each and every minor tech upgrade.

      3. The PC market is staturated in terms of both supply and a declining demand

      4. The green agenda is growing so people are recycling and exploiting older technologies as there is no compelling reason for change.

      5. Windows 8 is therefore a train wreck in slow motion as a result of all of these factors; its the wrong product at the wrong time in the cycle of the global market. What I mean by this is when most of your User base are still happy with XP or Windows 7 and the hardware manufacturers haven't yet created the market for touch screen PC's and Laptops........ why oh why would you launch Windows 8.....................

      Answer.................

      Cos you are Micrososft and you believe that you can walk on water and create the market on your own......... I believe the Yoof's call that an "EPIC FAIL"................... bye bye Balmer!!

  2. Pete 2 Silver badge

    New sales tactic needed

    Relying on selling PCs based solely on the idea "It's got a NEW version of windows, that's better because it's ..... new" just doesn't work. It turns out that all the functionality that customers want can be got from Windows 2000 or XP. Since then the "features" that have been added are generally just bug fixes, security fixes, support for new hardware and 64-bit architectures. Sure, each version has been given a nice new shiny GUI, but from a "what will it do?" perspective, it's still just Windows.

    If the only strategy PC makers have for selling there wares is based on the Windows version number and consequent increments in application version numbers, then they've got nothing.

  3. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Holmes

    And in other news...

    Bear observed defecating in forest area; Pope wears white hat.

    Raven is quite right in that most who want a laptop/computer already have one - but those who might be considering upgrading are looking at what is available and the OS with which it is supplied and are not, for some reason, being persuaded.

    For some reason, laptop development in particular appears to have stalled: selling cheap computers with screens of insufficient resolution and containing insufficient memory isn't going to shift stock except to granny - and she's quite happy with the one she's already got. It's no good making them cheaper - make them better.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And in other news...

      Exactly. Since my touchpad blew up I'm considering a new laptop. But I haven't bought one, simply because the available Windows 7 options aren't attractive at the moment. I will not buy Windows 8.

      1. Belardi

        Re: And in other news...

        go to Lenovo, they can ship out a Thinkpad within a week with Windows7Pro. Usually $450~1000USD

    2. monkeyfish

      Re: And in other news...

      Indeed, we have an XP laptop in the lounge at present. When it dies we'll buy a shiny tablet to replace it. You really only need one actual PC in the house these days anyway, for the odd occasion when there's some proper work to be done.

  4. Barry Dingle

    We heard a train wreck a year ago

    is it still on fire?

  5. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Windows

    Not the fire this time. It's over. You just had to listen.

    Catholic bears defecate on pope in tree-infested areas etc.

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    1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Windows 8 METRO SCREEN OF MEH

      You're boring now.

      1. James O'Shea Silver badge

        Re: Windows 8 METRO SCREEN OF MEH

        He's been boring for quite some time.

  10. Yet Another Commentard

    My thoughts...

    It’s a mix of things, but comes down to Windows 8 not offering what is wanted or needed, and hardware not requiring the same aggressive upgrade schedule as prior:

    1) The competition for W8 is W7 and XP. 7 still works, and for me is the best Windows version. XP still works, albeit that MS support will die soon. This leaves a choice (bar the expensive pay for support route) for business or consumer – go from XP to 7 (evolution of interface) or go to 8 (revolution of interface). The latter does not appeal for the pain of “retraining”, hence 7 will “win”. 8 is wrong for that demographic

    2) Touch is stupid on anything but a tablet/slate, I hate moving my hands off a keyboard to put grease on the screen, moving to a mouse (or trackpad) is easy, and doesn’t leave fingerprints to drive you nuts. 8’s Big Thing is the thing that hampers it.

    3) Touch screens are not cheap, so putting it (pointlessly) on a laptop adds significantly to the cost for minimal usability gains, so why buy one?

    4) Last year’s hardware is still easily good enough to run just about anything you’d care to throw at it. Hardware upgrades are now either on lease expiry or damage, not “we don’t have the processing power, and that “Turbo” button is fooling nobody”.

    5) People are not spending money unless there is no alternative. Most of them have an adequate desk/lap top

    MS needs to sort this out, just make a new OS that gives a compelling reason to upgrade. It will then sell. Sure, make it look stylistically similar across phones, tablets, desk/laptops, but don’t force a mobile OS into a desktop OS to try and lever your monopoly somewhere on an area you are weak in. Just make them similar enough to be recognisable. That’s something iOS/OSX seems to do well, they are clearly the same “family” but serving different purposes. The way to sort this – drop the Windows name and sack Ballmer. Find someone who knows what to do and will actually listen to the guys who know (and have the money) – the users.

    1. Roger Greenwood

      Re: My thoughts...

      "go from XP to 7 (evolution of interface)"

      Couldn't agree more. We still have several XP machines to upgrade over the next few years and win8.X is not part of the plan. A common platform makes support that much easier.

    2. mmeier

      Re: My thoughts...

      Not only does W8 work beautiful without touch - it also needs a lot less mouse. So you can keep the hands on the keyboard a lot more.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: My thoughts...

        >4) Last year’s hardware is still easily good enough to run just about anything you’d care to throw at it. Hardware upgrades are now either on lease expiry or damage, not “we don’t have the processing power, and that “Turbo” button is fooling nobody”.

        Hence the 'new' Macbook Air, and other laptops built on Intel's new chips; it's being promoted as lasting longer on battery than last year's already-fast-enough model.

      2. Avatar of They Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: My thoughts...

        You are talking about shortcuts being a redeeming feature of an OS. That is all you can think of?

        Part of the problem with shortcuts is none educated users need to know them. And 400 people I have to support at work don't know what the difference is between a monitor and desktop (just ask them to reboot) So shortcuts are pointless in XP, 7 and 8.

        If the only selling point is 'shortcuts', you have problems.

        Having used 8, it is the only selling point of 8.

        1. mmeier

          Re: My thoughts...

          Aside from numerous small improvements that might or might not be useful from faster start up (Yes, I DO switch of the desktop when I do not use it - uptime is for server) to better WLAN integration to...

          And as soon as you use convertibles/2in1 or tablet pc and desktop units Win8 becomes even more interesting. It may not be best desktop OS nor the best tablet os but it is damned good at both jobs and if you need certain features (Handwriting and data formats readable on 92+ percent of the desktops, Sharpoint etc) it is THE best in both.

          And 2in1 with pen support are interesting for quite a few jobs. I.e local real estate agent when getting new "pc" this year went for Atoms with a dock. In office they use a 20+ inch and keyboard, on customer dates just the tablet.

          1. James O'Shea Silver badge

            Re: My thoughts...

            is mmeier the pro-Windows version of Eadon? Discuss.

            1. mmeier

              Re: My thoughts...

              Actually I am mostly OS-agnostic. I use what works best (privat) and what the customer wants (on the job). No customer wants Linux on client (Win 7 or 8) or server (Solaris, AIX, HPUX, some OS/400). And for my needs Windows always was easier (works with all hardware), more useful (Games, learning C#,...) and more mature (been using Wacom equiped tablets since 2006 privatly).

              On smartphones I use Android since I want a stylus. If iOS or WP7/8 offer a stylus - bye bye Android. Do not like the lousy update policy of Android in general and Samsung in special. If I get a Baytrail Win8 tablet I will drop the smartphone completely since everywhere I can carry / use a Note 2 - I can just as well use a 10'' tablet pc since I need a bag/ruck/attache case anyway(1)

              For some jobs (automation) I might be tempted to use Beagleboard or Rasberry - if not for the fact that I have an aging but still functional Siemens S5 SPS around for that jobs and can program Step-5 just fine.

              (1) The N2 is too big to carry in a pocket unless you wear cargo throusers. I wear those only as part of a full suit with a german flag on the shoulder - and then I do not carry a smartphone.

        2. JEDIDIAH
          Linux

          Re: My thoughts...

          Shortcuts or symbolic links are great. They are a dreadfully simple way of exposing multiple organizational paths to the end user. You can present the "one big pile" approach of Apple tools while at the same time keeping a sane and powerful organizational scheme. Plus they don't require a database or some special proprietary single-app-only kind of scheme.

          If Win8 got rid of shortcuts then that's really retarded.

      3. ARP2

        Re: My thoughts...

        I find it to be very clumsy and confusing. It takes more clicks to do simple things and still don't fully understand the distinction between the "apps" and programs. If your monitor calibration is off at all, its to try to mouse over certain areas to bring up windows or menus.

      4. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        Re: My thoughts...

        > Not only does W8 work beautiful without touch

        The missus ended up with a Win8 machine. After having used it for herself she views Win8 as an intolerable drain on her productivity. That includes usability failures as well as being bloated and sucking the life out of otherwise respectable hardware.

        Microsoft seems to do poorly whenever there is any sort of measurable end user resistance to a new version of WinDOS.

        They have that in spades with Win8. The odd fanboy/shill doesn't change that.

      5. Tom 13
        Devil

        Re: Not only does W8 work beautiful without touch

        Yep, it works so much less mouse you get to drop endings from words!

        vEry guDly 4 U!

        1. mmeier

          Re: Not only does W8 work beautiful without touch

          And Tom13 in his never ending wisdom just realized that

          a) English is NOT my prime language

          b) I am a lousy typist and know why I use spellcheckers on all relevant stuff

      6. Belardi

        Re: My thoughts...

        Then why does Microsoft promote it as a TOUCH-User Interface then?

  11. hungee
    Happy

    My solution

    How to re-energise PC industry.

    Atom Bay trail quad core 2ghz.

    Intel HD 5k graphics (discrete in 15" model)

    128GB SSD. Preferably pcie ( like that Samsung one)

    4GB ram

    11" 720p / 13" 900p or 14/15" - 1080p screen.

    12cm Max thickness.

    Win7 or 8.1 with Linux option (for 80 bucks cheaper)

    All for $300-600

    Extra $150 for touch screen

    Oh and at least decent build quality... So no Acer. :-)

    I realise that I basically described a slow Macbook air, half price cause bay trail at.

    I would buy one,

    1. hungee
      Happy

      Re: My solution

      Oops. Forgot to use my words at the end there.

      Point is people want cheaper longer (battery) lasting computers. Like tablets.. But clamshell.

      1. jason 7

        Re: My solution

        I think you got your thickness wrong too.

        But your point is correct, the hardware for the lower end of the laptop market has to be kicked up the arse sooner rather than later.

        If you look at the machines in the £350-£450 range from the usual suspects its no wonder no one is buying. I'm sure they can still make a compelling product in that price range especially if they expect to sell a shed load.

        1. hungee

          Re: My solution

          Quite possibly. Ultrabook thin is what I meant.

      2. Belardi
        Paris Hilton

        Re: My solution

        They did... those were called Netbooks. You can still buy them... somewhat. Like the HP Mini 1104 for $589USD. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834256244

        Oh yeah! The iPad totally murdered the netbook market two years ago.... even when the netbooks were $250~300USD.

    2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. hungee

        Re: My solution - elephant in the room is Windows.

        I understand what you mean. I was thinking the Linux version could be Android or any other. The point is you can subtract from the overall cost. Maybe via an internet site distribution rather than in stores. As to windows, for me android doesn't have the capabilities that i personally need. Has to be windows/OSX/debian. But live and let live. I think android would be attractive cause you could hit that lower price point.

      2. mmeier

        Re: My solution - elephant in the room is Windows.

        The masses are not "buying Mac". Apple has a desktop share in the single digit range and stays there. Tablets with iOS/Android sell somewhat because they are "different" from the classic PC/notebook and seem to offer something those units (no matter what OS) can not like mobility.

        The masses will not buy an OS where most of the software they have does not run / not run properly. Just because the Steam DRM tool exists does not mean that the games exist! And people care for the games, not the delivery platform.

        As Win8 shows people are even reluctant to switch the UI. A totally new and at least partially not compatible OS? No way.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: My solution - elephant in the room is Windows.

          Hey Ballmer, just retire and post even more drivel here, why don't you?

        2. Nigel 11

          Re: My solution - elephant in the room is Windows.

          The masses are not buying Mac.

          Yet.

          their old PC running XP or 7 breaks down and they go down to a box-shifter on the high street and walk away with a new PC. They may see "Windows 8" as a mild positive if they are clueless. They get it home. They hate it. Their money is gone, so they are stuck with it.

          When they have enough money to be able to buy again, what are they going to buy? "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on ME".

          1. monkeyfish

            Re: My solution - elephant in the room is Windows.

            Fool me twice, shame on ME".

            Is that a shot across the bows for the worst OS ever?

            Yes, ME was worse than 8. At least 8 does what it says it will, even if it doesn't do it in a good way. I used to have to restart ME 3-4 times per day... at least. XP SP1 was a breath of fresh air.

      3. Jamie Jones Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: My solution - elephant in the room is Windows.

        "Linux has an image problem "

        And you don't help!

      4. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: My solution - elephant in the room is Windows.

        "Linux has an image problem and the OEM's are locked into Windows. The solution is to fix both of those problems with a new brand and to call Microsoft's bluff."

        What Microsoft has over their heads is no bluff. The threat is the end of preferred status meaning the cost-per-copy SPIKES across the board. The only company that would dare such a move would be one whose number of Windows purchases is rapidly progressing towards zero, and that isn't happening yet because, like it or not, Windows 7 is still useful enough for most people (particularly the less-than-literate). Then you have the professional customers who are platform-locked because of their professional software.

    3. John H Woods Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: My solution

      "1080p screen"

      I beg to differ: there is absolutely no way that 1920x1080 is acceptable for an 14-15" screen. We don't want to watch movies, we want to do work - without getting migraines. In my opinion, we need to be north of 200 dpi, in order to do this properly.

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: My solution @John H Woods

        If such a high pixel density is required, why have I never had migranes up until now?

        I completely dispute that it is necessary to have such high resolutions.

        In my view, as long as there are enough pixels, it's screen size that is important. And don't go on about 'colour saturation', 'jagged fonts', 'graphics intensive work', and 'multiple windows'. They're just excuses to justify the cost of such displays.

        The only reason for higher definitions is to get more on the screen, and once the character height drops to below 2mm, it becomes unusable without a magnifying glass, regardless of how many pixels are ued to display it.

      2. JEDIDIAH
        Devil

        Re: My solution

        15 inches isn't a work screen. It's a throwback to the 80s.

        It's interesting how people managed to do work for so long perfectly effectively without overpriced luxury technology being considered the bare minimum requirement.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @JEDEDIAH

          > 15 inches isn't a work screen. It's a throwback to the 80s.

          What I've found is that a 15" TFT panel is just fine for work, if the resolution is high enough (e.g. 1920x1200) - and e.g. in the case of a laptop the panel is closer to you than a monitor, so takes up more of your field of view.

          The only problem is that I now need to wear specs to take advantage of that resolution.

    4. Sporkinum
      WTF?

      Re: My solution

      Windows 8 "modern" doesn't support 720p.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: My solution

        720p is may be a new resolution, but it's a low def telly resolution and certainly not suitable for PCs.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nothing I have seen in 8.1 screenshots..

    makes me think they have addressed very many of the problems whatsoever. It seems they are hoping that talk of a start menu sorta thing will be enough to make people believe in miracles.

  13. The Original Steve

    Major economic downturn, computer sales slide 12% shocker.

    Well bugger me. Major economic downturn, computer sales slide 12% shocker.

    I'm not upgrading hardware at the moment because - like most people currently - I'm fairly skint compared to 6 years ago, and as other people have mentioned above hardware refreshes just don't need doing anywhere near as often, and when you do upgrade hardware / replace it the noticeable return on the spend is far less than in the late 90's as there is a negligible improvement on speed unless you're a hardcore gamer.

    I won't be replacing my PC at home that I brought 3 years ago. I shoved in another 4Gb a few months back taking it to 8Gb and replaced the SSD at the same time as the previous one died.

    Next year I may look at replacing the processor and possibly upgrading the graphics card. Although more likely to buy a new console at the end of the year instead and then replace the PC mobo, CPU and GPU in a couple of years instead.

    Buying a new box every 3 years just isn't a priority for people's wallets at the moment. Throw in the extra £100 or so for a device to be touchscreen and making do with what I have seems like a sensible option really. Doubt I'm alone in this camp.

    My decision making hasn't even reached the OS part, but even if it did then there's a range of Droid based products as well as iOS that I could use. Fingerpointing at Win8 is a tad unfair for the slump in sales, unless it's clear that it's occurred as soon as Win8 was launched. (I believe it was happening a few years ago.)

    1. Yet Another Commentard

      Re: Major economic downturn, computer sales slide 12% shocker.

      "Next year I may look at replacing the processor and possibly upgrading the graphics card."

      I thought like that, until I noticed that the upgraded processor would need some new slot, which required a new motherboard, which often couldn't use the RAM from the old one...

      So I stopped upgrading the processor. Playing games with some resource monitoring was instructive, even big, fast 3D things use at most 30% of my CPU - the graphics cards do the heavy lifting. Assuming there's not some new-fangled AGP/PCI thing I've missed that the new cards use, my advice would be to just upgrade that bit.

      Of course, as you suggest, a console may well be the answer anyway. Depends what games/other functionality you want.

      1. JEDIDIAH
        Devil

        Re: Major economic downturn, computer sales slide 12% shocker.

        > I thought like that, until I noticed that the upgraded processor would need some new slot, which required a new motherboard, which often couldn't use the RAM from the old one...

        Sounds like you made a poor choice to begin with. Tech moves fast but not that fast really. If you can't squeeze a few upgrades out of your hardware then you are making poor and easily avoidable choices.

        Unless you paid an arm and a leg for the fastest CPU available at the time, there's probably an upgrade path for the CPU.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Major economic downturn, computer sales slide 12% shocker.

          "Unless you paid an arm and a leg for the fastest CPU available at the time, there's probably an upgrade path for the CPU."

          Timing plays a role, too. Consider that many of us built our machines towards the end of the LGA755 CPU cycle. Core 2's were no slouches, neither was DDR2 memory. But then Intel comes out with the Core i's. To compete with AMD, these had internalized memory controllers...but for DDR*3*. So Intel basically imposed a dead end for anyone who needed a good machine around the cusp. Now, my machine still handles itself decently, but because it's an LGA755 system and the RAM's maxed out, unless I just get another video card (where the returns are starting to diminish because newer cards expect newer versions of PCI Express—mine's still on V1, V3 is 4x as fast), if the CPU or RAM need to be upgraded, the motherboard must be changed out which means BOTH have to be changed out.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    XP to Win 8 upgrade don't make sense for a lot of people

    As XP is no longer supported after April 2014. I guess there will be a lot more compromised XP PC by December 2014. I am advising my clients with decent hardware to upgrade to a non-Microsoft based OS. I always check what their requirements are. If they just need email, browsing and LibreOffice support and have hardware with at least 512MB of RAM, I offer them SolusOS or if they have a faster PC Ubuntu. I charge £20 for setup and data transfer and I then get a much reduced support calls than I would do for XP. I only recommend Win 8 with Classic menu, i3 or i5, 6GB ram, SSD if possible for new purchases and then have to remove all the garbage that comes pre-installed for them.

    1. mmeier

      Re: XP to Win 8 upgrade don't make sense for a lot of people

      Units still running XP are likely 6+ years old and due for a replacement. And currently many OEM offer a downgrade option for those who demand their OS still looks "like Grandpa Xerox did it".

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: XP to Win 8 upgrade don't make sense for a lot of people

      What happens when you run into a system where the OS is EOL but it's platform-locked due to professional or custom software that can't make the jump?

  15. CADmonkey
    Alert

    it took me 10 minutes to get to grips with win 8

    dammit, it took my WIFE 10 minutes

    Admittedly we broke our duck on a touchscreen, but we've since bought a laptop as well. I fail to understand a lot of the hate, TBH. Getting to the desktop is easy, rummaging around in the guts of things is easy.

    I also run winphone 7.8 on an old hacked HD2. Again, it runs sweet as a nut and living with it is pretty painless.

    1. jason 7

      Re: it took me 10 minutes to get to grips with win 8

      Yeah that's the reality I've found with introducing my customer to their new Windows 8 machines. It's really not a problem moving folks from XP to it. A few minutes of hand-holding (I still did that with folks moving to 7, Libraries anyone?) and they are good to go.

      No one has asked to go back.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: it took me 10 minutes to get to grips with win 8

        > No one has asked to go back.

        They just haven't asked you.

        1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

          Re: it took me 10 minutes to get to grips with win 8

          "> No one has asked to go back.

          They just haven't asked you."

          Or they only use one piece of software at a time. Using windows8 is easy if you aren't a power user.

      2. Belardi
        Paris Hilton

        Re: it took me 10 minutes to get to grips with win 8

        Learning HOW to use Windows8 and like actually working with Windows 8 are two different things.

        Many of us own Android, iOS and WindowsOS products at the same time and use them everyday. Hell, in the space of 1 min, I've touched all 3 such devices in my home.

        Windows 8 is a crappy UI, for an OS platform that is sinking.

      3. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: it took me 10 minutes to get to grips with win 8

        >No one has asked to go back.

        Did you tell them this was an option? and the price for exercising that option?

        I suspect that many users dislike the Win8 UI but grin-and-bear it as they accept that is what is shipping now.

        It's a bit like new cars, there was a time, not too long ago, when given a key the average person could get into a car, start the engine, fill the tank with fuel, operate the radio and various controls WITHOUT having to first read the manual or ask a guy from the showroom for a 10 minute getting started session.

        Now with keyless car's it is a challenge learning the masonic handshakes necessary to get into a car and start the engine, and as for doing something as simple as turning the radio on and selecting a station ...

        Win8 definitely comes from the same school of thought.

  16. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

    The best OS...

    ...should be the one that you don't notice, which just acts as a nice gateway portal into the functionality (program or application) that you actually want to use.

    All most people want from an OS is something that gets the machine up and running quickly, allows easy access to the programs/apps that do the various specialised jobs and is a stable and secure enough platform to be a good foundation level and not bring the whole lot crashing down or allowing viruses/malware to sneak in. Aside from that it should be out of the way and not interfering with daily life.

    But it seems to me that this nice simple remit has been replaced by marketting and the "all-singing-all-dancing look at me" approach which is diametrically opposite to where it should be. It's all fancy bling, at the expense of true functionality. Sadly whilst Win8 is one of the main offenders for this, it does seem to be something of a wider trend beginning with things like Unity as well.

    Android and iOS, by design and by (older) hardware constraints don't seem to suffer anywhere near as much of this, and so people go for them. The hardware form-factor for media consumption also helps of course, but there's certainly a lesson in there for desktop OS makers should they wish to hear it on their current stroll towards the cliffs...

  17. The BigYin

    Makers may need that...

    ...users need/want a platform where they can install what they want, when they want and how they want. And also optionally lock-it down if they want.

    MS can take their SecureBoot anti-competitive plot and ram it up their arse side-ways.

    It may provide security to the user, but at the moment it is purely a means to block competition. And as for UEFI - it's clear that this is a total clusterfuck due to OEMs (e.g. Samsung, Lenovo) not following proper testing strategies.

    1. The BigYin

      Re: Makers may need that...

      And I'll add:

      It may provide security to the user, but at the moment it is purely a means to block competition. And as for UEFI - it's clear that this is a total clusterfuck due to OEMs (e.g. Samsung, Lenovo) not following proper testing strategies.

      I'm running a 5 year old PC. The only thing I can't do is play modern games (e.g. Crysis 2). I don't care about modern games though (loads of much more innovative indie stuff around). As my PC does everything I need (plays HD video & music, allows me to documents, email yaddah-yaddah) I am not going to blow circa £750 on a new box just because MS have spunked some crap out.

      MS is not Apple, it does not have fanbois with masses of disposable income wanting to be a pretend trend-setter.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Makers may need that...

      the majority of users don't know what UEFI is let alone let it influence their purchasing.

      in a time of monetary hardship the proportion of UEFI-aware buyers might increase but I'll risk saying they still aren't enough to influence the trend significantly one way or the other.

      1. The BigYin

        Re: Makers may need that...

        They will when the bad UEFI implementation bricks their shiny new Win8 toy (e.g. Samsung). When folks buy a car, they tend to do a bit of research (diesel vs petrol, Ford vs Skoda etc etc).

        Why they don't clue themselves up a little before buying a PC always amazes me.

    3. mmeier

      Re: Makers may need that...

      Strange but the "Win8" sticker requires that SecureBoot can be switched off by the end user. So no problem there ASSUMING the user wants to install another OS. Given the 1.x percent market share the other option has in the pre-Secure Boot times - most don't

      UEFI is not the same as Secure Boot even if they are mashed together a lot. Works without SB quite nicely. Bad implementations by the OEMs are the OEMs fault, not MS

      As for the rest - you can install what you want on Win8, even GPL stuff if you want to taint a proper CSS system with that FossTard stuff.

      1. The BigYin

        Re: Makers may need that...

        "Strange but the "Win8" sticker requires that SecureBoot can be switched off by the end user."

        Not on all platforms. On ARM it means that SecureBoot can't be switched off.

        "So no problem there ASSUMING the user wants to install another OS."

        The device (any device) is there to serve the user, not the OEM. End of discussion really. Anything that limits the actions of a user (up to and including destroying the device) is a bad idea. Of course, the OEM can set some sensible defaults; but the final say should always (always) be with the end-user (or, at least, their corporate IT department).

        As for the 1%, you are confusing the traditional desktop with every other platform.

        I know UEFI is not the same as SecureBoot, that's why I made it a separate point.

        "if you want to taint a proper CSS system with that FossTard stuff."

        Ah, a classic example of someone who has no point to make so has resort to name calling.

        1. mmeier

          Re: Makers may need that...

          Win8 != Win/RT. Two different breeds. Win8 ONLY runs on x86 and REQUIRES SecBoot off.

          And Win8 IS classic desktop and tablet not toybreed touchies

      2. Francis Boyle Silver badge

        And folks it's happened

        We've finally found the one true anti-Eadon.

        1. The BigYin

          Re: And folks it's happened

          Prolly the same person.

          1. mmeier

            Re: And folks it's happened

            Damn you found out.

            Greetings,

            Steve B

        2. James O'Shea Silver badge

          Re: And folks it's happened

          "We've finally found the one true anti-Eadon."

          Yep.

  18. jason 7
    Meh

    Another 'Churnalism' article?

    Thinking back how many of these exact same articles have we seen on the Reg over the past 6 months?

    Seems like we get one every two weeks with us all posting the same stuff running to 2-3 pages of comments and flames.

    I just hope we are all using AdBlock if that's the case.

  19. ShelLuser
    Joke

    At least it's good for something...

    All those "business analysts" are having the time of their live, selling their "wisdom" to anyone who wants to have it.

  20. P. Lee Silver badge
    Unhappy

    PC makers don't need a new OS

    They need new/better hardware features.

    An always-on disk/media server built into a desktop for example. Modular cases with external PCIe links. Aggregated GigE links for PXE booting.

    The problem is that the big companies are focused on supply-chain integration and tax efficiencies, not products.

    My guess is that IP law is preventing competition as all innovation will be subject to years of lawsuits, even if it is new and exciting. Add to that the fact that manufacturers have thin margins and are thus dependent on continuing to please the big customers and you effectively kill your next generation of startups - anything not spun off from and protected by an existing company.

    Economic downturns (mostly caused by dodgy and irresponsible finance) don't help either.

    1. jason 7
      Unhappy

      Re: PC makers don't need a new OS

      I can imagine that a lot of great stuff has been designed to prototype level but then stuffed in the archive due to potential pathetic/trivial patent/licensing conflicts.

  21. Ant Evans
    FAIL

    Win8 retail experience

    My observations after a year:

    Consumers don't have a problem with the Win8 interface - and that goes for noobs as well as seasoned Windows users. They don't have the baggage that techies come with, they think it looks nice, it's stable, it's fast, and it's consistent. If consumers aren't buying it, it's because their mates are buying iPads, or they don't need a new PC at all.

    For consumers, MS has nevertheless managed to shoot itself in two ways: the TIFKAM apps were not ready - stupid stuff like duplicated hotmail contacts and no menus to fix them with - and piss poor XBox cloud performance, which the user associates with Win8, not Azure.

    MS has also succeeded brilliantly in failing to market Win8 to techies. The security model is significantly better (excluding &*%£* EUFI boot) and performance is excellent. I don't know why else you would want to upgrade an OS. TIFKAM is irrelevant here because techies know how to make it go away. EUFI boot is also optional if you hack the installation.

    So poor PC market notwithstanding, MS has executed poorly, and boy do they know it.

    1. jason 7

      Re: Win8 retail experience

      Yep, it's not hard for folks to get to grips with.

      I just feel MS has brought in a few high up execs that are making the most heinous and basic of tech crimes -

      The crime of making big assumptions.

      For a while MS was pretty good at delivering what folks wanted and adapting to their needs (say around 2007 to 2011) but recently it's switched round to "this is what we think you need, if you don't like it then f**k off!"

      Just look at the dick in charge of the Xbox One for example. Talk about customer empathy failure.

    2. WatAWorld
      Thumb Down

      The article is about PC makers problems, not MS's internal problems

      Analysts need to get their heads around the difference between the computer and the operating system that runs on the computer.

      MS *might* be shooting themselves in the foot, but only their own foot.

      Nothing MS does with Windows 8 can be to blame for poor computer sales because OS/x and Linux are out there and viable competing alternative operating systems, but few consumers and few organizations are switching to them.

      None of the problems with Windows 8 would stop anyone buying an Apple or a Linux computer.

      And no matter how good the best imaginable fantasy Windows 8 OS might have been, no matter how much the fantasy OS could justify tossing Windows 7, a new fantasy OS could never justify tossing perfectly good 5 year old hardware capable of running that new fantasy Windows 8 OS.

      1. Nigel 11
        WTF?

        Re: The article is about PC makers problems, not MS's internal problems

        How does anyone how many desktops and laptops thre are out there running Linux? It's not as if you have to buy Linux from anyone. I burn a distro DVD for anyone who asks. Most of the hardware that is running Linux, has got a paid-for Microsoft license key glued to it, so it's being counted as a Windows sale by someone. Some started being used with Windows, and were then re-purposed. Some dual-boot. Some run a Linux VM in Windows (good way to start a personal migration) and some run a Windows VM in Linux (which can be faster than running Windows natively on the same hardware!) Some were nuked to Linux out of the box, and the Windows sticker represents a tax levied by a monopoly which you cannot avoid short of building your own PC from components. (Technically-minded Linux users do self-build far more often than Windows users, because they avoid paying the Windows tax that way, but it's not an option with a laptop).

        I've seen more Linux laptops in our students' hands this year than I can remember in previous years. That's nothing compared to the increase in the number of Macbooks, though. Tablets of any sort less so - in a university, you tend to need a keyboard. Wouldn't be surprised if the better-off students also have a tablet back home. Just like me. And unlike me, they all seem to be toting smartphones, mostly Android or iPhones.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Eadon Has A Point

    Microsoft are currently shooting themselves in the head/foot and every other part of their anatomy. Windows 8, XBone, they seem determined to commit suicide.

    The PC market may well die, but not anytime soon. The time is now ripe for a properly marketed Linux OS to take over. They exist already, all it needs is a proper business oriented approach from whichever distro maker decides to go for it. Yes they'd almost certainly have to charge money for the OS to pay for this and employ the right people, but so what?

    It would be foolish if one or more of the distro producers don't take advantage of Microsoft's refusal to see sense.

    Microsoft are handing the Linux/BSD, whatever, distro producers the golden apple. They have to bite into it.

    1. Alex Rose

      Re: Eadon Has A Point

      "Microsoft are handing the Linux/BSD, whatever, distro producers the golden apple. They have to bite into it."

      Much as I like Linux the sad fact is that they'll spend all their time discussing how deep to bite, what shape to bite and how many times to chew before each going off and doing their own thing and continuing to leave the end-user confused and running back into MS (and to a much lesser degree Apple's) arms.

      1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        Re: Eadon Has A Point

        Eadon may have a point - but he repeats it 100 bloody times a day, to people who more than know of Linux.

        If Eadon really wanted to make a difference, he'd be trying to talk to end users, not tech people - who are either already onboard, or don't want to be.

        Whichever side of the coin you live on, Eadon is just irritating. He also bangs on about Linux as if it's the only alternative to MS - true irritating fanboism

        "Much as I like Linux the sad fact is that they'll spend all their time discussing how deep to bite, what shape to bite and how many times to chew before each going off and doing their own thing and continuing to leave the end-user confused and running back into MS "

        A shame people don't know much about PCBSD, which - based on FreeBSD - doesn't have all that bullshit you mention.

        1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Eadon Has A Point

          "A shame people don't know much about PCBSD, which - based on FreeBSD - doesn't have all that bullshit you mention."

          Oops! I've just acted the fanboi too!

    2. Ant Evans
      Unhappy

      Re: Eadon Has A Point

      The time has been ripe for a consumer Linux distro for years. Canonical was that distro, and look what they've gone and done.

      Forget it.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    No planned upgrades

    I am not planning to replace or upgrade my Desktop or laptops any time soon. They are all running windows 7 and office 2010 quite happily. The desktop has scanner and photoprinters attached and photoshop installed and can probably handle anything else one can throw at it for the foreseeable future. The only possible problem I may have is a windows XP laptop that does not seem to like windows 7 for some reason (maybe a driver problem).

    IMHO what is really needed are some 'killer apps' to make the platform more useful. Unless one is an avid gamer, once Office and a few utilities are installed then there is not much else available. There is not even a 'consumer' accounts program since Quicken left and MS killed Money.

    Sadly Windows 8 is a disaster and Linux is not user friendly enough to become mainstream unless one is tech savvy.

    1. WatAWorld

      Re: No planned upgrades

      Good point.

      Think about it. Why would a killer app make you replace your hardware?

      The normal procedure is to install the new app on the old hardware, unless the new app requires killer hardware.

      And the lack of some new killer hardware innovation is the problem.

      Hardware makers aren't even trying.

      They're still shipping PCs and laptops with fans, USB2, and wired monitors and keyboards.

      Not that I'm saying those are big enough innovations to make me junk a PC that works well, but the standards and chips for those innovations have been out for a couple of years.

      I think they top guys, the top innovators, are focused on the tablets and phones.

      1. mmeier

        Re: No planned upgrades

        If you want no fans you either go low power on notebooks (likely an Atom) or you go with MASSIV passiv cooling for desktops. And the trend goes towards smaller desktops.

        A decently powerful notebook/convertible will need fans. Small and resonably silent ones but fans. ARM does not cut it performance wise and Atom while better is not useable past Office work. Innovation in PC is coming. Stuff like the new Haswell units look very promising endurance and weight wise.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Vista - pArt deUx

    "8.1 might provide a lift but it is no miracle cure ...because the sales downturn is due to the economy".

    Oh really? And it has nothing to do with being so corporate that you can't see how the average user has become much more technically literate than the last time you foisted Vista on them. At the very least people read more reviews before buying now...

  25. Michael Habel Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Let's see

    Windows Vista - Questionable FAIL! (I thought it was ok. though I never had to move masive amounts of Data 'round while using it.)

    WinPhone 7

    WinPhone 8 - GUI is ugly as sin might be good otherwise. Has no useres virtualy has no Store.

    Windows 8 - MicroSoft F*@#'ed up BIG TIME!

    Windows 8.1 - See above!

    XBONE - i.e. The FAILBOX! "It ONLY spys on you!"

    So with the huge amount of success behind him. Just why is the Monkyboi still allowed to run this Once great Corporation?

    1. WatAWorld

      Ford Blames Poor Sales On Lousy BP Petrol

      Ford Blames Poor Auto Sales On Lousy BP Petrol.

      GM Blames Dismal Car Sales On New Country Road Signs.

      The computers aren't selling because of what they are.

      Nobody makes anyone run Windows 8. If Windows 8 were the problem it would be an MS problem, not an ASUS, Dell, Apple, HP problem.

      Dell, poor sales, allows you to get your PC or laptop with Windows 7 as an option when ordering off the web (not just by phone).

      1. mmeier

        Re: Ford Blames Poor Sales On Lousy BP Petrol

        Let's face it no person with half a brain is currently buying a new notebook / netbook / tablet pc unless absolutely forced to (old unit dead/stolen/end of leasing). Intel has announced in Q1 that we will see Haswell and Baytrail units in the mass market late Q3/Q4 and those offer quite a few benefits like faster build in graphics (both), better SSD/RAM support (Baytrail), better suspend modes and throtteling (both), less power consumption (both). And from the first tests with the Sony Vaio Duo13 - Haswell delivers.

        So why buy yesterdays technology? That is like buying the last generation car without say anti locking breaks etc. when the next gen model WITH that stuff comes out two month from now. The car salesman may like the deal(1) but I don't do the deal.

        (1) A Peugeot guy sure tried in 1997 - I bought a nice Fiat at a competitor instead

  26. Tom 35 Silver badge

    PC Makers thrown under bus

    MS want to be Apple.

    They want to sell phones and tablets.

    They think they can use desktops / laptops to make people want an MS phone / tablet.

    They think not-metro is the way to do it.

    People say they don't like it. Not going to buy it. Not-Metro sucks.

    MS: We have to fix this... but can't remove not-metro.

    Look more colours.

    Look a start button to replace one of the invisible spots! That's what you asked for! All good now right!

    Look animated backgrounds.. cool right?

    US: It's still got not-metro! it's still shit!

  27. MikeHuk
    FAIL

    It's not the Desktop that's dead it's Win 8 that's dead

    As many have already said the market for PCs are reaching saturation point. I am another who has a 4 year old quad core PC running Win 7 and Linux mint which is lightning fast and is quite adequate for all my needs and I cannot see myself upgrading any time soon. Win 8 offers me little that I want, I don't need the TIKRAM and its app store(does anybody?), I have proper Windows PROGRAMS, I don't need touch as I have a much more efficient and precise system in a mouse and keyboard. Sure Win 8 boots faster but how many times do I boot in a day and I usually use hibernate anyway. When MS brought out Win 7, I upgraded as it offered me some new useful features but Win 8 and even 8.1 offers me little to make it attractive. Also I hate that checkerboard look on win 8/phone 8.

    I do have an Android Tablet with touch and that is great but that for me is an entirely different platform for different use in addition to my PC not as a replacement.

  28. jellypappa
    Thumb Down

    windows h8te

    installed windows 8 on my mega beast of a pc with 2 x 22" touch screens, it is total pants, uninstalled and went back to 7 after a few months thought i would give it a 2nd go, i was right the first time, so back to 7 took dvd and smashed so i can never be tempted to put that rubbish on any of my machines, ( 5)

    windows 98 is actually better to work with than 8.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: windows h8te

      How long did you use it for and what were the issues that made it "total pants"?

      1. James O'Shea Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: windows h8te

        I used it for nearly two weeks. Among my issues:

        1 UI problem #1: the damn hidden whatever-it-is that pops up on the right side. I had no end of problems getting to the Settings or to the Control Panels. In earlier versions of Windows, or on Macs, or even on Ubuntu Linux, doing similar tasks is trivial.

        2 UI problem #2: finding apps, or programs, or whatever, when in Desktop mode. In earlier versions of Windows, or on Macs, or even Ubuntu Linux, this was trivial. Unless I scattered shortcuts all over the place, locating a particular app was a major pain. Yes, I know, Microsoft wants me to use MetroSexual. No, I prefer not to.

        3 UI problem #3: I didn't (and still don't, and probably won't for a very long time) have a touch screen on my test unit (an ASUS laptop; it came with a 750 GB drive, partitioned into two. I had Win 7 on one and Win 8 on the other.) or on any other desktop or laptop I ever own. MetroSexual is aimed at touch. Yes, it will work without touch. No, it won't work as well.

        4 Startup problem #1: when I installed Win 8, it declined to admit that there was a Windows install on the other partition. I had to dig up the install disc (which I had 'cause I got Win 8 from DreamSpark, and that download was an ISO which I burned to a DVD) and run bootrec. And when that didn't work, I called Microsoft Support... and the bottom-tier CSA couldn't fix it either, though he tried hard and had me let him log into my system remotely. He escalated it to higher-higher, and they were able to get things working. Total time elapsed, including my time before I called MS: seven hours. I have _never_ had an OS install of _any_ OS whatsoever, dating back to my first experiences with desktop computers in the 1970s, which caused so much trouble. Yes, Win 8 would load... but for me to get Win 7 to load I had to play with the damn BIOS, until it got fixed and the nice boot manager I was expecting in the first place became available. Apparently my problem, though rare, was not the first of its kind that the senior MS CSA had seen. _This is a known bug._ It is also completely, utterly, totally, UNACCEPTABLE.

        5 Startup problem #2: the first two times I went back to Win 7 after getting the boot manager to behave, it crashed on getting to the Windows splash screen. I was able to fix this with CHKDSK. _Something_ caused directory errors. Gee. I wonder what could have done that. Note that I had run CHKDSK _before_ installing Win 8 and there were no problems then.. Correlation ain't causation and all that, but it sure seems suspicious...

        6 Usability problem #1: Win 8 insists on installing IE10. IE 10 breaks at least two web apps I use. IE 9, in Win 7, works fine. No, I don't know what breaks. I don't care. They're unusable in Win 8, and will stay unusable until someone (NOT me) either fixes 'em themselves or pays someone else to fix 'em. For various reasons I must use IE on that particular site. Indeed, that site and its requirement to use IE is a major reason why I have a Windows laptop in the first place, I'd be using a Mac instead otherwise.

        7 Usability problem #2: certain older programs (in use since Win2K and the other major reasons why I have a Windows laptop) which worked just fine in Win 7 break on impact with Win 8.

        There were other problems, but this is getting long. I tried to use it. I really did. It annoyed the hell out of me, and I nuked the partition and am very unlikely to ever reinstall Win 8. As Win 8.1 appears to be merely Win 8 SP1, I'll give that a miss as well.

        Win 8 may well work beautifully for others. It stunk up the place around here.

        1. WatAWorld

          So why didn't you just uninstall Windows 8 and install something else?

          So why didn't you just uninstall Windows 8 and install something else?

          Oh, that is what you did.

          That is what any customer would do. Hence, while Windows 8 quality and poor innovation is affecting Windows 8 sales, it isn't affecting PC sales.

          1. James O'Shea Silver badge

            Re: So why didn't you just uninstall Windows 8 and install something else?

            perhaps you missed the part about how my ASUS shipped with Win 7? I bought the thing last year, _before_ Win 8 shipped, specifically to ensure that I got Win 7. That's one sale which could, arguably, have been made later (my old Toshiba didn't actually die until about April this year, so if I'd waited until then to replace it that would have been... a Win 8 sale on a new machine this year.) and I know quite a few people who purchased new machines last year in August and September to make damn sure that they had new systems which did not run Win 8. And, given the way things are going, as certain items have to be re-written anyway, odds are excellent that they'll be re-written to work on Macs, and my next laptop will be a Mac laptop. Thanks, Microsoft, for breaking those apps in Win 8...

          2. mmeier

            Re: So why didn't you just uninstall Windows 8 and install something else?

            Even assuming one does not like Win8 after trying it with an open mind - why on earth should I pay for Win8 and then not use it?

            DELL/Lenovo/HP all sell without OS if you order by phone. The No Names "choose parts we assemble" trader next door will install what you order anyway.

  29. Tyrion
    Stop

    Many people are making excuses like - it's the economy, lack of touch screen devices, or that the market has suddenly become mature and everyone already has a PC. What a crock of shit. There's only one explanation for a 12% drop ( a record ) in PC sales in Q1 and that's the monstrosity that is Windows 8.

    However unlike many others, I hope Microsoft does continue down this path of fail, because then we might see more mainstream PC makers preinstalling GNU/Linux distros, and that's great for everyone. A PC monopoly like Micro$haft Windows hurts the entire industry.

    1. Ron Christian

      Linux? probably not

      Much more likely to be Android. Which is not necessarily a bad thing.

  30. Zot
    Happy

    XP cleverly slowed down to a crawl as the years went by!!

    The amount of times I've heard people say, "my computer is old and it's got really slow."

    Microsoft in all it's terrible OS programming have convinced millions of people that computers slow down with age! As if the chips get tired out like an old car engine. So you never know MS, you may have a few more years in the lap/desktop market yet.

    BTW my flashy local Barclays Bank, with it's posh Star Trek styled interior still use XP computers for all their staff.

    1. Ron Christian

      Re: XP cleverly slowed down to a crawl as the years went by!!

      Computers used at two grocery chains in my area still show the Windows 98 splash screen on boot. I have observed this personally.

    2. WatAWorld

      Windows XP got slow because of the security upgrades and antivirus products

      You can install the original Windows XP on an old computer and it flies.

      Update to SP3 and it is passable, but no longer flying.

      Install the AV and its slow.

      Windows XP was built to run on computers that existed at the time with the level of hackers that existed when it was originally designed.

      And computer makers selected the CPUs and graphics cards sufficient to run that original Windows XP and the old original versions of McAfee and Norton.

      So blame the blackhat hackers.

  31. Ron Christian
    Thumb Down

    not just the lack of tablets

    >> Part of the reason why Win 8 was a initially a damp squib was the lack of touch tablets or PCs on the market which could take advantage of the Metro interface TIFKAM.

    Hmm. Well. Perhaps. But speaking as someone who has only ever used it on a hybrid with a touchscreen, I have to say that *most* of the reason why Win 8 was and continues to be a damp squib is that it SUCKS. Even on a touch screen device. I can sorta see how this might be useful on a phone, but laptop or larger it's pants.

  32. This post has been deleted by its author

  33. tempemeaty

    Users say, no, it's Windows 8

    It's just my worthless opinion but the economy is only flat-lining the sales. It's Windows 8 that is doing the killing of PC sales. EVERY regular person and I.T. type I ask tell me the same thing the same thing when they see or try the Windows 8...."HELL NO," and they...WILL...NOT...BUY...ANY...PC...WITH...WINDOWS 8.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As simon cowell's industry are fond of saying...

    You can't polish a turd.

    1. Belardi
      Pirate

      Re: As simon cowell's industry are fond of saying...

      Actually, you can polish a turd...

      The thing is, its still just a turd.

  35. WatAWorld

    If OS/x and Linux can't make Windows 7 obsolete why think Windows 8.1 would?

    If OS/x and Linux can't make Windows 7 obsolete why think Windows 8.1 would?

    If OS/x and Linux sales and downloads were skyrocketing while Windows 8 computer sales were slow, it would make sense to fault Windows 8.

    But they aren't.

    People are happy with the desktops and laptops they have.

    Computer hardware manufacturers have only themselves to blame for their lack of useful technological enhancements.

    So few new Windows 8.1 computers, but also few new OS/x and few new Linux computers too.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If OS/x and Linux can't make Windows 7 obsolete why think Windows 8.1 would?

      "few new Linux computers too."

      All my new computers run Linux - mind all my old ones do too

      1. mmeier

        Re: If OS/x and Linux can't make Windows 7 obsolete why think Windows 8.1 would?

        One computer bought since 1998 ran Linux. A castrated and lobotomized version AKA Android. Sold it

        No computer my parents bought runs Linux

        No computer in the family does. Some run iOS or MacOS but those are at worst BSD (Actually Mach-3 with BSD personality)

        No box in the company runs Linux. Some run Solaris, all clients Windows. And the clients are brand new (mid 2012)

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "PC makers REALLY need Windows 8.1 to walk on water - but guess what?"

    "PC makers REALLY need Windows 8.1 to walk on water - but guess what?"

    It's sunk in shit?

  37. WatAWorld
    Thumb Down

    Computer hardware manufacters continue to blame MS for the lack of hardware innovation

    The headline should perhaps have read, "Computer hardware manufacturers continue to blame MS for the lack of hardware innovation."

    Computer hardware manufacturers have only themselves to blame for their lack of useful technological enhancements.

    No useful hardware enhancements means consumers are happy with the hardware they have.

    In fact, if Windows 8.1 did do something amazing that people couldn't live without, IT STILL WOULD NOT HELP PC SALES because people would just buy the Windows 8.1 software to run on their existing PCs.

    And if Windows 8 was so bad, then Apple OS/x and Linux sales would be surging. They aren't.

    If you want to sell more hardware, invent something so great that it makes existing desktops and laptops obsolete.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Computer hardware manufacters continue to blame MS for the lack of hardware innovation

      "If you want to sell more hardware, invent something so great that it makes existing desktops and laptops obsolete."

      It's a very hard thing to make "good enough" seem obsolete. It would require a computing paradigm shift: a shift on what's considered absolutely essential.

  38. Thorfkin

    Sales Downturn

    I don't believe the economy is fully responsible for the sales downturn. It definitely played a small part but overall people have always been willing to pay for a product that provides good value and that's where I think the real problem resides. Windows 8's interface is crap for traditional desktop users. The fault lies with Microsoft. It's a shame they're trying so hard not to acknowledge that fact. Instead they should just do what they did when Vista wouldn't sell. Redesign the interface to give customers what they want and sell it as a new version. I'm not convinced the tweaks they're planning with Windows 8.1 will be enough to spark interest.

  39. Passing Through

    W8 v Unity

    Ubuntu / Canonical has had a lot of negative feedback from the move to Unity, I have to say the after a bit of a shock I now like it.

    I tried Ubuntu when unity first came out and found it slower than the Mint I had been using, mainly I think due to a problem getting the Nvidia driver to work with my old card.l

    I quickly gave up and went gave up and went back to Mint, and that has stayed on my desktop.

    A buddy of mine asked for help getting his W7 netbook fixed "no problem" says I, expecting a quick factory reset type of fix, not so easy, the reinstall kept failing due to a recurring error, something to do with corrupted files or whatever, the upshot was by this time I'd had a few beers and the quickest option to produce a working computer was to stick in my ubuntu pen drive, job done.

    Having installed the newer Ubuntu I thought it best to upgrade my own netbook to the same version as I expected to get requests for help and would need to know what to do.

    I used it for a while found it a bit strange, and then having upgraded my desktop to LMDA thought I'd go the same way with my netbook.

    At this point I suddenly realised that I had come round and LIKED Unity, It works like this; the main use of the netbook is surfing, Firefox is on the launcher one click and it's up,plus whatever I'm doing if I hit the "W@" key the lens pops up with the last thing I was doing, which is actually very useful.

    So Unity actually works, and reason for it became clear when I saw the "ubuntu on Android" video,

    In the future your phone IS your pc check it out.

    ==========

    As for W8, well two things, first off its ugly, in Currys or wherever all the displayed desktops are the same Mondrian styled confusion, no focal point just a splat of squares, I like a nice clean desktop with my choice of mood setting wallpaper.

    Secondly, when hit the "W" key all I get is back to the confusion of unattractive oblongs,with no reference point, apparently the 'start button' is being reintroduced but it only does the same as the button, no useful menus.

    So W8 just looks shite, a bit like the very functional but dull front end of Linpus in a way,

    and doesn't have the Unity useful 'get straght back to your last job' feature, plus its windows, so if You get the 'sorry this reinstallation has failed' message you can't just download a clean free new system.

    PS. if you know how to get round the corrupted installation files problem i@d like to know the answer.

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