Windows 8 Woes Continue


Mozilla announced on Friday that it is abandoning its Metro version of Firefox for Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. In a statement released on the company’s Future Releases blog, Firefox Vice President Johnathan Nightingale praised the project’s team, but said it would be a mistake to continue to pour resources into it. Nightingale noted that the Metro browser tile for the Windows 8/8.1 start screen has never seen more than 1,000 active daily users. Mozilla’s announcement suggests that even following the release of Windows 8.1—which was rolled out in January to address user issues—the woes for Windows 8 continue.

Introduced in October 2012, Windows 8 was designed to save the PC. With Android and iOS tablets gaining popularity, the new operating system addressed both tablets and PCs by integrating a tablet-like tiled start-up screen to PCs; this was a drastic departure from the desktop start-up screen Windows’ users had grown accustomed to. Consumers responded negatively to Windows 8, with two consistent and loud complaints being the lack of a Start button—a feature Windows’ users regularly used—and not being able to boot directly to the desktop screen.

Consumer desire to boot directly to the old-style desktop suggests that users prefer to bypass the Windows 8 tiled menu completely. Mozilla’s announcement that its Windows 8 Metro tile produces less than 1,000 active daily users supports that sentiment. Firefox consistently comes in number two behind Google Chrome for browser usage, garnering around 30 percent of the market. Given its share of the browser market, Firefox’s lack of use on the Windows 8 tiled menu should serve as a canary in the mine for Microsoft.

Though it was designed to save the PC from encroaching tablet competition by making its interface more tablet-like, Windows 8, ironically, is actually hurting the PC market. Analysts report that PC sales have dropped in six straight quarters and some estimates foresee a 10 percent drop in overall PC sales in 2014. Microsoft hopes the fixes introduced to Windows 8.1 will help stem the negative tide.

It can’t be denied that Microsoft listened to consumer complaints concerning Windows 8, though the company initially chalked up much of the early criticism as a trend to the extreme, suggesting in a May 2013 statement that critics were using hyperbole and being sensational just to get page views. Two of the featured fixes incorporated into Windows 8.1 address the two key consumer complaints. Users now have the option to boot directly to the old-style desktop, bypassing the tiled screen, and a modified Start button has been added.

With tablet device continuing to gain consumer popularity and software companies responding to that trend by focusing on developing apps that support Android and iOS platforms, the PC seems destined to eventually serve only a niche audience. Serious gamers, graphic designers, animators, writers and the like will still likely see the benefit of a PC over a tablet device, but the average consumer who uses the Internet to gather news and information or keep in touch with friends and family via social media prefers the portability and convenience that tablet devices offer. So even if consumers do react positively to the Windows 8.1 fixes, the trend in tablet usage growth suggests that Windows 8’s woes will continue.

Scott Merrow


11 Responses to "Windows 8 Woes Continue"

  1. ACampanelli   March 19, 2014 at 4:50 am

    Since I do not know how to “reach” to the truly idiotic geeks at Microsoft who are causing Microsoft to put out products as abysmal as Windows 8, I hope to use symbols to communicate with them.

    The Microsoft Refrigerator

    New from Microsoft is the Microsoft refrigerator. When it arrives, you’ll notice that the door to the refrigerator has no handle. Nor does it have any signs or notes telling you from which direction the door opens, or how to open it. This feature is brought to you by the genius who conceived of “charms” hidden in Windows 8, to ensure that you will curse at least once while trying to figure out how to shut down your laptop or desktop for the first time.

    To cause the refrigerator to first get cold, and before you can store anything inside of it, you must first call Microsoft, register the refrigerator with them, and open a video-account with them, so Microsoft can see everything you place inside your refrigerator at any time. This feature is brought to you by the dweeb who thought it was a good idea to require you to register with Microsoft, just to be able to use a computer which has the Windows 8 operating system

    Once your video-registry for your refrigerator is complete, you can open the door, and once you do, an arm will automatically extend out to you with a ham sandwich, and the door will then close. It doesn’t matter that you wanted to eat something other than a ham sandwich, because Microsoft has decided that since you’ve eaten a ham sandwich in the past, that’s what you will eat now. This feature is brought to you by the imbecile who created the auto-formating features in Microsoft Word which make it virtually impossible for users to simply set-up documents they way they want to, but instead are forced to fight with Word, every time they have the audacity to indent something and thereafter proceed to try to start a new paragraph.

    I could go on, but I hope perhaps, the next time one of the idiots at Microsoft come up with another one of these truly moronic ideas, they may ask themselves, would I want this feature on my refrigerator?

    Andrew J. Campanelli


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