Windows 8 Blame Game for PC Industry Downturn

windows 8 is on fire - the bad kind

Windows 8 is on fire (the bad kind) and no one seems to be trying to put it out.

That the PC industry is suffering is no secret. That Microsoft’s Windows 8 is getting a lot of the blame is also no secret. I’m no industry analyst but, there seems to be more to the problem than just Windows 8. Tablets and smartphones are getting more consumer dollars at a continued economic time when dollars are limited. PCs from a few years ago are still good enough to hold on to. This could be because on the software side, nothing massive is out there to help compel upgrading. Same thing on the hardware side, though maybe Intel’s new chips due out in the summer might help. One could go on and on about it.

Some of Microsoft’s blame stems from so much fuss about the start menu being gone in Windows 8. It appears Microsoft may be listening to this complaint and more. Responses such as these are going to be critical to Windows 8 adoption and Microsoft’s ability to try and market it in a positive light. Right now, the negative news is far outweighing any positive news. Negative news lingers far longer.

Microsoft would serve itself well to publicly acknowledge – right now or yesterday – that it hears the consumer frustration. It should also go a step further and announce plans now that it will bring the start menu back. And, that it will also allow a boot-to-desktop option. It should do this even if it’s months away. The company needs to throw a dog a bone. Waiting is only adding to negative lingering feelings. Right now, news of this is still just rumors – from what I’ve read.

Announcing plans now will double the opportunity for positive press and positive consumer feedback. Microsoft will get news coverage now about such plans with plenty of positive consumer comments to join such articles. It will then get the same dose of medicine if it does a PR blitz again to announce their availability when the updates go live.

Microsoft does have a lot at stake with making the Metro interface stick with consumers – there are a lot of potential apps to be sold. But, it has gambled for Metro against its own main OS and that was seemingly a bad gamble. The company has to figure out a way to make the desktop the main draw while still making metro compelling to use each day. Right now it seems hell-bent on the opposite – making Metro the main draw while the desktop is secondary. People aren’t buying it. Literally. It’s time to come to terms with it.

In fact, Microsoft should pre-announce plans to changes for anything that is currently receiving consumer backlash or media backlash. I mean beyond just Metro and the start button. This might help the company get out of the dog house with consumers and the media. It should then follow through with the updates and plan on a PR blitz again when it does those changes too, to garner more praise.

It’s important for key Microsoft employees to get visible right now – be in the front lines of the fire. It needs to project an image that these key employees are aware of the fire and have a hose turned on to put it out. This isn’t happening – the company is instead letting rumors swirl and being cryptic about its plans. I understand the importance of keeping product changes secret so the competition can’t react so soon. But, when the product is on fire – on fire in a bad way – you have to learn to make exceptions.