Saturday, March 9, 2013

Why Windows 8 Losing Momentum in the Market? Here is the Adoption Barriers.

Windows 8, which launched on 26 October 2012, has struggled to gain traction, many experts are calling it a failure. Windows 8 failed to trigger a boost in PC sales as new editions have done in the past. Four months after it was released, Windows 8 has grabbed just around 2.6% of global market share for PCs, however at the same period Windows 7 picked up 9.1% market share. 

OS Market share Oct-2012 to Feb 2013
Source : NetMarketshare
Windows Vista, which was categorically declared a failure globally, had better adoption numbers than Microsoft's latest offering. According to a ZDNet report, Vista had a desktop share of 4.52 per cent while Windows 8 could gather only 2.67 per cent share in the same time period. 

The Redmond software giant was sort of sure that it will be able to silence its critics with the introduction of Windows 8 and PC owners will immediately go for the upgrade as soon as it is available in the market. But its adoption has been very slow and the individuals and businesses haven’t gone down to upgrade to Windows 8 from the predecessors that have been using for past years. 

Microsoft has apparently blamed OEMs for the poor sales of Windows 8 sitting they are not building enough Windows 8-powered touch screen devices. 

Gartner recently stated that during the Q4 of 2012, Windows 8 failed to instill a "significant impact" on PC shipments. research firm IDC said global PC sales would contract 1.3% this year, a drop atop 2012's even-larger slump of 3.7%. Research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) cited an "underwhelming reception" to Windows 8 as one of several factors that will lead to a second-consecutive year of declining PC sales. 

PC sales plunge

Microsoft’s Windows 8 software appears to be driving buyers away from PCs and toward smartphones and tablets, research firm IDC said on Wednesday, 10th April 2013. Global shipments of PCs fell 14% in the first three months this year, IDC said. Consumers, especially in developed countries like the U.S., are shifting toward tablets and smartphones rather than upgrading their home PCs. Microsoft Windows 8 has a completely new look and forces users to learn new ways to control their machines. The Windows 8 is designed to work well with touch-sensitive screens, but the displays add to the cost of a PC. Together, the changes and higher prices “have made PCs a less attractive alternative to dedicated tablets and other competitive device. Hewlett-Packard Co., the world’s largest maker of PCs, saw a 24% drop in shipments in the first quarter compared with the same period a year ago. The industry’s No. 2, China’s Lenovo Group, is benefiting from sales to first-time buyers in China and other developing countries.

Wall Street Journal and DigiTimes reported that Microsoft has cut prices of Windows 8 and Office 2013 in an attempt to spark sales. Discounts on Windows 8 could result in lower-priced touchscreen PC and tablets, by early as this summer. 

Adoption Decelerators 

The confusion about the Windows 8 is so high that many businesses have started believing that it is not good for them. It can be more ideal for normal consumers rather than enterprises. Lots of businesses have turned down the new OS and many of those, who consumed it, have downgraded their PCs. 

Windows 8 Market Share
For the normal consumers, things like the lack of a start button and complexity in finding regular apps and software are a few among the reasons that have forced users to reject Windows 8. Many users have reportedly downgraded their new PCs to Windows 7 as they don’t like the software and its interface. 

Vista Vs Windows 8 Adoption
Handing a Surface RT tablet to someone unfamiliar with how it works is like asking them to run a nuclear power plant. For example, users find it difficult to close an application especially when it is a necessary step for conserving RAM and cleaning up the desktop. Many users even couldn't figure out how to restart the computer either. (You have to swipe from the right and access the Settings menu, then select power, then restart.). Users cannot perform admin duties unless the admin tool got enabled first. Just asking someone to change his login password is a good 5-minute exercise in futility. 
Main factors which hamper Windows 8 adoption is detailed below. 

Market is clogged with Tablet, Smartphone, and desktop 

Windows 8 support desktops, tablet and smartphones. the experience in all these devises are same. Windows 8 is just an addition to the already clogged mobile and tablet market which adopted the innovative user interface frame work already. As same OS coexist in all three kinds of devices, users got confused with which one to buy and this impacted the adoption. 

Legacy Windows Users Aren't Moving 

We saw this happen before with Vista and XP, Vista was not better than the old operating system XP, so very few people moved to it. We're seeing it again now. Nobody really wants to move from tried-and-true Windows 7 or windows XP to new, expensive Windows 8 PCs. As the $500 to $1200 price tags slapped on Windows 8 hardware makes it "uncompetitive" in a world where people want iPads and Android tablets. 

Slow Adoption by Developers 

Developers wouldn't like throwing out .NET, Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) and Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) expertise to work on Windows 8. This slow pick up more relevant when business users are reluctant to adopt windows 8 as their business PCs. Due to this the enterprise and engineering applications are still running in the Legacy platforms.

Lacking Innovation 

Windows 8 brought nothing innovative to the desktop world. Windows 8 is faster than Windows 7, but that's about it. most of the features are already their in the gadget market through apple and android and Windows just followed it. 

Usability - Unfriendly User interface 

Microsoft basically re-branded itself with a tile interface it borrowed from its own Zune player and Xbox 360 console. Now, the tile interface is everywhere: in the Windows phone, every new desktop and laptop, and the Surface tablet. The same is already in users hand through gadgets like android. 

However, the much hyped tile based metro UI is an unfit to the desktop users. It requires users to forget everything they ever learned about Windows and learn an entirely new way of doing things for no real reason. For the normal users, there are too many tiles on the screen which doesn't make sense. For example, when a user click on the Skype tile, that takes the user to the windows store. When user downloaded the app, it appeared in a different location off to the far right, like lost in a sea of tiles. The tiles work well for tablets, but not on a laptop or desktop using a mouse, even when many laptops have a touchscreen these days. 

Windows Store 

The App store opened a totally new world for the desk top and note book users. Now the question is, how far the Appstore is useful for a normal user or a home user or a business user in a desktop environment. Answer is no atleast for the time being. window store adoption will be very slow for the desktop users. The second question is how many useful application are there in windows store and how easy to search it. there were 5000 apps available worldwide on October 26, to 20,000 available one month after launch, to 39,153 apps available as of January 23. Both the overall quantity and quality of apps available in the Windows Store disappoint when compared to competing mobile ecosystems. Many notable big-name apps are still missing. 

Road ahead 

A report on NBCNews rightly sums up that “There’s still plenty of time for Microsoft’s OS to find it’s stride, but it’s safe to say that Windows 8 isn't the sales-generating behemoth Windows 7 was. This is probably due to a mix of the new-look interface and overall sluggishness in the traditional PC market. We’ll have to wait for some more time and see its adoption rate to make a fine conclusion as many OEMs are picking up the tablet and mobile markets. To be true, Windows 8 doesn't bring anything substantially improved than its previous version and so Windows 7 will continue to rule the market. 

Both Gartner and IDC expect at least 350 million PCs to ship this year, and the overwhelming majority of those will ship with Windows 8 installed. Windows 8 still has breathing room, It is faster and better than Windows 7 under the hood, and many of the decelerators could easily be improved with some minor tweaks. The Windows Store will only get better as time goes on. Many of the usability concerns could be squashed by releasing an update.

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