Slow Windows 8 Sales, is Microsoft to blame…I think not

Many people out there including the computer manufactures are blaming Microsoft for slow Windows 8 computer sales.  When I look at everything I can not believe Microsoft is to blame and if anything it is the manufactures that are at fault.

There have been many speculating that tablets were going to kill the PC industry or at least make it very small.  So far this has not happened because people need to get real work done and most tablet today are not that great at getting real work done but awesome if you just want to check email, read a book, or watch a movie.  Nevertheless people are wanting more tablets and pressure was put on Microsoft to respond.  Well they did, with Windows 8 and Windows RT.  So where are the Windows based tablets?

Go to your local Best Buy or other computer electronics store (if your lucky to have anything other than Best Buy) or heck go to Wal-Mart and see how many Windows based tablets there are.  At Best Buy when I went recently I could only find two, a Surface RT and a Surface Pro, and when I inquired about them I was told that they were selling the Surface Pro pretty well, of course this was not too long after the Surface Pro came out.  Granted there were plenty of Andriod and iPads there.

I also looked at other Windows 8 machines there and I noticed something that concerned me.  First I did not see keyboards optimized for Windows 8 with specific buttons for the charms bar.  Microsoft has done this to many of its keyboards which I think is a nice touch and their lead should be copied.  Second I noticed just how many computers are still not touch screen.  Let me make something extremely clear, I have wanted to touch the screen on my computer for over 12 years now, and I still have issues when buying a computer to get this option.  I know I am not alone and I think more people would rather have a touch screen so what is the issue and hold up?

Clearly if anyone is to blame it is the computer manufactures and the retailers for slow Windows 8 sales.  If you are seeing commercials about Windows 8 and you get all excited about using a touch screen only to go to your local computer outlet to find non touch screen computers, well I would be disappointed.  What are computer manufactures doing to make Windows 8 computers different from the ones that had Windows 7 on them?  The reason tablets sell well is because they are new and cool, so if we did something new and different with computers don’t you think they would sell better?  If everyone at a coffee shop is touching their laptop screen, or folding it into a tablet, I think even some Mac users are going to have envy.  The retailers need to get what is different and new (like Lenovo’s lineup) out in stores and get rid of the junk they sell currently.  I know that cheap laptops sell but I am sure there are some manufactures making cheaper touchscreen devices, give them a chance instead of the main manufactures.

So far I am disappointed with the industry’s response to Windows 8, it is a great OS and has potential to do amazing, but until we get better hardware I am going to keep my current desktop and laptop because they run Windows 8 extremely well and I can not justify buying a machine that does exactly what my current machine does now.  Granted there are a few machines out there that are embracing the future but I want choice, that is why I am not a Mac user.

Can Microsoft Save Windows RT Sales if it opened up the Windows RT Desktop?

Something you hear less and less about lately is Windows RT.  In fact I have heard less ever since the Windows 8 launch and I know why.  Windows RT does not allow you to install software into the Desktop environment.  I was at a Microsoft Store in Scottsdale, Arizona on launch day and I can not count how many people were checking out the Surface RT to see what Windows RT could run.  I bumped into a few software and web developers who were interested in this new platform, and after finding out that the desktop is locked they left disappointed, some choosing to focus on Windows 8 while others taking in interested in creating Metro / Modern apps instead.

Now at launch there was the Surface RT as well as an Asus tablet that ran Windows RT, it was small and light and really I liked it a lot.  I can not find the Asus tablet today at Best Buy though. (it was there on launch day)  In fact there are no Windows RT tablets at Best Buy at all other than the Surface RT.  I think this tells us something, Windows RT is in trouble.

Lets face it Windows RT does not really offer anything new that Windows 8 doesnt and in fact is a compromise.  The only thing Windows RT does that Windows 8 doesnt is run on ARM processors. However Windows 8 runs desktop applications, and right now which is more useful to people today.  Granted Microsoft may be playing a long-term game with Windows RT betting on ARM becoming a real competitor to the Intel / AMD world we know today.

I would say with the interest on launch day about running applications in the desktop in Windows RT, Microsoft has two choices that would spur the demand for it.  Either Microsoft needs to offer some kind of compatibility or virtualization to run the current X86 desktop applications in the desktop in Windows RT or just open the Desktop up and give documentation so developers can create desktop applications if they choose to do so.  I really feel this would just be the push that Windows RT needs.  It could push Windows RT to be just as good of an option as Windows 8.  You may even see ARM based all in one, laptop, or desktop computers.  And from what I have read online those that have found ways of installing desktop applications in Windows RT have reported that if an application works with .NET 4 or above it does not need any if little change to run.  This is a huge win for .NET if it was officially supported.

Is there hope for Windows RT…Yes! however I think it will be these enthusiasts that are interested in it now that could save it.