At last, October 26 will witness the release of much-awaited software of the year: Microsoft’s Windows 8. Microsoft has long been dominant in the PC industry but with the new software, it will try to create a market for itself in the growing Smartphones and tablet industry. Considering the decline of PCs in the world, Microsoft was sooner or late expected to enter the tablet industry.
For past 20 years, Microsoft enjoyed supremacy in the tech market but as the dynamics are changing, Apple and Google have emerged as potential threat for the company. And to step up in the competition, the company has released its very first OS for the touch devices.
As Microsoft popularity graph has declined in recent times, a question arises in mind: whether Windows 8 will be able to bring back its glory or it is the wrong gamble the company is putting its money on?
Is Windows 8 a big Gamble?
Microsoft has always dominated the PC market with its desktop operating system but it would not be the case for Windows 8. A new “Metro” styled UI will for the very first time is the company’s attempt in shifting from desktop PC to touch screen. This is not the very first time PC will be introduced to touch UI, despite of the failure of previous attempts in this regard. Keeping that in mind, one wonders is Windows 8 the biggest gamble on part of Microsoft?
Probably it will be and also a dangerous attempt too. This is because of the fact that the previous attempts in this regard have utterly failed to impress the consumers. Most of the PCs consumers have very well adopted the touch screen for tablets and Smartphone but will they welcome the same on PCs is vey much skeptical. Surely, Windows 8 will be a great experience for tablet and Smartphone users but it may very well disappoint the average keyboard and mouse PC user of Microsoft. And since the company is still a leader in the PC industry, it could not afford the decision to backfire in this area of business which will ultimately result in greater loss of its customers.
Moreover, the biggest hurdle in the success of Windows 8 is Windows app Store. Despite the release date of OS so near, the app store is not well developed and have considerably innumerous apps, compared to those present on Apple and Android ecosystem. This has raised serious consideration on the success of Windows 8 which surely has a lot to offer. And if it failed to score high on App store, the other feature might very well go neglected. Currently, both Android and iOS have about 5, 00,000 apps in their respective stores and Windows store lies far behind in the race with 1, 00,000 apps. Although Microsoft is urging developers community to contribute more towards enhancing its ecosystem, few apps have managed to finally made it to App store platform. As the release date approaches near, the danger looms more now than ever before.
Apart from that, there are many positives too that could make the new OS a win-win situation for the Software giant. The Metro interface with tiles is more easily accessible and comparatively faster than Apple’s freeze tiles, even more intuitive. Moreover, the greatest advantage here for Microsoft lies in the fact that it offers integration of cloud storage with social media. Since Microsoft has always been trusted in terms of its services, the cloud service will also make it a priority in the enterprise world ahead of other operating systems.
Besides that it also fits best in the BYOD era of enterprise environment, specifically because of its new enterprise friendly features.
To sum it all, Windows 8 seems pretty much of a both win and lost situation for the Software maker. It may very well position it in the Smartphone and tablet market, ahead of its competitors, despite being a new player in this field. On the contrary, it may lead to its demise in its own PC market –where it still is a leader. So as Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer himself calls Windows 8 ‘their riskiest product bet’ ever, we have to wait and see how it turns out –in its favor or against. For now, the clock has started ticking.
(The article was written for Rasala Publications Group’s Brand, CIOPakistan)