This article is about a friend of mine who, after having lived in the dark for a long time, has finally seen the light and is actively looking to switch to Mac. For the sake of identity purposes, I’ll call him R. R has been using Windows powered machines for a long time, longer than I have known him. He’s used 95 to XP to Vista to 7 to 8. He has long defended Windows and Microsoft in my debates with him on the Windows Vs. Mac debate. According to him, however, it is when he reached the end of that Windows OS chain, Windows 8, is where he realized that enough is enough. He had had it with Windows. The thought of switching came to him after he switched from Windows 7 to Windows 8. Windows 8 is what changed his opinion on Windows and quite frankly Microsoft altogether. When asked why he decided to make the switch, his reply was a simple one. He stated that he did not like the direction Microsoft is heading and he believes going a different direction on the “OS highway” is best.
What exactly is this direction? Why is R not alone in making this switch from Windows 8 to Windows 7 or even, as in R’s case, Mac? The answer lies in the approach that Microsoft took when creating Windows 8. The meshing of two computing OSs from two completely different computing devices, desktops and tablets, that don’t mix is what is driving people away from Microsoft. Many people have complained that Microsoft is heading in the wrong direction when they decided to make their desktop OS, which owns about 90% of the OS market, to an OS that owns 1% of the market, those two operating systems are the traditional Windows that Microsoft has made a fortune from, and the OS in phones and tablets that Microsoft has not made a fortune from, respectively. In essence, Microsoft replaced a 90% market share OS with a 1% market share (now 3.2%) OS. This radical move has angered many consumers since this switch in layout was sudden and not particularly needed. Windows 7 worked pretty good for most users and it didn’t need such a radical update, all it needed were some major fixes in terms of reliability. Windows 8 provided better reliability but it brought something many customers didn’t want–an overhaul. Windows didn’t need to change what worked but they did. They felt their Metro UI would do great on both desktops with mice and tablets with touch, while only particularly catering to touch. The reason people switch back or switch to Mac is because they feel as though they downgraded. They feel as though they would be upgrading when they go back or switch. Home consumers nor corporate consumers like Windows 8. Consumers don’t like it because of the radical change and businesses don’t like it because it looks childish and the older Windows 7 does what they need anyways.
Okay so why don’t Windows 8 users just go back to 7 and stay there? They do, but they can only do that for a certain amount of time. If they continue using Windows 7 for a elongated period of time, eventually Microsoft will make them get a new OS when they discontinue support for the older 7. Applications will slowly start to no longer work with 7, Windows will no longer release important security updates for 7. This has been done to 95 and XP is falling behind as well. Many schools and businesses are now just going to Vista and 7 due to the ever-increasing lack of support for XP. After a while, they will do this with Vista (probably sooner than later) and they will eventually do this with 7. In addition, all new computers you buy will have Windows 8 on it. Windows 7 is becoming more and more difficult to find preexisting on computers you buy since many manufacturers of computers jumped onto Windows 8 without realizing the huge risk behind it.
Unfortunately for consumers, Microsoft appears to be continuing down the wrong path. At least for the next update, Microsoft is continuing the Metro UI for Windows Blue, something so many people have been complaining about. The Microsoft executives also feel that they are heading in a positive direction and have shown no interest in changing direction. Steve Ballmer betted the company on Windows 8 and on the Surface, both of which continue to net close to nothing in market share. Many people on the internet have been making the suggestion that if Ballmer doesn’t change and fast, his career at Microsoft could be over.
Going back to the Surface for a moment. Didn’t Microsoft sell it’s OS to other tablet manufacturers for them to sell tablets? The introduction of the Surface just about left Microsoft to fend for itself in the tablet industry with the tablet manufacturers moving towards Android and not Windows 8. Because Microsoft decided to make it’s own tablet, it decided to alienate it’s corporate allies who were making Windows 8 tablets. Now, these former allies are moving to Android to power their tablets.
Again back to Ballmer. Gates has been a supporter of Ballmer for a long time and continues to support his decisions. Gates is the single largest shareholder so for Ballmer to be ousted, they need Gates’ approval. Due to Gates’ ever-continuing support, Ballmer will remain there. However, Gates is losing team members on this debacle. More and more people want to see Ballmer gone. In fact, some investors are saying he should just quit now to avoid a major battle over it.
Microsoft seems not to be stopping it’s poor direction. In fact, it is even rumored that the next XBox will have a core Windows 8 UI, again pointing Microsoft down towards the wrong path. All current Microsoft products at that point will have some form of Windows 8 on it, phones, tablets, desktops and laptops. These devices should not be sharing the same OS. It just doesn’t work.
Could Windows 8 and the negative direction the company is headed mark the end of the company? Or at least, could it become a major downfall for the company? Only time will tell, but all signs point toward a Microsoft that is driving itself into the ground. They have not innovated in the least bit, ever. The overall PC industry is on the decline. That is, all but Apple, whose Mac sales have flatlined in the past year or so, they continue to post about four million Macs sold a quarter. The Microsoft tablet, Surface, alienates their partners and it has not provided Microsoft any significant growth. Windows Phones continue not to sell and the OS limited to only a few percent marketshare. Windows 8 is starting a downward spiral for the company in it’s sales. It’s market share is lower than that of Vista. Vista remains at 4.9%, Windows 8 at 3.8%. Many people have made a good choice, realizing that they should not switch. Even then, those that do, want to leave. The problem with a low adoption rate on Microsoft’s products, not just 8 on desktops and laptops but also on tablets, phones and media players (whose life has already ended) is that money will become less abundant for Microsoft, it’s income is decreasing and will continue to decrease. If Microsoft can’t get people to switch to their products, they will have a serious problem especially if they continue down the unsuccessful path. Eventually, they will become how Apple became in the 90s if they are not careful and if they do not fire Ballmer. An accurate yet funny indicator of what is to come for Microsoft can best be seen at the introduction of the Surface. During the introduction, the product failed to work and they had to grab a backup Surface. It’s almost as though God was telling them, you’re seriously going down the wrong path. This is a mistake. Apparently, it actually was. Microsoft, if you want to survive, seriously consider your CEO and your direction, do you really want this leader pointing you to the path of self-destruction?
R and others like him, best of luck to you and your switch to Mac. You will find it much better here than there.
Thanks for reading,