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Microsoft Corporation (MSFT)’s Windows 8: Three Ways It Can Be Saved

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By now you should’ve heard that PC sales haven’t exactly been booming. In the first quarter, IDC estimated that PC shipments fell 13.9% year over year, marking the worst quarterly decline ever for the PC industry. Between tablets that are cannibalizing the low-end notebook and the lackluster reaction to Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)‘s Windows 8, it’s not surprising to hear that the PC has seen better days. Despite Microsoft’s efforts to expand its reach in mobile, the health of the PC industry remains central to the company’s overall profitability and growth prospects.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)

With Windows 8, Microsoft attempted to reorient the PC experience to embrace an increasingly mobile and touch-friendly world. However, the sales pace of Windows 8 hasn’t exactly been stellar. Thus far, Windows 8 is shaping up to be one of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s biggest flops, surpassing Windows Vista in the process. In other words, Microsoft needs to find a way to reverse the trend and get users to wholeheartedly embrace the modernized Windows experience.

Here’s how Microsoft could prevent Windows 8 from being an epic failure.

Kill Windows RT
Windows RT has been a nightmare since the beginning. It has utterly confused consumers since there are inherent differences between the full version of Windows 8 and Windows RT. For one, Windows RT devices are powered by ARM Holdings plc (ADR) (NASDAQ:ARMH) designs, which to the consumer means that legacy Windows applications are not compatible. However, devices powered by ARM Holdings plc (ADR) (NASDAQ:ARMH) offer the promise of smaller form factors and improved battery life over Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) -powered designs.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has done a poor job relaying these and other subtleties between Windows 8 and Windows RT to consumers. The Verge investigated the topic and found that Microsoft failed to properly educate its employees, which naturally damaged consumer perceptions about the product. As a result of this confusion, Samsung decided not to launch any Windows RT devices in the U.S. and stopped RT sales in Germany. Acer has delayed introducing any Windows RT devices in the U.S. until it had a better sense of how Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) Surface RT sales fared. When major OEM partners don’t even want to embrace Windows RT, how can Microsoft really make it a success story?

If only Microsoft would have just stuck with Intel’s x86 architecture the whole time …

Introduce a $200 Windows 8 tablet
Not only would a $200 Windows 8-powered tablet do wonders for Microsoft’s mobile prospects, but it would also probably give Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) a run for their money in the tablet space. Both Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s tablet experience lack the level of productivity that that would be possible on a Windows 8 tablet powered by Intel’s upcoming Bay Trail processor. With a few added peripherals, such a device could become an impromptu, yet highly capable, PC in a pinch.

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