Is Windows 8 Microsoft's Biggest Failure Ever?

Is Microsoft a good tech investment? In this video, Andrew Tonner gives a few reasons he'd steer clear:

  • The PC market is shrinking, and Microsoft hasn't adapted well to mobile technology.
  • Windows 8 is a dud.
  • The company had to write off $6 billion for an acquisition that went bad, the latest in a string of failed acquisitions.

Although Microsoft pays a nice dividend for a tech company, Andrew argues that it hasn't returned much else to investors for the past 10 years, and it doesn't appear poised to adapt to a changing future. 

Check out the video for more details.

It's been a frustrating path for Microsoft investors, who've watched the company fail to capitalize on the incredible growth in mobile over the past decade. However, with the release of its own tablet, along with the widely anticipated Windows 8 operating system, the company is looking to make a splash in this booming market. In this brand-new premium report on Microsoft, our analyst explains that while the opportunity is huge, the challenges are many. He's also providing regular updates as key events occur, so make sure to claim a copy of this report now by clicking here.


Read/Post Comments (40) | Recommend This Article (9)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2013, at 5:42 PM, Petronilus wrote:

    I started using Windows 8 when it was still just a test version not commercially available last year. It took me minutes before I realized the UX is just not suitable for my PC not having a touch screen. And even I had a PC with touch screen, why would I like to touch the screen when I have a great keyboard and well working multi-touchpad in the right position?

    I installed a start menu app making it more closer to previous Windows versions. But, what use case am I missing out on using a PC without touch screen? Frankly Windows 8 has made me an Apple and MacOS fan!

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2013, at 5:46 PM, fwe43 wrote:

    And yet there are several articles on "the fool" proclaiming how Win 8 tablet sales aren't actually as dire as people make them out to be. And today an article released on how Bing searches are up by a relatively good amount ... probably because of Win 8. Microsoft actually came out with a huge game changing device. Maybe they underestimated how ridiculously unwilling their consumer base was to change. Or maybe it's just a confluence of negative things an bad timing that are laying the blame on Win 8 for the lack of PC sales. But the negativity regarding Windows 8 is massively overblown. I know several people who use it and they all don't get what the big fuss was about. It's like a manufactured story here.

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2013, at 6:04 PM, webguy76 wrote:

    I've never heard of the Motley Fool before. Why are you so biased towards Apple? The PC is not going anywhere, and it is not "cool" to like Apple anymore. Give me a break.

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2013, at 6:14 PM, fwe43 wrote:

    @Petronilus, your story sounds contrived or at least doesn't make sense. I also don't buy this story of everyone being like "why would I want to touch the screen" stuff. Many people still use a keyboard, trackpad or mouse, even with an ipad or any kind of tablet. What's wrong with having the option to swipe the screen when you can still use a trackpad. A laptop is usually about the same distance that a tablet is. It would be little more physically demanding. All of these rants against Win 8 just don't add up to me, at all. In fact I would bet $10,000 that Apple will eventually release touchscreen macbooks and all you people will suddenly have an epiphany and claim it's the greatest thing ever.

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2013, at 6:43 PM, Cyclopszqm1 wrote:

    windows 8 is a fail because they tried to make it work like a phone when i get on my computer i want to go to the desktop with my start button lol if i want my phone i will pick up my phone by the way more blue screens than win95 or i have ever seen in my life very happy using my win7 64bit ult ed again never fails me put windows 8 in the trash thats all its good for

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2013, at 6:56 PM, dclaudew wrote:

    The only reason I went to Win8 was my XP Pentium4 died. Companies like Intuit told me their old XP products would not work on the new Win8, and that I should upgrade to the latest QB Premier. In fact, Win8 has turned out to be a great, stable operating system. I like it. All my CD-installed programs, like QB Premier 2009, work as well on Win8 as on XP. Downloaded programs, like Thomson Reuter's CheckPoint, do not work well with the newest browsers, but this has always been the case that downloaded programs are frequently optimized for older browsers. In fact, I like Win8 so much on my i7 Lenovo K-430 desktop that I will soon upgrade to Win8Pro and replace my 17" monitor with a non-touch widescreen (in order to see all my installed programs in Win8's tiled version of Control Panel). There is nothing you can do on Win 1 to Win 7 that you can't do better, faster, and prettier on Win 8 (I've only owned Win 3, 4, 5, & 8).

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2013, at 6:57 PM, fwe43 wrote:

    LOL you miss the start button? All of the functionality is still there just in a different area now. I could in WIn 8 search for files, programs anything faster than you can in Win 7. Way more blue screens? LOL Yeah ok. This is ridiculous.

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2013, at 7:05 PM, WinfordDJr wrote:

    Who the hell you think you are! there will always be a desk top computer or laptop maybe with different software. The world of gaming will be forever!

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2013, at 7:11 PM, Truthmist2 wrote:

    worst operating system ever is clearly windows ME.

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2013, at 7:12 PM, caro2008 wrote:

    I know nothing about Windows 8, but I am so tired of clicking on stories from the Fool that are really advertisements to buy something or read something else. Is it impossible to actually write an entire article? I highly doubt Microsoft is going under.

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2013, at 7:20 PM, shakazullo wrote:

    I went the other day to buy a new computer but after the poor demonstration and how certain things can not be downloaded into your computer I said no thanks I will get my older one fixed

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2013, at 7:24 PM, Hollowcreek wrote:

    If the PC is soon to be "obsolete" , were exactly are all these mobile apps going to be writen? On a Tablet? Doubt it. On some cloud based compiler? Not likely.

    Windows 7 and 8 are both just designed to be revenue generators for Microsoft and its hardware and software partners. Neither has or will work well in the business application software where consistency and the ability to move seamlesly from one OS to another is prized. There is tons of code out there still runing on DOS, Linux and NT/XP based machines out there that people have no intention of changing. IMHO, Windows last "winner" was XP and they should have preserved that platform for the business community and left all the Apple wannabe features of Vista, 7 and 8 to the home market.

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2013, at 7:31 PM, FloridaJo wrote:

    The guy hits the hammer on the head. As for the commenter about Apple not being cool, you wish. They still make the best products, even as Samsung is starting to become a threat.

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2013, at 7:35 PM, prs714 wrote:

    I've been saying this for a long time now. The only thing keeping Microsoft afloat is XP still being used in larger corporations, such as hospitals, law firms, state and city govt buildings, even schools are retaining XP to keep track of their large personal/personnel files.

    Microsoft will lose them soon enough when they desperately need to "upgrade" as to keep the utmost security protection of these files w/ XP becoming more and more vulnerable.

    Lots of these companies tried to upgrade to Vista when it came out and many reverted back to PC. Windows 7 may have picked up a few, but, that hesitation has Apple on the rise, and Apple's mobile market is creaming Microsoft, and it won't be too long when the corporations turn to an alternative to provide them w/ security needs.

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2013, at 7:43 PM, prs714 wrote:

    Correction: I meant to say XP but accidentally typed PC in my above comment.

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2013, at 7:47 PM, johnnyrocku wrote:

    I regretfully bought a Dell laptop with Windows 8 last Christmas. I am a software professional, and I've used many operating systems for over three decades. My opinion is that Windows 8 is the worst operating system of all time. It seems to go out of its way to prevent productivity. The Metro interface is just pathetic. Totally non-intuitive. How this poor of a product got through quality control is beyond me. Personally, I think they should recall Windows 8, or offer free downgrades to Windows 7. MS shot themselves in the foot by making Windows 8 so radically different from past versions. Most companies simply will not do a product refresh from earlier versions to Windows 8. Come on MS, is this the best that you can do??? Sheesh.

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2013, at 8:12 PM, GrimCW wrote:

    Sry but the PC market isn't in decline by a long shot. I get a kick out of how often that is said without any sort of backing information.

    Most are just taking second hand, or home/custom built systems that last longer than off the shelf trash like Dell and HP sell.

    Most homes i've ever been to have had at LEAST 2 or more systems (even my grandparents).

    As to windows 8.. of course its a failure. It was a Beta for the next one, much like Vista was to 7, and ME was to XP. MS needs to stop this beta for sale stuff and get to the real deal.

    It was also clearly NOT designed for PC's, it was designed for tablets and other touch screen devices.

    The intent is clear that MS wants to diminish the free PC market and lock it down much like how Apple does with their Macintosh series of computers.

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2013, at 8:14 PM, Vote1008 wrote:

    I can honestly say that I've been around since the days when the only game around was pretty much the Apple II. Then the Mac with the very first consumer mouse all on a monochrome screen. Then the IBM PC of course running on DOS. Microsoft provided the DOS (Disk Operating System) for IBM and Microsoft made huge amounts of money especially when the IBM clone computers became available. Then Microsoft realized from looking at the Mac with the mouse that a the GUI (Graphical User Interface) with those icons was the way that people wanted to go and they used that paradigm of the windows which upset Apple and they went to court. Well Apple lost. MS won and they went on to make billions on their crappy OSs. (Operating Systems) Windows 3.1 was probably the most stable of the Windows OSs. XP was good but 95 was horrible what with the Blue Screen Of Death constantly popping up. Vista was a major dog and Enterprise businesses hung onto XP until 7 finally came out. And now MS gives us 8. And what a disappointment. Now Apple has the upper hand and MS is in trouble. Back in the day when they brought Jobs back to Apple it was MS who injected financing to save Apple from dying. Now it's Apple's turn to save MS from going the way of the dinosaur. A merger between or just a partnership between these two very rich and huge companies could definitely take down the competition i.e. Samsung and Google's Android. It's become a very global world what with the mobile products becoming the norm. PC sales are going down the toilet so MS needs Apple so show them how it's done AND maybe MS can come up with some innovations that both MS AND Apple can introduce in their products thereby taking those Koreans down (Samsung) If Sony was smart they'd join the MS/Apple partnership because the Japanese have some of the best engineers in the world. If MS, Apple and Sony teamed up they'd destroy Samsung. Sony makes some nice products and great quality.

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2013, at 8:31 PM, frusterated wrote:

    My husband (-: bought me a new computer for christmas without my input because it was a surprise. Well I have to say this is the worst version(8) that I have ever used and I am very unsatisfied with it. I really wish I had an older version. This one is so hard to use. I hate having to change between pages to view full size pictures. And not being able to go to next pic when your on one pic is very frustrating. When I go on the internet it always clicks off so I have to go and reconnect. Everytime!!!! So just trying to use it has made me want to throw it out the window.

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2013, at 8:37 PM, profdev wrote:

    1. If you do not have touchscreen - do not buy Windows 8, don't be "me too" who get every new thing after it came out. I have 3 year old iMac, I did not upgrade it. why? it works just fine.

    2. If you have GOOD touch screen ultra book, preferably convertible to tablet, get it (actually it may already have it). This is totally new experience. It is easy to learn (took my 11 and 8 year old less than a day)

    3. Will it be mainstream? Not in the next 2-3 years. But Windows 7 is still there... Think about Windows 8 as iOS. What market share it has? 7-8%? Guess work, I almost certain that Windows 8 will beat this.

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2013, at 9:08 PM, RobertLB1 wrote:

    Microsoft thinks the future is in handhelds that can go anywhere with you, and provide you with a mobile connection to your PC. They forget that we don't want to be a slave to our computer. My mobile phone connects to the internet, and I have never used it once. We want a super fast OS at a reasonable cost, but Windows gets slower and slower.

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2013, at 9:11 PM, eidsonb wrote:

    And for some reason Nokia thinks that WP8 is the way to the future....as big as a dog...

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2013, at 9:20 PM, youarekidding wrote:

    Someday in the not to distant future, MS will finally be a dreaded thing of the past. Dinosaur, repeat, dinosaur..... Zero innovation, as exciting as a bank.

    Did they REALLY pay someone for those windows 8 TV ads??? I think possibly drugs and banks were involved....

    That ship is finally sinking!

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2013, at 9:26 PM, geno4963 wrote:

    I had to replace our Dell/ POS Vista laptop last December and I am so glad I didn't get MS 8. From what I read, it's your usual MS crap. I work overseas and tablets aren't set up for business so you need a laptop. I got an inexpensive Inspiron with 7 that works just fine (MS finally produced an OS that wasn't a POS). The Dells work fine though. I always got my daughters old Dell hand me ups and I don't understand why people don't like Dells. It's the software that matters.

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2013, at 9:59 PM, yahoouser4529 wrote:

    Firstly this site needs to link in with yahoo and gmail so that signing in is easier. you cannot expect people to have different account for each site. Ironic that a site which emphasizes on technology articles fails to do that. Secondly I use windows 8 and I am very satisfied. The media has been on a campaign to bash win 8, but sales figures report that over 60 million copies of win 8 have already been sold since launch. Does this author ever get the meaning of "desktop mode" in the main win 8 interface. Just click that and its desktop. Just clike IE icon and the browser opens. As for searching files, just point the mouse cursor to lower right corner of screen and click settings icon. Control panel icon will pop up. It is not difficult. In few days a person becomes proficient. The media journalists it appears are not even willing to try. Win 8 is here to stay and won't change. So get used to it by learning it, or continue using 7. Its your choice.

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2013, at 10:44 PM, GlennThigpen wrote:

    The PC is not dead, nor will it become a dinosaur in the near. There just are so many things that a person cannot do as productively with a tablet or smartphone.

    Windows 8 may be a dud compared with some of MS's other offerings, but it will come out with Windows 9, and MSwill probably learn a bit from its mistakes and offer something more in keeping with what desktop users would like.

    MS has a huge advantage in installed systems and office applications. It will take a huge bit of mismanagement and arogance for them to fade into irrelevance. However, it seems that the days that they can tell consumers what they want rather than trying to find out what consumers want may well be numbered.

    Glenn

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2013, at 10:47 PM, bugmenot wrote:

    The retraining costs alone would stop all big companies from moving to Windows 8! Some of their most productive people would drop to the bottom when trying to move to the touch screen model. Now add in applications -which are Win8 like or not Win8 like. How do you train people on the combination. It is like retraining football players to play soccer. The offensive and defensive lines would never even make the team.

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2013, at 10:57 PM, uncoveror wrote:

    Steve Ballmer couldn't manage his way out of a wet paper bag. Sell, sell, sell!

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2013, at 11:41 PM, eric0668 wrote:

    For someone who doesn't have a firm enough opinion, yet just bought a wonderful all in one Samsung Touchscreen, yet worries a lot. Is this guy right. Did I make a mistake

    I just don't understand. I am young, but disabled. Dont go out a lot because I don't have a lot of money to and I don't take a computer a lot of places...so one in my room is perfect. So what is this guy saying, I should have bought a smaller, much smaller laptop to just sit there, or a tablet to sit on the desk next to my 5" phone?

    Anyone who could make me feel at ease would be appreciated Feel free to email me here or at my email

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 12:49 AM, Commonsense1m wrote:

    Microsoft shouldn't change the UI for PCs and laptops to follow the phones or tablets UI.

    They should change it back to the normal UI before more people get frustrated and by then it's too late...

    It's simply too naive to assume most people will like it....

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 1:52 AM, teral wrote:

    Windows 8 is the biggest fail ever?

    So the story goes as follows.

    People hate win8.

    People are switching to apple and Linux.

    Windows 8 usage nose dive.

    Mac are gaining market share.

    Linux have a sudden spike in usage.

    Right?

    Well in global stat counter, for the April month usage of operating system worldwide, windows 8 just surpassed iOS as the fifth operating system in the world.

    And by mid year probably surpass windows vista and mac for the third place.

    So yeah is a failure.

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 2:49 AM, roll0188 wrote:

    The fool and dud is the writer of this article. There is nothing wrong with Windows 8. It does everything just like Windows 7 when you learn how to use it, and that is a 5-10 minute process. Doesn't anyone read the tutorials or help menus? Or one or two short articles that point out the similarities and differences, and how to navigate in Win 8. Posters constantly bashing Win 8 reveal their stupidity or laziness, especially tech people. They are embarrassing to the IT community. Win 8 will prevail. Tablets will survive and be the preferred consumer device, not business device. Business will remain on the PC or an Ultrabook for the majority of their devices. Losers threaten to go Unix/Linux or Apple. That is a dumb move.

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 2:54 AM, Robert97501 wrote:

    Someday Microsoft will realize that most people don't want new interfaces and 'bells and shistles'. I think it's safe to say, most want a more stable and faster OS. I was happy with W95 as a simple GUI. A few minor changes like more options, are OK, but why do I have to completely reeducate myself every two or three years.

    I got pretty proficient with W98 then had to take the time to learn XP... by the time I got proficient with that, I started all over with Win 7.

    Windows Internet Explorer (Exploder) is horrible. Correct the problems! Don't force new garbage on us!

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 2:59 AM, raventepes wrote:

    I've used various OS' on Macs. I've used every version of Windows since 98 SE. I've used a wide variety of Linux OS' (Personally, Ubuntu is so far my favourite of Linux).

    I'll admit that Windows 8 has a learning curve. Things have changed and have been moved around. I get that. People don't like change. But I have to be honest here. I WISH this would have been the next version after XP. It's easily the lightest (size-wise) of Windows OS' in a long time. I have yet to see it crash, and therefore one of the most stable operating systems I've used. The start screen makes a bit more sense than the traditional menu (in my honest opinion). Everything's still there. It just needs to be found. Don't like the start screen and want your menu back? Go get a third party download for it. They exist! I'll admit it. I downloaded a few of them shortly after I bought my Windows 8 machine. Within 2 weeks, I decided I liked the screen better. Everything was easier to find at a glance.

    Yes. I like Windows 8. Do I think it was a smart move on Microsoft's part? Maybe not. Time will tell. Do I think it's one of the most solid operating systems that have graced the market? You bet!

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 4:19 AM, Petronilus wrote:

    @fwe43 There is nothing wrong with having the option of using the screen for touch operation on a PC of course. However, the incremental value is quite minimal for most use cases on a PC/laptop. Thus adding touch is great only when it doesn't negatively impact the primary patterns of use on a PC. Perhaps it's somewhat an illusion to think that a touch screen optimized user interface won't affect traditional touch pad and mouse operation negatively. I'm sure Apple will include touch screen operation to Mac OS also, but it will be wise not to compromise the UX qualities they already have with their well working and ergonomically better placed multi-touchpad.

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 5:50 AM, justausier wrote:

    For some reason, the logic of the layout of Windows 8 baffles me. No, I'm not talking about navigating within it, that is cumbersome and illogical to say the least, but not impossible. What I cannot figure out is why, when MS has (here I take a few liberties, but the exact percentages make no difference) 3% of the world wide phone OS market and 4% of the world wide tablet market and 90% of the PC/Laptop market , why in the name of good sense do you make the Modern UI the primary start screen for 90% of your business when they will NEVER use it? I would be willing to bet that if MS did a 180 degree turn, and put Windows 8 out with the Desktop as the initial screen and the Modern UI as the "one click and you're there" screen, Windows 8 would suddenly become a hit. But, alas, it seems from the leaked previews of the newer versions that the desktop is on the way to being totally eliminated from all Microsoft systems. Oh well, what's that old saying about wish in one hand.....

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 9:26 AM, TPuschka wrote:

    Haven't tried Windows 8 yet, but I'll eventually have to deal with it at work. I've used various Linux distributions on my home computers since 2000 and never looked back. I'd be out of some serious $$$$$ if I had to purchase all the software that I use for free on my Linux boxes, and I've also learned a LOT about computers and operating systems since switching to Linux back in the day.

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 10:04 AM, hump8389 wrote:

    I have only put maybe 50 hours or random time on Windows 8, but I just seems rather worthless for a desktop pc. Yeah its great you can seemlessly connect all of your devices, but I do not see why I would spend so much on an operating system just for that. The fact that Windows 8 is still only able to boot to Metro is crazy. It should have been native to switch to which u prefer. Without Metro, Windows 8 wasn't much different than Windows 7. How can you expect people to go out and spend $120 for next to nothing? Microsoft is struggling because they are lacking in innovations. With their continued failure in the mobile market, one has to wonder just what will happen to Microsoft. The only market they control is business software. Sure pc's will continue to be around, but they will not be as prevalent as what they once were. So where is Microsoft going to make money at?

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 11:14 AM, fwe43 wrote:

    @johnnyrocku - You saidf Win 8 is the most "non-intutive" OS ever. - - - Seriously? It was hands down the easiest to use OS I've ever used. 10X easier than android. iOS is ok but still think Win 8 is easier and more fluid to use. I don't get all of the complaints either. Most of them aren't a complaint if people would simply experiment to see what happens when they click, swipe etc. Or just watch the tutorial videos about how it works if you can't figure something out. It blows my mind. It's so easy to use but nobody is willing to even try to use it.

  • Report this Comment On April 18, 2013, at 5:16 AM, Petronilus wrote:

    @fwe43, comparing Windows 8 against Android and iOS is relevant only when used in the context of tablets and smart phones.

    Windows 8 is an OS trying to cover every device and using it on a PC for most common PC tasks is like using a Swiss army pocket knife to cut a steak.

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