It’s Official: Windows 8 Is a Design Failure

For all the hubbub over Windows 8's new design, and how it's better suited to the newer generation of interactive touchscreen devices, Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) most loyal customers want a PC they recognize. Windows 8 is a design failure for these users.

How do we know? The good folks at The Register quote data from PC management firm Soluto that says more than half of all Windows 8 users ignore the new start menu in order to preserve old habits. Touchscreen laptop and tablet owners also largely avoid Windows 8's most advanced features. No wonder sales haven't lived up to expectations, says Tim Beyers of Motley Fool Rule Breakers and Motley Fool Supernova.

Mr. Softy's problem is that it hasn't trained users to accept disruptive changes in design and development in the same way that Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) has. Instead, Windows customers expect Microsoft to be stable and predictable. Modernizing -- as Microsoft did with Windows 8 -- means risking alienating big chunk of the installed base, Tim says.

Do you agree? Please watch the video to get Tim's full take, and then let us know how you're using Windows 8.

A hard road for Mr. Softy
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  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2013, at 6:45 PM, Rarshaiz wrote:

    Ill tell you how i use Windows 8... First i take it out and i then toss it in the trash can.

    Then I take out an old reliable friend in Windows 7 and put it on the new computer i just bought.

    Bye bye Windows 8 Hello Windows 7. Simple as that.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2013, at 6:50 PM, NoWindows8LockIn wrote:

    Many of us long-time Windows engineers knew, and told Microsoft repeatedly in 2011 onward, that Windows 8 was utterly ridiculous and would fail. I still have messages that I kept in my Microsoft Outlook from Windows 8 supporters both with and not-with Microsoft, telling us that we were oh-so-wrong.

    Who's wrong now?

    But that was easy. Here is what is next:

    Microsoft pulled the Windows 8 stunt so that they could herd everyone toward Metro so that they could tax all Windows Metro apps 20-30% EACH SALE. This stunt fail, but guess what?

    Microsoft is STILL TRYING.

    After the enormous push-back from the Windows community, Microsoft is still hell-bent on collecting their 20-30% Metro tax, and so they are trying very, very hard right now to not give you what you want, while making it appear that they have given you what you want, for, to give you what you want, would ruin their plans, making them not get what they want (the 20-30% tax).

    So I would make a new declaration, right now.

    Unless Microsoft lets go of the gimmicks, and give the users what they REALLY want...

    ...Windows 8.1 will FAIL.

    We will see at the end of this year who is right and who is wrong. I will keep this post as proof of my calling it first.

    You listening, Microsoft? Your stunt will not work, no matter how you try to twist it.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2013, at 7:29 PM, locsphere wrote:

    I don't use Windows 8... In fact I bought a couple copies of windows 7 for my other future build PC's so I can avoid windows 8 until windows 9 comes out.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2013, at 8:02 PM, mrfine00 wrote:

    100% agreed

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2013, at 8:03 PM, kenkwin wrote:

    I have a new computer with Windows 8, at first I didn't like it at all, until I downloaded a program called "Start 8", which bypasses the app screen, restores your old style start button and takes you straight to your regular desktop. I'm OK with it now, although I still prefer XP to all other Windows so far.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2013, at 8:16 PM, VegasSmitty367 wrote:

    Its official, The writers at the Motley Fool are actually fools!

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2013, at 8:21 PM, yahoouser4529 wrote:

    I disagree. I love windows 8 and been using it for 7 months. There are millions like me who love it. Just because media is critical doesn't mean it's hated by everyone. At least 1 million more users like me exist

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2013, at 8:21 PM, NOTvuffett wrote:

    I have been building my own computers since the 80's. The other day I was ordering some computer junk. I was sorely tempted to buy another copy of win 7 for my next build. I still may.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2013, at 8:42 PM, bsavain wrote:

    I bought a new computer with windows 8, I was lost, frankly I think the problem is that Microsoft expected its users to pick up instantly, however this is a very confusing design and it takes some training to learn it and to make it worse they are pushing these apps, that I am not familiar with. I don't think its bad, but I think they should have a more comprehensive virtual training for windows 8 users. Now I am still learning through Trial And Error.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2013, at 9:12 PM, BillFromNY wrote:

    Couldn't agree more. I wish I had bought a new desktop with Windows 7 on it. As you get older, and it begins to seem like your remaining time is finite, no desire to waste time learning something new that brings about the same result as the old: launching a program.

    And I've been a Microsoftee since DOS 2.0.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2013, at 9:13 PM, mahamilton10 wrote:

    We love Windows 8. It is very easy to navigate, preferably on a touch screen. I am surprised that so many people dislike it.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2013, at 10:15 PM, hairyfeet wrote:

    How can he say "its not a failure" over and over? It caused sales to drop TWICE as hard as everyone predicted, many of the people being stuck with it either hack it with Classic Shell or just have someone wipe the thing and put Win 7 on, any way you slice it its a big fat giant VistaFlop, and so will win 8.1 as its even MORE of the stuff nobody wanted!

    But as far as the "PC is dead" bull the Motley Fool keeps posting from their iPads? lets make one thing clear, PCs from 93-2007? IT WAS A BUBBLE, no different than the Dotbomb or the housing bubble,okay? The MHz war had Intel and AMD leapfrogging each other in speed and taking advantage of a faster single core? Trivial, but all that changed when they switched from raw speed to multicore as programming for multiple cores is anything BUT easy.

    The simple fact is the low end PCs from 2008 were AMD triple cores with 3GB of RAM..how many users are gonna be able to max that out? My netbook is nearly 4 years old and its a dual core with 8GB of RAM..seriously what more would I need when I'm mobile?

    So the PC is NOT going away, its simply returning to the much more sane 6-8 year turnover cycle instead of the every 3 years we saw during the MHz war, that is all. The only thing that might be going away is Microsoft if they don't stop ignoring their customers because that Win 7 system will be good until 2020, plenty of time for Google to fix any shortcomings in Chrome. But I predict both the Xbox One and Win 8.1 will be giant flops, the only question is how many flops can they afford before they listen to their customers again.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2013, at 10:50 PM, terryjfi wrote:

    I work in an electronics store and our sales on Windows 8 computers are ahead of same month sales on Windows 7 from a year ago. If you take the time to understand Windows 8, it is much easier and faster to access your info. The posters on this site, from what I have read, haven't even given it a try to see how easy it truly is. If you don't understand it and don't try it how can you complain?

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2013, at 10:57 PM, Livermint wrote:

    I bought a dell touch screen laptop with windows 8 in February. I don't think I've turned it on more than a half dozen times. It is Impossible to figure out. It is horrible. It is the last windows product I ever buy. I feel bad for dell and other pc makers but I'm done.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2013, at 11:12 PM, smv7519 wrote:

    Windows seven is better I do like parts of 8 but has alot of bugs. Crashes and I have a touch screen just don't use very much. Have a Samsung tab don't use that much. Windows 8 would be all right but it has more problems than any other system that I used.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2013, at 11:24 PM, fiona26 wrote:

    I have been a successful windows user since the first one. I do not replace my computer at the drop of a hat and have been using XP for years. I needed a new computer and it came with windows 8. This was too much of a culture shock. I do not use "apps" or touch screens, the first thing I did was download Classic Shell, I still do not know how to do basic stuff. I have to do control P to print something, and still have not understood how to print a web page. I can sometimes copy it into word but not always. Windows 8 is a huge failure in my book.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2013, at 11:25 PM, 373Anise wrote:

    I was horrified after the installation. I was trapped in all sorts strange windows. If I could have figured out how to uninstall it that very afternoon, I would have, but I could not even find the support to undo it. I finally received a cryptic message from them that I did not understand. I work my way all around it as best I can, but I feel I have lost my computer. I will take the advice and find "Start 8" program. God, I hope it works.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2013, at 11:26 PM, fiona26 wrote:

    I am also done with dell, the printer I had would not work with windows 8 and their only comment was that my printer was too old. They were not providing drivers for the printer for windows 8 and would not provide a refund for all of the ink I just bought for a now useless printer. It was a dell computer with windows 8 by the way.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2013, at 11:34 PM, JoeLemon wrote:

    I love windows 8 on my surface, but don't want it on my desktop. I don't understand why Microsoft didn't make a docking station for it. I don't want a touchscreen 27" monitor. They cost a lot more for a lower quality monitor. Even touch screen laptops are adding $200-$300 to the price.

    I'm also not interested in the all in one that all Windows 8 computers seem to moving toward. I want a computer that 4 years later I can just throw a new video card into and still play the latest games.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2013, at 11:35 PM, noth wrote:

    I found it hard to throw Windows 8 in the trash can as Rarshaiz did. Instead I let Windows 7 Pro reformat my UEFI drive before it installed itself. But that's another story.

    Microsoft is not Apple. That's still a very good thing. Apple does not have anywhere near the user base of MS. Hard as Microsoft tries, they haven't entirely fouled that ratio up. There's one reason for it. Leave aside all the hype and lies about innovation. Microsoft is overwhelmingly preferred by businesses for business computer use. Apple still sells primarily MP3 players and phones and is currently taking a hit on the phones.

    As I see it, Windows 8 has no real business use. Instead it wastes everybody's time.

    Tick tock, tick tock, Mr Balmer. You'd better forget the touch screen mumbo-jumbo and keep your eye on your base ... business, that is. if you keep looking back at Apple, you're gonna lose the race as well as your base.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2013, at 11:58 PM, SuperDaveOsborne wrote:

    Microsoft... too big to fail...;)

    Win XP Pro and loving it. Took forever to get me off Win 2000 Pro. Gladly skipped Vista, Win7 and Win8. When XP finally loses its support on security updates, I will still take my chances until MS comes out with something that actually works as well as XP.

    On a side note... it should tell us something about Balmer, that he reminds you of Obadiah Stane on Iron Man... just another person that took over a successful company for his own self aggrandizement purposes.

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2013, at 12:08 AM, Robnati wrote:

    Problem with Windows 8 is it often takes more steps to do the same thing on Windows 8 than on Windows 7. Those who enjoy the brave new world of extra steps will love it. BTW the thesis that Windows users don't like being disrupted, while Apple users are accustomed to disruption. I doubt that ANY users appreciate having to re-train themselves and their employees to a new system every 24 months. Perhaps Apple's limited historical success in the office environment means re-training was not such a big issue for them.

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2013, at 12:25 AM, 2fools4nun wrote:

    First let me say that I'm not afraid of change, if anything I embrace it if the eventual outcome will benefit me. Windows 8 is not hard to figure out or work with, I was comfortable with it the first day, but after a month of using it, I couldn't escape the fact that I just don't need what it seems to insist that I do, which are multable layers of useless apps. Since that realization I have spent a good deal of time burying what I don't need and bringing forward what I do need. Downloading Classic Shell was a huge help and just a series of tweaks to get it usable for me. Since getting past that, I've discovered that Windows 8 for the most part is a smooth stable OS.

    What I don't understand why MS just won't let it's customers choose the way they want to interact with their computers. If you like the Metro apps start, then use it, if you prefer to start with the desktop choose that. I think if MS had given it's customers options instead of forcing them to use the OS the way MS wanted, Windows 8 could have been far more successful then it's been

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2013, at 12:41 AM, CashorStock wrote:

    I think at this point in time it is easy to forget how poorly initial new concepts are implemented by Microsoft, remember IE…

    I never count Microsoft out, this may very well be their “New Coke” with the recent announcement of some of the details for Window 8.1 due out later this year, one compromise is a partial return of the Win7 Logo ball / start button, only this being more of a favorites horizontal bar, in any event it blends the old and new with other features that will allow people to interact with it more like Win7, if that is enough for the base then the Win8 will just have been a bad Launch and Win8.1 and successors will likely work out.

    I think the biggest issue in this is that MS really nailed it on Win7 and that is a hard act to follow on the PC, but I agree 100% with your conclusion, they need to figure out how to keep their base happy and hit the tablet/touch world. I think you are correct about MS needing to keep the base happy but they also need to cover the tablet market.

    Of course as “failures” got MS stock has gone up about 25% since Win8 launched last October, outperforming the S&P by about 10 points (not suggesting that Win8 was responsible for that, but worth noting I think, this is not like the NetFlix new plan kind of mess, at least not yet.

    One very encouraging sign to me is the speed of this, from Win8 launch, to public concession that Win8 was not being accepted well, to announcing their first shot at an revamp, and not all that lightweight, this will have several new apps to make it more attractive, and a the more familiar start up for those who opt for it.

    It seems to me the biggest impact of Win8 have been on PC makers, so I am wondering if we might not see a nice bump in PC hardware sales with the launch of Win 8.1 and if that might be a good play right now?

    IDC now suggests the PC slump to be more like 8% and not the couple previously thought and they predict tablets to outpace portables for the first time in the next year. That said, I have to be a little suspect of the meaning of those numbers, all tablets count so the low end will make up a lot of that in tablets. That still means a LOT of PC sales, each with a copy of Win8 even if there is no bounce from Win8.1 winning loyalists back.

    I am thinking there is a bunch of folks who have held off on not a lot more than the bad press and their systems are getting a little long in the tooth, time for an upgrade, and if Win7/XP users are turned off by a more tablet style interface I do not see the bulk of them jumping to a tablet to replace their PC, at least not this round, I kind of see more runway for the PC

    So this crowd may well jump to a new PC on Win8.1 both out of necessity and if, a big if, if Win8.1 gets good or even neutral press, corporates go with the flow, not a lot of choice for most, especially in these economic times, so Win8 may be more like Vista only with MS moving a lot faster to try to recover.

    So what do you think about PC makers and that sector in general, specifically from a bump out of Win8.1, and do you see 5 or more years runway with the PC?

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2013, at 1:28 AM, BlackClouds4ming wrote:

    If I wanted to mess with APPS I would use an Iphone! Windows 8 makes me miss Windows 98 second edition! I don't see me using Microsoft again...

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2013, at 2:35 AM, patsaxon wrote:

    I think that Windows 8 is the best from Microsoft as I hate Windows XP and the stupid Start Button. Windows XP is too confusing and I hate it. Everyone needs to stop complaining about Windows 8 and adjust as it is much better than Windows XP. Learn how to use it as it so easy and much better!

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2013, at 4:15 AM, Bleakwise wrote:

    I can't use Win8. It's fine for posting cat pictures on FB or tweeting, aside from basic tasks like that (work, productivity, creative software) it fails miserably. Who in their right mind would fantasize about doing those tasks on a iPhone-like user interface?

    Switching between apps to copy/move information is a huge chore. As long as you're working with 1 window/program it's fine, but they are a hair away from being sued by Google or Apple for stealing how their IOS or Android handles multi-tasking, which is more like duo-tasking as you can only "multitask" two apps at once. This is another complication of doing anything creative or productive in metro.

    I went ahead and paid my 5 dollars for Start8 and used it to disable all the Metro crap; if I wanted an Apple or Android UI i'd have bought an iPad or Droid tablet.

    While I can see how some people would think it's "cool" or "neat", like a new toy... a-lot of people do more than look at porn and troll youtube vids, and Metro's "1 app at a time" design doesn't cut it .

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2013, at 4:21 AM, Bleakwise wrote:

    Also, it's funny how most of the people who like/praise Win8 also say Win XP was a horrible experience, hard, complicated. Humorous really and it says it all about who these people are.

    It's truly a sad thing to see such a fully featured OS being reduced to some child's facebook/youtube posting device.

    They better knock the crap off with windows 9, or don't, I'd laugh my ass off if Apple took the desktop-market lead because MS was too busy trying to make Windows look like an iPad.

    Also, why is it even called "Windows"? Win8 doesn't actually have any "Windows" to speak of, everything is full screen...

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2013, at 4:46 AM, Bleakwise wrote:

    Also. I apologize the the moderators if that came off as edgy. But I get so tired of kids who love Win8 because they grew up using smarphones talking down to professionals who use PCs for productivity because Win8 does in fact get in the way.

    I have to be 100% honest, using Win8, the UI gives me and a lot of people I've talked to an actual headache; it's because we multitask, and Win8 is not friendly towards people who use 4-5 different programs at once.

    It's nothing short of atrocious for these kids who spend 99% of their time on twitter or FB to call long time developers and content creators "newbs" or "too lazy" to learn to use the new UI; the truth is these kiddies are only happy because Facebook is just 1 click away from boot and it makes a noise when someone replies on Twitter.

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2013, at 4:50 AM, yahoouser4529 wrote:

    There is a simple fix to getting the start button back. Just download start menu 8 from iobit and the traditional start menu button is installed. So now there shouldn't be a problem for those who keep complaining of no start button. You may want to publish an article about this because this appears to be the biggest complaint, which has now been resolved fully.

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2013, at 7:43 AM, justausier wrote:

    To me, the very worst thing is that Windows 8 takes the entire OS thing way to seriously. Face it folks, the OS should not "get in your way." The very best kind of operating system should be non-intrusive and completely malleable. It should be there to get you to the desired destination, not become a learning experience in itself. Windows 8 claims it takes less HD space, but in the age of TB drives and solid state technology, what possible difference could that make? It takes away the video player, makes VPN and network set up almost impossible, stands in your way by adding click after click for simple tasks and hides things in corners and pop outs that were usually easily accessible. At it's core, it is a great OS, but by the same token, the OS is just an improved and slimmed down Windows 7 core. If there had been problems with XP and 7, then 8 may have seemed a logical step. If MS had a huge foothold in the tablet or phone market it would have been logical. But they have neither. Forced evolution is not evolution, it is mutation. MS has turned it's back on IT professionals in favor of the "click and swipe" crowd. I have worked with computers a long time, started in Fortran and RPG then COBOL and if I had to, I bet I could still translate a line or two of Assembler. I welcome new technology and advancement, but by the same token, I have to also call Windows 8 what it is, an abomination of the entire idea of what computers were developed for.

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2013, at 8:50 AM, NOTvuffett wrote:

    hey justausier,

    I found it funny that you mention COBOL and Fortran. The first computer language I learned was COBOL. What a horrid language. The first 'big' program I wrote was one that played backgammon. Imagine what a twisted piece of code that was, lol. The next I learned was a Fortran variant called WATFIV.

    I can't imagine how a touch screen would be remotely useful in a desktop system. I am not adverse to change, but change for its own sake seems stupid. Why does MSFT have to sell a 'one size fits all' OS?

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