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3 Reasons Why Windows 8 Needs to Succeed

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The latest data from Net Applications shows Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) Window 8 platform now takes up 5.1% of desktop market share worldwide. But at a time of plummeting PC sales, does the growth of Windows 8 even matter for the Redmond company?

You're darn right it does.

First off, the PC isn't dead -- at least not yet. Gartner just released data showing that global PC shipments are going to decline by 10.6% this year, while the company expects tablet shipments to increase by 68%. Yes, PCs as we know them are on the way out, but many industries and employers still depend on PCs to get their work done -- and some things a tablet just isn't as good for yet.

Microsoft's Windows 8 platform is key to holding on to consumers who still need a robust platform to do their work. The research vice president at Gartner recently told ComputerWorld that "Microsoft remains relevant thanks to enterprise and professional users." The challenge for Microsoft is for Windows 8 to outpace its other Windows versions. As it stands right now, Windows 7 takes 44.37% and XP still holds 37.17% of desktop operating systems. For Windows to stay relevant, Microsoft needs its latest OS to tackle its older versions.

The other side to this is that Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) is gaining ground on Microsoft, and by 2015 Gartner expects devices running Apple's operating systems -- mobile and desktop -- to outnumber the number of devices running Windows. Apple obviously beats Microsoft in the consumer mobile space, but its important for Microsoft to try and defend its territory against Apple's encroachment. Microsoft is already lagging on the mobile side and its desktop software is one of the only places it still dominates.

But Microsoft isn't just fighting old enemies in the desktop business -- Android is starting to move further into the PC space as well. Just the other week HP announced the all-in-one Android PC, called the HP Slate. As the lines begin to blur between desktop and mobile, Windows 8 needs to show it has the best of both worlds.

The last reason Microsoft needs to see Windows 8 gain traction is because the OS is the new face of the company. Microsoft needs to show consumers that it can at least get the desktop version of its software right before it expects people to buy its mobile products. The recent beta release of Windows 8.1 is an admission that Microsoft missed the mark on its initial release.

Hopefully Microsoft has made enough changes in 8.1 that will please current customers, but for those that were disappointed, it could not only hurt the company's desktop reputation, but its mobile one, too.

The world revolves around mobile
Unfortunately, I think Microsoft missed its opportunity to impress consumers -- and investors -- with Windows 8, and I think it could hurt the company's mobile sales because of it. Desktops and mobile OSes are becoming increasingly intertwined, and so far Microsoft has shown that it can't release a spectacular version of either one.

Investors need to see continued improvements to Windows 8 that not only satisfy die-hard users, but impress potential ones as well. As mobile and desktop OSes continue to morph into one, Microsoft needs to get its software right to so it can keep pace with mobile dominators.

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Read/Post Comments (6) | Recommend This Article (2)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On July 02, 2013, at 8:24 PM, locsphere wrote:

    None of these things like tablets and laptops push the envelope at all.

    I can't increase their longevity, by upgrading the video card, cpu, Motherboard, Power supply, etc.

    All these new gadgets come with limited storage because they want to push the cloud... Great... A service that looks at all my data (NSA) and requires me to pay a fee if I want to store a lot of things. Where are the 1tb tablets? Where are the 4ghz tablets? 3gb-6gb video cards. No where!

    The PC holds those things. Everyone says who wants to pay for that? Well I do! I can get these machines and increase their longevity. I still have a quad core 3.7ghz macine I over clocked to 4 ghz and a 2 gb video card. Their age is about 6 to 7 years old and counting. Thanks to the lack of tech pushes the pc longevity is now 10- 15 years.

    The old saying any PC over 5 years is outdated and anything over 10 is completely obsolete is not the case.

  • Report this Comment On July 02, 2013, at 8:34 PM, BigFED wrote:

    Too late! From what I can tell, Windows 8 time of death was less than a month after it was introduced! But, of course, it was doomed even before it was released! The developers overlooked some critical issues that those intended customers just weren't ready for such as touch screen desk tops. Not nearly as interactive friendly as imagined nor as ergonometric comfortable to use as a notebook/pad.

  • Report this Comment On July 02, 2013, at 8:50 PM, melegross wrote:

    Icosphere, you miss the point. These devices are just fine. You aren't going to upgrade the CPU in any computer these days. As most desktops now are all-in-one's, thanks to Apple, people aren't going to upgrade much of anything other than RAM.

    There's just no real need to do so. Most computer users have more computer than they need already. And tablets evolve very quickly, unlike PCs which move perhaps 15% a year. But the newest iPad is 100% faster than the one a year before, and that pace is normal.

    Besides, apps for ARM based OS's need far less computer resources than do x86 based OS's. so the difference in computing power is less than it may look to you.

  • Report this Comment On July 02, 2013, at 9:58 PM, JoeLemon wrote:

    If the desktop and mobile do merge then what Microsoft did with windows 8 was correct. The problem with Windows 8 is people don't want a mobile on a desktop. They aren't merging. There is a use for a desktop and a use for a tablet. Tablets are more for entertainment and PCs are more for working.

  • Report this Comment On July 02, 2013, at 10:15 PM, Henry3Dogg wrote:

    "Microsoft's Windows 8 platform is key to holding on to consumers who still need a robust platform to do their work."

    Robust platform? Are we talking about the same Microsoft?

    And while it was necessary for Microsoft to address mobile with Windows 8, that didn't mean that they had to do it so BADLY.

    An upgrade is meant to improve your life. Not make it worse.

  • Report this Comment On July 03, 2013, at 5:26 PM, darndreams wrote:


    "The latest data from Net Applications...etc. "

    * plummeting PC (Personal Computers)? lets see...i had an iPhone first version (personal computer), WP7.5 (personal computer), Dell Desktop T74000 (personal computer), etc..personal computers..once had a computer/calculator watch (personal computer).

    "First off, the PC isn't dead -- etc."

    *enough said...personal computers are not dead..just changing from SHITY HARDWARE & something......Steve Jobs like.

    "Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)'s Windows 8 platform is key to etc"

    * yes...key. the challenge? TIME....wait for people to a Microsoft system that is already "integrated" through phone, laptop, desktop, tablet, watch, XBOX....yes, key.

    "The other side to this is that Apple Inc. etc."

    Apple band wagon again?...lets see? You can't replace the Beatles, Elvis, Hank Williams Sr, etc...bless his soul, but Steve Jobs is dead.

    "But Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) isn't just fighting old enemies etc."

    *ugh....patents..chaching! Pay Softy....and another thing! What is up with this fragmentation in an OS environment?...what gives!

    "The last reason Microsoft needs to see Windows 8 gain traction is etc."

    *for people to buy a desktop, or laptop, or phone, or tablet, or XBOX...and guess what? They just bought an 8 OS mobile product. The recent beta release of Windows 8.1 shows...oh oh...'rapid development'...DAMN I HATE BUZZ WORDS.

    "Hopefully Microsoft has made enough changes in 8.1 that will please current customers, etc."

    *uuuuuuhhhhhh...ok.....'rapid development'...ugh.

    "The world revolves around mobile

    Unfortunately, etc"

    *Microsoft created a cloud based infrastructure that allows them to 'quickly develop' enhancements to their OS, dependent on customers needs. WOW! Theirs a concept. Give customers what they ask for...

    "Investors need to see continued improvements to Windows 8 etc."

    *investors need to understand 'technology' and understand that Softy really doesn't care about investors....more about...inventions.

    Microsoft ....long. Merry Christmas.

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