Microsoft Is Completely Missing Consumer Expectations

It's no secret that Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) consumer devices haven't been wildly successful lately. Its Windows Phone platform trails a very distant third to Android and iOS, and its Windows 8 platform has received a lot of criticism, leading the company to bring back the iconic Start button recently.

But additional reports have surfaced this week that Microsoft may revamp the entire Start Menu for the next iteration of Windows. If these rumors come true, it'll prove Microsoft is missing consumer preferences in a dying PC market, which is a bad combination.


Windows 8.1. Source: Microsoft.

Back to Windows basics
Windows recently updated to version 8.1, adding the familiar Start button to the Metro Start screen for PC users. The move was an admission that the company had missed the boat with its revamp of Windows, but it seems the change hasn't quelled user dissatisfaction just yet. A report came out this week that Microsoft may bring back the Start Menu in the next iteration of Windows 8.

The poor consumer and enterprise response to Windows 8 prompted IDC analyst Bob O'Donnell to go so far as to say, "At this point, unfortunately, it seems clear that the Windows 8 launch not only failed to provide a positive boost to the PC market, but appears to have slowed the market." And that was back in April. But whether it was Windows 8 or the overall PC market simply crumbling on its own, Window 8 certainly hasn't helped the industry bounce back.

The problem for Microsoft if it brings back the Start Menu isn't that it made a mistake in the first place, but that it doesn't know how to anticipate users' needs. As one of the dominant software companies in the world, this should be a bit troubling for Microsoft investors. The company is already struggling to make a name with its Windows Phone platform and Surface tablets, so experiencing setbacks with its flagship PC software is just salt in the wound.

Microsoft is in the middle of some monumental changes at the moment -- searching for a new CEO, trying to grow its own tablet devices, purchasing Nokia's devices and services, and trying to get Windows Phone into more hands. The company's focus obviously needs to be on mobile going forward, but setbacks with Windows on PC units hurts the company's consumer reputation and shows original equipment manufacturers that the company may be out of touch with its core demographics.

Investors need to look no further than Windows RT to see how OEMs have distanced themselves from a Microsoft platform that missed consumer expectations. Updating Windows 8 with a Start Menu may ultimately be the right thing for the software platform, but it would still point out the glaring flaw that Microsoft may be losing its ability to connect with users. 

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  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 10:17 PM, Drichter wrote:

    "Microsoft is completely missing consumer expectations"

    "Rumor has it they may do blah blah blah..."

    I see what you did there.

    They aren't out of touch, they just gave people way too much credit (and not nearly enough guidance) in the original launch, and rushed out something that was only mostly finished.

    The key thing fueling windows 8 hate right now is windows 8 hate, and honestly articles like this don't actually help anyone.

    Drop the pointless speculation and maybe write a piece explaining the, what, three or four features people need to know about to completely master windows 8. You'll do a lot more good than you currently are.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 11:03 PM, Anonymous1 wrote:

    How much are you guys paid to keep publishing negative articles on Microsoft. Are you short on MS? I just don't get it. This is the only site that I have seen consistently in the last 12 months that has rubbished everything on Microsoft. It is disgusting to read these articles that are absurd and outright false.

  • Report this Comment On December 13, 2013, at 1:22 AM, Klippenstein wrote:

    "Investors need to look no further than Windows RT to see how OEMs have distanced themselves from a Microsoft platform that missed consumer expectations."

    I bought the original Surface RT and have used it with delight, especially since upgrading to 8.1, now with not only Office Word, Powerpoint, Excel and OneNote, but also Outlook. I absolutely love it with the typing keyboard -- Just bought another two for my children on black Friday.

    With these devices I can do all internet, email communications/social networking stuff PLUS my day to day work which relies additionally on Word and Excel. Outlook is a great and very welcome addition and completes the last remaining gap in the device. Basically I now have a light and inexpensive Tablet AND PC.

    (Granted I can't run just any PC program, but honestly, I only miss Quicken ... but need that at most weekly, often only monthly. For now, I can run this on my old PCs when needed.)

    Compare that to other Tablets beginning with the iPad and you quickly realized how much more you are getting with Surface. If Surface is limited, the iPad is only half as capable (it makes no effort to bring Mac computing into the iPad space). Google only has a tablet, basically a BIG phone on offer. chrome books are NOT selling.

    Microsoft has done the harder, logically thing integrate the touch and desktop interface onto one piece of hardware (since they essentially require the same hardware). You get a 2 for 1 device for 1/2 the cost or less than other comparable options. What's not to like about this? People and businesses that get this, are laughing all the way to the bank!

  • Report this Comment On December 13, 2013, at 1:57 AM, jameskil wrote:

    Really, how much do you get paid to put out this moronic speculation? The marketplace will determine eventual winners and losers, but android and iOS work well with simple apps, but come nowhere near the kind of apps you can develop for RT ... the OS has been out for only a year, give it time. And remember, android and iOS based devices is only a lemming buy. When consumers get over the dumber down functionality, they will be looking for something better.

    Also, ranting about the 8.0 release is sort of old news?

  • Report this Comment On December 13, 2013, at 2:11 AM, youngblood58 wrote:

    I'd like Windows XP back. Windows 8 is a joke. I have it on my relatively new PC and it just doesn't add a lot of value -- something that's consistently been the case with each Windows launch since "Vista".

    For the first time in my career, no one is talking about installing the new Windows at our office. It's not even on the radar -- that's how much people and businesses have moved on from Windows support.

  • Report this Comment On December 13, 2013, at 11:28 AM, CharlesClarke3rd wrote:

    No. They are not. The Surface 2 is jumping off shelves as soon as they get in stock. Surface RT is supplementing the missing stock. Windows Phone is the only platform to grow in market share in both the World and US in the last two consecutive quarters. XBOX ONE IS BLOWING UP THE GAMING INDUSTRY AND DOMINATING SONY. There is quite literally ZERO PRODUCTS MICROSOFT PRODUCES THAT AREN'T RUNAWAY SUCCESSES. MAKING YOUR ARTICLE RIDICULOUS AND OUT OF TOUCH!

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