Not long after the anticipated launch of Windows 8, rumors started flying about the Microsoft product’s lackluster sales. The accompanying Surface RT, a reimagined, desktop-meets-mobile, transforming gadget, created plenty of buzz, but early sales proved disappointing.
So, why is the Surface RT’s hybrid tablet/PC operating system having such a hard time in a marketplace so eager for new mobile technology? Here are four reasons Windows 8 is struggling:
1. It’s difficult to come from behind.
While the Windows Store houses more than 10,000 apps, its offerings pale in comparison to the millions available for earlier versions of Windows – not to mention the more than 700,000 apps available for both Android and iOS.
Microsoft got into the mobile game late, and it’s hard to catch up to competitors who have had such a huge head start. However, without even a Facebook app for Windows 8 yet, Windows 8 isn’t closing this gap like it should be.
2. Prices are too high for an unproven device.
Microsoft seems to have an unrealistic idea of what consumers are willing to pay for a device, especially a new one like the Surface RT that has yet to be “proven” in the marketplace. The Surface RT was released with a starting price of $499 (roughly the same price of the trusted iPad). Even if Microsoft believes its device to be superior, it should use its Surface RT hardware as a loss leader to establish its platform, like Amazon did with its Kindle Fire and Fire HD.
3. User experience is fractured.
While Microsoft believes Windows 8 offers users the best of both worlds – a robust PC OS plus a touch-based UI geared towards mobile – many users are finding this duality confusing and difficult to use. Having options is nice, but the experience needs to be unified.
For example, there are two ways to do almost everything in Windows 8, and that means having to learn things twice just to use the interface. What works in Metro mode many not work in the conventional Windows Explorer desktop, and just finding an application can result in a frustrating game of “Where’s Waldo” in Windows 8.
4. Businesses are wondering, “Why upgrade now?”
The so-called early adoption tax is an unnecessary expense for most small businesses. Why pay more for software that will just go down in price with patience?
Even in the PC-heavy business environment, most small businesses will wait for a hardware upgrade to switch to Windows 8. And, since reviews are mixed on whether the touch PC is a good idea or not, cost-conscious businesses will be especially careful. In other words, it might be a while for Windows 8 to be adopted by the business world, especially since the platform requires most users to change their traditional desktop PC habits.
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