Microsoft: “We’re Just Getting Started” With Windows 8


Don’t believe all the naysayers claiming that Windows 8 is struggling to win over consumers – the new operating system is doing just fine, according to Microsoft.

We’ve heard this line before, with Microsoft ever quick to point out that sales of Windows 8 have matched those of its predecessor, Windows 7. But yesterday the software company’s chief marketing officer Tami Reller expanded on its belief that Windows 8 has been a success during an enlightening Q&A post on the official Windows blog.

As expected, Reller’s answers were all carefully crafted to shine the company in a positive light, but it’s worth reading between the lines a little and adding some context to see how solid Microsoft’s claims that everything is A-okay really are.

When asked about how receptive consumers have been to Windows 8 touch devices so far, Reller points out that the company is working hard with its partners to make sure that their products meet consumer expectations, and insists that progress has been made:

“Partners are working hard to bring stunning innovation to market across a broad spectrum of tablets, convertibles, touch laptops & Ultrabooks, and all-in-one PCs. Watch for some great new products on shelf this spring!” says Reller.

What Reller fails to mention is that the initial wave of Windows 8 devices have had a decidedly lukewarm reception at best, with many devices suffering from that ‘first-generation’ syndrome. Fortunately, as we saw at CES, the second-generation of devices is already on its way, and devices like Lenovo’s new Helix hybrid computer and Microsoft’s Surface Pro will almost certainly iron out any problems with the earlier batch.

Moving onto the rather thorny subject of apps, Reller ignores the fact that there just aren’t that many of them around, pointing out that what little there is available has been warmly received. According to Reller, the Windows Store has already seen more than 100 million app downloads, while the number of people visiting the app store has grown exponentially over the last two months.

However, Reller failed to address the bigger issue – whether or not consumers could expect to see ‘big name’ apps in the Windows Store any time soon. She failed to mention Twitter even, which has previously promised an app, and her optimistic comments largely fail to reassure:

“The way we look at apps is important – we want to make sure customers have the apps they want and use most frequently and we feel good about our trajectory for adding even more high demand apps in the Store,” claims Reller.

Lastly, Reller addressed some of the drastic changes seen in Windows 8, which have come in for criticism from some quarters. According to Reller, Windows 8 was “the most tested Windows release ever”, racking up 1.24 billion hours of test time before its release. She adds that virtually everyone is able to find their way around the new OS quickly as well:

“On the very first day, virtually everyone launches an app from the Start screen, finds the desktop, and finds the charms,” she insists.

Again though, Reller fails to answer if people actually like the new changes. It’s great that most people are able to get accustomed to Windows 8 in a relatively short period of time, but does this mean the majority of people are happy with it? The answer to that question seems to have been left up in the air.

It’s clear from these comments that Microsoft knows it still has a lot of work to do if Windows 8 is going to be seen in the same light as its predecessor, which is widely accepted to have been a resounding success. This much is evident from Reller’s final comments, which seem to almost be a plea for people not to judge Windows 8 too harshly just yet:

“Windows 8 is a big, ambitious change and as I said, we’re only just getting started,” she writes.