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Microsoft Windows 8 and Metro UI

Apr 13,2013 0 Comments

Microsoft Windows 8 and Metro UI

Microsoft Windows 8 and Metro UI. Reports surfaced this week clearly showing a huge drop in overall PC sales during the first quarter of 2013. As we have reported in a recent news article, expert analyst firms have placed this drop between the region of 11% (Gartner) to 14% (IDC). This is a massive drop, the largest one ever seen by research analysts in almost 20 years of tracking.

The experts have cited several contributing factors for this fall, but once again Windows 8 has been burdened with a large part of the blame. With Windows 8, Microsoft has dumped the classic taskbar and the familiar Start Button and Start Menu of previous Windows iterations, in favour of the touchscreen Metro UI. Many Windows users around the world felt alienated by this dramatic change towards an interface which is deemed by many as more suitable to a touchscreen tablet or smartphone, rather than a PC. There has been a lot of speculation why Microsoft did this. In this article we will explore some of the possible reasons that may have led Microsoft to take such drastic measures.

It is plain to see that Google’s Android has quickly become the OS of choice for tablets and smartphones. Android has essentially become the “Windows” of the mobile devices world. Google has been instrumental towards the development of the Linux-based platform, which they fully acquired in 2005. Since then they have managed to plant the OS to a great variety of touchscreen devices, produced by many different manufacturers. This has led to a global touchscreen devices market, which is largely dominated by Google and Apple.

Microsoft must have felt pretty much like an outsider in this massive global game. Their response was a touchscreen interface of their own, and Metro UI was born. The main problem for the Redmond people at that point was the simple fact that Google and Apple had already established themselves as the major players and global market leaders in the field. Microsoft had entered the arena very belatedly. For the first time in its history, Microsoft was reduced to the role of the third contender, desperately trying to catch-up with the leaders up front. At some point the Microsoft people must have realized that their only realistic short-term hope was to go for bronze. Windows smartphones were eventually released to a lukewarm reception. By that time Google and Apple had already reserved the biggest slices of the pie, leaving behind only crumbs for Microsoft.

I can almost imagine the endless brainstorming sessions that must have taken place at Redmond during that period, with desperate managers franticly trying to find a way out of the black hole they had found themselves in. It must have been during one of these stressful sessions that the decision was made to dump the Windows 8 Start Button/Menu in favour of Metro UI. Like many decisions which are born out of desperation, this one has proven to be a divisive one.

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