Microsoft at War: Keeping Score of Redmond's Success and Fail Stories

By Nathaniel Wattenmaker on October 25, 2012, 1:24 AM

Microsoft sits on the edge of a product launch that is plainly among the most important in the company’s history. Windows 8 is the largest paradigm shift for the company since Windows 95. There is no way to exaggerate the critical nature of this product. The new OS, alongside Windows Phone 8 represent the company’s biggest GUI bet since the Start Button. It comes at a time when the company’s traditional hardware partners are facing ferocious market pressure from the commoditization of their products, and of course, the juggernaut known as the iPad. Windows 8, and more broadly, the GUI formerly known as Metro is Microsoft’s play for the next decade.

As can be expected, the company’s many cheerleaders and haters are out in full force. Pundits can and will pontificate on the new operating system’s chances. However, what might be more useful is looking at Microsoft’s other make or break moments. The upcoming launch is far from the first time that Redmond has fought with its back against a wall. A backward glance at these moments, and careful evaluation of them, may provide a better, ahem, window into the company’s chances this Winter.

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User Comments: 15

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Littleczr Littleczr said:

The microsoft surface will survive. I mean it looks so ugly compare to sexy samsung and ipad but it has windows 8 in the back end that you can use with a mouse. That alone is worth taking a look if they bring the price down. I mean if I had that kind of dough I would just buy a laptop. Now that I think of it, for that price it really sucks.

Also if they could just add a start button to windows 8 I will jump right in. I don't care that the fancy metro UI is in the background as log as I can have the option to use a start button and backward compatibility with my software I will dive right in.

VitalyT VitalyT said:

Also if they could just add a start button to windows 8 I will jump right in.

That's not a problem. Start8 is a perfect alternative: http://www.stardock.com/products/start8/

wiyosaya said:

As I have said in various other posts elsewhere, it is my opinion that Windows 8's measure of success will be how well it will be adopted into the business world. Since most of the business world just completed upgrading to Windows 7 from Windows NT, I suspect that most of the business world will ignore 8 because the cost of moving to 8 is hard to justify after having just moved to 7.

Also, 8 brings little in the way of improvements and also brings with it (for the business world) the typical "wait and see if its stable" attitude of all new OS releases from Microsoft. Because of this, I see 8's acceptance in the world being more of a whimper than a bang or a storm.

As enthusiasts, many people on this site jump right in to the latest and greatest products without much regard to the consequences; however, I see the business world as much more conservative. Personally, I do not see 8's success without the business world buying in. I think there is little doubt that 7 owes a large portion of its success to the business world's buy in. I think Microsoft is gloating in 7's success, but may have an attitude adjustment on the horizon.

Guest said:

This seems to be the Microsoft story, let someone else with vision develop new products. Buy similar products or simply copy the new products. Sell them for low cost or bundle for free with other Microsoft products and slowly take a chunk of the market. Microsoft doesn't have to be better, just good enough.

Time will tell on Windows 8, though I tend to agree with wiyosaya's comments.

Staff
Erik Erik said:

Personally, I do not see 8's success without the business world buying in. I think there is little doubt that 7 owes a large portion of its success to the business world's buy in.

I believe there's a sort of snow ball effect in OS adoption. If the consumer market grabs a hold of W8, gravity will pull down the corporate market. In general people look for compatibility across their devices - at home, on the go and at the office.

jizzyburnizzy said:

I do IT for dental offices. we have about 300 clients and I know they wont be migrating to windows 8. windows 7, although aesthetically does not look that much different from windows xp was a huge change for most of our users. Windows 8 will completely through them off unless we implement the old UI

1 person liked this | MilwaukeeMike said:

I do IT for dental offices. we have about 300 clients and I know they wont be migrating to windows 8. windows 7, although aesthetically does not look that much different from windows xp was a huge change for most of our users. Windows 8 will completely through them off unless we implement the old UI

Windows 8 isn't for businesses. They won't upgrade only because it's so different, they'll keep Win 7 because it works so well. I can't think of a single feature Win 8 would bring to an office that Win 7 doesn't provide. They should have called Win 8 something else so we wouldn't all think it's a direct upgrade from 7.

I think this whole Win 8 thing is very overblown. MS made 17b in profit last year and no matter what happens with surface or 8, almost every business computer in this country will be running windows and office for a long time to come. Sprint is a company at a turning point... AMD is on the edge. MS is fine.

And what's with rating the Surface a C+? It's not even for sale yet! It could be the next xbox or a another Zune.

Littleczr Littleczr said:

That's not a problem. Start8 is a perfect alternative: http://www.stardock.com/products/start8/

Thank you. I guess I can give it a try.

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

Also, 8 brings little in the way of improvements....

That's where I stopped reading. If you look past the UI, there is a lot under the hood.

Guest said:

I dont understand why always have bad choices. Microsoft execs are greedy as Apple. All software world makes 3 big divide with Desktop, Server and Mobile. I never Understand why two version of kernels for desktop and mobile has to be different. When they started to build Windows 8 There was x86 processors available for mobile markets. Today's tablets and smartphones has enough power to run desktop programs. They will fail again next 10 years Android and Apple will dominate the all mobile markets.

hood6558 hood6558 said:

Why are we losing the start button and why can't we kill "Modern UI" if we want to? Because Microsoft is trying to fit into the mobile market in the worst way (literally) by having a common UI across all devices - in other words, "Windows For Dummies", an O.S. so simple even an ***** can use it, you don't even have to know how to read, just have someone tell you which colored square gets you to nascar.com or youtube.com or whatever, so you can look at the videos. This is just another sign that American culture is on a long downhill slide. The dummies will win because there are so many of them.

dennis777 dennis777 said:

I know this wast post before... but cant help it.

win95 - fail

winXP - success

winVista - fail

win7 - success

win8 - ?????

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

MSDOS - okay

Win 3.x - General Faults ERRORS

WFWG 3.x - Windows for Workgroups - didn't last so long..

WinNT4.x Server - Stable after SP6a

Win 95 - Introduce Start

Win2000 - Quick

Win2000 Server - Advanced Server was the bomb

WinME - Failed

Win2003 Server - Lots of issues

WinVista - Slow poke, hardware and software issues

Win2008 Server - Pretty good

Win7 - A lot of prior lessons learned

Win8 - New look for Win7 with dual UI, TCP/IP Internet Improvements, also Memory fixes, better support for touch screens and tablets.

Still with all mention above you still have fragment of data locations so you'll still need to clean the system on a regular bases. As with 7 and 8 still have the same type of way the OS performances. Win 8 gives you a new look of what's coming for Windows. MSE is now embedded as Windows Defender. Firewall still doesn't have outbound control yet so the app from Windows Firewall Control will be needed if you still want to use the Windows 8 firewall like you did with Windows 7.

Guest said:

Sigh.... anyone remember Balmers curve?

Windows ME and it's "twin" Windows Vista.

That says it all and the latest of the "triplets" is Win 8.

treeski treeski said:

Interesting piece. A few comments:

1. I don't think it's fair or makes sense to "grade" the final part of the piece (Microsoft Looks to Launch Powerful Counterattack). It seems the overall point of the piece was to look at Microsoft's past struggles and how it succeeded or failed. That final section refers largely to what MS is doing now or some of its very recent ventures... we have to wait and see how they fair! It's not clear exactly what that grade is for.

2. I'm surprised that MS's Office successes didn't get mentioned. The Office Suite has been one of the company's most important strengths.

3. Hotmail vs. gmail/yahoo could have made for some interesting discussion.

4. Cloud services... another possible point of discussion.

5. It would be interesting to have a follow-up article that talks about what MS is doing NOW to address its past failures and expand on its successes.

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