In the late nineties I was fortunate enough to meet tech veteran John Dvorak and a while later he was good enough to be a keynote speaker for a TMC event CTI Expo in San Jose. In case you aren’t aware I was the conference chairman of the show and ITEXPO spun out of this event a few years later. John was a compelling speaker, passionate and much of his content revolved around problems at Microsoft. The audience ate it up. Of course Microsoft execs were in the audience so there was some awkwardness between me and them when the keynote concluded.
The point is, John could be considered an overly critical Microsoft observer. So two days ago when I tweeted that Dvorak said Windows 8 could be a disaster I wasn’t 100% sold, as I haven’t used the OS myself. But today an article on Business Insider quotes Dvorak and also gets opinions from other Microsoft watchers which are similar.
Here is an excerpt:
At Slate, Farhad Manjoo writes, "In my time with Windows 8, I’ve felt almost totally at sea—confused, paralyzed, angry, and ultimately resigned to the pain of having to alter the way I do most of my work."
Our own analyst, and long time Microsoft observer Matt Rosoff said, "I still think it's needlessly confusing and hard to use ... I've spoken to other people who have been testing Windows 8 for months. A lot of them found it puzzling like I did, and it's getting worse, not better, with each beta update."
All I can say is this is exactly the opposite sort of momentum you need when you go up against Apple. This new OS is supposed to unify tablets, laptops and desktops – Microsoft has so much riding on it. If they don’t get this one right the result will be even more crowded Apple stores. As it is, there are so many iPad and iPhone users who are so comfortable with Apple they are switching to Apple computers when their PC-based laptops and desktops need replacing.
Microsoft has a chance to win these customers back with a truly stellar OS. They also have the chance to lose this business to Apple and perhaps Google as the search company’s OS continues to gain momentum.
Long story short – according to the experts, it is possible the laptop/PC market will be dominated by Apple and Google. Yes, just like the smartphone space. That is, if Microsoft doesn’t do something about Windows 8 soon.