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Birth is Always Painful

October 1, 2012

I remember one of my buddies at Microsoft asking me what I thought of Windows 7 not long after I got the upgraded PC at work.  My response: “It reboots faster.  That’s what I’ve been asking you to do for at least five years, right?”  Apparently I’m not the only one.

More than half of Windows 8 users prefer Windows 7 to Microsoft’s new operating system, according to a community poll.

Forumswindows8, which claims to be the web’s largest Windows 8 help and support forum, says it conducted a poll of 50,000 people using Windows 8 and found that 53 per cent voted Windows 7 as their favorite Windows operating system.

Honestly, that’s not hugely surprising.  It’s mostly the people that know things in-depth that have Windows 8 at this point, and Windows 7 was incredibly well-received by that community… pretty much for what I said above.  There were significant improvements all over, and most of those enabled the system to shut down and restart significantly faster.  Since the complexity of the environment and the security requirements mean a reboot at inconvenient times, the fact that reboots went from minutes to a minute or so… well, that mattered.

Not surprisingly, the fast reboot remains a Windows 8 highlight, along with the new Internet Explorer.  I’ll note that I’m an IE guy, mostly because I know there’s always IE on a system.  I’m a big fan of consistency over flash.

Here’s the most damaging piece, though:

The majority of Windows 8 customers in the group – 42 per cent – said that on smartphones they’d go with Android first. Windows Phone came second on 29 per cent with iPhone third on 22 per cent.

Ouch.  Microsoft makes a real living on building a consistency of operating environment.  I made a point to my management in the ’90s that Microsoft was only successful in its strategy if everything connected did so through Microsoft.  When the US population has started its move to the phone and tablet in droves, losing the Windows interface on that front end is going to be a painful cliff to climb.

Half of all U.S. adults now have a mobile connection to the web through either a smartphone or tablet, significantly more than a year ago, and this has major implications for how news will be consumed and paid for, according to a detailed new survey of news use on mobile devices by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) in collaboration with The Economist Group.

Actually, that survey itself is enlightening to the technology-inclined.  Go check it out.  What it tells you is that most of us strategists ten years ago really didn’t understand the rate of change, even though we preached it constantly.  And the result is that the traditional way of getting information on the Internet has changed, and it’s left a couple players scrambling on how to get back on top.

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