Anis Vijay Modi
Microsoft will be remembered forever as the first company to get computer technology out to the masses. Bill Gates’ vision of a personal computer was groundbreaking at the time, and its manifestation shaped reality to what it is today. Yet, since its initial monopoly in the computer market, the company has seen its ups and downs. Other companies, most notably Apple, have become the leaders in innovation, while Microsoft has experienced moderate success and has mostly struggled to keep up with the industry’s fast pace.
With Windows 8, Microsoft did not just scale up its old interface, it created a new one, introducing many core tweaks and changes. The famed “start” button, a feature which became synonymous with the Windows operating system, was the first to go. With that move, Microsoft showed the world that they mean business. The new “start” interface is slick; it is an entirely new screen, separate from the desktop. It is accessible through a simple click of the window-marked button, which has been introduced to PC users in earlier versions of the operating system. Users can play around with these windows as much as they want, move them around, add and delete them as they wish. Here, Microsoft introduced an interesting feature that is both technologically innovative and profitable from a business perspective. The applications that appear in your computer’s start screen are also compatible with Microsoft’s Windows Phone and the company’s tablets. This means that the interfaces of all of the company’s new products are extremely similar, an aspect that makes the transition between platforms very comfortable and definitely encourages consumers to “PCify” all of their electronic gadgets.
Steven Sinofsky, Windows division president, said the company aims to make Windows-operating hardware “an extension of Windows. It’s a stage for Windows, yet it’s a beautiful stage.”
This idea works remarkably across the three categories of the tech world—the phone, computer, and tablet. New Asus computers featuring Windows 8 now incorporate a new touch-screen technology that integrates smoothly with Windows’ new interface. The transition from these computers over to Microsoft’s Surface tablet or a Windows Phone is seamless. The uniformity of interfaces across platform is nothing short of a revolutionary idea, that Microsoft and other companies are sure to capitalize on further down the road.
Despite these strong efforts, it seems that Microsoft’s “oldie” label remains strong, as sales in the computer department remain slow. Some computer makers have announced as recently as last week that the PC business is in danger as a result of slow sales and declining revenue. This should be a worrying development for Microsoft; the Windows 8 operating system is not even a year old, yet its ability to attract consumers is faltering. The company’s hardware deal with HTC and Nokia’s phone division includes an aggressive global marketing campaign. This shared venture shows signs of hope, as the three companies catch their breath to keep up with competitors Apple and Samsung. Nokia’s Windows Phone sales are on a continual rise, and now that the company’s selection of devices is complete, it remains to be seen if the Windows operating system will beat Blackberry phones in its way to a bigger share of the handheld market. A report released by the company last week shows that Windows Phones are selling more units than Apple’s iPhone 5 in seven countries worldwide. This data has been questioned by other companies, yet it stands to show that the operating system does have room in the competitive tech market. All in all, the company seems to be catching up to its competitors, albeit at a slow pace.
Image Courtesy of PCWorld and Microsoft