Rebooting Windows 8

For months, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) has held strong in regards to its market-lagging Windows 8 product, insisting that it would take consumers and businesses many months to catch onto the changes made. Now, in a move that analysts are calling well overdue, Microsoft will unveil a new update for its largely unsuccessful operating software, which will be dubbed Windows Blue.

When Windows 8 was released to the market in October last year, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer described it as being “simply the biggest deal from our company in at least 17 years”. Having lost significant market share to rivals Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Samsung, Windows 8 was intended to rekindle Microsoft’s flame by introducing a next-generation software that was tablet- and smartphone-friendly.

Since its release however, the company has received endless complaints regarding the usability and ‘confusing’ design of the interface. One prominent complaint has regarded the removal of the ‘Start’ menu that users had become so accustomed to, whilst analyst Patrick Moorhead described the Windows 8 experience as being “suboptimal”.

One of the key problems behind the software is that it was specifically designed to perform almost identical tasks on touchscreen-enabled devices and desktop computers. Tami Reller, co-head of the Windows business, has stated that the functionality of Windows 8 makes it a much better experience on touchscreen devices, whereas desktop users have described it as being awkward to navigate and use.

Furthermore, Reller conceded that Microsoft had missed a prime sales opportunity by not having enough touchscreen-enabled Windows 8 devices for sale. As such, one of Microsoft’s focuses will be to push a wider array of Windows 8 devices, according to The Australian.

Windows Blue will not be a new operating system, but rather an update to the existing Windows 8 product. Its release will introduce new features and aim to be more user-friendly. Microsoft is expected to release more information on the product in the coming weeks.

Foolish takeaway

Despite recently hitting the 100 million unit mark, Windows 8 has not been a success story for the company that was once thought to be invincible. Although a next-generation system was needed for Microsoft, Windows 8 proved to be too drastic a change to the familiar Windows interface. Provided that Microsoft has addressed the many criticisms from customers regarding Windows 8, Windows Blue should come as good news for the company (and tech users too!).

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More reading

The Motley Fool’s purpose is to help the world invest, better.  Click here now  for your free subscription to Take Stock, The Motley Fool’s free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead.  This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson. Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article.

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