Microsoft Bites It in Touch PCs Too

This Computerworld article reports that:

Buyers reject touchscreen notebooks, spooked by higher prices and concerns about value of Windows 8’s touch UI

The article makes a number of interesting points.  But I think doesn’t go into the most important reason why Windows 8 touch devices and Surface RT are failing.  The User eXperience is absolutely awful.  Which is why the hardware isn’t worth the price and there’s no good reason for people to buy Windows 8.

Microsoft’s bet that touch would propel Windows 8 has run into a major snag, an industry analyst said Friday: Consumers see little reason to pay premium prices for touch-enabled laptops.

Because the touch UX blows.  Microsoft couldn’t even get the touch UX in their own apps right.  Office 2013 has an embarrassingly, horrible touch UX.

It’s not about price.  It’s about UX.  The iPad proves that people will pay for touch, if it has a great UX.  The iPad and the apps for it fully embrace the touch experience.  And by doing so, provide a quantum leap in usability that has never been experienced before.  And at a level that no PC trapped by a keyboard and mouse UX, could possibly hope to achieve.

Those numbers bode ill for Microsoft, which has tied Windows 8 to touch on all platforms, not just tablets.  It bet that buyers would find Windows 8 attractive because it was designed as a touch OS, repeatedly describing the radical overhaul as “touch-first.” 

“Frankly, the supply was too short,” said Tami Reller, at the time the CFO of the Windows division, in January. “I mean, there was more demand than there was supply in the types of devices that our customers had the most demand for.”

Microsoft still thinks this is a numbers problem, or an OS problem.  That if they just slap touch on the OS, it’ll be great – The same strategy they’ve been using for over 20 years when they first stumbled cluelessly into tablet PCs.  They think that they can be successful in touch with an incremental improvements strategy.  Wrong.

It requires brave, bold moves.  It requires throwing out the old and taking the leap into the new.  It requires courage.  That stuff that Apple has and Microsoft does not and never has.

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