Goodbye and good riddance to Windows 8

Published on Monday, July 20, 2015 12:24:00 PM

There will not be too many tears shed over the demise of Windows 8.


Microsoft's use of the song Express Yourself in the launch commercial ranks among the few memorable moments of the operating system, scheduled to be replaced by Windows 10 in the coming weeks. Fact is, Windows 8 was an even greater failure than one of its most catastrophic predecessors, Vista.




Figures from Net Applications, which measures desktop operating systems, in 2013 revealed to what extent the OS had crashed and burnt. At the same point in their respective roll-outs, Vista's market share was 4.52% as opposed to Windows 8's lowly 2.67% – an almost inconceivable result considering the negative light in which the former had been received.


"They say when you play that Microsoft CD backward you can hear satanic messages… but that's nothing. If you play it forward it will install Windows 8." So why exactly has Windows 8 become the standing joke of the tech world, prompting Microsoft to all but distance itself from the debacle?


Metro interface

If it ain't broke, don't fix it – somewhere along the line, Microsoft engineers lost the essence of what this means. For years, millions around the world had become familiar with the classic Windows interface, only to be thrown headlong into an abyss of garishly coloured squares and childish iconography. All that was achieved by this move was endless frustration as users struggled to come to terms with a dynamic that apparently served no real purpose other than a change in aesthetics.


Irrespective of swiping become part and parcel of the user experience, Microsoft users never really became au fait with the Windows 8 method. Consistency was an area that was always brought into question in terms of this offering. As JC Torres of Slashgear pointed out: "Some apps made use of the top edge, some used the bottom, others used both. There didn't appear to be any coherent guideline where to find the option."


THAT Start button

Windows 8 was launched in 2012, only four years after the global economic meltdown. At that stage many Americans, and indeed millions around the world, would certainly not have been concerned with purchasing an OS that reviews had already panned as being a far inferior product. Although upgrades were made later, the horse had already bolted as far as Windows 8 was concerned.


The Windows 8 ‘Start’ button was a source of contention from the outset, and even though 8.1 brought back the original version that featured on Windows 95 through to Windows 7, it was still problematic. Clicking on the Start button on 8.1 simply returned users to the start screen, and they had to click down an arrow at the bottom of the screen to launch the Apps view. In other words, small tweaks and acquiescence to customer demands still did not do the trick.


For all intents and purposes, Microsoft has addressed these issues in addition to providing users with a better-rounded OS this time around, if any of the early reports are anything to go by. The clock is ticking and all that remains to be seen is whether or not the Windows team will nail the brief come 29 July.


By John Harvey

Find me on Twitter: @johnharvey78


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