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Have you got Windows 8 installed on your PC or tablet yet? Millions have, by either upgrading their existing computer or buying a new device powered by Microsoft’s latest operating system. Perhaps they’ve even shelled out and bought the Microsoft Surface, though I haven’t seen much evidence as yet.

I very much doubt that many mainstream consumers have made the switch to Windows 8 at this early stage. Something tells me that those who have upgraded or knowingly purchased a Windows 8 device consider themselves as geeks. The average consumer likely isn’t even aware Windows 8 exists, let alone knowing anything about it. Which led to last week’s subject for the We Ask You column.

What Should Microsoft Do To Sell Windows 8 To The Masses?

We asked you, What Should Microsoft Do To Sell Windows 8 To The Masses? The response was phenomenal, with dozens of you offering solutions to the tricky position Microsoft finds itself in.

Opinions on what Microsoft should do varied wildly, running the full gamut from “absolutely nothing” to “make wholesale changes to the OS.” Suggestions that kept cropping up included not forcing such an overhauled UI on people, lowering the price, improving the licensing situation, changing the tone of the commercials, and focusing more on the hardware (in a similar vein to Apple).

Microsoft is clearly keen to see as many people as possible make the switch to Windows 8. Not only is it good for its bottom line, the more people who are running Windows 8, the more apps that will flood the Windows Store. Microsoft needed to do something at this stage with people relying less on home computers and more on mobile devices. But it remains to be seen whether Windows will be the answer.

Comment Of The Week

There were some cracking responses to the question, with Triavalon, Raymond Beets, Michael Leitch, and Lisa Santika Onggrid amongst those contributing considered opinions on the subject. Comment Of The Week goes to Alan Wade, who won with this comment:

I was anti Windows 8 right up to the release then I got an email offering me an upgrade for 139 kroner which is about £12:40. At that point my mind changed extremely fast about it as I could always re-install Windows 7 and keep it for a later date should I want to without a great payout.

I found that once you customise it to your taste, pin a few shortcuts to the taskbar etc. Delete the tiles that you are never likely to use and customise the rest with your own icons etc then it became less of a problem to me. The more I customise it the more I am getting use to it.

To answer your question, just give it time, like Se7en, Vista and even XP when it was first released, it just needs a little time to grow on people and there is nothing better than word of mouth.

This comment not only answers the question in a sensible manner — Microsoft should wait and see, relying on word of mouth above all else — but also adds two crucial points to the debate. Firstly that Microsoft isn’t overcharging for upgrades to Windows 8, meaning people may be easily tempted to give it a try. Secondly, that once adapted and learned, Windows 8 isn’t as bad as it may at first appear to be.

We will be asking a new question tomorrow, so please join us then. We Ask You is a weekly column dedicated to finding out the opinions of MakeUseOf readers. We ask you a question and you tell us what you think. The question is open-ended and is usually open to debate. Some questions will be purely opinion-based, while others will see you sharing tips and advice, or advocating tools and apps for your fellow MakeUseOf readers. This column is nothing without your input, all of which is valued.

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  1. Somaiya Ebrahim
    November 22, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    doesnt need to do 8 is so beautiful people will buy it anyway

  2. Compuuter Geak
    November 12, 2012 at 12:55 am

    "Have you got Windows 8 installed on your PC or tablet yet?"

    I don't know ... Windows 8 seems like a pretty big jump from Win98 ... maybe I'll just wait a few more years to see how that one pans out ...

  3. Lee B
    November 10, 2012 at 2:52 am

    Windows has ALWAYS been about CHOICE. Choice of hardware, software and configuration. That's why it's the most successful, most used, most popular desktop OS in the world. Locking down it's users to a walled garden for the purpose of selling some apps will backfire.

    For a tablet or touch I can understand Metro UI and think it's pretty good. For desktop it's just no good.

    The risk is microsoft alienates it's long term core and business users who actually LIKE the start menu and DON'T LIKE the Metro UI/new start screen malarky. I'm disappointed MS removed the Start Menu and replaced it with a shoe-horned Tablet interface. It stinks of pushy strong arm tactic desperation to me and I think they have shot themselves in the foot because of it which is a shame because I think Windows 8 could have been a great follow on from Windows 7.

    Bottom line MS needs to give users and admins the choice to enable/disable the Start Screen and Start Menu and Charm Menu as to their personal preference and the type of user base they are supporting.

  4. Boni Oloff
    November 9, 2012 at 12:34 am

    Congrats to the Winner. I hope can get the free points next time.

    • Dave Parrack
      November 9, 2012 at 3:04 am

      Keep contributing to the debate and you never know :)

  5. RG
    November 8, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    I have been seeing Windows 8 ads that are actually not too dissimilar from the Mac ads (music, presentation of the screenshots, etc.). I think MS think that's the way to sell Windows 8, I am not so sure myself. I would try more differentiation and make the case for familiarity even though metro is different.

  6. Gravity Dead
    November 8, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    well I think since it's touch based then microsoft can collaborate with hardware companies and release some comparatively cheaper tablets/laptops to attract non-windows users and same goes for the windows XP and 7 users

  7. DoC Chamberlain
    November 8, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Well, I'm afraid I'm a detractor. I've tried it. Dual booted it on a laptop, and to be honest after using it for a while, I don't really like it that much. My main complaint is forcing the 'Touch Screen' main screen on users. There ought to have been a choice of desktop or tiled apps so that users could ease themselves into the new interface, rather than being plunged into it. My experience is people will resist such efforts with a negative attitude.

    Having said that, from my usage it is very apparent that this OS is aimed squarely at touch screen machines, mobile devices with no keypad or mouse. For that reason alone it will be a hit with those that already use this type of device. I reckon the corporate world wont take to it because of the high cost of replacing or adapting current equipment to make the install on it on a networked system viable.

    I admit that once you've got into the OS it is faster, but I'm not a fan of an app based approach - I hate using my mobile phone, but need it. Also, I'm a dyed in the wool Apple Mac user - switched years ago and still don't really like Windows even after all it's incarnations.

    • Gideon Pioneer
      November 8, 2012 at 5:02 pm

      I agree with you. It seems Microsoft is trying to ride on the tablet bandwagon while forgetting very few people actually have one. The majority of their customer base is still desktop and laptop users.

      At its current state W8 for non-touch devices feels like a half a***** effort at best. Why force the modern UI or whatever they call it? I tried it twice in the past. Once was for a week with the preview version, the other was the full version for another week and both times I really hated it. To be honest I don't think it would have been such a huge deal had I not been a perfectionist/OCD but even though you can bypass the modern UI it shouldn't beed to be bypassed. I also don't like how 'in your face' all the social aspects of the OS are, from People to their email and such..

  8. Adam Campbell
    November 8, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    it seems that Microsoft is trying to do what apple did, namely that in a quote from steve jobs, "they don't know what they want, because we haven't showed it to them" (paraphrase). Microsoft has revamped a great OS in Win7 and added features which most people will resist, but over time, I believe people will become accustomed to it and hey, they may even like it, and criticize the bejeebees out of Microsoft when it releases Win9

  9. Paradise
    November 8, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Nothing. People are just too conservative. I personally also wasn't happy with new OS for the first time but after month or so I started to love Win 8. Everything is better than it was in previous version in my opinion...

  10. Alan Wade
    November 8, 2012 at 10:49 am

    Many thanks for selecting my input as Comment of the Week.


    • Dave Parrack
      November 9, 2012 at 3:03 am

      It was a great comment. Thanks for your input :)

  11. Arron Walker
    November 8, 2012 at 9:45 am

    The masses are fine, my dislike of windows 8 comes from the developers outrage. If one or two where against it I'd pass it off, but too many people I respect are raging pretty hard. I can't hate it based on their opinion, but I can dislike it. As for actually using it, it's not that bad, it just takes some getting used to.

    • Dave Parrack
      November 9, 2012 at 3:03 am

      I'm hearing a lot of "it’s not that bad, it just takes some getting used to." Which is a good sign for Microsoft.