What Should Microsoft Do To Sell Windows 8 To The Masses? [We Ask You]

We Ask You   What Should Microsoft Do To Sell Windows 8 To The Masses? [We Ask You]Windows 8 is now available to all those who want it: to download, to buy on disc, or to buy pre-installed on a new PC. Microsoft has already certified more than 1,000 devices to run the new operating system. From the results gathered so far in the poll currently running here on MakeUseOf it looks as though plenty of people have already made the switch from XP, Vista, or Windows 7, but then we’re all geeks.

The question is whether the mainstream will join in the footsteps of us geeks in upgrading to Windows 8. I see few signs of that happening yet, and the confused nature of Windows 8 means it may never do. Which leads to the question for this week’s We Ask You column.

This Week’s Question…

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

windows 8 logo   What Should Microsoft Do To Sell Windows 8 To The Masses? [We Ask You]

It’s debatable as to whether Microsoft has done enough to convince the tech-buying public to quickly shift over to Windows 8. But what’s clear is it hasn’t yet managed to convince the mainstream public that it needs to ditch the version of Windows they’re using currently and move to Windows 8 forthwith.

What should Microsoft do to achieve that goal? Is it all about the product itself, in which case are there any changes that need to be made sooner rather than later? Should Microsoft focus on securing more apps for the Windows Store? Should the arty ads be ditched in favor of simple commercials explaining what Windows 8 is, what it does, and why it’s better than everything that has come before?

We want to hear your thoughts on this subject, so get your thinking caps on and leave a comment detailing your best advice to Microsoft regarding Windows 8 at this point in time.

Drawing Conclusions

All comments will be digested to form conclusions in a follow-up post next week where we will detail what You Told Us. One reader will be chosen for the coveted ‘Comment Of The Week’, getting their name up in lights, the respect of other readers, and 150 MakeUseOf points to use for Rewards or Giveaways (as long as they are registered when making said comment). What more motivation than that do you need to respond?

We Ask You is a weekly column dedicated to finding out the opinions of MakeUseOf readers. The questions asked are usually open-ended and likely to start a conversation. Some are opinion-based, while others see you sharing tips and advice, or advocating tools and apps to fellow MakeUseOf Readers. This column is nothing without you, as MakeUseOf is nothing without you.

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64 Comments -

triavalon

Microsoft would do well to not hide the control panel under UI switches and have options to enable or disable new features. In very early testing they had the option to remove Metro, which would bring back things like the start menu I believe, but for some reason they dropped it. If they brought that little switch back, people who hated having Metro at all, even if they didn’t use it, would have less licence to complain. Microsoft could just put the switch back in during an update and remove a good chunk of common bad comments.

Ahmed Khalil

it can be good suggestions for microsoft

Keefe Kingston

In concur! Microsoft should have listened to many of us that thought the UI overhaul was a little too soon. They could have atleast included a design similar to Windows 7, to help ease us into the new look. I don’t hate the look at all…I just firmly believe that the interface works best for your fingers, not your mouse. And i’ve been called an idiot for standing up for what I want. XP

Dave Parrack

You’re saying the product just isn’t right for the mainstream then? Mainly because the wholesale changes are being forced on people?

Triavalon

I think that Microsoft is giving into a trend of building around the simplest consumer, and that strategy isn’t right for them. *Insert derogatory pun about Apple fanboys here* Windows’ success has been in making an environment that works for users, but then can be adapted to the workforce instantly. Users only had to learn to use one operating system to play their games on, and they would be able to use that system to write out spreadsheets, manufacturing orders, or articles for their company. The new GUI can’t offer that advantage because it is entirely built towards a user that doesn’t want or need any control over their system. Businesses at large won’t accept a system that won’t let their techs make the choice on which GUI to run or let their own proprietary programs run in the new mode. I can’t see businesses adopting Windows 8, which means I can’t see schools adopting Windows 8 and new users learning how to work with that one system. In the long run, with many users being trained onto one system for the rest of their lives, I don’t think a system designed for the simple consumer will work for Microsoft.
With all of that in mind, my suggestion was for Microsoft to lessen the blow and allow what they have always thrived on, choice. If they can allow the businesses, schools, and not so simple consumers to decide what hardware they want, what GUI they want, and where they want to get their programs from, while making it easy to find and make those changes, then this system might work and people might grow into the new GUI. Right now though, they are starting to follow a trend that goes directly against their interests and their users’ interests.

Swizzle1

No need for me to repetitive – triavalon has the issue covered. I will add that the refusal to put the switch back has me, a desktop user, (one of the many that has put MS where it is) feeling scorned, unwanted, and certainly unappreciated.

gpvprasad

I upgraded to Windows 8 but I see small issue still when I do alt tab from Application store to desktop Application store getting closed.
Yesterday I forgot to power off my PC as upgrades are in progress, I am never able to bring it back:( need to do hot boot.

Tug Ricks

I think they should re-introduce the standard start menu. I’m using Windows 8 with Start8, and it’s awesome! It gives me the choice to use either start menu, and as a consumer, choice is king.

Raymond Beets

The first thing to look at in my opinion would be the licensing. It doesn’t sit well with a lot of people that you can install your copy on one computer at a time. Most household setups have a desktop PC, and a pair of laptops lying around. Hence, it would be great to purchase once and install on all a la family pack licensing. For a fractionally (and I do mean fractionally, not exorbitantly) higher price, to include four licenses in your Windows 8 purchase instead of limiting you to one install, would draw a lot of people I’m sure.

Something else to take into consideration is product visibility. A lot of people I’ve spoken to have no idea how Windows 8 is different to Windows 7. Their perception is that “…it looks the same with a few program updates”. They’ve definitely heard about Windows 8, but they’ve never actually seen it in action. So I do feel the advertising should better incorporate the difference between Windows 8 and prior Microsoft OSes a bit more.

Dave Parrack

The Windows 8 ads do seem to be aimed at those already in the know. Certainly at this early stage.

Brenden Barlow

i really like the idea of selling 2 or 3 keys to windows at a time (with the option to buy just one), and discounting the extras (as a family package thing, or something). it would certainly help me (since i have 4 computers and do many installs for other people)

Manik Kumar

I think windows 8 is good software but in my opion windows 8 should focus more on tablet users or surface os. microsoft can focus on pc and NB users by developing os for pc’s like windows 7 windows 8 sometimes becomes so frustrating without touch screen laptops.They should re intorduce the traditional desktop with start menu and the new ribbon screens for tablet users only.
it can also sell windows 8 by promoting little more.

Dave Parrack

you would have two distinct versions of Windows 8 – one for touchscreens, one for keyboard and mouse?

Eserpess der

Nothing via regular PC’s are concerned. They should market it as a toach screen platform…because it works alot better on toach screen. market it with any tablets and stuff like that.

Umair Adil

Microsoft should distribute free copies to selected people based on random draw or some qualification. Basically what people need right now is awareness.

Dave Parrack

I certainly haven’t heard anyone beyond my group of geeky friends even mention Windows 8. That’s clearly a problem.

Alan Wade

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 alittle time to grow on people and there is nothing better than word of mouth.

Koshy George

I wouldn’t use it even if Microsoft paid me £12:40 a month to use it.

Dave Parrack

Woah, that’s harsh ;)

Douglas Mutay

I believe what you’re saying is right.

Dave Parrack

That is extremely cheap. I’d have done the same. The problem is would mainstream consumers know how to customize Windows 8 the way you have done?

Alan Wade

“That is extremely cheap. I’d have done the same. The problem is would mainstream consumers know how to customize Windows 8 the way you have done?”

I would think that most people know how to change a shortcut’s icon Dave and there are many sites offering free icons. I used to ( I say used to because its not currently compatible with Windows 8) use IconPackager so I already had many icon themes on my computer. That covers the programs and apps I use, as for the Windows 8 tiles. I think once you unpin the tile’s you are not likely to use you will find that there isnt so many of the pre-installed tiles left, with a bit of digging there is always a tutorial somewhere that covers what you want to do, in this case, this is quite a handy tutorial: http://www.tech-recipes.com/rx/22405/hack-windows-8-metro-start-screen-tiles-icons/

There are a million tutorials explaining how to group the shortcuts and give each section a name, and I really believe that the mainstream users that want to customise Windows 8 will search for the relevant tutorials or at least ask on MUO.

When the email landed offering the ridiculously low upgrade price, I bought three licences as we have three computers. It is installed on one computer (mine) and the upgrade package burnt to DVD and stored for when the rest of my family are ready to upgrade.

Timo

They should add a 3-Choice-Switch: turn off metro / turn off desktop / use both

This touchscreen-interface is nightmarish for work (development), while pretty sweet for entertainment (couchpotatoing). 1920x1200x2 amounts to windows8 being pure pain.

Anonymous

It will never sell Windows 8 to the masses. The best it can do is to hopefully promote it to the users of tablets and phones, whilst working on Windows 9 for desktops, enterprise users, and all other real computer users

Microsoft may have a hidden agenda though – now there is no other alternative for enterprise users in the foreseeable future they may at last switch from XP to Windows 7. Finally getting them to ditch XP is the only possible motive Microsoft may have for producing a Windows 8 that is almost useless.

Matjaz Mirt

They already made one step into right direction with pricing & upgrading policy. I didn’t mean to upgrade, but when I saw that price is only 29.9 € (upgrade) and that I get Windows PRO (previously Home Premium) I bought it.

shaurya gupta

According to me, micrsoft must firstly reduce the price….It should deal with, for example MUO to giveaway windows 8….& it should make videos on learning how to use windows 8 completely…although i dont think so that there must be an option to turn off the metro style coz that’s the thing that really attracts me and makes windows 8 different from win 7…the good thing that they are doing is that there are total focusing on ads coz on all websites there are windows 8 ads and even on television here in india, there are windows 8 ads on many t.v. channels…there must be free upgrades to windows 8 for random windows 7 users….this can help a lot.

Anonymous

$14 is already very cheap.
Making awesome and fast OS requires a lot of hard work and you want to get it for free?

Dave Parrack

If Microsoft wanted to give Windows 8 away through MakeUseOf I’m sure we’d be open to the idea ;)

I’m hoping the ads will become more mainstream-focused as time goes on.

Tony Gonzaga

Microsoft should lower the price, say for family use of about three PCs.

Henk van Setten

To begin with, MS should make one little but essential change in Win8 itself.
They should have the OS determine at bootup whether the device has a touchscreen, and if there is no touchscreen, have it switch automatically to the more mouse-friendly desktop.
That way, people who use a classic device without touchscreen will not be scared off by the mouse-unfriendly new interface.

Anonymous

Don’t push it, if the product isn’t good you aren’t going to look any better if you push it. People buy apple products because their reputation speaks for it self, if your product is good and the media isn’t being biased then people will make up there own minds. everyone will be sceptical of something so new and radical from one of the trusted OS makers. Just give it time.

Anonymous

People buy apple products because they have become followers of apple like religion and can’t think anything other than that. Watch Conan O’Brien’s apple funny videos and you know how stupid apple fanboys are.

Dave Parrack

I must say Apple fanboys are a stupid breed. Apple products are fine (if not overpriced) but each should be assessed on merit rather than the logo on the side.

susendeep dutta

Microsoft has done a very good job of offering upgrades at low cost which would definitely compel most of the people to upgrade even if they like their current OS.

Their ads do focus on the functionality of OS but didn’t mention much about the devices.

So,Microsoft must firstly make people clear about different versions of Windows 8 and must not fear that people would avoid taking their RT version as if after they sell it to people without informing them everything,they are risking their reputation and will gain bad views among audience.

They must make people understand how it’s useful for traditional hardware not having any touch like desktops and laptops(leaving trackpad) and how can they fully utilize the OS using their current hardware without any compromise.

So,it must be the effort from the Microsoft to make people understand how they will come under a unified ecosystem if they upgrade.

Epizestro

include a copy of windows 7

Anonymous

Windows 8 is Windows 7 completed optimized for speed.

Lisa Santika Onggrid

First, they already set upgrade price so low, but there are also people who want to try Windows 8 but they’re still stuck in XP or Vista, and those who don’t want to spend a dime on something they have lingering doubt on.

Microsoft should do a giveaway and compels users to state their opinion, as well as providing better support than what they have now. At the same time, they should also do more advertisement, but not aimed to techies. Most home users don’t know the difference between 8 and 7, let alone the different versions of 8. It might also help to introduce it to schools.

They might want to stop using numbers and technical jargons to illustrate how ‘powerful’ their new OS is, but instead showing the practical side that means more to average user. How it’ll help them get things done quicker, why it’d make them more secure, etc.

Oh, and they should polish Surface and sell it as soon as possible, showing the world the power and usefulness of 8. I personally think it’d do well as tablet OS, but for desktop it’s a bit farfetched, as most monitors aren’t touch screen. At least, not yet.

Rather than doing a little bit of this and that and trying to be jack of all trades, they should fix what they have now, acting on what consumers protested in RTM version, making sure it works perfectly before adding new features.

John

As long as Microsoft dont use phone apps on a tablet that look crap on a tablet screen (android are you listening) then the microsoft tablet should sell well maybe even beat crappy android.

Anonymous

You are right.

salvador hernandez

Need a great reason as to why we need the new features. oh and hurry with the compatibility issues.

jasray

Probably should have made Windows 8 a Service Pack 2 for Windows 7 with the option to include Media Center and the new UI–sort of a LInux Mint–Cinnamon or Mate option type of thing. No charge to consumer.

Harish Jonnalagadda

They should make the hardware desirable! The big reason for the iDevices doing so well is because of they are not only very well-designed and built, but they also look striking. Surface is a bold statement, but Microsoft needs to make something far better if it is going to sell anywhere near as many devices.

swt

Go back to the drawing board like they did with vista. They went from user friendly to user confusing.

Don Pfennig

I will wait and see. Did not purchase Vista and waited for comments. Comments were such that I should hold off until Windows 7. I will not purchase Windows 8 until all of the dust settles. I like Windows 7!

Chuck

I agree with the last post. Vista got such bad press that I bought a new computer with XP when Vista was released. I feel I made the correct choice. As soon as Windows 7 was released I move up to it and am still delighted with it. I see the same situation now particularly with the lack of a start button and the push for a touch screen on a desktop computer which does not make sense to me. In fact, I purchased a new computer 2 weeks ago (top of the line from the online Microsoft Store) with Windows 7 on it and will wait until Windows 9 appears and hope Microsoft gets its act together.

Dave Parrack

I think that may be the problem for Microsoft… Windows 7 is brilliant, and the release of Windows 8 hasn’t changed that fact.

Bill Hall

I think microsoft should have made an improvement to windows 7 rather that an OS for tablets and smart phones. I have no interest in either of these. If anything I would prefer a larger screen. Windows XP, Vista and 7 I still use. The older ones for things that Windows 7 does not support but I don’t see anything about Windows 8 that makes me want to spend money to get it.

Anonymous

XP also went through the same criticism that W8 is going through now.

spinks

Simple; dont bother! Go Linux instead….

Dave Parrack

Because Linux appeals to the mainstream. Er, perhaps not.

Erik Welchoff

Don’t design a operating system that is best suited for tablets and smart phones and then try to force a PC to acquire the touch capabilities to keep up with that technology. Windows 8 isn’t intended for industry or home, rather, it’s designed to claim everyone’s credit card payment to rent services and applications and force them to store every file they create on THEIR “cloud.” It is impossible to use industrial applications such as CAD/CAM software by touching a screen, and I personally believe they would have everyone doing just that eventually. Ultimately of course, Microsoft intends to have everyone speaking to their computer to have it perform whatever task is asked of it.

fat catso

Now that it`s released, they can`t do anything. “If something is intended to do everything, it doesn`t do anything well” – that`s what one may say looking at the latest MS OS, and it figures. If one of the first things many, if not most PC users do after installing Win8 is turning off its most advertised feature – new UI – and revert to good old Start Menu (using external programs, which adds to ridiculousness of the situation), well, it means there`s something seriously wrong with the product. Maybe then it`s at least suitable for tablets? Please. Microsoft`s own Surface runs “customized” version of Win8, incompatible with legacy Windows apps. How funny it sounds when you realize that Win8 is Microsoft`s latest attempt to re-conquer the world of computers, especially those hand-held ones. Nope, it won`t work, because it`s not designed from scratch to fit. Look at the size of Win8 installation and think how much resources and power would take just to run this behemoth.

Anthony Monori

They should lower their prices, also make some great demo videos and listen to their customers more.

Dave Parrack

Microsoft listen to their customers? Pfft, I can’t see that happening any time soon.

Boni Oloff

I have trying Windows 8,and i can say, that’s no hope for Microsoft to sell it as Windows 7. I really don’t like it. Very annoying interface and not many new good thing to see.

Anonymous

Just tell people that Microsoft will provide a built in app store which provides lightweight, useful and beautiful apps.
Give the option of running metro apps in desktop PCs with minimize, maximize and close buttons as desktop PCs have powerful processors and more ram and don’t depend on battery and thus there is no need to run them in metro mode. Simple and Crystal clear.

Zhong Jiang

Microsoft should try to create a demo for the system for people who aren’t familiar with the design and configurations. Providing with documentations and other free support available through their website.

Alan Wade

“Microsoft should try to create a demo for the system for people who aren’t familiar with the design and configurations. Providing with documentations and other free support available through their website. ”

Search online for Windows 8 tutorials. There are millions of them!

Terafall

I think they should give users the freedom to remove or add any of their application

Israel Alcántar González

They should include some sort of Screen Sensors for ppl who dosn´t have touchscreens. In my opinion, Windows 8 is a step up for not using a Mouse at all.

Falkon

I think Microsoft needs to make windows 8 a bit user friendly so those who are new to computers don’t sit for hours figuring out what to do next and or what happened to the start button and how to hover the mouse all around the desktop hopping something is to going to happen now.
Windows 8 is good looking but very confusing and time consuming pain in the neck.Windows 8 need to be lighter but more powerful than windows 7 with more possibilities for professional usage. Having to face the email exchange to start windows then later knowing that it is also possible to start locally is a pain in the a…
What if someone don’t have an email address and the computer is for home fun or just games.
I hope to God is much more safer than the other windows, without so many patches every week and HOPEFULLY compatible with the stuff that works on windows 7. Amen

Falkon

And finally, please if there is a TECH SUPPORT for windows 8 PLEASE USE our OWN good OLD USA for that. Our technical support does not just copy paste horse…. as a response to your computer issues as they do in INDIAN tech support of microsoft..please do not be like mcafee and the group of helpless Indian tech support who support you with a bunch of …..with copy and paste…..( I certainly I am sorry for your issues today, let me see if I can help you….and there goes 30 minutes waiting on line in a goofy colored chat room…and then they copy paste the HQ phone number in for you to call 02.00 hrs in the morning…and…is there anything else I can assist you with… :( .) . Please God let this one happen the right way, ( Of course with all respect to all great Indians guys and gals) please no more Indian tech support. please.

jim

take it out of the store and remake it again it is cral

70422computernerd

I think windows will succeed and yet fail. It just depends on the type of person, for example teenagers might like this new GUI if they experiment with it because it is a little transition for teenagers, kids, and young adults of whom have iDevices (which there will be a more transition to the learning) Androids (somewhat a little bit more) and Windows Phones (Vvveeerrryyy Little transition) well anyway if you were to compare them with more elders mostly 50+ you will find that will have to everything, and on my view I have tested with members of my family that are very tech savy most of them 50+ they hated it, and will not upgrade to it. Microsoft has a few changes they need to make and Make them fast before they realize the sweet features that Mac has to offer. Some few options could be keep the traditional desktop all the way, but add back the start menu with INDIVIDUAL jump lists for most of the metro apps they have. For instance they would have an “all programs” option and then underneath have “Metro Apps” which would be a second alternative and have them all lined up in a row vertically labeled differently for the apps and have an option of big they would want it.
If Microsoft Would Listen to The common people then they might be number one in this new age of technologie.