Apathy May One Day Be The Death Of Microsoft

    January 2, 2014
    Zach Walton
    Comments are off for this post.

When was the last time you really cared about Microsoft or its products? It was probably when you first bought a Windows XP desktop or laptop during the PC revolution of the late 90s/early 2000s. At that time, you were the coolest if you had a PC. Oh, how the times have changed though, and Paul Thurrot thinks that change may be the biggest problem facing Microsoft today.

Thurrot, Windows blogger and all around Microsoft expert, penned an article on Tuesday that examined the biggest threat facing Windows going into 2014. While many have already said Windows demise will come at the hands of mobile platforms, Thurrot says it will come from a more surprising source – consumer apathy.

He argues that Windows is in trouble because people just don’t care anymore. Here’s the gist of his argument:

Windows is in trouble because people simply don’t care about it anymore. It’s not outright hostility; there’s far less of that than the anti-Microsoft crowd would like to believe. It’s ambivalence. It’s ambivalence driven by the nature of “good enough” mobile and web apps. It’s ambivalence driven by the allure of anytime/anywhere computing on tiny devices that are more cool to use and even cooler to be seen using.

It’s definitely a compelling argument as it’s the same reason many people never upgraded to Windows 7 from XP. The applications consumers and businesses need to use on Windows PCs are good enough on XP. They don’t see any need to upgrade to the latest and greatest operating system for that very reason. Microsoft just hasn’t given them a reason to care enough yet.

Alongside consumer apathy, Thurrot says that Microsoft may have done itself in years ago with Windows Vista. Vista was part of a larger project called Longhorn that Thurrot says “addressed the wrong problem for the era.” He says this led to developers fleeing Windows en masse to the mobile devices that were just starting to hit the market. After mobile exploded, those same developers never returned to Windows which Thurrot says led to a stagnation of the Windows desktop that it hasn’t yet recovered from.

So, where does this leave Microsoft? Thurrot says the company will focus more on its devices and services business in 2014, which means we may just see more Windows software appear on competing operating systems, like iOS and Android. That doesn’t mean Microsoft will be giving up on Windows 8 though. The company is in it for the long haul. If it’s as Thurrot says though, Microsoft will have to work extra hard to make sure consumers, developers and businesses all give a damn about Windows in 2014.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

  • Steve

    If Windows 8 is Microsoft’s idea of “the long haul.” They’ll find out that despising your customers is a very short haul and then you’re gone.

  • Mlah

    You realize Microsoft makes much more then just Windows. They also make developmental, network and office software. Their OS isn’t even their biggest revenue source. So focusing entirely on it is hardly a good review of the situation.

  • JW

    I would love Microsoft if Windows Media Player wasn’t so horrible. Would rather not be forced into the arms of Apple, like I am now. MS contempt for customer will bite them.

  • Larry Miller

    The time for windows is over because people are tired of its problems,like Malware.trojans,Viruses and registry and hard drive fragmintation issues.
    I build install and update Operating Systems and computers the public is tired of also spending big money every year for malware protection that sometimes will not be enough protection to keep the O/S clean and running well.

    Linux is free is kinda like apples O/S and has none of the troubes that windows Operating System does.

  • http://www.adamiworks.com TJ Adami

    Common people want to buy a new gadget – or computer, turn it on and just use it without care about malwares or driver configurations. Some Windows notebooks/PCs with a brand tag like Dell, Lenovo, Sony (whatever) does it partially because although hardware cames “driver ready” there are a lot of “shitware” included. Even if you erase everything and reinstall Windows 7/8 you would have a headache searching for the right hardware drivers, but this can give a greater lifespan to your Windows equipment against the OEM installation. There is where Apple is everyway better, their Macs are just “push the on button and use it” but only for those who can afford the “Apple tax” (don’t forget the price of OS X softwares as well). In the other side Linux is changing the World. Every new release of a distro is becoming more user-friendly and hardware compatible, but still has some gaps that needs to be filled (specially gaming). IMHO, facing some who says PC era is coming to and end I really believe that Windows would stay strong for some more years because of the average users (who have intermediate skills to reinstall and reconfigure it) and for gamers. Linux is taking place slowly, most in developing countries, but still it is for most experienced users (I really can’t see a future when Linux overcomes Windows Desktops/Notebooks). Apple should eat larges slices of Windows marketshare pizza every year since, but, seriously, it is far far away from dominating Windows presence since there are a lot of software and IDEs built upon it. Anyway, Windows isn’t the only product made by MS, it’s just the most famous.

  • Heath

    I am just a guy who uses ms products, not a programmer or engineer. From my side of things they are less relevant than ever before. Many companies (the one I work for included) are looking at ways to replace pcs with iPads as most of the staff have purchased their own iPads.

    Windows is just too big and clunky, 95% of the humans out there live in either a browser or office or even their own proprietary systems. All of these can be run in light weight operating systems. Now that ms have surface and Nokia I would like to see them bundle their phones and surface to get market penetration. Surface needs a sim slot So telecom providers can put surface on contract to get more placements within the windows/wp ecosystem and for god sakes dump RT.

    Happy new year.

  • Bill

    With Ms’s decision to stop supporting XP – which I have successfully used for years, and have on all my computers, I was irritated. But, they are actively taking down existing support sites, which to me is like GM going to all the junk yards and removing all existing Corvairs – so no parts can be found. Not only will they not support XP, but they are actively making it difficult to find support, which is an attempt to force people to purchase upgrades.

    One of the discontinued support sights actually stated that I could either upgrade to a newer version of MS or buy a new computer. Thanks, MS – but go to Hell, MS!

    I have 4 pc’s and 6 laptops running XP, and one Mac. If I’m going to be forced to upgrade, I’ll upgrade, but it won’t be how they want me to.