If you watched any sort of TV this weekend, especially if it was online, then it's almost certain you saw an advertisement for Windows 8. Microsoft has bet big with its new operating system, redesigning it to better integrate with smartphones, tablets, and the Xbox 360. The company is backing up that gamble with a huge advertising campaign. However, Microsoft's ads, featuring lots of young people dancing, might not be sticking in the minds of consumers.
A new survey conducted last week leading up to Friday's launch of Windows 8 shows that over half of U.S. adults haven't even heard of Windows 8. The survey, conducted by the Associated Press and GfK and announced yesterday, phoned 1,200 U.S. adults and found that 52% of them hadn't heard of the new OS.
Among those 48% who had heard of Windows 8, 61% of them had "little or no interest in buying a laptop or desktop computer running" Windows 8. Also, only 35% of those who have heard of the new OS believe it will be an improvement over Windows 7.
This sentiment is nothing new. Back in March, a YouTube video of an older gentleman frustrated by the new OS demonstrated exactly the types of difficulty users familiar with Windows XP and Windows 7 are likely to have. Just this month a follow-up video demonstrated that six months later Windows 8 is still baffling to non-geeks.
It's understandable that Microsoft is attempting to reinvent itself as a company and a brand. With desktop and laptop PC sales slowing, Microsoft simply has to gain a foothold in the tablet and smartphone markets if it hopes to stay relevant. And Windows 8 actually looks pretty good on tablets such the new Surface. However, using (or abusing) its most well-known product to gain a tablet market foothold could backfire from customers used to using Windows for its productivity options or those who don't recognize Windows 8 as a Windows OS.