Note: Also see my updated Windows 9 version of this graphic
For some reason I’ve always visualized the debacle of Microsoft Windows 8 with smiley faces and Venn diagrams. In particular I imagined a Venn diagram showing lots of unhappy regular users surrounding a tiny sliver of happy power users. So for this post I wanted to try something a bit more whimsical than usual by creating a series of panels leading up that image, plus a few going beyond it. Enjoy!
- The last panel in the series is a reference to my belief that voice interaction will become a major force in mobile computing in the next 2-5 years. And that Google will be one of the big winners when this happens. My posts on this 1) Apple’s strategy tax on services versus Google. Voice interaction becoming the “God particle” of mobile, and 2) The God Particle Revisited: Augmented Audio Reality in the Age of Wearables.
- For details about what’s wrong with Windows 8, see my September 2012 post written just before Windows 8 was released. Quote: “it doesn’t bode well for Microsoft that they’ll ship a compromised hybrid UI.” Nothing’s changed since. Marrying the multi-touch and keyboard/mouse user interfaces results not in the Venn diagram union of both markets, but rather the Venn diagram intersection.
- At this point the investment in the Windows 8 hybrid interface is a massive sunk cost. So it’s not worth reverting. There are some benefits to a unified Microsoft operating system, especially for developers. Though I remain skeptical of whether switching between the multi-touch interface and the keyboard/mouse interface will ever become mainstream. Swapping out the entire interface is inherently a power user move.
- Obviously Android is a big part of the story above. But when I put an Android frame into the series it got complicated and clunky. So I left the added complexity out. Always a good design choice.
- Source for the public domain smiley images used above is Pixabay. They have some good ones.
Update: Looking at the comments, it’s worth a short update to say I’m a power Windows user. While I don’t own a Surface, I’ve played with them enough to know I’d prefer one as my primary work computer over my current Windows laptop. So there’s a real market for Microsoft Windows 8 hybrid devices. Which is what the panel above showing the happy niche power users wanting (or more accurately being ok with) 2x the complexity is all about. That’s me! Niche power user. The great and unfortunate tragedy for Microsoft is this hybrid device market is a small subset of existing Windows users (Venn diagram intersection). And is way way smaller than the smartphone multi-touch device market.