Why Microsoft missed the mark on Windows 8

Why Microsoft missed the mark on Windows 8

Businesses have been competing to grab the attention of today's consumers, but Microsoft, which previously had everyone's attention with Microsoft Office and computers, was losing its grasp on the market. Since this became clear, the Washington-based company has been trying to get it back, but changes like Windows 8 and the Surface tablet fall short.

When Microsoft was developing Windows 8, it did research on the current market and the technologies that were out there, so what went wrong? Harvard Business Review contributor Jess Neill believes Microsoft didn't take the context of computer and laptop use into account.

"[C]ontextual data can seem superfluous, so fighting for the money to research it can be hard, and selling ideas based on it even harder," Neill writes. "But we take a bigger risk when we ignore the context."

When Windows 8 was released, many customers didn't understand the concept of the singular interface of multiple squares. Because they were so used to completing work on their computers, it did seem fit to swipe horizontally across the screen to open programs.

On the other hand, Microsoft thought that today's consumer would want a system that "enabled multitasking and quick interactions," which is why the new interface is filled with "touch and live tiles." Windows 8 tried to be a customer's one-stop shop for their social networking and web surfing needs and it is not as effective as hoped.

Big Data can explain a lot of a consumers' habits, but businesses need to remember why customers utilize their services. By chasing the competition instead of improving Microsoft's data processes, Windows 8 may not take off until shoppers see the financial and practical benefit of owning a computer with this operating system.

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