Windows has a lot of paths forward, but it’s clear that spending trends are shifting towards an era where consumers are no longer interested in purchasing devices for the familiarity or compatibility of Windows. Convenience is king and the experience rules. Microsoft is facing some fundamental changes in its business, and Surface is just the beginning.
Windows is Gates' and Ballmer’s baby, but it’s not 1995 anymore — it’s time to let go.
Despite my lingering sense of appreciation for Windows 8 and the Surface, it has become abundantly clear that the Windows brand has evolved to a point of negativity for a great many onlookers.
Having shed the eponymous windowed interface paradigm for a full-screen experience in Windows 8, the notion of "Windows" in a touch-centric world has become irrelevant and antiquated.
I'm reminded of Andrew Kim's phenomenal attempt at rebranding Microsoft's product-line earlier this year. Although he didn't go as far as to sever ties to Windows, I tend to think the specter of negativity following Windows 8 is reason enough to take such a bold step.
For two decades, Microsoft has clung to its past successes. The result has, unsurprisingly, been an effort in transparent embarrassment for the Redmond giant. Thinking about Windows 3.1, 95, 98, Me, 2000, XP, Vista, 7, and 8, Microsoft has clearly thrown any naming conventions to the wind, and simply tried to hark upon a familiar brand.
Unfortunately, somewhere between Windows 3.1 and Windows 8, the significance of the brand has fallen by the wayside. What we're left with is plenty of negative connotations about an insecure, unstable, and unattractive operating system.
For all of the positivity within the core Metro concept, Microsoft continues to fail to truly bring itself into the present, let alone look to the future.
Perhaps Windows 8 is selling rather well, but that's certainly no excuse for such a convoluted brand. And, although it might be passable for now, I highly doubt it will be for much longer.
Tom Warren is right, Microsoft must drop the Windows brand. It's time for something new, rather than a half-baked effort to attempt to appease long-standing customers. Without doing so, I fear Microsoft will continue to slip into irrelevance in the face of more aggressive, forward-thinking competition.