Microsoft Investors Should be Concerned about Windows 8
Andrés is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.
Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) has finally decided to make a bold move, launching a radically different product in Windows 8. The company seems to be trying to embrace the mobile paradigm with this new version of Windows, but this attempt may be materially damaging its PC business.
Mobile has been a growing threat for Microsoft over the last few years, and the company hasn´t found a way to compete in that market successfully. Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has kept its dominance in tablets, and it has even steadily increased its market share in Mac vs. Windows PC. As for smartphones, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) and its Android operating system have the leadership position.
It seems like Microsoft has finally recognized that mobile represents an important threat for the company, not only because Apple and Google are damaging PC sales by replacing them with more portable devices. Users like their technology to be integrated, and if they are using other systems for mobile, they are more likely to use them in desktop too.
Microsoft has been trying to port Windows made for PCs to tablets and mobile phones, and that has not worked at all. So in this case, it looks like the company took the opposite road with Windows 8 and inserted the Metro interface it created for tablets into PCs. Windows 8 seems an attempt to make the same version of the operating system work on both a tablet control by touch and a PC controlled by mouse.
Vitaliy Katsenelson writes in Institutional Investor:
The touch gestures that work well and are intuitive on tablets and mobile phones fall flat when you try them on a PC with a mouse — swiping, a very natural touch gesture, is simply cumbersome with a mouse.
And John C. Dvorak from Marketwatch is not optimistic at all either:
No business will tolerate this software, let me assure you. As a productivity tool, it is unusable.
Most applications cannot even be scaled down and so take up the whole screen. To even get out of these “apps,” you have to ram the cursor down into the lower left corner and click. That puts you back onto the vapid “Metro” start screen, where you can begin another miserable adventure.
Another harsh critique of the operating system came from Gunnar Berger, research director at Gartner, who in an extensive article reviews the different functionalities of Windows 8 and comes to negative conclusions in regards to desktop.
As I said in Part 1, I think the decision to move to Windows 8 was a solid business decision to get into the tablet market. In Part 2, I even praised the OS when used from a tablet because it’s so much more than just a tablet OS, it's Windows. Unfortunately, my area of expertise is enterprise desktops and those desktops have a keyboard and a mouse; and as much as this doesn’t make any sense, it seems to me that Microsoft forgot about this when they designed Windows 8
Microsoft decided to prioritize mobile with Windows 8, but it still needs to transition a long road before it can even be considered a credible threat for Apple and Google in tablets and smartphones. And the worst part is that the new operating system seems to be quite deficient when it comes to desktop. Investors in Microsoft have some important reasons to be concerned about the future.
acardenal owns shares of Apple and Google. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.If you have questions about this post or the Fool’s blog network, click here for information.