Windows 8.1 closes in on Vista, but is Microsoft admitting failure?

The Microsoft operating system even the most diehard fans try to ignore ever existed, Windows Vista, is sitting at 3.61% desktop OS share – with the divisive latest iteration, Windows 8.1, now closing in at 3.6% according to Web tracker Net Applications.

It’s an age-old joke that every other of Microsoft’s Windows releases is considered good. Think, Windows 98 > Windows XP > Windows Vista > Windows 7 > Windows 8.

Whilst we haven’t included every Windows release, you can see the pattern above with the releases in bold being quite widely-accepted as the stable and better versions of the world’s most popular desktop OS amongst consumers and businesses.

It’s no secret the latest version of Windows, at version 8, caused a very divisive opinion with regards to its complete overhaul which removed legacy features such as the long-standing and iconic “Start” button which gave quick access to applications and folders.

In this year’s update, 8.1, Microsoft listened to many of the criticisms and fixed most of the major usability issues – including the return of the Start button – which plagued many users; such as this hilarious video of Lockergnome’s Chris Pirillo’s father attempting to use Windows 8.

Despite this, Windows 8 has left a sour taste in the mouths of its users, and with the rising popularity of Apple’s ecosystem through their iOS devices – many are choosing to switch to their rival Mac OS, or the open-source rival Linux.

Woody Leonhard, of tech publication InfoWorld, wrote a rather scathing piece entitled “More Microsoft exec departures mark end of a Windows era.” Whilst the end of an era I’m sure many would love to debate; the executive departures cannot be questioned.

In the article, Leonhard makes note of the departure of Windows chief Steve Sinofsky last year, and that of Jon DeVaan and Grant George earlier this week. He also picks up on Microsoft’s internal reorganisation which has found new homes (within the company) for Julie Larson-Green and Jensen Harris.

He writes: “the breakup of the old crew sends as clear a sign as any that the powers-that-be at Microsoft realize Windows 8 screwed up big time.”

But with the OS slowly crawling back up the market share, support for Windows XP being cut-off, and the radical new “Modern UI” design in-use by couch dwellers around the world through the recently-released Xbox One home console… an “end of a Windows era” could be a bit strong.

Has Windows reached the end of an era? Or could it be we just have to wait until Windows 9 for the version people enjoy?

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15 Feb 2014, 10:48 p.m.

hi, i installed linux ubuntu 12.04 long term support ( 5 years )found it easy as xp to use, for me it will do everything i need for FREE,yes i tried windows 8,i found that it has a steep learning curve for me as i do not use any touch device and to navigate with mouse i found window 8 tedious to say the least, i have been involved with computers since 1990 and honestly i find windows 8 the least user friendly of them all, even vista is easier to use, just my two cents worth.


11 Jun 2014, 7:49 p.m.

Windows 98 was a great system, i would say the best.

The time line should be: WIN 98 > win me > WIN XP > win vista > WIN 7 > win 8


22 Dec 2014, 5:48 p.m.

The designers ( or should I say perpetrators ) of Windows 8 should be shot, keel hauled and strung up. It absolutely refuses, or kicks up hell about many things that run like a dream on my Vista desktop. Shame on Microsoft. SHAME SHAME SHAME.