What Microsoft needs to do with Windows 9 to win back this Mac defector

What Microsoft needs to do with Windows 9 to win back this Mac defector

Summary: While I still keep up with Windows, and use it in a limited fashion in my work life, I have switched over to OS X as my primary workhorse platform. Will Windows 9 tempt me back to the Microsoft fold?


At the moment there's a lot of buzz surrounding Windows 9 because rumor has it that Microsoft will unveil the new operating system in a preview towards the end of next month, with the full release due for next year.

Will the changes be enough to make this Mac defector go back to Windows?

Because there are a lot of NDAs floating around – I am not under any NDA but I know others are and I don't want to spoil the fun – I'm not confirming or denying anything in relation to this.

While professionally I still keep up with Windows, and use it in a limited fashion in my work life, I have in the majority switched over to OS X as my primary workhorse platform. I've covered this switch in detail before, so I'm not going to go over that ground again (if you want to know more I suggest you read this and this). Many of my reasons for making the shift come down to Windows 8, so with Windows 9 just around the corner, I'm curious to see if the changes are enough to bring me back to the platform.

So, let me outline what Microsoft needs to do with Windows 9 to win me back.

Stop messing around

The fact that Microsoft went and made huge changes to Windows between Windows 7 and Windows 8, and then backtracked on some of those changes in Windows 8.1 gives me little confidence that the company knows what users want from a platform.

Windows 8 was so roundly and comprehensively blasted by usability experts that I can't imagine what possessed Microsoft to make these changes in the first place. I can only hazard a guess that the changes were driven by people who knew little or nothing about user interface design, and I feel that these changes went ahead despite protests from people who knew better.

I want Microsoft to stop messing around for the sake of messing around. Making users embrace a wholly different – and broken – way of working in Windows 8, and then expecting them to have to adapt to more changes in Windows 8.1 was just a waste of time and money.

If someone at Microsoft wants to make huge changes to the user interface, changes that potentially have a massive impact on productivity – then I want these to be thoughtfully done and carefully executed. I don't want to end up using what feels like the first crazy design that someone came up with, only for that to change within a few months.

Stop wasting my time

I get the overwhelming feeling that Microsoft feels that "me using Windows" involves me staring at screensavers for hours on end, checking out the news and weather using simplistic apps with a low information density, and being WOWed by cool on-screen animations.

Umm, I hate to break it to you Microsoft, but I work for a living.

If I want to see grand vistas, I'll look out of the window. If I want to check out the news or weather, I have websites for that, not annoying apps that crave attention like an exasperating child frantically waving its arms in my face. If I want to be wowed by on-screen animation, I'll watch the next Transformers movie – OK, maybe not that.

I think that somewhere along the line Microsoft has forgotten that an operating system is supposed to be a platform to help users get work done, not a source of irritation and endless distractions. I have stuff to do. When I'm sitting at my computer, I want to work. When I want distractions, I'll tap into that strata of unwatched episodes of Bitchin' Kitchen, Mythbusters or Rifftrax shorts that I have waiting for me.

OK, I accept that maybe there are people who want to be distracted, in which case give me a simple – preferably a "couple of clicks" simple – way to get rid of these annoyances.

Smoother update mechanism

One of the things that always amazes me when I come back to a Windows system that I've not used for a few weeks is just how many updates I have to install before I'm ready to rock. And sometimes these updates spawn more updates, and then there are the inevitable reboots.

A little bird that has access to leaked builds tells me that the latest builds have a pretty slick feature where you can upgrade between builds with a single click. That would certainly be a nice feature to have in the final release, but we'll have to wait and see.

Get OEMs to drop the crapware

The fact that Microsoft continues to allow OEMs to litter its operating systems with crapware before sending them out to buyers beggars belief.

Seriously Microsoft, getting my head around Windows 8 is hard enough without adding in the crapware freakshow.

People buying new PCs deserve better than this.

Clean up the Microsoft Store

Because it is a mess in there. Sure, a bolted-on app store adds value and brings convenience, but when it puts people in such close proximity to low-quality junk apps, its value has to be questioned.

See also:

Topics: Microsoft, Windows, Windows 8

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  • Windows 9 - All your wishes granted.

    To get rid of OEM crapware, get a Microsoft device.
    • Oh you are so right Owlie

      That nasty horrible Apple company should be completely ignored along with that frightful Google thingy.

      You are my hero.
      Rubberduck Rabidson
      • Not quite.

        They don't deserve to be ignored, they have some compelling advantages themselves.

        They just don't live up the their advertising anymore.
      • What has that got to do with his comment?

        The author is blaming Microsoft for crapware. Microsoft can only do so much hence the Microsoft signature line but OEM's are free to run there own business's like its suppose to be. They just need to realize they are hurting themselves as well. As far as your alternatives you do understand the article is about what Microsoft needs to do to win back those users don't you? I guess not.
        • So....

          There's only so much that Microsoft can do to stop the OEMs from putting their crapware on computers. But.... It's all Google's fault for having the carriers (OEMs) put crapware on Android.

          Personally, I like Adrian's request but carry it to ALL devices and ALL OS's. No more proprietary crapware on ANY platform!
          • Who said it was Googles fault?

            and yes we all can WISH crapware away but the only thing OEM's will understand is pocketbook. They are getting something for allowing the crapware and consumers are showing there displeasure by not purchasing the devices. You would think they would have figured it out by now.
  • a

  • OSX is only for bloggers like AKH

    But the rest of the Enterprise Users use Windows
    • Apple not business friendly

      we have a convert here who is currently swapping back to Windows 8. He finds that OS X just gets in the way of working - generally things like Outlook being very restrictive on the Mac.

      We get a lot of "how do I do X?" The answer is usually, "you can't, Outlook for Mac doesn't support that." Which is followed by, "but I've been doing that for years in Outlook!" Yeah, but not on a Mac.

      Then there is support. We took out AppleCare on the MacBook Pro Retina, which after 14 months has developed around 200 dead pixels in the middle of the display! And the MagSafe connector on the Thunderbolt display doesn't charge the MacBook... Apple's solution? Send us the Mac and you'll get it back in 1 to 2 weeks, once we've repaired it.

      Our cheap-as-chips Dells on the other hand get a qualified service engineer on site the next day to swap out the defect components...
      • The problem...

        The problem is that the televisions and internets said that Apple is made out of magical fairydust never-break-technology and never gets malware. And they also said that Windows gets malware and breaks all the time no matter what you do!

        And the televisions and internets never lie!
    • Did you for forget Linux?

      Red Hat Enterprise Linux sees quite a lot of usage with 'enterprise users'.
  • Hmmmmmmm.....

    That AKH fellow is a bit helpless when it comes to computers, isn't he? ; )
  • Some are never going to happen.

    Agree with you on the first one. MS has made the changes (and not for the best). It needs to sit back, trim the excess and repair the underlying code further to smoothen out the winkles. Windows 8 was and still is a mess. I would say that the next version of Windows should mean 'you get it only when we say it is ready'. This should be easy to do with the shift to the cloud. Windows 7 is here to stay like XP and MS will have a hard time again.

    The modern interface is crap on a desktop. They have done something about it but having the OS in a modular format will allow us to have the Windows 7 look for the professionals without the clutter. But I know this is never going to happen.

    MS should continue releasing a new image every year to incorporate the updates up till then. This is just good service. People who have stuck with the initial version and never reinstalled the OS will get updates but if something goes wrong, they have access to the latest OS image and don't have to go through the whole process again. Nice idea but freaking hard to implement.

    Not going to happen. Enough said.

    The MS Store is a cesspool for sure. The concept might work for some, but they need to get rid of it in favor of giving the users the freedom to install whatever software they want. A licensing program which states that the software conforms to the rules laid out by MS should be instituted instead. If a customer comes to MS for support with a borked OS due to a software not bearing that stamp, MS can tell them to shove off. This is so much easier. Less load on themselves too. The MS store can be transformed into a personal storage cloud where a person's latest settings can be stored and the latest Windows image can be deployed.

    I was wowed by Windows 7 and MS needs to do a lot after changing so much in Windows 8. A push to touch when hardware hasn't caught up might have been dangerous, but they did force hardware makers to throw in more resources to work out the kinks. Was that the way forward. Not for me. I simply don't want to die if I was made to touch a screen laced with poison by my enemy or contract an infection.
  • OS X Yosemite will no doubt appeal to a New Generation of Mac Users....

    OS X Mavericks (now 10.9.4) has developed in to a solid release and with OS X Yosemite shortly arriving it will no doubt appeal to a new generation of Mac users.

    OS X Yosemite is a brilliant but controversial upcoming release.

    Brilliant as a Media Centre and the forward thinking Mac user with complete integration with the soon to be released iOS 8.

    However OS X Yosemite is controversial with many existing Mac users as it represents a major departure from previous releases as far back as OS X 10.5 Leopard.

    Myself well I sit on the fence hence I shall be dual booting with OS X Mavericks mostly due to the fact I am not prepared to pay to upgrade Parallels Desktop (AGAIN) just so I can run operating systems in a virtual environment .

    Currently I have OS X Yosemite Developer Preview 6 installed on a separate partition and its very impressive from what has gone before and will no doubt appeal to those considering a switch to OS X.

    These are definitive times in the history of OS X which will almost inevitably end up in a positive outcome no least because Yosemite is still fundamentally a Desktop operating system. Apple have wisely not put the Mac user through the pain of a Metro like interface.

    Apple have been careful in considering the Mac user in developing OS X Yosemite. Unlike Microsoft who gave the consumer what they thought they should have that resulted in the debacle that was the original release of Windows 8.

    For those who have already jumped shipped to OS X or Linux then Windows will live on a virtual environment mostly being Windows 7 and XP.

    Yes the Microsoft fanatics will constantly quote percentages but they are falling with the only release holding steady being Windows 7.

    Surface Pro 3 ?

    After all the hype I am still yet to see one in the wild. Another rare breed like the ChromeBook.

    Windows Phone ?

    Microsoft should have scrapped the project and adopted Android upon the takeover of Nokia and made a new Microsoft X Phone range.

    The Microsoft stranglehold on the market ids a thing of the past. Too much in the way of quality competition and yes I am including ChromeBooks as for basic tasking they are superior to many substandard low budget Windows OEM Machines.
    • Sadly ....

      Microsoft used to listen to it's customers ....
      • I seriously doubt if 5735guy is a Microsoft customer

        so I take his comments with a grain of salt.
        No I take that back, I reject pretty much anything he writes.
        • Re: I seriously doubt if 5735guy is a Microsoft customer....


          I have

          Windows 8.1 running in a virtual environment on Parallels Desktop 9

          Windows 7 Laptop.

          I believe that makes me qualified to comment.

          And before I am accused of buying a Mac to run Windows you are WRONG. I need Windows 8.1 to run one specific application.

          Furthermore I have experience of working with Windows since 3.0

          Can you claim the same ?
          • Not to mention considerable experience using Linux over the years....

  • Don't buy Big Brand Boxes.

    Build your own it's easier than LEGO. Install a Windows OEM disc, no crap ware and you get the machine you want. Apple's are very over priced for ho-hum hardware, the OS is crapware.
    Kevin Cobley
    • I bought

      my new HP desktop directly from HP last month. Simply because they were still willing to sell a Windows 7 desktop (unlike the big box stores).