Microsoft’s battle for consumers: it’s time to drop the Windows name
In a mobile world, the brand is the biggest crutch
The Windows brand has served Microsoft well for over 25 years — Windows 1.0 debuted on November 20th, 1985, paving the way for an operating system that has dominated desktop computing ever since. That paradigm for personal computing has changed with the rise of mobile, however. Windows 8 is an ambitious attempt to marry a desktop OS with a new touch-friendly interface designed for tablets and smartphones — but Microsoft would be well served to phase out the battered Windows brand for its mobile efforts.
Change is never easy for end users to accept or for big businesses to pull off; it’s impossible to alter a product millions of people around the world use on a daily basis without pissing off a few loud voices. Microsoft has experienced ups and downs with its massive customer base over the years, but never more so than the feedback around Windows Vista and Windows ME. Microsoft stumbled in the years leading up to Vista: while Apple was busy preparing its iPhone and iPad devices, Microsoft missed a crucial holiday sales season and shipped its latest release to retailers in January 2007. The changes in Vista alienated some users and created hardware compatibility issues with poor performance on some laptops, just as mobile computing was getting increasingly popular ahead of the netbook boom. The experience may have permanently impacted the Windows reputation.
Maybe the Metro branding issue gave them enough data to finally realize this. Basic questions really – Analyze how people respond to the re-branding (Metro), and their reactions when they had to go back to the usual and very jaded name, windows – can provide a lot of info when it comes to users. I can understand how the development process of an app – particularly an OS as convoluted as windows – can be exhausting, but if they where trying to build something new, a new name goes a long way…