A less-than-warm welcome for Windows 8.1

We've now heard that Windows Blue will be called Windows 8.1 and it is expected to be distributed in August. But we still don't know why Microsoft seems to be pushing the "Metro" aspects of the OS rather than backing off when it is clear nobody likes it.

Microsoft never learned an age-old marketing lesson. Say you are trying to sell two products, Product A and Product B. You personally think that Product B is a fantastic breakthrough and everyone should get on board. You do not think much of Product A because it's stupid and you have no respect for people who like it. You send both products into the market and Product A catches fire and sells like crazy while your beloved Product B just craps out.

Now because you're an engineer and don't understand marketing, you look at the results and conclude that something is wrong. Obviously Product B was not correctly presented to the consumers. So what do you do? Spend more time and money promoting Product B. Change its positioning. Give it more play. In the process, minimise the attention paid to Product A.

A successful capitalist would drop Product B like a hot potato and throw all available resources towards Product A because it is what people want. Sell more of what people want, not less.

Microsoft never seems to have really understood this. It actually thinks it knows best and will push something people don't want, assuming people misunderstand it but will love it if they are shown the way.

This is what is going on with Windows 8.1. More Metro, that's the ticket! People just need more of it and they'll like it.

Here's the question to be asked at the next Microsoft shareholders meeting: Is the uptake of Windows 8 actually lower than the uptake for Vista when it was released? The answer will be yes because Microsoft does not listen to its customers.

Windows 7 was a huge success so why discard it? Instead, the company should have gone deeper in the same direction.

This is poor marketing. There is no reason to suspect that it will ever change, however, as long as beloved Product B keeps getting some attention because someone likes it. Welcome to amateur hour.

Whoever is calling the shots is simply deluded. Windows is Microsoft's cash cow and the company should proceed with caution when developing a newer version. There is no reason to go nutty just because someone in the company thinks Metro looks prettier or more modern because one-dimensional is suddenly in vogue.

And the funny thing is, Microsoft cannot even use its cutesy name "Metro" anymore because last year a German retailer put the kibosh on the trademark. Microsoft backed off – which I thought was weird, but it is another sign that this OS is as cursed as beloved Product B.