Memo to Microsoft: Only Sell Windows 8 on Touch-enabled Computers
Amid all the questions about Windows 8 sales, here’s the biggest one from The VAR Guy: Why does Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) allow computer makers to sell Windows 8 on PCs, notebooks and ultrabooks that lack touch-enabled screens? That’s a huge mistake. Skeptical? Consider the following scenario, and the most important lesson Steve Jobs taught us about Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and end-user experience.
Millions of shoppers saw Windows 8 for the first time during Black Friday while visiting Best Buy and other consumer electronics stores. Many of those shoppers walked up to Windows 8 computers and touched the tile interface. Nothing happened. Imagine that: Windows 8’s single most advertised feature does not work on many of the initial Windows 8 systems that PC makers are promoting.
The VAR Guy isn’t alone in his concern here. Zunited offered a similar observation after watching customers “try” Windows 8 PCs that lack touch capabilities.
“Time and again I would see people try to touch the screen expecting something to happen. To their disappointment they would discover that it was just a regular old laptop with a new OS they had never used before. Why would retailers and laptop manufacturers even allow that to happen? Windows 8, in all honesty, is not as enjoyable when using a mouse and keyboard. The learning curve would automatically turn off any potential customers.”
Can’t Touch This?
Steve Jobs taught us all that you need to deliver an insanely great end-user experience. You need to delight customers from the very first time they try your product. Now imagine if:
- The iPhone’s touch interface was turned off the first time you attempted to try it in an Apple Store.
- The iPod’s Click Wheel didn’t respond the first time you attempted to try an iPod.
- An automated teller machine’s (ATM’s) touch screen didn’t work the first time you tried to make a cash withdraw or check your balance.
- Windows 8’s touch interface didn’t work — at all — the first time you walked up to a Windows 8 PC in a retail store.
How’s your first impression? Answer: Lousy.
Getting Back In Touch
Memo to Microsoft: Take three steps:
- Develop and promote standard logos that show customers which Windows 8 PCs are touch enabled, and which ones lack touch capabilities.
- Allow PC makers to sell their current inventories of Windows 8 PCs that lack touch capabilities.
- Once those systems are sold out, enforce licensing that only allows Windows 8 to be sold on touch-enabled systems. For all other systems continue to promote Windows 7.
It’s far too early to say whether Windows 8 will enjoy huge sales momentum. But it’s time for Microsoft to remember the most basic rule of IT sales: Deliver a great, complete end-user experience on all systems — not just some systems.