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back to article So, Windows 8.1 to give PC sales a shot in arm? BZZZZT, wrong answer

Microsoft's Windows 8.1 update and the rise of tablet-cum-laptop PCs may boost sales for the software titan and its hardware-making pals - but it won't happen anytime soon. Or so predicts IT distribution channel beancounter Canalys in its global shipment forecast for 2013: the analysts estimates little more than 493 million PCs …

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Unhappy

Classic Coke

Time for a new SKU from Microsoft, they do love the confusing array of SKU's.

Windows 8.2 Classic Coke version , with no TIFKAM and just a start button ( and by that I mean the traditional Start Menu ).

It's what the people want. Give them the choice at boot time/ install. IT'll please desktop and enterprise users and make the critics vanish overnight.

Doesn't bother me as I've Android on my phone, OS X on my laptop and Ubuntu on the desktop , but to be quite honest I'm frustrated with the MS attitude of thinking they know better than the customer. Choice is great, mandatory enforcement and restriction just tarnishes the brand and Microsoft right now can't buy good publicity. ( Win 8, Win Pho, XBox One etc ).

Ballmer needs to start throwing more than chairs.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Classic Coke

That attitude is the same for all tech companies. They all consider us utter nubbins who, only through herculean efforts on the part of the techies, can be made to use the wonderful stuff they have made.

The difference is, Microsoft has even less taste the most Android homescreen modders. Do you recall how enamoured they were with the introduction of Win7, harping on about how people would now be able to customise every part of the interface. Seems that plan didn't quite work for them.

Another year, another ill-founded direction.

Who though would want to step into Ballmer's shoes? AFAICT only stodgy business types are crazy about MS. Anyone with new and fresh ideas will most likely have started their own company, or is working for Face/oogle.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Classic Coke

I agree 100%, tech companies should never change anything about their products. In the unfortunate case where they do make a change - if users complain they should revert all changes immediately. Rule 1 - Never try to fix new features, always revert.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Classic Coke

I totally agree, especially when those "customers" are by their own admission, not actually users of said software, or "customers" as they're otherwise known.

Personally I hate the way that Lloyds treat their account holders, but as I bank with the Coop, I don't bang on about it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Classic Coke

"only stodgy business types are crazy about MS"

Too true. I was responsible for IT at a company from startup to flotation, including loads of acquisitions all of which was done on a Linux/ Free software infrastructure, which gave us amazing agility. CEO then told me to install MS infrastructure, for no reason other than "that's what everyone else does." I walked.

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@ Butt Futter

Butt Futter - Are you agreeing with your own posts as AC - That's weird

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Bronze badge
FAIL

Re: Classic Coke

Alright then AC13:04, go ahead and install Microsoft Bob, and then sit and wait for them to "fix" it up for you. TIPKAM is Bob all over again, only this time someone told the suits that if they can make us swallow it, they'll be rolling in dough, some sweet Apple App Store style dough at that, and they just don't want to let that bone go.

I could have maybe tolerated TIPKAM on a Windows 7 or XP core, but the file manager and networking under Windows 8 are crap. I lose minutes a day waiting for the file manager to do something while their little green status bar slowly goes to the right. What is it doing, why is it doing it, who knows. My network disconnects on its own at least 3 times a day, and requires "Troubleshoot" to be ran to fix it.

Such an improvement. //sarcasm

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Classic Coke

If your network is disconnecting and generally being very slow, have you considered that you may have a hardware problem? Lots of people seem to be so determined that Windows 8 be rubbish that they ignore obvious hardware problems being determined that it must be the OS' fault. I've also seen people commenting (here, on The Reg) about having to go to the command line with arcane commands to do things which they used to be able to do, despite the GUI option being in the same place it has since Vista.

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IT Angle

Re: Classic Coke

@AC13:17

Let me reimagine that for you

Small company with not too much cash put together a system that worked fine for as little as possible.

Along come people who want to comercialise the operation and eventualy flip the company so they can take the cash and run.

Thus they want a system that complies with GAP, SOX, plus all the other standard reporting mechanisms that they must have to be able to pass due dilligence in the future. Thus put in MSFT based system as its possible, its a known and auditable quanitity, and they can get people who have done this before (ie like yours truly).

LINUX person (ie you) gets upset, can't follow business practices and pisses off.

What are you doing now?

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Silver badge

Re: Classic Coke

Can't speak for Macgyver, but I have the same problem. The same hardware works perfectly fine when loaded with Windows 7. Install Windows 8, and it's fubar on the networking front. Repeat-tested on two instances of the same hardware.

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Re: Classic Coke

My experience was the opposite. MS gave me more opportunity to make more profit off the back of their marketing and releases, and engineers were cheaper and quicker to train. We regularly reviewed Linux, and used it in a few areas like wifi setups on large theme parks, but on the whole MS products worked and ultimately allowed customers to run the tools they needed to do their jobs.

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Bronze badge

Re: Classic Coke

But how will they buy Apps and an Office365 Subsription without TIFKAM?

Much like EA raking off Customers to re-purchase their used / Traded / Gifted Games.

Pool 'ol Bill needs to make a Buck now, and again too...

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Silver badge

Re: Classic Coke -> network probs

My son has networking problems on his Win8/Mint dual booter.

Win8 is up and down like a yoyo. Mint is just solid as a rock. Same physical location, same hardware. Of course it might be the way he holds his head while using W8.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Classic Coke

"MS gave me more opportunity to make more profit "

Here we have a major reason MS have been so successful to date.

The same logic also means that when MS's downfall starts to get serious, it will accelerate rapidly. The certified MS dependent business partners aren't out to build decent systems for their customers, they're out to build nest eggs for themselves. And when it becomes clear to the MS-dependent that staying solely dependent on MS can no longer guarantee a worthwhile income when their own favourite supplier is repeatedly shooting itself in the foot or sometimes the head... you work it out.

"MS gave me more opportunity to make more profit "

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IT Angle

Re: Classic Coke

@AC 14:33

For the record, I have a triple-boot system with XP, Win8, and Mint 14, the others all work fine. I have three APs per floor running different SIDs on different channels each separated by at least three channels and not mixing with my neighbors channels. I'll concede that it could be a driver, but I've tried three, all the same results. The two other OSes work fine. To me it screams that it's a Windows 8 wireless networking issue.

My phone has better wifi support than Windows 8.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Classic Coke

@Getriebe

That may be, but it's unlikely, what the CEO had in mind, but wasn't the business plan then, nor for some years after I left. Also, I lost count of the number of due diligence audits we went through, all successfully, and never on one occasion was IT an issue during the mergers and take-overs.

Meanwhile, the Linux-based infrastructure was put in precisely because of the continuing changes of business direction (once given 3 hours to dismantle connections to one company, for example, and create two separate operating units - yes three hours. The lawyers completed their stuff and everything had to happen that day. That's what I mean by agility. Once had to set up a brass plate operation on Rotterdam which has to pass muster as a company office with full time connections etc, but had to remain secure with no local personnel, etc)

Odd that some folk think that Linux and FOSS are incompatible with business strategy, and interesting that you assume that I designed that infrastructure for ideological reasons.

What am I doing today? Well, there are quite a few strings to my bow, thanks, and only some of them involve Linux and Free Software, but I acknowledge what it enabled me to do at a signifcant part of my own and others' lives.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @ Butt Futter

Ahh.....no.... I find it too tiring already to post just under one name...

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Happy

+1 avoiding an upgrade

Dropped my lovely 17' XPS and broke the screen yesterday.

1st thought: arrrghh!

2nd thought: Hmm... excuse to buy a new one

3rd thought: oh no it'll be windows 8!

4th thought: use phone to buy new screen.

Anecdotal, but that's the how the economy works, millions of individuals all making their own decisions on their own terms. Made me chuckle to my self.

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Linux

Re: +1 avoiding an upgrade

I was going to say you could yank the HDD out of your old machine and put it in the new one and it won't notice the difference

But this being Windows, it'd probably BSOD because the SATA chipset had changed, or you'd lose all your software licenses because the CPU serial number had changed.

This is one of the of the many reasons I avoid Windows when I can.

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Silver badge

Re: +1 avoiding an upgrade

I'd avoid the HDD swap route anyway for another reason: if I buy a new PC/laptop with Win8, I'm adding to the Win8 stats, which I definitely DON'T want to do!

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Alert

Re: +1 avoiding an upgrade

You have to make an image backup of the HDD to another HDD before you do a Windows swap, because Windows is perfectly capable of borking the disk into complete unrepairability if you try to boot it in a new hardware environment. Microsoft doubtless considers this a desirable feature, not a bug.

In contrast, I've yanked a linux disk out of an AMD multi-core system and booted it on an utterly different Intel single-core system with no trouble. I also had the assurance that linux / and /home are separate partitions, so / was expendable and /home wouldn't be mounted after commenting out its line in fstab.

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Re: +1 avoiding an upgrade

Oh no! No one stocks the screen I need. I'm doomed!

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IT Angle

Re: +1 avoiding an upgrade

@Nigel11,

For anyone listening, Windows XP and earlier had those HAL issues, but most installs above Vista SHOULD be able to boot different hardware (different CPUs) , but Windows will sense the differences and basically void your OS license, you can still make it work, but you will have to call Microsoft every time you reload, and read to them a LONG (almost 100 characters long) number, and they will read back to you the same size but different number, THEN it will work. It's part of their anti-piracy efforts (even though pirates just run a program to avoid it), and is the reason Microsoft can never fail or go out of business, if they do any computer in the world running above Windows 98 (excluding XP LVL and the above mentioned pirates) will stop working in 90 days.

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Silver badge

Re: +1 avoiding an upgrade

Anecdotes may be anecdotal, but if you get enough of them, they become data.

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Pint

Where do . . .

. . . chromebooks feature in those stats?

I know they haven't set the world on fire, but thay can do VPN and I want one for out and about (see icon).

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Pint

Re: Where do . . .

If you're out and about at the sign of the beer and a VPN is required at all then there's definitely a priorities issue to be resolved...

Some moments are for just the beer :)

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Linux

Re: Where do . . .

Not sure where they feature on those stats, but the Samsung Chromebook has been the topselling laptop on amazon.com for some months now - http://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Computers-Accessories-Laptop/zgbs/pc/565108

And it's been number 3 on amazon.co.uk for ages too.

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Pint

Re: Where do . . .

"priorities issue"

I was thinking of the classic BOFH scenario - appear to have nose to grindstone, whilst actually have glass to lips.

Summer will be here soon.

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Silver badge

Re: Where do . . .

That's what PFY's are for. Either that or buying aforementioned beer.

Of course the risk is by appearing to be available, people assume you are. And from experience having nose to grindstone (either in actuality or just appearance) rarely comes into the equation when someone needs something trivially stupid to be done "now" or their world will end.

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Anonymous Coward

Analysts

They may or may not be right this time, but when it comes to predicting sales of products that aren't out yet, analysts literally have no idea what they are talking about.

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Silver badge

8.1 is nothing.

The 8.1 update is a bunch of cosmetic fluff that didn't fix anything that desktop / laptop people hate. So no new sales there. This is the one place where they had a chance to improve things if they were not so desperate to stuff not-Metro down peoples throats.

Windows tablets are too expensive and have crap app selection so 8.1 is not changing anything there. Not much they could do to Win8 to fix the problems with tablet sales.

So don't hold your breath.

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MJI
Silver badge

Windows love hate

Well it is at the stage that I cannot use a Windows PC without it annoying me somehow.

This PC, reboot, icons all move, doesn't run my old software,a bit bossy. VERY bossy with updates.

Home PC, file open/saveas ect is a piece of rubbish and drives me mad. A bit Tellytubbyish

A new laptop at work, too much fluff, keeps hiding things. Stupid menus until start something was installed

I have not yet found an ideal operating system, and I can see why tablets are taking off.

As to Windows server 2012, we want the menus back, why have server OSes got worse since Netware stopped?

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WTF?

Re: Windows love hate

"As to Windows server 2012, we want the menus back, why have server OSes got worse since Netware stopped?"

Huh? They've actually got much much better. ZFS, for instance. Better virtualisation with QEmu/KVM. Decent support for 64 bit and SMP... Hadoop, nosql, mysql improvements etc..

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Windows

Re: Windows love hate

I think MJI is labouring under the illusion that:

if ($OS == "Windows Server")

$serverOS = true;

else

$serverOS = false;

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@MJI: Re: Windows love hate

"As to Windows server 2012, we want the menus back, why have server OSes got worse since Netware stopped?"

I am not sure that OSes have gotten worse since Netware stopped, but I am sure that the UI's for every type of software, for reasons completely unconnected with Netware in any way, have been degenerating for a long time now.

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MJI
Silver badge

Re: Windows love hate

Actually Windows Server to me is an oxymorom.

SMB2 is an effing nightmare.

I have little Linux exposure.

I really liked Netware from 4.1 to 5.1 now THAT as a NOS I could trust

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MJI
Silver badge

Re: @MJI: Windows love hate

It is a pain, us older PC programmers were used to various DOSes with Netware, then we get used to the Windows GUI, then they break it.

There are times I would LOVE to get out of IT, Hmm small B&B by the seaside sounds nice.

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Re: why have server OSes got worse since Netware stopped?

My money would be on:

for the same reason browser innovation crashed after MS killed Netscape and before Firefox took off.

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Thumb Up

Re: @MJI: Windows love hate

"There are times I would LOVE to get out of IT, Hmm small B&B by the seaside sounds nice."

Well, I'm looking forward to my Ibizian villa by my own private beach - no B&B though - I don't want strangers in my house :-)

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WTF?

...an ambitious user-interface redesign

Hmm, this is obviously a definition of the word "ambitious" that I'd never heard of before?

Maybe whilst they're finally (alledgedly) talking to their customers about what they may actually want, they should also ask them what the word means too...?

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What do you think the word means?

Microsoft clearly wanted this redesign to be successful (definition 1 from dictionary.com), and it certainly took a lot of effort effort on their part to try to make it successful (definition 4 from dictionary.com). Definition 2 is in many ways a restating of definitions 1 and 4, and definition 3 isn't relevant contextually.

I'm trying to think of a definition for ambitious which is relevant in context, but not applicable...

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Facepalm

It's not even easy to buy the f*cking MS Surface, it was released for sale in in Sweden a week ago, but is only sold through consumer electronic stores.

Trying to buy one through the companys usuall hw provider: No luck

3 out of 4 retailers can't give you an invoice. I.e. don't sell to businesses.

The fourth had no clue on when or what they can deliver.

MS only sells in batches of thirty to companies.

So after one week of trying to buy one I'm close to giving up.

I am not surprised that sales are low if this is the way it is sold in the rest of the world.

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Judging from Android usage

people are genuinely ready to try different approaches - if you want to boost PC sales you can knock a 1/3rd the price by sticking linux - or even android - on the PC. In fact judging from what I've seen you could more than 1/2 the price as linux really doesn't need anything like the resources that windows does to run smoothly. MS are killing the PC market by not allowing it to run without them.

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Unhappy

Re: Judging from Android usage

"if you want to boost PC sales you can knock a 1/3rd the price by sticking linux - or even android - on the PC"

Much as I'd love to agree with you there, just look at how many Linux netbooks were returned by consumers who didn't understand that Linux is not Windows.

On the other hand, stick a big, impossible to miss, Google Play store type of icon in the middle of the screen and it might fly. People are more used to non-Windows smart phones and tablets now so an obvious way to install "stuff" might actually work if the apps are there and accessible.

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Anonymous Coward

@John Brown - Re: Judging from Android usage

How many netbooks have been returned ?

Your argument about people being stupid and not understanding the difference between Linux and Windows doesn't hold much water. You want numbers ? Just look at the millions of IPad and Android tablets sold worldwide and check the return rate because people were disappointed they could not run Ms Office or Photoshop on them. Then look at how many people are buying Windows tablets exactly because they want what Microsoft propaganda calls "familiar apps and user interface".

The point I'm trying to make here is that it is not user confusion that killed the netbook.

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Silver badge

Re: Judging from Android usage

"Linux netbooks were returned by consumers who didn't understand that Linux is not Windows."

That was a few years ago before Joe Average punter knew what Android/Linux were.

These days the general population is far better informed and educated. They've seen Android tablets and ipads and all sorts of non-MS kit.

An Android or Linux notebook could likely be far better received now than 5 years ago.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Judging from Android usage

"you can knock a 1/3rd the price by sticking linux - or even android - on the PC"

Complete bullshit. While there might be a savings for the cost of Windows THAT SAVINGS WILL BE FAR, FAR LESS THAN WHAT YOU SAY.

And the PC maker still needs to test the Linux install that the hardware will ship with, and still needs to support it with a support staff not accustomed to supporting Linux. And the cost of that will be recouped over a smaller customer base than a Windows machine will have; certainly resulting in a higher cost and therefore higher selling price per PC shipped.

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Coat

Calling Eadon

Time to stop either (as per comments on another thread)

1) Patching your Windows machines

2) Building your own cloud

1 1/2 hours and we're still waiting for your daily rant!!!

Hurry up, your fans are waiting with bated breath

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FAIL

"So, Windows 8.1 to give PC sales a shot in arm? BZZZZT, wrong answer."

Finally, El Reg are listening to EADON.

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Anonymous Coward

Hybrids

When did these ever seem like a good idea to anyone?

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