AP Survey: Microsoft Grapples to Increase Consumer Awareness on Windows 8

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By Erik Pineda | October 29, 2012 8:00 PM EST

Microsoft's Windows 8 has so far generated mixed reviews though tech experts were somewhat in agreement that the cross-platform OS was not as intuitive as that of Apple's iOS and Google's Android.

The new Windows version came deployed with a not-too-easy learning curve, early reviewers seemed to chorus, potentially holding off would-be buyers and even upgrades.

Another major gripe is Microsoft thin collection of apps, which one analyst said could prove crucial in pushing up the number of PCs, tablets and smartphones running on Windows that vendors would sell, at least in the long term.

Developers need to be atttacted to the Windows ecosystem if Microsoft would indeed want to read glowing numbers soon, analysts said, adding that maybe afterwards consumers would trickle in.

The question begs, however, if consumers are interested on the new Microsoft product or were even aware that the trusty operating system recently got an overhaul and is now commercially available to power not only traditional computing tools but also mobile devices, which arguably almost everyone owns.

A joint survey by The Associated Press (AP) and GfK Roper Public Affairs & Corporate Communications on 1,186 U.S.-based adults showed that only five of 10 respondents had clear inkling that Windows 8, which ironically Microsoft had developed very publicly, was forthcoming.

And the rest, which is about 48 per cent, who were informed that Windows 8 and devices on the OS will hit store shelves soon appeared not too excited about the new products.

GfK researchers said around 69 per cent of those polled have indicated last week that they see no pressing reason to grab the new Microsoft Surface tablet, signalling that the brick would not pose a challenge anytime soon to the dominance currently enjoyed by Apple's iPad, which last week saw the unveiling of its smaller sibling - the iPad Mini.

Another 61 per cent, AP said, declared that Windows 8 would not convince them to upgrade or buy new desktops and laptops powered by the reengineered operating system.

This specific indicator is connected to the mere 35 per cent who believed that Microsoft has indeed unleashed a giant leap in the Windows environment via the Windows 8, which Bill Gates had touted last week as the unifying platform for man's computing needs.

Mobile computing devices and online services frequently accessed by global consumers will be under a single umbrella via the new Windows 8, which has become the core platform of other Microsoft products that allow for heightened productivity and social media interactions.

Apparently, however, these benefits have yet to sink in on the new breed of consumers that for the past half-decade were pampered the system earlier introduced by Apple and Google.

And the old-time Windows fan, AP said, were either unwilling to shed their old XP, Vista and Windows 7 machines or were not rushing on buying new PCs while studying the thought of trying out Microsoft's tiled-interface in Windows 8.

The software could very well spend the last cent of its $US1-billion marketing war-chest before global consumers would actually get a real feel of what Windows 8 is all about, analysts said, confirming earlier projections that it could take a while for the OS to penetrate significant shares of the mobile computing market worldwide.

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