Microsoft at Odds with PC Makers Over Windows 8 Strategy

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tenchymuyo2

The most annoying thing I've found about W8 so far is the lack of a start menu, or at least its button. On ninite.com, there's an option to download/install "Classic Start Menu". When you use it, you won't boot to Metro. It will look like Windows 7, more or less, but you can still get to Metro. Plus you can adjust the start menu emulate XP if you like.

Now maybe in time I could come to appreciate Metro, but as a tech for 18 years, I'm a bit set in my ways. I want to navigate the way I always do.

The other thing is, for whatever reason, every time they change the OS, they separate things that were all part of one selection with multiple tabs. Display options is one example of this. In XP, you right clicked Properties on the screen, and you had everything you needed. Vista,7,8, Display and Power settings are now in different sections, meaning you have to do some more clicks to find the setting you need to tweak. I think 8 changed it up even more.

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rfrederick_pmp

Wow, I am always amazed when I read these articles about Windows 8 because everyone sounds like a neanderthal. Imagine that we are still using DOS and MS is trying to get us to move to Windows for the first time, the arguments are EXACTLY the same.

Anyway, this column was supposed to be about how the OEM's blew it, but I put the error further down the channel. I remember walking into Frys, Best Buy, TigerDirect (CompUSA), and Microcenter looking for any sign of Windows 8 after the October launch with no luck.

Now, after the holidays, those stores are stocked with the product, but ask them to demo it and you get total confusion. (Actually, that is Microsoft's fault.)

Even the Microsoft stores I visited are horrible at explaining the product. I had to stand there and sell them on why the product is exceptional. Here I am with my HTC Titan phone at a Microsoft store explaining the benefits of Windows 8 to a store rep who personally was an Android phone user. Actually, MOST of the Microsoft reps appear to be ex-Android retail reps from the cellphone stores like ATT or Verizon.

For those of you who don't "get it," the Windows 8 ecosystem is AWESOME. I built an HTPC for $300 and connected it to my 42" LED tv (which only cost $399) and a Logitech K400 wireless keyboard ($30). For less than ANYTHING I could buy from Apple, I have a killer setup that even my teenage son thinks is cool. Windows 8 looks AMAZING on a big screen.

Gradually, I have been setting up the ecosystem. First, I created Microsoft Live accounts for everyone in my family. Then, I configured all of their personal systems and social graphs to use those email accounts. (Everyone uses PCs but my kids are iPhone users.)

I setup the XBOX live family addition ($99/yr) and everyone has a gamer tag and an avatar. We all share a single Netflix and Amazon prime account, so my kids can watch movies on their phones, computers or gaming systems.

Because everyone is using the same ecosystem, I am now able to connect to the calendars and share scheduling information. I am training my kids to add events to their phones which automatically updates their calendars.

I am learning to utilize the SkyDrive storage between my computers and my phone, and have had limited success with using Skype, but those things will come.

What's really cool is how my notebook computer and my office computer and my HTPC (Home Theater PC) are all synchronized so as I move from place to place to place, all of my stuff stays with me.

I can't wait until all of my systems are touch (right now, none of them are), but I love Windows 8 just the same. ALL of my old keyboard commands still work and there are new keyboard commands for EVERYTHING you would want to do in Metro. (Probably the most common for me are ALT-TAB to switch apps, WIN-F4 to close Metro apps, and WIN-Q to search).

One of the big obstacles I am working on right now is separating everyone's data on our big office computer that we all use. We setup a single machine to synchronize the iPhones, music, and pictures so that we had a centralized media server. With Windows 8, everyone gets their own login which creates a new administrative challenge, but again, nothing that cannot be worked out over time.

Keep in mind that Windows 8 is really Windows 1.0 all over again. By Windows 10, these arguments will disappear and you will wonder how you ever got along without a touch screen, but that is the future.

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Paper Jam

We are not neanderthals. But you are coming off as a middle school kid with a crush. If you think Windows 8 is "AWESOME" that is your opinion, but that doesn't actually make it awesome. It looks like it was made for kids. It's flashy and colorful. I am a grownup, and I want an OS that looks like it. You made silly little avatars on your Xbox for all of your family? Good for you, but they are silly and childish. I want a dashboard that doesn't require me to make an avatar and doesn't fill the screen with more ads than content (even though I have paid for a Gold account). And as for the integration between devices, if you buy all Apple products you get the same integration, so nothing new there.

This is a tech site, so we are familiar with hotkeys, and we know what HTPC stands for. You don't have to educate us. We know what Windows 8 is and we don't like it for reasons beyond just not liking change. And I have a tablet for touch, and would rather not have greasy finger prints all over my desktop monitor. I pray your dystopian future where all devices require touch never comes true. Go back to Microsoft and tell Ballmer that you failed.

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Foy Blackmon

I build desktop computers and my last three builds (2 for work and my own rig) have all been Win8 Pro 64 machines. I chose Windows 8 because it is far and away, the best operating system.

I have installed exactly ZERO drivers on all three computers so, plug-and-play as it should be has finally arrived for Windows. Using SSDs, OS install took about 15 minutes and they cold boot in under 15 seconds. All run 24/7 without a single crash or even so much as a hiccup. (a little over a month so, we shall see) It is, in fact, THE most stable and fastest Windows operating system I have ever seen . . . and I have seen them all.

I was fully prepared to hate Windows 8, since I have loathed Microsoft's heavy handed behavior for over 20 years. After reading all the horror stories on-line and especially the ocean of negative comments on Newegg when I was spec'ing the systems, I determined to go Win7. Thankfully, my son finally convinced me to take the plunge and I'm grateful he did.

My rig boots to a Win7 desktop (again, as fast as 14 seconds) has a start button and nothing in the UI suggests Win8 unless I move the cursor to the corner . . . which I do often because Windows 8 gives better control of what's going on with my computer.

Because my boss refuses/has no time to relearn, his machine boots to XP and he has called me ZERO times asking how to do something because for him, nothing has changed. Except his computer is significantly faster and vastly more stable. He did stumble into Metro once and like me, hates it. I found a workable solution to an otherwise superior OS.

I do have a problem with Microsoft not getting/caring that at home, I kick back in my chair at my desk, relax with mouse in hand and enjoy threads like this. It either didn't occur to them or they do not care that I have no inclination to buy a new monitor so that I can sit up, put my face directly in front of my 27-inch screen and interact with fingers as comfortably as I do leaning back at a normal viewing distance.

I'm at a loss as well, to understand the anger so many seem to feel about a computer operating system. If I were Microsoft, I would see it as an opportunity since hate takes a lot more effort and thought than apathy. It would be far worse for them if NOBODY were talking about them. So you hate Win8. You hate it very much. You hate Microsoft telling you what to do/what you want. Microsoft doesn't tell ME what to do and I spend zero energy being pissed.

So, discounting the probability of getting along famously were we to meet in real life, I will likely be treated like pond scum because I refuse to regard pieces reporting poor Win8 sales as vindication for my views.

That a whole lot of people agree with you does not mean you are right. Windows 8 adoption, or not, does not mean your assumptions are correct.

Foy

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WarpathPS

I can't help but notice half of your post was nothing but self righteous babbling. People hate Microsoft for their illegal business practices like we saw against Netscape, where ole billy was fired after he lost in court. Not only that but Microsoft has put out good OS's and then terrible OS's and they force PC makers and consumers to go along with it regardless of how many bugs or dislikes there is, Win 98/ME, and Vista come to mind.

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Foy Blackmon

I can't help but notice your apocryphal evidence of "illegal business practices" has nothing to do with anything.

You're an idiot, comes to mind.

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Penterax

Microsoft should know by now that the major OEMs are crappy companies that won't spend a dime making a better product unless they are forced to. A large part of Vista's problems were the fault of OEMs putting together cheap PCs that couldn't run the OS right, and component manufacturers using a "wait and see" approach to upgrading firmware and drivers.

Microsoft can buy these guys books and buy them books, and they won't do anything with them but eat the covers (to use a modified version of the old saying :) ). There isn't a single Windows computer OEM I'd trust to make a rig for me.

In this, Apple has them all beat, and I wouldn't blame Microsoft for saying "screw them all" and start building their own machines. (I certainly wouldn't like it if it meant I couldn't build my own anymore, but I wouldn't blame them, either.) It wouldn't be the best for them in a market share sense, but it would alleviate some of their frustrations, I'm sure.

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RUSENSITIVESWEETNESS

Maybe the chilly reception stems from forcing a smart phone operating system onto PC users? After all, it's not like we fucking multitask or something....

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SeVeN

I definitely think it's time for touch capable devices. It's the next thing in computer technology, so I definitely think Microsoft aimed for the right direction.

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WarpathPS

Why would people want to hunch over to smudge up their desktop monitors instead of relaxing and using their mouse? Micrsoft can save their money on focus groups and send me a check instead.

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FLGibsonJr

Touch has its uses when used on smartphones and tablets, but for the desktop and nearly every other non-handheld device touch is really going backwards. Old CAD stations used to use a form of touch with a stylus. When having to touch the screen (some used tablets) was replaced by the mouse and keyboard, I thought the old inefficient "touch" screen method was in the dustbin of history for good, thank god. Now they are trying to bring back this old and inefficient interface, by selling it as new and improved. It is almost laughable.

Again touch is great for handhelds, but it is 20 years backwards for desktops and all other non-handhelds. I can't believe MS was so misguided on this.

Best Regards,

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jeffreyac

Yeah, have to be honest - I disagree. For me, personally, I have no interest in a touch-based PC experience - though I do realize that's solely my own opinion, it just doesn't work for me personally.

Obviously, there are those who do agree with you and are happy with the new format - it's just a question of how many fall into which camp. I guess time will tell over the next year or so if Microsoft bet correctly.

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Teeebs

OK, quick test. Nope, can't touch my monitor from where I'm sitting. So, tell me again how touch capable devices are the next best thing for desktops? Still waiting....and so is Micro$oft apparently....

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jgottberg

Move closer? :)

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Teeebs

Yeah, really cute. Easier still, stay with Windows 7, which doesn't require me to trade in my kickass monitor for some inferior touchscreen model....

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jgottberg

lol, I hear that... If you gave it a shot, the Logitech T650 does a great job emulating the touchscreen experience without smudging up your monitor. I use it as work and it's actually not bad, like I said, if you give it a shot.

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davelray

Wow, yet another baseless argument. Windows 8 doesn't force or require the use of a touchscreen monitor. Keyboard and mouse work just fine. Just because support for a technology is added in, doesn't mean you have to use it. Win 8 natively supports USB 3 but I didn't run out and upgrade my external USB 2 hard drive.

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pastorbob

+1

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warptek2010

Microsoft seems to be taking acting cues from how the Federal 'guvmint' operates in a post constitutional manner telling states what to do and what not to do. If I were an OEM I'd tell em to stick it.

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burntham77

Based on what we saw during CES this year, 2013 will be the year of the convertible/hybrid laptops and tablets. So Windows 8 may have been off to a relatively slow start, but clearly the PC makers are making use of Windows 8's new "hybrid" functionality.

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Meat_Juice

When I can buy a 42" touchscreen for the same price as a led tv today, maybe I'll revisit this abomination of an OS. I did try it for a few weeks and went back to 7.

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Neufeldt2002

Windows 7 may be the last MS OS I buy. If Valve is successful with Steam on Linux via the Steam Box, that is where I will be going as I only have Windows for the games, everything else I can do in Linux. And to be honest, I can't really see MS winning their war on Linux. The more MS tries to control things, the more people are going to leave. It may not be Linux that wins in the end either, but the top companies don't stay there forever.

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paschal

True it may not have been the most popular, but they went with the flow of touch screen. I bought five licenses...$200. As I was kicking all of the 775 boards in the house to the curb anyway, good timing. I still have the W7 licenses. Drivers are not a problem for anything but a Canon 3240 Multifunction Printer on scanning, and installed "Scan2PDF" for an easy fix. For the $40 I also gained BitLocker and the new form of Drive Extender, so it is worth a minor inconvenience on the interface, which I could change anyway.

With Home Server 2011 dead ended and the replacement product pricey, a spare W8 license is on the shelf as third party stuff is starting to show up to make it a set and forget W8 server. If it does not, I'll cobble something together. I saved over $400 on licenses doing W8.

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Ledoubleu

And yet MSFT is reporting record 1/4 revenue with Windows division leading the charge as top performer.

Considering all the W8 hate post I've been reading across multiple sites and the fact that MSFT hasn't been willing to release detailed sales data, this is all very confusing!

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Fenthic

I remember reading a article by Paul Thurrot (spelling? and to lazy in the am to look it up) that the sales figures MS is touting includes OEM licenses where many of those "Sold licenses" could still be sitting in OEM (Dell, HP, Toshiba, Lenovo, etc) inventory or on store shelves and the MS sales figures are not indicative of actual copies of windows 8 in use.

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sarkli

Yet another kick to the Microsoft toolbag. I dont know where they get their info from but i think they need to do a little more R before the D. Did they test the market with touchscreen PC's first to see how they'd sell? Probably not. Thus they shoot themselves in the foot.

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NUCLEARWARFAIRY

I help 2-3 people a day make 8 work and feel like 7. Think martyr complex only GUI instead of leppers

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Gezzer

Just another one adding his two cents here

I don't use Win8, haven't even tried Win8, but I don't hate Win8. I don't even hate Metro or Modern... or... whatever MS will decide calling it will make it more palatable with this upcoming reboot.

What I do hate is being forced to do something, anything that I don't feel a need to do. That includes upgrading to Win8 because a lot of "twits" are getting hot under the collar and insulting people because they don't want to upgrade. Peer pressure should be left back in high school where it belongs. Well it really doesn't belong any where, but you know what I mean.

My big problem with Win8, and if you read the sub text of most people anti Win8, is that it signals a shift in MS's mind set. I see it as MS looking over at Apple and seeing the "walled garden" that Jobs built and thinking "ohhh, look at that, we need something like that!" Then they look over at Steam and think "Wow, look at that! We really need something like that!!" The next step was how did they get "that"? Well hide more of Windows so that users won't notice what's going on. Then funnel users choice so that the default suits their purposes, because most inexperienced uses just go with the default choice. Etc. Etc.

Now this isn't really new for MS, so it really isn't so much a mind shift. MS has always played this way. Look at how IE "had" to be integrated into Windows 95 or so they said. And MS got their pee pees slapped for that one. So MS has always had a goal of controlling not just the users experience but the user as well. They just never really found a way to do it without getting in trouble with anti-trust issues, or users in general. Consider that the anti-trust ruling hog tied them for 10 years and they watched Apple show them how to control user choice all the while chomping at the bit. While the ruling's enforcement period is up and MS can get back to being the MS of old.

Win8 is MS's first major move into dictating more on how we use Windows by reducing user choice (IE vs Netscape anyone?). So yes you can get a third party program so you can boot right to the desktop. But why do we have to? Do you really think if Win8 took off that we'd even have the option in Win9? I highly doubt it. While I do understand that ultimately Windows is MS's product and property, it's actually more then that. Windows has become bigger then I'm sure anyone every thought it would. Think of Windows like the MA Bell AT@T. It has a huge desktop market share. I'd even suggest that it's the most familiar and recognized OS/UI in the world.

That's a lot of real and potential power. Power that can be used to dictate how I use Windows, and because I'm heavily invested in Windows abuse of that power over me is just a bit scary.
And that's the final reason why I won't upgrade.

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DeltaFIVEengineer

Microsoft isn't doing this, they've already done it. Everything from their new Microsoft retail stores to Windows 8 is directly influenced by Apple. I think they should've taken the approach a long time ago and they certainly wouldn't be in the position that they are now in consumer's minds.

And for all the aggrandizing, grandstanding, name calling, and nerd rage that gets thrown around these comment sections; what most people here need to realize is that the vast majority of people could care less about a "walled garden" or "less control." They want their stuff to work without having to call some pretentious tw*t to come fix their computer. Microsoft gained a reputation in the consumer mind that their junk always breaks, even though it may not have always been Microsoft's fault. However, MS invited every Tom, Dick, and Harry to swim in the pool without any regard as to how it could affect their OS.

Apple was smart enough to mitigate these situations as best it could and while the geeks decried Apple for its closed system, Microsoft was feeling the weight of its "open system" come to bear. Now they want to start cleaning off the mess that's been made in the last twenty years and it's no wonder why people are so upset by it.

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Gezzer

And I gather you own Apple products?
The very reasons you list is why I don't. That's not to say I fault others for using Apple products (well not much), but I like an open Windows world more. I also find I get more bang for my buck with non Apple products. In fact if my major computer use wasn't gaming I'd most likely be running Linux.

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DeltaFIVEengineer

I do. I also own multiple Windows machines, Linux boxes, and even an old first gen Mac Mini running FreeBSD.

As much as people here hate to admit it, the average consumer drives the direction of technology. Apple has catered to the average consumer forever. Microsoft has just started. It's fairly evident that Microsoft will eventually draw the same level of ire on this board that Apple does. Again, I think this is a good thing. There will always be an alternative out there that satisfies the Engineer in me like Linux and FreeBSD. But I don't want to be that person 24/7.

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Strhopper

agreed, this is what scares game developers. Not the current iteration of windows but the "slippery" slope

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Techsticles

Why did MS completely rework the start menu? They could have put the tiles on the desktop (which they technically are) and left the Win 7 start menu / taskbar system. Best of both worlds.

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nadako

Windows 8 has a ton of nice features in it but most consumers that I have talked to working at tiger direct hate the UI most old farts dont like to have anything new and microsoft is forgeting that they have to ease in the old people into anything. Windows 8 on home desktops is not ideal at all. The UI is made for touch not mouse. Sure Microsoft has a touch mouse but im not going to trade out my gaming mouse for something touchable. Laptops on the other had are not bad at all but I would still prefere Windows 7.

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EKRboi

I was a windows 8 hater until I tried it. I bit the bullet and bought it while it was cheap. Takes a bit of getting use to but once I got the start button back and forced it to boot to desktop I actually found that I liked it.. especially the Task Manager and the way it groups file transfers and whatnot into one window.

The reason I am back on win7 now is because I am a gamer. Gaming performance was HORRENDOUS! I have a 1090t, 8gb ddr3 1600 and 2x EVGA GTX 580's on an Asus Sabertooth board. In win7 I consistently get 80-100 fps all maxed out in BF3. The first time I fired up BF3 in win8 I was screeching along at about 14-25 fps. Borderlands 2 frame rates were down significantly from win7 as well. No amount of settings tweaking made any difference.

I tried win8 a couple of weeks after launch. So my question is have these problems been ironed out at this point? I was expecting better frame rates with win8. Also I want to upgrade to a piledriver CPU... and you kind of need win8 to use it properly.

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Dartht33bagger

If Microsoft can't get their shit together I'll be using Linux after they drop support for Windows 7.

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jonnyohio

"How much is it? Oh. Well I don't NEED that right now".....And that is the real problem here.

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boidsonly

MS blaming the OEM manufacturers? LOL

MS telling me what I want in a PC? LOL

MS telling me that my 24" or 28" monitor or 46" TV must be a touch screen? LOL

MS telling me that I must have a hybrid AND it must run Win 8? LOL

Reboot my &#$

Win 8 is Vista II

In the meantime, I am happy as a clam with XP, Win 7 and Android. Bought some Linux reference material to bone up on-the way things are going, probably going to need it...

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Mekan

Hey, at least Vista didn't force a crappy tablet UI on the PC.

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Paper Jam

Microsoft is reaping what they have sown. OEMs have traditionally built devices at price points where they believe they can make a profit. Now MS thinks they can dictate hardware specifics on one hand while building competing devices with the other. Considering that demand for this new line was unknown, you can't blame OEMs for not sinking tons of money into product they might not be able to move, especially considering that a portion of that money would go to MS in licensing fees. Basically, I think they didn't want to give MS more money to compete against them with. Also, some of these OEMs are already making tablets for Android, which means no licensing fees and no competing head to head with their software vendor. Better to let Microsoft's strategy work for you and just wait to see if Surface takes off before dumping a pile of money into devices that may have to go on fire sale later.

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Electrik

"For their part, PC makers says that if they followed Microsoft's requirements and stepped up production, they'd essentially be stuck holding onto a bunch of expensive tablets that nobody wants to buy."

Pretty much sums it up.

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pocosdad

I have found reading through all the comments more interesting than anything in the original article. I did give Win8 a try for about 2 months. I had it set up as a dual boot with Win7. and I just didn't "feel" it. So I came to realize that I would have to spend money to lose aero graphics, media center, media player, and several programs that I own for my own efficiency. I could not longer use my gadgets, not the biggest deal, until MS offers to allow me to buy them from their new store.
So here I sit very content with my Win7 dual booting Mint. I am not ready to spend $$ on new hardware since I just built this system 8 months ago and I can never imagine using a touchscreen monitor.
My wife enjoys her Facebook since she is from a huge family so I got her a Kindle Fire HD for $170 and she is happy as a clam.
As the man said no one asked for a touchscreen Windows.
Vista also created the need for hardware updates with the need to add RAM to get a usable system. We are in a do-loop me thinks.

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pastorbob

I always look forward to the weekly articles about Windows 8. They never fail to bring out all of the whiners rehashing the same old groundless complaints about how horrible Windows 8 is.

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Bullwinkle J Moose

Poor Guy

How much Microshaft stock did you get stuck with ?

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pastorbob

ROTFLMAO!

Too funny 'Moose. But the only stock I buy is Wal-Mart since they will most likely be around and profitable until the Second Coming.

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Angermann

"consumers never asked for touch-capable desktops or a bunch of overpriced hybrids to begin with."...

So true. The Microsoft script kiddies were given way too much rope with this one. Seems all they wanted to do was incorporate everything new and shiny that they could think of just because THEY think its cool. Here's the thing: Its not practical and its not needed. Mucking between keyboard, mouse and touch screen is just a waste of movement. Sucks up more time for nothing. Makes the computing experience less likeable. It also forces new equipment purchases on individuals and corporations who do not need to spend right now. Microsoft may well have produced a marketing dud here. If so, then they better get ready to cut and run from this one and get back to the real markets. They just might have an Aztec or a Pacer on their hands here.

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pythonflying

IMHO Windows 8 doesn't suck, it's a bit faster than my Win7 systems and with the 3rd party Pokki start menu and key shortcuts I can get to everything I need to faster than before. No need for the metro screen on a desktop system. What sucks is the price of the Surface Pro. 899 starting price is asking too much and I predict slow sales on that device. I would buy it if it was cheaper.

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gothliciouz

i wonder why people didn't like it!

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Bullwinkle J Moose

We all told you why

You seem to have a learning deficiency or maybe you work for Microsoft

I don't know which is worse at this point

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