Process Fun of the Week: Curtains drawn on Windows 8

Sam Miranda

In 2001, software behemoth Microsoft released Windows XP, an operating platform so well received that it became an office institution and tech boffins declared the arrival of Windows Vista a day of mourning. Testament to XP's majestic dynasty is the fact that Microsoft won't switch off the life support machine in the form of security updates till April 2014.

The mobile and tablet boom has upset the apple-cart. In order to keep up with rivals Apple and Samsung in the world of touch screen devices, Microsoft released Windows 8 in October 2012 - the nervous system of its new batch of Surface tablets and smartphones.

The result? An egregious platform pilloried for removing the "start" button from the menu - a Windows staple since 1995 - and an accessibility learning curve steeper than calculus. Consumer confidence is at an all time low, with International Data Corp reporting that Windows 8 contributed to a 14 per cent decline in worldwide PC sales during the first quarter of 2013.

At the start of this week, Microsoft Chief Financial Officer Tami Reller confirmed plans for Windows Blue. The re-design update - set for a preview at next month's Build Conference before commercial release later this year - is described by the Financial Times as "one of the most prominent admissions of failure for a new mass-market consumer product since Coca-Cola’s New Coke fiasco nearly 30 years ago."

Sifting through the slew of consumer criticism, the abject quality failures become apparent. The system can't be booted in desktop mode, and in a functionality faux-pas, users are presented with a tiled interface that resembles some elaborate Roman mosaic. Other gripes centre around installation nightmares, phantom sidebars, and disappearing favourites screens.

Microsoft representatives have defended its performance, claiming sales of 100 million place it no worse off than its Windows 7 predecessor at the same stage of the cycle. But with Windows boasting just 5% of the global smartphone market, it wants a bigger piece of the pie. CEO Steve Ballmer unveiled Windows 8 to a backdrop of a screen reading "Microsoft: All in." It's a shame Apple and Samsung hold all the aces.

Have you experienced Windows 8? What are your thoughts? Have your say in the comments section below!