Let's face it: The Windows 8 story has been somewhat underwhelming so far. On the one hand, Microsoft has a compelling developer story -- delivering a single platform that allows partners to write applications for smart phones, tablets, notebooks and desktops. Plus Windows 8's touch interface actually works. But on the other hand, Microsoft's Windows 8 rollout has left a lot to be desired. Among the missteps or questionable moves:
- Out of Touch: Allowing PC makers to pre-load Windows 8 on systems that don't have touch screens.
- Out of Reach: Delivering Surface tablets running Windows RT ahead of Surface tablets ahead of Windows Pro. Imagine if Apple originally created a not-so-great iPad and promised to deliver a better -- but far more expense -- iPad a few months later. Some folks also question Surface Pro's price (on second thought it does seem lofty) and the decision not to sell the tablets through third-party distributors and channels. Ironically, The VAR Guy supports the limited distribution strategy since Surface sales strategies are a work in progress.
- Out of Stats: Microsoft said Windows 8 sold 40 million licenses during its first month of availability, but the company did not disclose whether those licenses involved long-term corporate agreements, pre-loads to PC makers, software upgrades to consumers, etc. Basically, Microsoft has not said how many people actually own and use Windows 8 PCs and tablets vs. how many of those licenses are sitting on shelves.
So what can Microsoft get right at CES 2013? Here are five recommendations:
- Only allow Windows 8 to be demonstrated on touch-enabled PCs. No touch, no Windows 8.
- Show at least three killer consumer and business applications running on Windows 8. Oh, and those applications must not be from Microsoft.
- Put Surface Pro in the spotlight and eat crow. Admit that the world has voted against Surface Pro pricing, and surprise attendees with an immediate $100 to $200 price cut.
- Show Windows 8 tightly integrated with Office 365 and Xbox applications.
- Start a $10 million developer campaign for Windows 8. Award $1 million to each of 10 different software companies that deliver the most innovative applications on Windows 8.
- Bonus: Ignore the iPhone and iPad comparisons. Instead, focus all of your competitive aggression against Google Android. (Here's why.)