It wasn’t long ago when Steve Ballmer proclaimed that Windows 8 would lead Microsoft into a new era of dominance. The company itself was expecting to find considerable success with the newest version of its popular operating system. What has transpired since hasn’t quite emulated his enthusiasm. For several years, Microsoft had been resisting the lure of handheld devices. The company treated smartphones and tablets like a trend that would end sooner or later.
Yet, the continuous decrease in PC sales has proven that the market dynamics have changed considerably. Apple and Google reign supreme while Microsoft is left searching for relevance. Windows 8 was seen as the answer to the rise of the two tech giants. The operating system was not only designed for the conventional desktop users but incorporated touch functionality to make it work on mobile devices as well. The cross-device compatibility was considered a major plus point.
Six months on, Microsoft might be ruing putting so much effort and resources into creating Windows 8. Windows 7 had proven to be the most successful incarnation of their operating system so far and the results show that people still prefer it over its newer alternative. It is no secret that some people have reverted back to using Windows 7 having tried their hands at Windows 8. The acceptability is middling at best and the reviews have been anything but positive.
So, it only seems fair that Microsoft’s investors air their grievances regarding the company’s future prospects. Microsoft’s stock price had skyrocketed at the time Windows 8 was about to launch. While the performance of the stock has been satisfactory since, it has not seen a rise like the one it had during the last quarter of 2012. The average shareholder is left wondering how bad the situation is for the company to have gotten stuck in a rut it can’t seem to get out of.
And there seems to be no escaping the situation for now. Microsoft has already lined up and update to the OS, namely Windows 8.1. The company is looking to recapture user interest by making some changes to the Windows 8 platform but it remains to be seen how it turns out to be. Sticking to the present, investors are not confident in the Microsoft stock at all. Revenues have been steady but only because of strong performance of other products offered by the company.
Perhaps the stable profitability is what keeps the investors interested in the company. Otherwise, the dismal performance of Windows 8 is reason enough for them to sell the stock off and exit the market while they have a chance. The interesting thing is that the man who presided over the development of Windows 8, Mr. Ballmer himself has a 3.9% stake in the company. This means that he should be worried about his share as well. If the company loses, he is going to lose too.
Yet, that doesn’t seem to be the case. The investors are the only ones to actually express their concerns so far.
[Image via kotaku]