At Riverbank we aren’t really selling Windows 8. By and large, our clients are sticking with Windows 7 because it’s a proven operating system and there aren’t any new features that will really make a difference to their lives. On balance, they prefer a lower risk of compatibility issues and no training costs for their staff – they already know how to drive Windows 7.
What they are missing out on is the new touch interface in Windows 8. And that’s the heart of the problem really. For business users, a PC or laptop purchase doesn’t yet mean a touch-screen. They are perfectly happy with the traditional screen, keyboard and mouse. Without a touch-screen Windows 8 appears to be another tiresome rearrangement of the Windows furniture. The Start button, for example, has been in the bottom left corner of the screen since about 1995. What benefit is there in moving it to a position halfway up the right-hand side of the screen, hidden from view?
Maybe there will be a touch-screen revolution – personally I think there will. Then the benefits of Windows 8 will become clear to us all. The trouble is, Microsoft is trying to make one operating system fit everything from tablets up to servers. This might turn out to be a great idea or it might be a challenge too far. All we know at the moment is that our clients are choosing safety over innovation.