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Opinion: Here's One Reason Why Windows 8 Sales Are Slow

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 26 comments

Microsoft shouldn't have to deal with retail salesmen prejudice against Windows 8 at point-of-sale.

I think I know one of the reasons why Microsoft and partner ODMs are having a hard time pushing Windows 8 products: store clerks.

Here's why.

My wife and I were strolling through Walmart to retrieve a huge number of items listed on her seemingly unending scroll of must-haves. It's all in her head of course, so I have no idea when the end will arrive, or how long it will take. All I know is that when she eventually stops in the women's clothing department (and she will), I'm bailing out and heading to the electronics.

Eventually my plan of escape worked, and I darted into the electronics area and worked through the HDTVs, the console games (I'm currently hooked on the 3DS XL which is a very cool handheld), PC peripherals and whatnot. I stopped in the laptop isle to check out what HP, Dell and other ODMs are selling in America's largest retailer. This is where I discovered that Microsoft is essentially doomed.

Checking out the laptops were an older gentleman and his granddaughter. After talking to him for a bit, it sounded like her laptop was having driver issues and the repair tool in Windows 7 wasn't fixing the problem. He didn't know me and I didn't know him, so I merely told him what the likely solution would be and he in turn said he had a friend that fixes computers. Everyone does, it seems.

Despite his friend, the gentleman was in Walmart's laptop isle to buy his granddaughter a new model – he'll just take the other laptop once it's fixed. A Walmart salesman was also on standby next to the gentleman, offering a bit of non-technical information about what he perceived to be the best of the ODMs offering products. The little girl suddenly chimed in, saying that she wanted her desktop unchanged, and that she didn't want the blocky tiles of Windows 8, pointing to one of the models on display.

Now here's the Microsoft killer. "Yeah, Windows 8 is one of the worst versions I have ever seen," the Walmart salesman told the gentleman.

My jaw dropped. Seriously? You have a wall of Windows 8 gadgets and you're telling them it's the worst version ever? It's this type of dedication at the point-of-sale that could be hurting Windows 8 overall. Sure, there are a lot of current and potential customers who are annoyed with the whole redesign. It was too much and too quick in my opinion, but it's still a great, highly secure and highly stable platform.

When the gentleman finally decided on a laptop and the salesman went to retrieve the keys, I told him not to listen to the Walmart worker (putting it nicely), and relayed my experience with Windows 8. I also showed the granddaughter how to quickly switch to desktop mode. There's nothing to fear with the new design: you simply hit a tile and you're somewhat back to normal. Purchase and download the $5 Start8 app from Stardock, and your Start button and Start menu are back.

Of course, Walmart made a Windows 8 sale that day, so all was not lost. I can't say I helped with the sale, because we now live in a Windows 8 world – the grandfather was intent on buying a new laptop no matter what version of Windows it had. But I have to wonder how many sales have been lost because of ignorant store clerks turning people away with their opinions. You damn sure know car salesmen aren't going to steer you away from a car because they don't like the installed radio.

I know I've covered a lot of topics about Windows 8 market share and how some ODMs are "disappointed" and whatnot. But I've also tried to relay that Windows 8 is just a step above Windows 7 with an added overlay that bridges mobile with desktop. What I will never say is that it's the worst platform I have ever seen, because it's far, far from that. Windows 8 is misunderstood, I think, and that should change in the immediate future.

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  • 0 Hide
    iinweed , 7 May 2013 06:11

    Misunderstood? You sound like the current batch of UK Tories!
    You are entitled to your opinion, and the salesperson is entitled to theirs.
    Personally, I agree with the salesperson.
    Why the heck should anyone have to install something like Start8 just to put back removed functionality? MS have it wrong, the new interface should only come up by default if enabled ( for tablets and touch enabled devices for example ) and the start button should never have been removed.
  • 0 Hide
    zepho , 7 May 2013 06:55
    Quote:

    Misunderstood? You sound like the current batch of UK Tories!
    You are entitled to your opinion, and the salesperson is entitled to theirs.
    Personally, I agree with the salesperson.
    Why the heck should anyone have to install something like Start8 just to put back removed functionality? MS have it wrong, the new interface should only come up by default if enabled ( for tablets and touch enabled devices for example ) and the start button should never have been removed.


    You don't need the start button. the functionality is all there where it always was, and now it's more configurable. What is it that you actually miss?
  • 0 Hide
    ashiataka , 7 May 2013 11:15
    So you'd rather the salesman wasn't honest? He saw a pair who knew what they didn't want and then didn't try to convince them otherwise. There's no point antagonising them.
    Well anyway, I'd rather come across an honest salesman any day.
  • 0 Hide
    Miroslav Torossi , 7 May 2013 12:25
    I've encountered this type of attitude (yours) before, from business owners wanting their staff to promote their products as stellar *because they were theirs*.
    Believe it or not, while a human is in someone's dependency, they still retain their individual moral values, and since W8 is both A. horrible and B. completely useless when compared to W7, it would be unethical, debasing and damaging to ask the clerk to represent it as anything better.
    Perhaps Walmart should have thought twice before ordering W8 by the truckload; we can't help you, mister Walton. Sorry :( 
  • 0 Hide
    virgult , 7 May 2013 13:34
    I agree with the author because Windows 8 has tons of problems, but none of them has anything to do with the Metro interface and all those problems were exactly the same in Windows 7. So, if it has to be Windows, it'd better be a Windows that:
    - has no Aero crap
    - supports and boots from EFI
    - offers an application framework that is perfect for leisure apps (messengers, toys, etc) while keeping the desktop cleaner and ready for fullscreen productivity apps
    - runs on all sorts of devices
    It still lacks a decent shell, it's still miles away from any UNIX, it still has problems connecting to workgroups with mixed operating systems... but hey, it's still a Windows.
  • 0 Hide
    WretchedSoul44 , 7 May 2013 13:39
    Fact: Here's One Reason Why Windows 8 Sales Are Slow. Because it sucks!
  • 0 Hide
    WretchedSoul44 , 7 May 2013 13:39
    Fact: Here's One Reason Why Windows 8 Sales Are Slow. Because it sucks!
  • 0 Hide
    kyzarvs , 7 May 2013 15:30
    Good advice from Wal-Mart - who'da thunk it? :) 
  • 0 Hide
    mactronix , 7 May 2013 16:16
    Windows 8 failed for one very simple reason.
    Microsoft made a huge mistake with their marketing strategy.
    For some insane reason they decided that they knew best what people wanted and decided to ram that concept down peoples throats rather than actually convey anything about the functionality and improvements of the new OS.
    What they did show people didn't like, they are just realizing this mistake with interviews from MS people now stating that they are going to market the new version differently, the way they should have done from the start.
    Way too little to late. No more MS for me after this.
  • 0 Hide
    RaDiKaL_ , 7 May 2013 19:01
    nice to see there's still honest salesmen out there.
    One shouldn't have to get "aftermarket" solutions in order to have the OS the way it should've been from start.
  • 0 Hide
    RaDiKaL_ , 7 May 2013 19:01
    nice to see there's still honest salesmen out there.
    One shouldn't have to get "aftermarket" solutions in order to have the OS the way it should've been from start.
  • 0 Hide
    Pailin , 8 May 2013 10:40
    I wanted to like Win 8 and it does have some features I Really want.

    My Uncle is the must have latest thing kinda guy and was trying to convince me of the 8's benefits etc.

    But really with a combination of MS's attitude of trying to force on its customers what MS Tell us We Really want and shoddy driver backwards compatibility I hear of now and then (caused my Uncle to have to buy a new Hi End negative scanner for Win 8)

    I have gone from listening to this Uncle's Positives to his Negatives all around it, not just as a result of that scanner issue.

    ...So I just built a new system for a family friend and that was Win 7 64bit and he is very happy :) 

    I am hoping MS learn their lessons and their Next OS picks up the pieces. Open source is looming closer + really starting to look Good with excellent support for most everything......... Micro Soft need to start wooing us like never before!
  • 0 Hide
    huntastikus , 8 May 2013 18:12
    I can see windows 8 being really good for a tablet/phone application, however, I am a really tech-savvy person, I have been working in IT for a while now. When I sat down to a windows 8 computer in Best Buy, I couldn't figure out how to get out of metro view. Now take an average user, how do you expect them to do it?
    I want to take my windows home and use it, not have to relearn EVERYTHING.
    I will continue to recommend my clients not upgrade to Windows 8 until there is a usable interface that is easy to understand.
    AND high five to the Walmart Guy.
  • 0 Hide
    huntastikus , 8 May 2013 18:12
    I can see windows 8 being really good for a tablet/phone application, however, I am a really tech-savvy person, I have been working in IT for a while now. When I sat down to a windows 8 computer in Best Buy, I couldn't figure out how to get out of metro view. Now take an average user, how do you expect them to do it?
    I want to take my windows home and use it, not have to relearn EVERYTHING.
    I will continue to recommend my clients not upgrade to Windows 8 until there is a usable interface that is easy to understand.
    AND high five to the Walmart Guy.
  • 0 Hide
    huntastikus , 8 May 2013 18:12
    I can see windows 8 being really good for a tablet/phone application, however, I am a really tech-savvy person, I have been working in IT for a while now. When I sat down to a windows 8 computer in Best Buy, I couldn't figure out how to get out of metro view. Now take an average user, how do you expect them to do it?
    I want to take my windows home and use it, not have to relearn EVERYTHING.
    I will continue to recommend my clients not upgrade to Windows 8 until there is a usable interface that is easy to understand.
    AND high five to the Walmart Guy.
  • 0 Hide
    Kenneth Junior , 9 May 2013 00:38
    Yeah, I walked into MicroCenter once, and the salesman (at the time) was trying to talk me out of a windows 8 laptop and pointed me towards one of the windows 7 laptops (that were still on the shelf).
    I told him I had been using windows 8 beta for the better part of the year, and that I liked it. I didn't care about UI - I cared about resource management, the framerate jumps of my games, the fact that it was harder to crash the system (in my experience), and such.
    The only thing I actually DISLIKE about windows 8 (which was NOT a problem with the beta, oddly) is that they took away the gadgets (you need a thirdparty program to allow you to use'em in the finished consumer version) and the fact that Windows 8 doesn't come with optical drive support natively. (You need to DL a driver, which seems trite).
    But even that isn't a deal breaker. Just because the start screen is ugly isn't a reason to hate on what an OS can do.
    Mac dropped support for PPC with 10.6, and dropped rosetta support in 10.7, and guess what? PEOPLE GOT OVER IT. People need to get over windows 8 having an ugly screen. The SAD PART... is that Microsoft could EASILY add a "start menu" or "classic UI" option in service pack 1, and Windows 8 would probably sell out over night, haha.
  • 0 Hide
    Kenneth Junior , 9 May 2013 00:38
    Yeah, I walked into MicroCenter once, and the salesman (at the time) was trying to talk me out of a windows 8 laptop and pointed me towards one of the windows 7 laptops (that were still on the shelf).
    I told him I had been using windows 8 beta for the better part of the year, and that I liked it. I didn't care about UI - I cared about resource management, the framerate jumps of my games, the fact that it was harder to crash the system (in my experience), and such.
    The only thing I actually DISLIKE about windows 8 (which was NOT a problem with the beta, oddly) is that they took away the gadgets (you need a thirdparty program to allow you to use'em in the finished consumer version) and the fact that Windows 8 doesn't come with optical drive support natively. (You need to DL a driver, which seems trite).
    But even that isn't a deal breaker. Just because the start screen is ugly isn't a reason to hate on what an OS can do.
    Mac dropped support for PPC with 10.6, and dropped rosetta support in 10.7, and guess what? PEOPLE GOT OVER IT. People need to get over windows 8 having an ugly screen. The SAD PART... is that Microsoft could EASILY add a "start menu" or "classic UI" option in service pack 1, and Windows 8 would probably sell out over night, haha.
  • 0 Hide
    Kenneth Junior , 9 May 2013 00:39
    Yeah, I walked into MicroCenter once, and the salesman (at the time) was trying to talk me out of a windows 8 laptop and pointed me towards one of the windows 7 laptops (that were still on the shelf).
    I told him I had been using windows 8 beta for the better part of the year, and that I liked it. I didn't care about UI - I cared about resource management, the framerate jumps of my games, the fact that it was harder to crash the system (in my experience), and such.
    The only thing I actually DISLIKE about windows 8 (which was NOT a problem with the beta, oddly) is that they took away the gadgets (you need a thirdparty program to allow you to use'em in the finished consumer version) and the fact that Windows 8 doesn't come with optical drive support natively. (You need to DL a driver, which seems trite).
    But even that isn't a deal breaker. Just because the start screen is ugly isn't a reason to hate on what an OS can do.
    Mac dropped support for PPC with 10.6, and dropped rosetta support in 10.7, and guess what? PEOPLE GOT OVER IT. People need to get over windows 8 having an ugly screen. The SAD PART... is that Microsoft could EASILY add a "start menu" or "classic UI" option in service pack 1, and Windows 8 would probably sell out over night, haha.
  • 0 Hide
    Kenneth Junior , 9 May 2013 00:39
    Yeah, I walked into MicroCenter once, and the salesman (at the time) was trying to talk me out of a windows 8 laptop and pointed me towards one of the windows 7 laptops (that were still on the shelf).
    I told him I had been using windows 8 beta for the better part of the year, and that I liked it. I didn't care about UI - I cared about resource management, the framerate jumps of my games, the fact that it was harder to crash the system (in my experience), and such.
    The only thing I actually DISLIKE about windows 8 (which was NOT a problem with the beta, oddly) is that they took away the gadgets (you need a thirdparty program to allow you to use'em in the finished consumer version) and the fact that Windows 8 doesn't come with optical drive support natively. (You need to DL a driver, which seems trite).
    But even that isn't a deal breaker. Just because the start screen is ugly isn't a reason to hate on what an OS can do.
    Mac dropped support for PPC with 10.6, and dropped rosetta support in 10.7, and guess what? PEOPLE GOT OVER IT. People need to get over windows 8 having an ugly screen. The SAD PART... is that Microsoft could EASILY add a "start menu" or "classic UI" option in service pack 1, and Windows 8 would probably sell out over night, haha.
  • 0 Hide
    Kenneth Junior , 9 May 2013 00:40
    Yeah, I walked into MicroCenter once, and the salesman (at the time) was trying to talk me out of a windows 8 laptop and pointed me towards one of the windows 7 laptops (that were still on the shelf).
    I told him I had been using windows 8 beta for the better part of the year, and that I liked it. I didn't care about UI - I cared about resource management, the framerate jumps of my games, the fact that it was harder to crash the system (in my experience), and such.
    The only thing I actually DISLIKE about windows 8 (which was NOT a problem with the beta, oddly) is that they took away the gadgets (you need a thirdparty program to allow you to use'em in the finished consumer version) and the fact that Windows 8 doesn't come with optical drive support natively. (You need to DL a driver, which seems trite).
    But even that isn't a deal breaker. Just because the start screen is ugly isn't a reason to hate on what an OS can do.
    Mac dropped support for PPC with 10.6, and dropped rosetta support in 10.7, and guess what? PEOPLE GOT OVER IT. People need to get over windows 8 having an ugly screen. The SAD PART... is that Microsoft could EASILY add a "start menu" or "classic UI" option in service pack 1, and Windows 8 would probably sell out over night, haha.
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