windows8When The Coca-Cola Company tried to introduce “New Coke” to the market back in 1985, it was considered one of the worst product decisions known to mankind.

Now, some analysts are comparing Coke’s mistakes to Microsoft and Windows 8, based on the negative reaction to radical changes in the operating system, and Microsoft’s upcoming move to address “customer feedback” with the upcoming “Windows Blue” update.

But those at the Redmond software giant disagree, and that’s especially evident on the official company blog today with a post titled “Staying Centered.” Frank Shaw, VP of Corporate Communications, questioned the reasoning of the naysayers and noted differences between soda and software.

Here’s part of the post:

So let’s pause for a moment and consider the center. In the center, selling 100 million copies of a product is a good thing. In the center, listening to feedback and improving a product is a good thing. Heck, there was even a time when acknowledging that you were listening to feedback and acting on it was considered a good thing.

Windows 8 is a good product, and it’s getting better every day. Unlike a can of soda, a computer operating system offers different experiences to different customers to meet different needs, while still moving the entire industry toward an exciting future of touch, mobility, and seamless, cross-device experiences.

We are going to keep improving Windows 8, as we do with all our products, making what’s good even better. There will be new devices, new use cases, new data that makes us think, “Hey, we should do more of this, or less of that.” And we will. There will be people who agree, strongly. There will be those who disagree, equally strongly. All good, all expected.

windows8-1Microsoft announced earlier this week that it has sold 100 million Windows 8 licenses since the launch of the new operating system last fall, as the company looks ahead to a new wave of devices and the major “Windows Blue” software update that aims to ease the transition to Windows 8.

The company is seeking to regroup after an underwhelming launch for Windows 8. PC shipments continue to decline despite the release of the new operating system, while sales of the iPad and other tablets keep climbing.

But Tami Reller, Microsoft vice president in charge of marketing and finance for the Windows business, told GeekWire that awareness of Windows 8 remains high. Customer satisfaction on touch-based Windows 8 machines is strong, according to Microsoft’s research, and satisfaction on non-touch machines is “stronger than you would believe by just reading the press,” she said.

Windows Blue also will address customer “feedback,” a.k.a. complaints. Reller declined to disclose specific plans for the update. However, according to earlier reports, the company has been working to bring back a version of the Start button to the traditional Windows desktop, and allow users to boot directly to the desktop, bypassing the Start screen that was introduced with Windows 8. Those are two of the changes that can make Windows 8 a significant adjustment for new users.

Reller said, “There’s a number of pieces of customer feedback that will help all customers on Windows 8, and there are a number of features that will help more traditional users — enthusiasts, business customers, non-touch users.”

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  • Guest

    A comparison of Windows 8 to the Ford Edsel is actually much more appropriate. Astounding similarities.

    • guest

      Clearly you know even less about cars than you do operating systems.

      • Guest

        I’ve probably forgotten more about operating systems than you’ll ever know.

        • guest

          Ah, so it’s cars you know nothing about. Good to know.

  • jim lewis

    Lets cut to the chase. I compare windows 8 to Mac OSX. Windows is complex, hard to support, OSX is not. Windows is made for the corporate users with IT support staffs, OSX is not.

    • Are all trolls IT morons?

      Just about everything you said here is either subjective or wrong. Way to go.

  • Taymur

    the perspective of the operating systems home screen to the tablet (picture in article) is way wrong :P

  • Ruskov Nabil

    can we have a test i Pad 5 and also a comparison!
    the next iPad is planned for the month of June normally!

  • RobertinSeattle

    So Microsoft’s official name for “Focus Groups” is now “Customer Feedback”?

    Well, the way it’s supposed to be done is ass-backwards every time with MS. Instead of doing focus groups during the development process, roll the product out and wait for customer complaints to come rolling in and then react to them instead of responding. That seems to continue being SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for a company that has historically rolled out products that weren’t quite ready for prime time. But rather than finding out what their customers really want and like, just put it out there and then run for cover as the fallout hits.

    What this clearly tells me – and maybe it’s just me – is that while Microsoft is a still a strong player in the industry, they continue to adhere to their old ways of doing business and developing products.That basically tells me that its antiquated leadership truly needs to be completely retired and replaced with real thinkers who have a serious focus on the company’s customers and their needs. The day that happens will be the day we see a new dawn for once was truly the most dominant software company in the world.

    If this is too subtle: Steve Ballmer and crew need to retire. NOW! Let them go enjoy their billions in wealth that will surely grow exponentially if they’d simply get out of the way. I’m sure Steve Ballmer would enjoy standing on the sidelines of a new Sonics basketball team and tossing chairs out on the court as much as throwing them around the offices at Microsoft…

    There’s no reason for these people to stay at the helm except for the only one I can think of: The thrill of Sheer Power.

    • Yep

      Exactly, not just Steve Ballmer, but the other executive posers, i.e. Lisa Brummel, too.

  • Bob

    Typical of MS in the Ballmer era. Blame everything on external persecution rather than acknowledge numerous internal failures on everything from product concept/design to launch execution and OEM support.

    For thirteen years, during which growth has gone from 70% to <5% and MS has lost its historical lead in revenue, profit, cash and market cap, we've heard the same story. It's not us, it's perception. Wrong. MS has failed because MS's leadership has been inept. And that won't change until the board, CEO, and paid PR mouthpieces like Shaw are replaced by people who won't try and pretend mistakes aren't mistakes and will instead acknowledge and fix them. Better yet, they won't make them in the first place.

    Until then, we'll just see more of the same: MS's competitive decline.

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