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Microsoft listens and learns, pulls a passing grade for Windows 10's freshman year

Gregg Keizer | Aug. 1, 2016
Averages a B, says analyst, with an A for the product but a C or C- for how it handled controversies and concerns

Yet Microsoft didn't sail through the year without missteps and blunders; plenty bedeviled Windows 10, even as it garnered accolades from reviewers and hundreds of millions of users.

"They had hoped to get more people to upgrade than they did," said Kleynhans, pointing out Microsoft's recent retreat from a goal of putting Windows 10 on a billion devices by mid-2018. "And they didn't get the totally positive spin in the press that they were expecting," something that curtailed upgrades on the part of people who otherwise would have pulled the trigger.

Among the things mishandled, Kleynhans highlighted the concerns over Windows 10's aggressive telemetric data collection and the even-more-combative upgrade campaign.

Gottheil focused on the latter when asked whether any false moves came to mind. "I'd say the whole 'We're going to fool you into upgrading,'" he said, referring to the deception Microsoft practiced between March and June.

During those months, Microsoft interpreted a click on the red "X" in an upgrade-now pop-up as authorizing the upgrade rather than ignoring the notification, bucking decades of convention as well as Microsoft's own design guidelines. Microsoft repealed that interpretation four weeks ago.

"This was Microsoft saying, 'We know what's best for you,'" Gottheil said of the initial stance.

But that didn't stop him from praising Windows 10's debut year. "I'd give it an A-," Gottheil said. "There are still some hiccups, but doubling down on Cortana and adding Ink is important for the long term."

Kleynhans marked Windows 10 with two grades, not one.

"Windows 10 is a really solid product," Kleynhans said. "But the messaging and PR and general handling of all that detracted. The product deserves an A, Microsoft has provided some good updates and 350 million [copies installed] is an outstanding number. But Microsoft's handling of Windows 10, that was a C or even C-. So overall, B for the first year."

 

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