Windows 8.1: RUN AWAY!

Hat tip to Toadold for forwarding news of big changes coming to Microsoft’s “incremental” Windows 8.1 release:

“Key aspects” of how the software is used will be changed when Microsoft releases an updated version of the operating system this year, Tami Reller, head of marketing and finance for the Windows business, said in an interview with the Financial Times. Referring to difficulties many users have had with mastering the software, she added: “The learning curve is definitely real.”

Analysts warned that changing course would be a significant admission of failure for Steve Ballmer, chief executive, who called the October launch of Windows 8 a “bet-the-company” moment as Microsoft sought to respond to the success of Apple’s iPad.

You don’t beat your competitors by copying them — weirdly. And consumers have responded, or not responded, appropriately. The 8.1 retreat isn’t exactly Bill Gates’ famous “Internet Tidal Wave” memo, but it is a slap in the face to Steve Ballmer.

Now the article does go on to praise Ballmer for at least (and I’d add: At last!) embracing risk-taking and innovation in Redmond. But Win8 specifically, and “Windows Everywhere” generally, have done nothing to help Microsoft in mobile, and might have actually hurt them on the desktop.