That’s according to longtime Windows technologist (some would say “Windows apologist”) Paul Thurrott had to say about it:
This is not open to debate, is not part of some cute imaginary world where everyone’s opinion is equally valid or whatever. Windows 8 is a disaster. Period.
While some Windows backers took a wait-and-see approach and openly criticized me for being honest about this, I had found out from internal sources immediately that the product was doomed from the get-go, feared and ignored by customers, partners and other groups in Microsoft alike. Windows 8 was such a disaster that Steven Sinofsky was ejected from the company and his team of lieutenants was removed from Windows in a cyclone of change that triggered a reorganization of the entire company. Even Sinofsky’s benefactor, Microsoft’s then-CEO Steve Ballmer, was removed from office. Why did all this happen? Because together, these people set the company and Windows back by years and have perhaps destroyed what was once the most successful software franchise of all time.
It’s easy to blame Steve Ballmer, being the guy in charge at the time of Apple’s and Android’s ascent to mobile dominance, but I think Bill Gates deserves a big part of the blame, too.
Remember Windows CE? That was Gates’s baby for getting Microsoft into phones and pocket computers. What was the OS? It was shrunk-down windows, with a start button you had to hit with the tip of a stylus. Yes, Windows had been re-engineered for mobile devices, but it hadn’t been re-conceptualized for how people might actually want to use them. Windows CE was often derisively shortened to “WinCE,” and for good reason.
Microsoft’s original two-decade-long foray into tablet computing was another Gates project: Windows for Pen Computing, followed by Windows XP Tablet PC Edition. Neither caught on because neither was any good. Again, they were just slightly reengineered versions of desktop Windows with a stylus replacing the mouse pointer. Again, zero thought had been given to how people might actually want to use a tablet — and by and large nobody used Microsoft’s.
The Bill Gates Vision was to stick Windows everywhere and hope to leverage their desktop near-monopoly. All Ballmer did was to copy Gates trying to copy his own previous success.
It’s why if Gates wants his company continued success, he ought to leave it the heck alone.
(H/T, Jim D.)