“Let’s face it, we got some things wrong in Windows 8,” Nadella told the audience during the annual Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, according to Business Insider. But he tempered that assessment by saying he felt “very good” about the progress on Windows 10, which he framed as an “upgrade” from Windows 7.
Windows 7 was the last major hit in the Windows franchise. When Microsoft released Windows 8 in 2012, it hoped the radical changes it made to the operating system would resonate with users across the tech spectrum. Whereas Windows 7 had polished and expanded upon the desktop interface so familiar to millions of PC owners, Windows 8 opted to dump its users onto a Start screen composed of colorful tiles linked to applications; anyone who wanted the desktop needed to click or tap on one of those tiles.
Microsoft’s reasoning for the Start screen seemed logical at the time: Touch-friendly tiles would allow Windows 8 to operate on tablets and mobile devices in addition to “traditional” PCs, opening up the Windows franchise to more effectively compete against Apple’s iPad and a growing number of Google Android tablets. Except things didn’t work out quite as the company hoped: More than two years after its release, Windows 8’s market-share lags well behind that of Windows 7 and even the antiquated Windows XP.
Windows 10 (Microsoft decided to skip Windows 9, as if to get as far away from Windows 8 as possible) re-emphasizes the desktop. That pesky Start screen only appears if the user requests it, or if Windows 10 is running on a tablet or small device; Microsoft wants the operating system, due at some point next year, to scale from smartphones to massive desktops, unifying “Windows” across the whole device ecosystem.
At this point, in other words, it seems as if Microsoft would like everybody to forget about the little snafu that was Windows 8.
- Windows 10: Microsoft Retreats to the Past
- Windows 8: It’s a Disaster
- Why You Might Want to Hold Off Developing Apps for Windows 8