1: Microsoft won't sell Windows 8 in stores
Microsoft has declined to manufacture and sell Windows 8 media and boxes for Chinese retailers. Instead, Windows 8 is only available through sales of new devices through OEMs and online through software downloads. This is an apparent attempt to combat software piracy by making Windows 8 more difficult to locate and purchase. Consequently, all boxed versions of Windows 8 in China are either illegitimate or imported.
2: Nobody knows how to market Windows 8
The problem isn't exactly specific to China, as Microsoft's marketing stateside is fraught with bizarre commercials, but its marketing efforts in China are completely beyond the comprehension of the public. For example, take a look at the following Windows 8 videos:
This isn't a slight against the intelligence of the Chinese, because the commercials aren't in any particular language at all. In comparison, Microsoft's advertisements in India aren't appreciably better, but the background music features vocals in an actual language.
Historically, this has been a long-standing issue at Microsoft, dating back to its attempts to sell Windows Vista by having Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates not talk about the product at all.
In fairness, the introduction of Windows 8.1 has brought a new round of Windows 8 advertisements to the United States, which actually highlight benefits of the product.
3: Don't call it "Metro"
Microsoft squandered an opportunity to correct the complaints regarding Metro in the Windows 8.1 update — instead, it continues to force users to boot to Metro. The reintroduction of the Start button is simply cosmetic, because it doesn't serve the purpose that it served in previous versions of Windows. Instead, the great improvement in Windows 8 is the ability to pin up to four Metro apps in one screen, a feature first introduced in Windows 1.01. With the forced tiling, garish color scheme, and odd UI decisions, Windows 8 is far more like Windows 1 than any of the intermediate versions, as pointed out by The Verge.
Microsoft continues to fight the problem it's had for quite some time — namely, its biggest competitor is its own back catalogue. How would you, as an IT decision maker, advise on how to proceed? Let us know in the comments section below.
James Sanders is a Java programmer specializing in software as a service and thin client design, and virtualizing legacy programs for modern hardware.