One measurement of the success of an operating system is how quickly it is adopted by the user community. If adoption goes like gangbusters then it will most likely be a roaring success. On the other hand, if the pace of adoption is slower – or even glacial – then its success is doubtful and it may even be possible that the operating system is unnecessary or will only serve a certain niche market.

So how does Windows 8 fare? Is it something of a success? The answer appears to be: “Not so much”. Unfortunately, figures don’t lie and at this point, Windows 8 is looking like an “also ran”. After three weeks on the market, the share claimed by Windows 8 is an astounding 1.19 %. If this were a NASCAR race. the crew chief would pull the car off the track and take it back to the garage. Even Vista has a larger market share and Linux is not quite the underdog it was earlier.

After one week on the market, Windows 7 had a 2.15 percent share and now claims the largest slice of the pie with 45.5 %. Windows 8 does have some good points in that it runs just as fast as its predecessor, Windows 7 and is, overall, a more stable platform; it shows the blue screen of death – BSOD – much less Windows 7 or XP. For the record, Dr. Data has yet to see the BSOD on either his main machine or on the test box. But will these factors matter in the long run?

It seems that Windows 8 is crippled by the turkey of an interface that was formally known as Metro. Usability experts – the folks who scientifically prove stuff that the rest of us already know – cite the confusion occurring from Windows 8 trying to use a start screen geared to tablets and a desktop geared towards PC’s. This schizophrenia was pointed out by Dr. Data over this past summer as more and more geeks got their hands on the consumer preview of what is quickly proving to be an interface failure of epic proportions.

Windows 8 has been referred to as a “disaster of design” and a sure candidate for being “Auf’d” on Project Runway. Companies like Stardock Corporation have been turning out add-ons to bypass this or that and restore features that Redmond dumped in the interest of looking more cool and hip. As good a job as Stardock does with add-ons, they really should not be necessary. Instead of providing additional features, these tools are actually retro-fitting Windows 8 so that it will be more useable from a base state.

The central question is: “Where does Microsoft go from here?” Does it admit defeat and correct things with the first Service Pack or will Redmond try to tough it out hoping that consumers will come around? The hand-writing may well be on the wall now. The Desktop/Laptop market is shaky at the moment because tablets are the big thing. Many good tablets have either failed or own only a minuscule market share because they are simply not an iPad. There is still a good ways to go for Windows 8 though it may very well earn the dubious title as the only operating system that is loved less than Vista.

The president of Microsoft’s Windows division has already been shown the door. Whether that was a scheduled change or retribution for a looming debacle is debatable. Dr. Data is of the opinion that some design engineers in Redmond, WA may wish to dust off their resumes.

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