There have been many theories why Microsoft chose to skip Windows 9, but the official reason from the company’s boss of the Windows division is that it doesn’t want customers to associate the new Windows from the disaster that was Windows 8.
In an interview with the Indian edition of Business Insider, which was later republished on the website of The Times of India, Tony Prophet said his company is effectively asking for a second chance with Windows 10 in order to build the proper hardware agnostic ecosystem around the Windows platform.
“Windows 10 is not going to be an incremental step from Window 8.1,” he said. “Windows 10 is going to be a material step. We’re trying to create one platform, one eco-system that unites as many of the devices from the small embedded Internet of Things, through tablets, through phones, through PCs and, ultimately, into the Xbox.”
Microsoft is also putting more emphasis on incorporating feedback from its technical preview into the final version.
The reason we’re doing that is so we can listen to our customers,” he said. “Our objective with Windows 10 is… to build absolutely the best OS for the enterprise. That’s the early focus, we’ve got the process. We’ve got a million people using it. And we’re listening.”
Wasn’t this the point of Windows 8?
Coming from Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), talk of building a grand Windows ecosystem sounds a lot like the reasoning, prior to the launch of Windows 8, for developing the ARM-compatible Windows RT. In the end Windows RT, which was supposed to extend the world of Windows to the ARM-ecosystem, flopped leaving Microsoft to all-but abandon its plans for device domination.
Instead of focusing on bringing Windows to everything, Microsoft needs to focus first and foremost on improving the desktop experience. This is where Windows succeeds, and has proven time and time again to be profitable for Microsoft. The same can’t be said for mobile, which relies on the (expensive) success of Intel’s (NASDAQ: INTC) contra-revenue program.
Windows is a long way from becoming irrelevant, but if Microsoft wants to give users a reason to upgrade from Windows 7 it needs to create a product that gives people a compelling reason to buy it.