Despite Naysayers, Windows 8 is Easy to Learn: Says Microsoft’s Tami Reller

Windows 8 isn’t a runaway success, how many times can we beat that dead horse? Like it or not, that continues to be a hot topic with the media and even certain people in certain techie circles.

There are dozens of “theories” about why Windows 8 isn’t taking off and selling like hotcakes. My own personal theory is simply that Microsoft knew that this was the road they were going to have to take. It would be a battle. But they knew that with persistence, people would start to come around and see the picture.

A few years from now? Its possible that no one will remember the Windows 8 controversy. I still feel that things could end up that way.

Still, what’s the biggest “turn off” for Windows 8? Change. Windows 8 is different. Unfortunately change can be scary, and leads people to claim that it is “harder”. I will bite and say that shutting down the PC is a lot less intuitive than I’d like.

But then I start to think: “Does it really matter?”

While I might get someone commenting that totally disagrees, I’d say the majority of you that read this can probably agree that you don’t shut your PC off very often. Mine is almost NEVER shut off. Restarted? Maybe once a week or so. Otherwise it is set for power-saving and will go into standby on its own. Starting it back up is as easy as pushing a button.

For those with tablets, you simply press the power button and it will bring up the shut down or sleep-mode options for you. The days of shutting down your PC every evening the “old fashioned way” are pretty much behind us.

Sure there are a few other odd placements, but I don’t know if I’d call them hard. No harder than learning Android or iOS totally from scratch.

What Windows Boss Tami Reller Has to Say About The “Challenge” of Learning Windows 8

With this in mind, the CFO of the Windows division Tami Reller posted up a in-house Q&A today. Reller says the company’s testing and research shows that the majority of people can pick up Windows 8 very quickly, despite the changes.

She states:

Fifty percent of users get through the out of box experience in less than 5 minutes. On the very first day, virtually everyone launches an app from the Start screen, finds the desktop, and finds the charms. Almost half of users go to the Windows Store on that first day. After two weeks, the average person doubles the number of tiles on Start. Live tiles engage people with content – by early January we had already delivered over 45 billion unique live tile updates.

Is she right? Yes and no, mileage seems to very. I’ve seen folks play around with my Windows 8 laptop and find how to use everything very quickly. I’ve had other family members and friends that struggle. Again though– the same 50/50 struggle/succeed approach is found in any new OS: iOS, Android, Mac OS X, Linux, you name it.

The big problem though? PC users didn’t ask for the change. Sure, those that bought a Windows 8 tablet need to understand that they have to make it through the learning curve in order to get their most out of the tablet. For PC users? They have to go through something that they didn’t choose. Sure, they bought a Windows 8 PC– but many consumers probably didn’t even know the difference when they purchased it.

I think that’s the real problem. It isn’t the change. It is the fact that there is no choice for those that are using a PC and want a classic interface. Even Windows XP had a “classic mode” that looked more like Windows 98 to make the transition easier.

So summing it up, I agree with Tami Reller. If you suck it up and make the jump, you’ll find it isn’t that hard and you’ll probably start to like all that the Start UI has to offer, including apps. Still, I can’t help but agree with some of the folks that feel that this should have been OPTIONAL to begin with.

What do you think, did Microsoft do the right thing for their company’s future direction by not giving us the choice or should they have eased in with the option for Windows 8 and then phased out the “Start menu option” starting with Windows 9? Share your thoughts below.

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