Windows 9 Presents Challenges For Microsoft

Windows 9 may be the most-anticipated version of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s operating system in years. Windows 8 did not go over well with desktop users, so everyone who users a PC or laptop wants to see if Windows 9 will address all of the things they don’t like. But amid all the rumors and speculation, it may be harder to address all of those issues than some believe.

ZDNet’s Ed Bott suggests that the new version of the operating system presents four big challenges to Microsoft.

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Enterprise versus consumer users

First, he believes Microsoft will have to separate the enterprise version of Windows 9 from the consumer version. Prior to Windows XP, they were separate, and he said that at the time, it made sense because tablets were not yet in existence. However, he notes that consumer and business devices are very different from each other, so he thinks it would make sense to separate them again.

He points out that the majority of business laptops run Office, a browser, and virtually nothing else. He also notes that enterprise customers don’t want to see a lot of changes, however, on the consumer side, people like to see innovations, particularly in mobile devices and software. He thinks that in order to keep conservative IT departments at enterprise customers happy without slowing down innovation on the consumer side, Windows 9 may have to offer separate versions.

Fixing the desktop on Windows 9

Perhaps the biggest complaint with Windows 8 is the difficulty in using it on PCs and laptops. It’s certainly a beautiful mobile operating system that’s easy to use with a touchscreen, but it’s more difficult for some users to navigate with a mouse. People have grown accustomed to the Start menu, and when it disappeared with Windows 8, many just couldn’t figure out how to use it.

There have been plenty of rumors and speculations about what Microsoft could do to fix the desktop experience, like bringing back the Start menu. Indeed, executives promised to “improve” the desktop experience, and Bott notes that while the company did make some incremental improvements with Windows 8.1, there’s still room to improve.

But instead of tossing Windows 8 out entirely, he suggests that the management tools just need to be refined and that it needs to be easier to use, particularly when transitioning from desktop elements to the more modern part of Windows 8.

Other problems to address in Windows 9

Bott also thinks Microsoft must do something about Internet Explorer, particularly because some developers don’t even care about supporting it because it doesn’t have a good reputation. The company seemed to have all but abandoned its web browser at one time. Although he does note that some improvements have been added, he says there’s still a long way to go. This issue isn’t one addressed often, perhaps because there are a couple of other browsers that work better, so there are easy workarounds for this one.

And then there’s the issue of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG), which has done an excellent job of freezing out Microsoft’s Windows Phone by offering horrible versions of its mobile apps on the mobile operating system. Bott says Microsoft must add more native Google apps for the search giant’s popular services. Indeed, the spat between the two companies grows, as Google purposely spurns Microsoft at every turn.

Unfortunately for this last problem, Bott isn’t sure there is a solution. However, at the end of the day, it seems to me that this issue is one mostly for Windows Phone and not as much for desktop PCs. Nonetheless, it is an issue Microsoft must consider as it attempts to gain a foothold with Windows Phone.