Microsoft's woes continue to mount as one of its most important customers—HP—is bringing back Windows 7. The move is one of the most prominent rejections of Microsoft's Windows 8 strategy to date, and shows just how badly the PC industry is faring.
The Verge noted HP's move, reporting that the company was emailing customers with the news that "Windows 7 is back," accompanied by promotional material on the HP website saying that Windows 7 is "back by popular demand." That demand is so popular, HP will give you up to $150 off the price of your PC if you'll only, please, choose Windows 7, giving proof to the old adage that companies discount things that are in high demand. Or something.
Here's a screenshot from HP's Home section:
Back by popular demand—now here's $150 if you'll please take it
HP's rejection of Windows 8 is so profound that you can only find mention of it under customizable options. This isn't just a rejection of Windows 8—more on that below—it shows how troubled the entire PC paradigm is. Windows PC sales are falling, and faced with that reality, HP's solution is to try and turn the clock back to a four year old operating system that Microsoft has done its best to pretend is no longer relevant.
Which brings us to the crux of the problem, Microsoft. The company designed Windows 8 not to be a great desktop operating system, and not even to be a great touch-based operating system. Instead it was designed to get Microsoft's customers to do what Microsoft wanted them to do, which is to use the same operating system on the desktop and their tablets.
The result is an operating system that is good on neither the desktop or a touch tablet, and customers are responding by buying other things, namely iOS and Android devices.
Windows 9 will be Microsoft's next attempt at slapping lipstick on this particular pig, but it's too late. Microsoft is facing years of decline due to the lack of vision at the top, and HP's decision to promote Windows 7 at the expense of Windows 8 is proof of that.
I only hope that whoever replaces Steve Ballmer can bring some vision to the company and turn things around, but I won't hold my breath.
Crisis ahead image courtesy of Shutterstock.