PC sales are plunging, down 10.1 percent this year and more than 15 percent among consumer purchases. Windows 8.1 doesn't fix Windows 8's inherently unusable experience. Anyone who wants a new PC is stuck, faced with switching to a Mac, finding a Windows 7 PC, or waiting a few years in hope that Microsoft will eventually snap out from its Windows 8 delusion.
Microsoft Office was supposed to be Microsoft's trump card for Windows 8, providing an essential business tool unavailable on iPads and Android tablets, and in a better version than the one offered for OS X. But it works poorly on touch devices, especially the crop of Windows 8 tablets that Microsoft has been selling so ineffectually in its TV ads. Office matters to enterprises, but they're adopting Windows 7.
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Ironically, Windows 8's Metro UI and the marketing around it are focused on edutainment apps, not the business crowd. Home users who need Office already have it on Windows XP or 7 PCs that will likely run just fine for years to come. Edutainment -- games, media players, social networking, and so on -- is Microsoft's best hope to get people to pay for a Windows 8 PC.
But Windows 8's Metro media player duo -- Xbox Music and Xbox Videos -- falls short. It's focused on getting users to buy or rent media from the Microsoft Store, hiding users' existing media content, such as their ripped CDs and DVDs. It also isn't designed to stream media to or from tablets or to stereos, TVs, and speakers. Thus, it's not a great entertainment center.