An OS marketed as designed for touch screens then sold on non-touch screen machines is either doomed or will doom the manufacturers on non-touch screen computers. We are seeing the results.
It's the marketing, stupid, not the technology.
And I like Windows 8 when fitted with a tablet-screen-buster app. I have an instance running in a VM on this box - but I haven't had a reason to fire it up in months.
Without the marketing hype MS has to come up with a compelling reason to shift to Win8. They haven't - unless you call UEFI compelling rather than coercive.
Steve Jobs, when faced with catastrophic sales figures for the early macs, promised to make the product successful if he had to market it with 'smoke and mirrors' - what followed was decades of PC bashing and the eventual development of iOS, one of the most user-restrictive operating systems of all time.
As an earlier post alluded to, company scrip will keep 'em coming back to the company store. If your machine will only run vendor-approved apps what choice do you have?
But it's possible this whole discussion is academic - in four years we may all be using Chrome-based devices and explaining how Apple AND MS blew it - I hope so...
Re: "The issue here is that PC sales are falling. The cause is a lack of any PC-related innovations in Win 8 to make an upgrade compelling." Bingo. This sentiment will get me to delay a purchase. On the other hand, the actual look and feel of the OS will cause me to complain and suggest improvements, but would not delay a needed purchase.
I've used and adjusted to just about every Microsoft OS, going back to DOS. If I need a new PC and it comes with 8, I'll buy and use it, but I just don't see the value in upgrading.
I ran Windows 8 in a VM for a number of months. I didn't find anything that can be done in Windows 7 couldn't be done in some way shape or form Windows 8.
However, I found the organization on the desktop, the default to a mostly single-app metaphor, the limitations of extensibility on the start screen all made life more difficult for me than in Windows 7. Parts of it reminded me of back in the way-old days when file and program organization meant everything was a non-hierarchical dump of icons on the screen.
I've heard great praise from the one person I know using a smart phone with that version of the Win 8 OS. This person wants a phone that just works and isn't overly complicated. It fits the bill very well for that.
On my VM, I started using ClassicShell shortly before I stopped using Win 8. That did what I would like to see integrated. It brought back the organization, logic and useability that I like in earlier Windows versions. And, of course, it has an easy switch to the native Win 8.
My opinion is that the vast majority of the complaints would disappear if Win 8 had an more complete, integrated and functional Win 7 UI switch. In my opinion, the Win 8 "desktop" looks thrown together as an afterthought, not designed for much actual use.
Why there must always be a single one to blame?
Yes, Windows 8 has a bad press. The reason IMHO is bad marketing rather than bad technology.
But the PC market is saturated, the financial situation in the USA and Europe is far from brilliant, many people now prefer tablets over PCs, ... There are many reasons. Surely, Windows 8 is a factor. But not the only.
I like to tone of your comment. Like you, I keep hoping that Microsoft can succeed. I thin all the W8 criticisms go away if MS just provides an update that allows you to boot into a familiar Window 7 mode. Come on MS! Please pull your head out of your you-know-what!
You're going to have to wait until Vista II for M$ bloatware to have the smarts to detect the presence/absence of a touchscreen. Until then, use Windows_Key + d/D to switch back and forth.
(psst: it's the 21st Century. Time to move on)