Microsoft is preparing to reverse course over key elements of its Windows 8 operating system, marking one of the most prominent admissions of failure for a new mass-market consumer product since Coca-Cola's New Coke fiasco nearly 30 years ago.
"Key aspects" of how the software is used will be changed when Microsoft releases an updated version of the operating system this year, Tammy Reller, head of marketing and finance for the Windows business, said in an interview with the Financial Times. Referring to difficulties many users have had with mastering the software, she added: "The learning curve is definitely real."
Analysts warned that changing course would be a significant admission of failure for Steve Ballmer, chief executive, who called the October launch of Windows 8 a "bet-the-company" moment as Microsoft sought to respond to the success of Apple's iPad.
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"It's a horrible thing for this to happen to your flagship product – he'll take a hit for that," said Mark Anderson, an independent tech analyst. "But he's also responsible for a renaissance inside the company. There's a level of risk and creativity going on that would never have happened two years ago."