by Freddy J. Nager, Founder of Atomic Tango LLC + No Fan of Monkeys

Bring in the consultants! (illustration by Shane Clester)

Bring in the consultants! (illustration by Shane Clester)

I recently bought a laptop running Windows 8, which was apparently designed by monkeys on acid. As operating systems evolve, they’re supposed to make computers easier to use. But these monkeys don’t believe in evolution. Devolution, yes, progress, no. With Windows 8, I actually had to Google how to turn the computer off! I never had that problem before in my 25 years of owning computers. And according to Google, that’s a fairly common search.

(Windows 8 suffers from other issues as well, but this was the biggest, well, turn off.)

How could this happen?

Check out this explanatory article in Forbes, “The PC Industry is Digging Its Own Grave” by Endpoint consultant Roger Kay. Endpoint works with tech companies, and two of its clients were Microsoft and Intel, which power most PC’s. Kay then points out that the PC industry is failing, and points the finger at his former clients. (Good luck ever getting hired again, Kay, but thanks for the insights!)

As a consultant, I found this paragraph particularly interesting:

“Both Microsoft and Intel terminated their relationships with my company in the past year or so. And the reason? Because they don’t like independent analysts, who have to tell it like it is even when the picture isn’t pretty. They want ‘message force multipliers,’ tame hacks who will help their public relations efforts. Tell them what they don’t want to hear, and you’re shown the door.”

Sounds like something out of one of my favorite TV series, House of Lies.

Kay continues:

“Microsoft didn’t like a study we ran that showed that its InTune offering was badly priced. The company wanted marketing support, not real information. Intel was angry that Endpoint wasn’t supporting Ultrabooks enough. Neither program has been particularly successful in reinvigorating the industry. This bull-headed attitude is causing these suppliers to take the whole market down with them. They refuse to see the pixels on the screen.”

Well, of course they can’t see the pixels on the screen – they’re using Windows 8.

Now, this could simply be a disgruntled consultant complaining about the people who fired him. But I’ve also seen this phenomenon up close and personal: companies hiring experts — whether consultants or employees — then ignoring their advice. In House of Lies (based on the memoir of consultant Martin Kihn) the consultants happily take their client’s money and say whatever the client wants to hear. Why not? It helps redistribute all that corporate money and buy the consultants nice toys.

The problem: everyone else gets a computer that can’t be turned off without research. Oh, and a recalcitrant industry that will eventually fail and take a lot of good jobs with it. (Remember record companies? And encyclopedia publishers who didn’t rely on begging as a business model?)

We can argue that this is the free market working: survival of the fittest, and elimination of the monkeys who refuse to evolve. Some fitter monkeys will soon take their place, and the cycle will start all over again. Just like a new season of your favorite TV series.

Until that happens, three words of advice: Get a Mac.

Update 4/18/13: This just came out on The Consumerist: “We’re Outta Here – PC Manufacturers Say Windows 8 Has Driven Millions To Become Apple Users”.

  • As you predicted “PC Sales Plunge Due To Windows 8: Report”

  • I finallybought a MacPro but I’m typing this comment on my Windows 7 PC because I am so comfortable with a PC that 4 months later, I haven’t fully transitioned to the Mac yet. When I just want to get the job done quickly, it’s easier to use my PC.

    By the way, I had no idea how to turn off my Mac at first. Turning off any computer should be intuitive but I think that regardless of platform, it’s about what we get used to. Hopefully I’ll adjust fully to my Mac eventually and won’t need to experiment with Windows 8!

  • Nancy Passow says:
    21 April 2013 at 5:43 pm Reply

    Windows 8 is the reason I recently bought a Dell Vostro with Windows 7 — I wanted to be sure I could still get Windows 7. I had been happy on a PC with Windows XP. And of course while setting up the new PC, I found that Firefox had upgraded as well as a few other programs I use, so there were all sorts of changes. {sigh}

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