Software giant Microsoft is launching the Windows 8 version of its operating system this week, and suffice it to say it’s radically different from Windows 7. The familiar Start button and menu have disappeared, for example, they have been replaced by several large ones colored blocks. And there is a new feature called “Charm Bar”.
1. Loss of Control – Unsolicited changes naturally interfere with autonomy, and IT directors around the world and other heads of department may not like being forced into a completely different operating system from above. “People don’t like it when they’re forced to change their plans instead of determining the changes they want to make,” says Kanter.
2. Excessive Uncertainty – “People generally prefer to get bogged down in misery rather than go towards a stranger,” Kanter explains in his blog post.
“There will be questions about Windows 8,” Kanter said. “Will it work? Will it help me? Will it require more updates as Microsoft fixes the bugs? People can wait until there is more certainty, thinking that if the current software is working fine, why should they change?”
3. Surprise, surprise! Sudden changes almost always face resistance, says Kanter. To this end, Microsoft has taken pains to prepare the public for Windows 8, informing the press months in advance and also offering a preview version to download. However, Kanter wonders, “Was there enough time for influencers to get used to it and help other people get used to it? And why launch it on October 26? There are a lot of things in the world right now.”
4. Everything looks different: Drastic change is more inconvenient than incremental change, explains Kanter. And early reviews indicate that Windows 8 feels like a journey into the unknown. He quotes Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal, who reports: “Even your most devoted users will not recognize the venerable computer operating system in this new incarnation.”
5. and 6. Loss of expression and concern for competence: The more they deal with a change that wasn’t their idea, people don’t like it when a change makes them feel incompetent. And some early reviews of Windows 8 indicate it’s not much of an ego booster. In the comments section of a review on cnet.com, computer science professor “jabnipnip” said, “Of course it loads fast, but you waste time trying to figure out how to do things like printing! This is no joke. Open to create a PDF in the native viewer and you need to know “intuitively” how to press ctrl + p to print the file. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat there, irritated, trying to figure out how to do something. I’m not an idiot when it comes to computers, but that operating system made me feel that. “
7. More work – This is an inevitable problem. Change usually takes work. This may seem like an irony when it comes to a software update advertised as a tool to make the job easier. Even the most positive reviews of Windows 8 have recognized a steep learning curve, which will likely induce some wear and tear among the weary corporate masses.
8. Sway Effects – “Like throwing a rock into a lake, change creates ripples, reaching distant points in ever-greater circles,” Kanter writes in his HBR blog post.
There are major cascading effects inherent in adopting a drastically different operating system, he says. Confused individual users tend to overload the IT department with “practical” requests. Managers may be late for meetings as they unsuccessfully try to find their calendars with the new UI. And so on. Some problems are more likely than others, but “concern for cascading effects can it causes a lot of inertia when it comes to changing ”, says Kanter.
9. Resentment of the past We have two scary words for Microsoft: Windows Vista. It has been almost six years since this version of Windows was released, but concerned IT executives may never forget the shortcomings. (PC World magazine rated Vista as the biggest disappointment of 2007.) “Microsoft has had problems in the past,” says Kanter. “The company is trying to do something shocking, but that can only irritate users.”
10. Sometimes the threat is real: in his blog post, Kanter explains that many people are afraid because it can be very dangerous and a threat not only to old ideas but also to work. In the case of the launch of Windows 8, there is a threat to Microsoft’s competitors, including Apple, Google Inc., and Amazon.com, which could lose market share if the operating system and the new tablet are successful. “Competitors are definitely resisting change,” says Kanter. “They will do everything in their power to take advantage of all prudent customers and reduce user resistance.”
And the major overhaul of the operating system is also a risk for Microsoft, which needs Windows 8 to maintain its market share, especially among consumers.