Microsoft’s Wednesday preview release of Windows 8.1 fixed some of the problems users complained about after last year’s vastly upgraded 8.0 version hit stores, but some still see the company facing an uphill battle for market share.
While the changes in 8.1 are “little tweaks,” according to CNN Money
, especially as compared to the significant changes between Windows 7.0 and 8.0, many issues were addressed in the newest version, expected to go on sale later this year.
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The Start button is back, though it doesn’t look like it used to; its disappearance in 8.0 aggravated consumers. You can run eight apps next to each other, up from two in Windows 8.0, although that’s only on monitors with high resolution (2560x1600).
The company also more tightly integrated services in the new version, CNN reported, including syncing SkyDrive cloud storage with your Windows and app settings.
Forbes reported that even improving Windows 8.0 with an upgrade leaves Microsoft in a poor market position.
It was unusual to have an update so quickly (just eight months after the release of Windows 8.0), and it had to happen because developers needed “serious” fixes to happen right now.
“The 8th Windows needs help 8 month in,” according to Forbes. “Despite a bewildering array of fixes and changes, though, the new improved Windows 8.1 (due later this year) won't fix an ailing PC market and won’t get Microsoft off its single-digit share in smartphones or tablets anytime soon.”
Gartner published device sale forecasts this week, Forbes reported, and the decline in traditional PCs appears to be accelerating. In 2012, the PC outshipped the tablet by 341 million to 120 million. But that’s expected to shift by next year, with project shipments of PCs to be 289 million and tablets to be 276 million.
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