Users tell Microsoft, keep your Windows 8 Metro apps, we don't want them

Microsoft's new-style "Metro" Windows 8 apps were supposed to draw people to the operating system in droves, but the exact opposite is happening. Just-published research shows that 60% of users don't bother to launch even a single Metro app a day.

That information comes from Soluto, which analyzed app usage by 10,848 Windows 8 devices. Some 60.78% of those with desktop PCs don't launch a single Metro app a day, 59.88% those with laptops don't launch a Metro app a day, and 58.1% of those with a touch-enabled laptop don't launch a single Metro app a day. Even those with tablets aren't big Metro app fans, given that only 44.38% of them launch a single Metro app a day. (Note: The figures don't include Windows RT devices like the Microsoft Surface.

The numbers show just how out of sync Microsoft's Windows 8 design is with the way that people actually use computers. Metro-style apps are built for touch, and the research makes it clear that they simply don't care about touch-based apps. That nearly 60% of people with touch-based laptops don't use touch-based apps even once a day is astonishing. Maybe even more startling is that more than 44% of those with tablets don't use touch-based apps once a day, given that tablets are designed for touch,

This is one more piece of evidence that Microsoft made a serious mistake in designing Windows 8 primarily for touch-based devices, and then bolting that onto a separate desktop-based operating system. At this point, people simply don't care about touch, even when they buy devices like touch-enabled laptops and tablets that are designed for touch.

The results also explain why Windows RT has been a failure: Windows RT devices can't run the desktop, and so they only use touch-based apps. As this report shows, people simply don't like touch-based apps. Windows RT tablets like the Surface have been a bust in the marketplace. A recent IDC report found that the RT-based Surface had only 0.4% of all tablet sales, with only 200,000 shipped.

Part of the problem may not be just that people don't like touch, but that touch-based apps are generally underwhelming. The ones that Microsoft ships with Windows 8 are underpowered, and not nearly as useful as desktop-based apps.

The Soluto report found out that after people try out Microsoft's Windows 8 apps, they tend to stay away. Eight of the top ten Windows 8 apps that people have tried at least once, the report finds, are from Microsoft. Yet only a single one of those apps is among the top 10 most engaging apps, the apps that people on average use most in a week. That shows that people simply don't like what Microsoft is giving them.

Windows 8.1, which will tweak Windows 8 to a certain extent, won't solve the problem. The Soluto report is just one more piece of evidence that for now at least, what Microsoft is selling with Windows 8, people don't want to buy.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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