The fallout from Windows 8 was immediate. Steven Sinofsky, who had done more to harm Windows than any of Microsoft’s competitors, was summarily fired by CEO Steve Ballmer. And two of his underlings, Julie Larson-Green and Tami Reller, were tasked with fixing the product as quickly as possible. This would be a temporary situation, almost a punishment, and it was telling that neither was given Sinofsky’s title or overall responsibilities: Ballmer clearly wasn’t sure this was the right direction.
The public’s reaction to Windows 8 was a mixture of confusion and outrage. As originally designed, Windows 8 didn’t just embrace a touch-first mobile world, it jammed it down users’ throats whether they wanted it or not. And most users, decidedly, did not. With Windows 8, Microsoft seemed to be abandoning the billion-plus people who expected Windows to look and work a certain way. Meaning, the way it always had.