Here in Seattle among small tech companies (or start-up), and among pundits worldwide, people like to say that Windows is irrelevant. They point that slide (#24) in Mary Meaker’s State of the Internet last year (or slide #109 in this year’s deck, although it looks like that’s missing the Apple segement) that shows that Microsoft dominated computing platforms for 20 years and is being replaced with iOS and Android. They say that Windows 8 isn’t important and the Windows Phone 8 will never gain the market share that Apple and Android have.
I’m sure that there is lots of research to backup these claims (Gartner and IDC chimed in after all), but flat design is pervasive. The big news this week out of WWDC is that Apple’s iOS 7 has moved to flat design. Android 4 dropped skeuomorphic elements 18 months ago, even changing the text box to a single line. The latest Gmail for Android looks like Windows Phone 7, with quartered avatars that are incredibly reminiscent of the Metro tiles.
All that started at Microsoft. The elements that Microsoft built on for Metro were hatched in the Zune “chromeless” interface Method designed in 2007, carried into Windows Phone 7 and then Windows 8. The Metro interface has gotten tons of not-very-friendly press, but it’s clearly made an impact on the world.
So when the entire world of design is changed based on ideas coming out of Windows and Microsoft, I find it disingenuous to claim that they are not relevant. I couldn’t say whether Windows 8 is selling well enough for Microsoft, but it’s certainly making it’s mark.