Windows 8 Rollout Looking Dicey

| About: Microsoft Corporation (MSFT)
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Even Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) most ardent shareholders can't be happy about how the Windows 8 rollout is going.

So talk me down, if you can.

The tipping point, for me, is this mess being made over the name of its new interface. Formerly called Metro, that name is now forbidden.

Veteran Microsoftologist Mary Jo Foley copies TheVerge on speculation that a major Microsoft marketing partner didn't want its name on the product.

So, OK, call it the Windows 8 interface. What's the harm?

As Lance Whitney of C|Net notes there is plenty of harm. Software developers, OEMs, and marketing partners have been using the Metro name for months. Changing now costs them money, and goodwill Microsoft doesn't need to give away.

Then, just as we get used to seeing Window 8, TheVerge finds Microsoft is now starting to use "Modern UI" design for the interface. (UI, for those who don't know, stands for "User Interface.") So, another name change, now, just a few months from the release?

This question of the interface name is doubly important because Microsoft is planning on making the interface-formerly-known-as-metro the default for the new operating system. Users won't be able to boot straight to their desktops and ignore the new UI, Foley notes. Surveys of big users show most opposed to all this.

Microsoft is betting the company on Windows 8 and this whatchamacallit interface. This will be the basis of its re-entry into the phone market, its effort in tablets, the future of its desktops. This is the whole shebang. This needs to work.

Maybe it will. But early signs are disquieting. Microsoft has tried several times to break out of its $30-32 trading range the last few months, after hitting highs of nearly $33 in March. The dividend is now yielding 2.6%, which is very high for a technology stock that's supposed to have strong growth prospects.

That yield will keep me warm a while, but not past Christmas.

Disclosure: I am long MSFT.