Microsoft painted itself into a corner with the Metro UI paradigm
And now they are too stubborn to find a way out. Instead, they will continue to plow ahead despite the market telling them that the Metro UI paradigm just doesn't work.
Let's back up a bit. Metro, on it's own, has its strong suits. It generally looks clean and easy to use, and it has a consistent look and feel throughout. It's even won a few design awards in its earlier days. Unfortunately, that's where the praise for Metro ends.
Time and time again, the consumer has spoken about Metro. Windows Phone is the greatest example of Metro going awry. Most people dislike it, and even if they do like it, it's not enough to convince them to purchase a WP over another competing device (despite top of the line hardware and "good enough" app support). This isn't just a matter of mind share. "different" doesn't necessarily mean "good", and a lack of apps isn't the main reason people don't buy WP (the average person installs less than 5 apps)
Then we come to the real issue: Metro Style Apps. By Microsoft going full throttle with Metro it has decided to forceapp developers to follow the Metro design language to a T. This becomes even more cumbersome because:
1. Apps can't differentiate themselves that much using their own style (think GMail vs Outlook vs Yahoo Mail) and are limited to things like just changing the color palette.
2. The Metro design does not work well for many, many types of apps.
3. If Microsoft were to make a major change to their UI, all of the apps are suddenly completely out of date.
And this is what I mean by painting themselves into a corner. Some years ago, they did some user testing and decided that Metro was different, and therefore good enough, to push to market on the Zune. Then they made a crazy decision to use that design language on Windows Phone, and then *everywhere else*, despite it being a very *mobile-centric*/*small device* UI paradigm. Now, they are realizing that despite major fanboy love, the public has spoken, and its too late to turn back. They can only hope, beyond hope, that the Metro UI paradigm will catch on, and catch on strongly, otherwise *all* of their products will suffer.
Even with their attempts to force Metro on everyone via Windows 8, my bet is that in a few years, Metro will be out the door and a more traditional Windows UI will enter the scene again.