Retailers report slow Windows 8 sales, low demand
With 'Vista problem' solved, customers see no need to upgrade
Reports that Windows 8 hasn't been moving as briskly as the industry had hoped continue to emerge, with major retailers reporting slow sales and Microsoft insiders allegedly describing the initial numbers as "disappointing."
In an interview with Readwrite, Merle McIntosh, senior VP of product management for online tech retailer NewEgg's North American division, described sales of Windows 8 as "slow going," though he declined to cite actual figures.
According to McIntosh, NewEgg – one of North America's largest tech retailers, with around $2bn in annual sales – was hoping for an "explosion" of Windows 8 sales following its October 26 launch. That didn't happen, he said, though sales have been steadily improving.
Even before Windows 8 launched, McIntosh said, there were many within NewEgg who didn't expect sales to pick up until well into 2013. McIntosh himself now expects the OS to start taking off somewhere around the second quarter.
Unlike some retailers, however, NewEgg doesn't plan to discount the Windows 8 upgrade package for the all-important holiday shopping season, although it will offer deals on such items as TVs, digital cameras, and Android tablets.
And Windows 8 tablets? Not so much. McIntosh said that so far, most of the devices NewEgg has sold with Windows 8 preinstalled have been traditional desktops and notebooks.
What's more, McIntosh hinted that many of the PCs NewEgg sells during the holidays will likely be older models designed to run Windows 7. NewEgg bought up lots of the older kit from OEMs during August through October, he said, explaining that the retailer has "aggressive ambitions in market share."
On the whole, NewEgg simply isn't seeing the same kind of interest in Windows 8 among customers that it saw following the Windows 7 launch in 2009, McIntosh said, noting that customers are mostly satisfied with Windows 7 – unlike its reviled predecessor.
"It doesn't even come close," McIntosh said. "As you know ... the Windows 7 launch was coming in to solve a Vista problem, and there was lots of lots of pent-up demand for it. And so for the launch – at launch – the Win 8 stuff doesn't compare, really."
Expecting Windows 8 sales to start growing more rapidly post-launch, however, may be wishful thinking. The lack of demand NewEgg is seeing jibes with figures released last week by analyst outfit Forrester, which found that only 5 per cent of IT managers planned to upgrade in the next year.
On Friday, longtime Redmond-watcher Paul Thurrott blogged that Microsoft insiders have told him that the initial Windows 8 sales figures have been "disappointing," but that the company puts most of the blame on PC makers' "inability to deliver."
Indeed, many retailers have reported difficulty getting Windows 8 kit from OEMs, many of which don't plan to launch their full Windows 8 product lines until next year's CES conference.
But Thurrott himself speculated that a variety of factors have led customers to take a "wait and see" attitude toward the new OS, which he said has caused the Windows 8 launch to go off more like that of Vista than of Windows 7. "All of this was avoidable," he wrote.
When El Reg contacted Redmond for own its take on the Windows 8 sales situation, Microsoft reps declined to comment. ®
A shit product has low sales numbers.
The problem is this....
The basic problem with windows 8 is this -
It makes it a bit harder and slower to do all the things you've been using your computer for for years due to the new slightly confused interface, and the new metro apps don't really do much, and making them full screen isn't great for many of them.
You can fix most of that with settings and 3rd party stuff.
But you end up with a new operating system that with some effort is almost as usable as the one you had before. There doesn't seem to be much "new" to it other than the new UI.
So it's not awful but it's not really an upgrade when you can run your appliations "nearly" as easily as you could before is it?
Re: A single change...
Windows 8 isn't "change for the sake of change", it has a deliberate and specific purpose.
Sales of desktop machines are decreasing. Partly this is due to saturation, but it is also because there is little need to replace or even upgrade a machine bought in the last few years, they have been 'good enough' for a decade. This is especially true when desktop functions are being done on iPads, Android tablets or phones. The next growth area is smartTVs for internet access, beyond that will be pocket devices (phones) that connect to TVs to make these into desktop PC replacements.
Microsoft has no presence in the new markets having made phones but seen their market share decrease and tablets (slates) that never sold well. Consultants have told them that the reason is that the WP7 UI is 'unfamiliar'. They think that they can fix that. Force TIFKAM onto every desktop and soon _everyone_ (or at least 400 million) will be familiar with it and will _demand_ it on their phones and tablets.
They haven't considered any other outcome. It is so essential to future growth, or indeed survival, that making it optional is not an option.
What happens if the user goes into the phone shop, sees WP8, and says "that's the UI I hate on my desktop" ?