'We couldn’t afford to make lots of product, lots of high-priced touch'
PC makers, though, are hitting back after Redmond's finger-pointing - countering that if they’d followed Microsoft’s advice they’d have ended up building very expensive tablets and would have been saddled with the costs of a huge piles of unsold units. Those who did buy Windows 8 PCs ultimately bought the cheap laptops not high-end Ultrabooks or hybrids.
One Reg source told us Microsoft isn’t blaming OEMs publicly, but doing so in private in meetings assisted with PowerPoint presentations. “There was a big debate, and we said: 'It’s not like that.' We couldn’t afford to make lots of product, lots of high-priced touch. We found people would look at nice high-end products and buy £299 devices instead,” the contact said.
The source also criticised the Hero PC and Featured PC programmes, calling the process "opaque".
The PC makers also blame Microsoft for sowing confusion with its Surface tablet. Among the manufacturers, it is perceived that the Microsoft-branded slab failed to educate users about the new touch user interface and distracted the software giant - leading to its failure to put adequate marketing muscle behind the launch of ordinary Windows 8 PCs.
The European launch of Windows 8 lacked the punch and focus expected by PC makers, as Microsoft focussed much of its efforts on the US and Surface.
“Microsoft is not blaming itself for not selling enough Surface, it’s blaming OEMs for not having enough touch-based product,” our supply chain source said.
The Reg asked Microsoft to comment on its sales in the final quarter of 2012. We also asked what the company believes is responsible for the fact Windows 8 didn't have a "significant" impact - as per Gartner's statement. El Reg also quizzed the firm on whether it believes more touch would help sales of PCs in Q1 and Q2 of 2013, and which steps Microsoft taking now.
Finally, we asked what guidance Microsoft had provided manufacturers.
In a statement attributed to Windows business planning general manager Bernardo Caldas, Microsoft said it works closely with hardware partners on a list of selected devices which it believes “people will love and that showcase the best of the Windows 8 user experience. This is not a new process for Windows”.
On those Q4 sales, Microsoft claimed 60 million Windows 8 licences had been sold to date - pointing to comments made by Windows division chief financial officer and chief marketing officer Tami Reller at a JP Morgan conference.
Microsoft did say that the figure of 60 million could be attributed to upgrades and sales to manufacturers – so not sales of actual PCs to the end user. Reller had claimed the 60 million was “roughly in line with where we would have been with Windows 7".
On the plans to help Q1 and Q2 sales and of a marketing reboot, Microsoft reckoned it was pleased with uptake of Windows 8 and said: “We work closely with our OEM partners to put a great hardware assortment that brings Windows 8 experiences to life at the center of our marketing campaigns – three key hardware refresh and selling timeframes for OEMs and Microsoft campaigns continue to be: spring, back to school and holiday.
"As market conditions evolve, we will continue to work in tandem with PC makers on creating successful and compelling campaigns.” ®
Re: Windows 8 FAIL
Honestly I think it comes down to Microsoft attempting the 'we know best' route... again.
They did the same with the ribbon, they launch a new UI, force it on everyone. Some people adapted and enjoyed it, it attracted a few people from different crowds, but a fair portion of the existing market for office migrated to libreoffice or openoffice. They forgot that people have a choice and if they don't like something they can leave.
Enter windows 8, they push a new UI which is not suited to a desktop environment, or a laptop environment, or a business environment, but works well on tablets and phones. Some people have/will adapt. Some people may migrate over liking the new simplified interface. But a fair portion are going to say "NO" and begin looking elsewhere, macs and linux come to mind.
Yes you can re-enable the desktop mode as a main feature, but a lot of people don't want to have to go through several steps each time they use their computer just to get the environment the way they like. An OS is meant to 'just work' not 'just work, after you move the mouse here, click there, open run, go to regedit, change a 0 for a 1, reboot, go to the bottom left corner, show desktop mode"
And god forbid if they deem windows 8 a 'success' then they'll likely disable the desktop permanently (as they have done with the old taskbars vs the ribbon)
I used to use a lot of microsoft software, but every time they've forced a change on us I've chosen to migrate away to a free version with an interface I like, rather than one I tolerate. Right now the only reason I keep windows is for visual studio and games. And thanks to mono / WINE I may not even need it for that any more.
Some may like it, it's true. But Microsoft need to learn that they can't just tell people to like change and force it on them. They need to learn that not everybody likes change, not everybody wants a ribbon, or a touch interface, or to jump through hoops to do anything.
They can relaunch a turd as many times as they want, it's still not going to smell of roses.
Reminds me of the say "You can't polish a turd but you can roll it in glitter". Maybe that's what they are doing.
IT's what happens when you don't listen to your customers
I have to laugh. After all the negative reviews of Windows 8 and people saying consumers don't want it, they're now blaming the OEMs.
MSFT just don't get it.