Feeds

I KNOW how to SAVE Microsoft. Give Windows 8 away for FREE – analyst

Redmond would be better off flinging out latest OS while it still can, we're told

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

With the PC market sputtering and users still sour on Windows 8, Microsoft should consider giving its latest OS out for free, say analysts.

According to IHS analyst Clifford Leimbach, a free update from Microsoft would help to win back the hearts and minds of consumers at a time when Microsoft finds itself in need of some goodwill from its customer base.

Leimbach points to the example set by Apple, which released its OS X Mavericks operating system for free to users with newish-enough Mac computers. He said Microsoft could likewise make Windows 8 available gratis, and help to restore some consumer confidence.

"You have a PC market that is a little stagnant, and what are they doing to bring consumers back? You are not seeing a whole lot of innovation," Leimbach told The Reg.

"Then you have Apple who says we are going to give it to you for free, it is symbiotic to the way that the PC industry has been thinking."

Lest any Cupertino fanbois get idea that analysts see Microsoft ceding its stranglehold on the market, Leimbach notes that there is little chance of Apple making major inroads on market share as long as the company maintains its focus on high-end, high-margin products.

Indeed, he said that Microsoft should make a point of taking a short-term hit on Windows by giving away the software now while it still controls 90 per cent of the market for desktop operating systems. In doing so, Redmond could help to restore the confidence of its customers and encourage them to stick with Windows systems rather than opt for a switch to emerging platforms such as Google-powered tablets.

"Right now, I think Microsoft can take it without a lot of adverse effect," Leimbach opined, "but you have this amalgamation of all these things that people are seeing competitors do, it is slowly turning consumers off."

Such a pricing move would be the first step that Microsoft and other PC vendors will need to make in order to catch up with mobile vendors in the market and remake themselves in a new space which got off to a rough start with Windows 8. With PC sales shrinking as the Android and iOS platforms take advantage of lower hardware prices and shorter, contract-driven device upgrade cycles, traditional PC vendors are at a growing disadvantage.

"Anyone that is heavily in the PC space you can see stumbling after the tablet and smartphone market," said Leimbach.

"It took off a lot quicker than they thought and you see them running to play catch-up, they have to step up." ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
Not appy with your Chromebook? Well now it can run Android apps
Google offers beta of tricky OS-inside-OS tech
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
NHS grows a NoSQL backbone and rips out its Oracle Spine
Open source? In the government? Ha ha! What, wait ...?
Google extends app refund window to two hours
You now have 120 minutes to finish that game instead of 15
Intel: Hey, enterprises, drop everything and DO HADOOP
Big Data analytics projected to run on more servers than any other app
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.