The much hoped for boost for PC sales from the launch of Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system has thus far failed to materialize.
According to the NPD Group, since the Oct. 26 launch of Windows 8, U.S. sales of consumer Windows PC and tablets—including the Microsoft Surface tab—have fallen 21 percent versus the same period of last year.
Sales of Windows notebooks declined 24 percent year-over-year, while sales of desktops fell 19 percent, according to NPD.
The PC market is expected to contract this year for the first time since 2001, as consumers increasingly opt for tablets and other less expensive, more convenient mobile computing devices. Many had hoped that the launch of Windows 8—described as the most dramatic refresh of the ubiquitous operating system in decades—would provide a boost to the PC market, as other Windows launches have done in the past.
The Windows 8 start screen, featuring application tiles.
Others have already speculated that Windows 8 would not be enough to stem the tide of PC sales decline. Though the new operating system offers some compelling new features and usability, it adds significant cost.
"After just four weeks on the market, it’s still early to place blame on Windows 8 for the ongoing weakness in the PC market," said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD, in a statement. "We still have the whole holiday selling season ahead of us, but clearly Windows 8 did not prove to be the impetus for a sales turnaround some had hoped for."
In my case, Win8 DID result in a new PC sale...only NOT one running Win8! My wife's XP Celeron machine had run out of adequate poop some time back, and was getting "constipated" at least once a day. I picked up a refurb HP Win7 Home Premium machine for less than $200, with 1TB HD, multicore CPU, 4GB RAM, etc. My only beef with it is Mr. Softy killed the ability to use a network drive for backup.
An important question for a lot of people (since this is the EE Times) would be ... how well do engineering apps run, if they have been installed on a Windows 8 machine?
A lot of EDA tools are still being run on XP machines. A few people have finally made the move to Windows 7.
Time will tell for the new Windows products. PC sales are determined by a lot of factors. Key being its usefulness for your work applications. As long as a PC lets people do the normal day to day tasks, then PC's have a very useful life. Tablets will not change that need, only fail to satisfy it.
The Surface is an interesting attempt to bridge both worlds, but the jury is still out as to whether it will meet either requirements.
We need to get past the absurd notion of instant success. Everyone changes or tries new things at different rates. Easy to use is another word for "can't do anything useful" and hard to use means it has more power than you can understand with a quick look.
Just my opinion.
I for one would be surprised if Windows 8 doesn't actually HURT PC sales. I went to a store to try it out, and boy, what a confusing and non-intuitive mess it is! It may make (more) sense on a small tablet, but using it on a big screen is genuinely awful.
There is just no sense in making a system that shows very little information, full-screen on a big screen, with big fonts, lots of whitespace... but has the controls to actually do something hide OFF-screen. What a horrendous idea. It also seems to be designed to force maximum mouse movement: to this corner, then to that corner, close an app by grabbing the top of the screen and dragging all the way to the bottom, etc.
And then there is the whole non-integration of the two disparate systems (desktop and "metro"), each with their own list of tasks, but not sharing, so the user needs to go hunt for them in two places...
Maybe a person can get used to it and find ways around there issues, but you can't really call it an improvement in usability, whichever way you spin it. In trying to make one shoe that fits everyone, Microsoft has managed to make one that fits everyone badly. The whole thing makes a very bad first impression. And no, that's not just because it is different. I personally like different and unusual user interfaces, like GNOME 3 on Linux for example. Their attempt to provide a system that works for touch and desktop use alike seems much more sane.
Apple gave Microsoft a licnese to its user interface IP on the condition it did not implement anything remotely similar to Apple user interfaces. The result: Metro.
Personally I have an aversion to learning this new in-yer-face interface.
There are so many industry commentators focused on categorizing machines. It does not matter if a machine is called a laptop, a tablet, or a hybrid. Each category contains systems with different feature sets and price points. What is ultimately important is how much utility and fun the buyer derives from his machine.
I used the Windows 8 pre release version off and on for several months now. I having it stalled in a virtual machine so I didn't have to destroy my machine to try it out.
I really don't understand it at all. They took some features that were designed around tablets and shoe horned them into an environment where they really don't belong.
I don't think they've really taken any Windows 7 functionality away - the start menu is gone but you can more or less get the same functionality with the search. They haven't taken the capability away. They've just made it more difficult to find and use.
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.