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."
Guys, make some sense! It is really price hike. There are more hardware in a Win8 notebook with touch screen than a Win7 notebook. Nothing comes for free, at least not without some forms of subsidy. With increased BOM cost, the selling price has to go up.
Like the time when netbook was first introduced, consumers realized that they don't have to buy a notebook PC of typical size (brick size and weight at the time, how stupid PC OEMs are to fool consumers when they had the ability to make much thinner and lighter notebook at similar price point) in order to have the good experience on web surfing, watching movies, listening to music etc. Today, many consumers' need can be served very well by the $199 Kindle HD alike (though most consumers chose to be ripped off by Apple), hence the inevitable drop in notbook PC sales. For those consumers who would rather have a single computing device to serve both causal and serious computing needs, Win8 Tablet is probably the best compromise. In contrast, the iPads and the Android tablets offer limited functions because of the limited on-board DRAM! Given the evolving CPU architecture, these tablets could one day be able to run serious application software like OrCAD, Photoshop CS, .... For now and the next two years at least, Win8 Tablet is still the best computing devices that is extremely portable, powerful, and offers over 8hr computing per day.
It kind of seems like the shift in consumer preferences has caught the PC industry, Microsoft included, off guard. Spending millions to develop a new OS, hike up the price and consumer and businesses will flock to it, right? Maybe not anymore.
The price hike seems insane, in a PC market that is showing signs of saturation. And if Win8 is attractive to notebook users who want touchscreens, that doesn't need to hold also for other PCs. For example, I have no desire for touchscreens in any of my PCs. So I'm far from jumping at the possibility of "upgrading" to Win8.
Kind of makes you wonder about the Microsoft exec who was pushing Win8, and bailed at the same time as his pet project was launched?
And again, I will suggest that having launched the WinRT version of the Surface tablet first was probably a mistake. A Surface tablet that behaves like a super-sleek notebook is more interesting than one that's just a little bit better of a tablet. I would have bought the x86 version of the Surface. I ain't going for the dumbed down model, though.