Fundamental error. Most people need to write letters to family and friends that are longer than 3 sentences, have edited immages/movies imbedded, and need to do homework for school and the like. They just can't afford it, even at $500.
The Win8 touch interface might be 'quite neat', but there are, as backed up by the sales figures, many PC users who will not move on to a new PC because they do not want to be saddled with what is, in effect, a tablet OS on their PC. That 'neat' touch interface is 'quite useless' for PCs, and that is on top of the poorly laid out menus and navigation that PC users are forced to use.
I really wish MS had hit a home run with Win8, but they didn't because they seem to have taken the lazy route: One OS to fit all platforms, rather than a separate version for each platform.
As a result, their sales for the OS are down, and most PC manufacturers are suffering because of a stupid, and unadmitted, MS tactical blunder.
"Bob" and I share this view. PCs were originally for engineers and hackers and then IBM/MS and Apple made them for 'the rest of us'. Meanwhile your average user never understood or used most of the capabilities of a computer, and got freaked out over superficial UI changes because they didn't understand the guts (a helplessness that both Apple and MS encourage in my view). Now that they can get what they want from a tablet they ditch the computer that they didn't need anyway. As a scientist/engineer I have benefited from being able to buy cheap powerful hardware driven by huge volumes. Hope this lasts!! (And of course I've been using Linux for years so I don't have to put up with MS randomly changing stuff for no good reason).
It's very simple: confusing product makes for a confused market.
Someone try to describe in a few words what Windows 8 "IS" and then a few words why I would want it. Good luck. And I bet you get 10 people with 10 different answers.
Marketing 101: never confuse your customer, or you will pay dearly for it.
I bought a Windows 8 desktop back in November, hated it for a week, then figured out you could get Windows 7 by pushing the "Windows" key on the keyboard. Push it again, back to Windows 8. It toggles between Windows 8 and 7 every time you push it. What could be simpler?
For the purists, it's not really Windows 7, just looks and feels like it. But way-way faster. This computer rips, and it cost less than $500. And any program that works on Windows 7 will also work in this mode. Never had a program not load.
But the real reason for declining PC sales is this; the vast majority of people in the world don't need a computer. What do they do? Mostly email, Facebook, Online Banking, Photos, Google, watch movies.
In the future, I foresee the only people with computers will be technical (engineers), students, accountants, and salesmen. Everyone else could easily get by with a Notepad.
And that, I believe is the real reason for declining sales of PC's.
We are seeing what is likely inevitable convergence. The goal is the *same* OS running on whatever device you happen to have.
With an ARM build for Win8, MS has an OS that can run on desktop, laptop, tablet, and smartphone.
Apple is moving in that direction, and I would not be surprised to see iOS subsume OS/X and become the only OS on Apple gear.
Linux is moving in that direction, with Android dominating the tablet ans smartphone markets, and a beta X86 port that will run on a desktop.
What gets forgotten is that while one OS may fit all platforms, one UI does not. Having the classic shell as the default for Win8 installs on desktops and laptops would help a great deal.
That said, I think IDG overestimates the negative effect of Win8 on PC sales.
The first issue is that the PC market is mature and largely saturated. Pretty much everyone who can use one has one. There is still a substantial market, but it's upgrades and replacements, not new sales. There simply isn't the *growth* beloved of the financial markets.
The second is that most folks get a new version of Windows when they get a new machine with it preinstalled. Previous upgrade cycles have been driven by hardware upgrades. We are now at a point where the hardware is arguably powerful enough to handle most of what users do, and there's no particular reason to go out and get a bigger, faster machine.
What does Win8 have to offer that is compelling enough to drive updates? What does it offer existing users that is a clear improvement over the Win7 or older machine they use now?
And there's evidence the corporate market has been lengthening upgrade schedules, It used to be a three year life for a system, and now it's more like five.
I think we'd see a decline in PC sales if Win8 *weren't* available, simply because the market is mature and there's less reason to buy. Blaming Win8 for the decline overstates the case.
It's not just defaulting to non-desktop mode that turns people off, in my opinion. It's the clumsy cartoonish icons and the way you have to grab the top of the window and drag downward to close a program. The OS was evidently designed with a touchscreen in mind but it just doesn't work well with a keyboard and mouse.
I purchased a new laptop computer in November of last year. The computer had all the hardware I was looking for (i7 processor and nVidea graphics) and a great price. I knew it had W8 but I having lived through many iterations of windows, I figured I could adapt.
The interface, as it boots up is awkward, not intuitive, and worst of all screen switching occurred when the touchpad was swiped. I tried for 5 months to adapt and live with the monster. I gave up last week and bought a copy of W7 and installed it. Finally - relief.
Is it really windows 8 that is the cause or was the PC market slowing in any case and people were hoping for miracles. Windows7 to 8 transition is not at all that bad. I remember the past windows launches from windows95 to windows vista and those were god-awful products but people bought them in droves (including myself).
The sad irony is that windows8 with its touch interface is actually quite neat once you get used to it.