I think the point is, Microsoft has apparently dissuaded PC users from upgrading. Perhaps the handheld push has kept PC applications from pushing the performance boundaries of PCs lately, temporarily anyway, but people do still want or need to update their PCs. I don't think it helps Microsoft, when these potential customers are being shuttled off to Apple or Linux.
The question is who do they sell it to? Corporate customers see no reason to update to Win 8. The two friends that I mentioned are certainly not the power users that can navigate around an obstinate UI. They are the users that finally figured out how to get to their email. All that is left for the PC-based Win 8 space is the power users. I used to be in that club (I actually used Vista for quite a while), but anymore I am dividing my time between Linux, Android, and Win 7.
I'm sure you're right, that Microsoft did themselves a huge disservice, by pushing Windows 8 on the basis of its tablet-friendly UI option. A silly mistake, considering that Windows is used so heavily by the PC customer, meaning both small portable types or desktops.
However, everyone I know who uses Win8 on real PCs, and whose opinion on these matters is well informed, tells me that it ain't such a big deal. You don't have to use the tablet UI. What I can't figure out is, how come Microsoft doesn't get it? Is it possible they still haven't revamped their ad campaign, in light of these market realities?
It makes sense to deploy a single OS. It makes no sense to sell it only on the merits of its tablet or phone usage. Start showing us Windows 8 with the PC user interface, for pete's sake.
Odd too is that the ad campaign for Win7 was brilliant. Then Microsoft dozed off.
I hope that conditions improve over the next few months, but many are waiting to see how the US handles its response to the Syrian conflict. And many companies are forgoing upgrading their PC's until the reviews on 8.1 come out.
The MacBook Air exception is noteworthy. I have been advising my friends to think carefully about whether or not they want a Win 8 computer when they replace their old ones. I have two friends that went that way. One of them didn't mind, because she added software to make it practically identical to a Win 7 box. The second one absolutely hates using hers. I am going to take a look at Win 8.1, but I will probably end up putting the same software on hers as well. A very large part of this market implosion is squarely at the feet of Microsoft's heavy-handed forced push of Win 8.