As we wrote in late October, Microsoft has a lot riding on its new Windows 8 operating system. The company has a huge financial investment on the line, as well as its reputation as an industry leader and innovator.
So, should Microsoft be concerned that early results are “sagging”? Steven Jones and Shira Ovide report for the Wall Street Journal that: “The company’s executives and some PC makers have said they didn’t expect a fast start for Windows 8 PCs and tablets. For one, corporations are the biggest buyers of Windows computers, often taking a year or more to upgrade to new versions of Windows. Still, a slow start for Windows 8 fuels worries that the operating system won’t be the catalyst for reviving PC sales, which have slowed sharply as consumers have opted for tablet computers, such as Apple’s iPad. The continued sag of Windows PC sales despite a wave of new devices ‘raises questions about whether this is a transitional issue, or have we seen a leg down in core PC demand,’ said Rick Sherlund, an analyst with Nomura Securities. Windows 8 comes with an interface designed for tablets and laptop or desktop PCs that have touchscreens. It also works with a traditional keyboard and mouse. Some industry executives predict that consumers will take time to get used to touching laptop screens, just like displays on tablets and smartphones. But the new interface takes time to learn, analysts add, and touchscreens increase hardware prices. Also, many PC makers have yet to roll out a full complement of PCs and tablets with touchscreens. NPD found that touchscreen devices with Windows 8 sold well but made up just 6% of notebook sales at an average price of $867. Partly for that reason, average selling prices for Windows devices rose to $477 from $433 a year earlier, NPD said. That is good news for PC makers weary of consumers buying low-cost computers.”
Click the chart to read more from Jones and Ovide.