Microsoft Blames PC Makers For Slow Windows 8 Sales [Report]

    January 25, 2013
    Zach Walton
    Comments are off for this post.

Microsoft released its quarterly earnings report yesterday, and there was a bit of good news for the company’s Windows business. The company announced that it had sold 60 million Windows 8 licenses and that it was making more money off of the operating system than last year. Windows 8 is performing worse than Windows 7 and Vista, however, and Microsoft is putting the blame on its hardware partners.

In a report from The Register, a source close to Microsoft says that the company is blaming PC makers for the lackluster Windows 8 sales that the company has seen thus far. Microsoft says its hardware partners are not following the “clear and specific guidance” it gave on how Windows 8 hardware should look and operate, specifically the touchscreen input that it wanted in every machine.

PC makers are reportedly objecting to Microsoft’s accusations saying that its “guidance” would have led to expensive PCs that nobody would understand or want. It would have led them to the situation that Microsoft is in now with its Surface RT tablet – a lot of expensive product rotting on shelves. The manufacturers also blame the rise of cheap alternatives, like Android tablets, and a marketing campaign that didn’t properly explain Windows RT. In fact, the latter is the very reason that Samsung won’t be bringing its Windows RT tablet to the U.S.

All of this reeks a little of deja vu as Microsoft has occasionally been at odds with its hardware partners over the decisions it makes. The most recent was its secret development of the Surface tablet that was a complete surprise to hardware partners.

It’s not like any of this is going to suddenly destroy the long standing relationship between Microsoft and OEMs though. Both realize that they need the other to survive. The PC is still a popular piece of hardware even if global shipments are falling. Maybe what’s best is that both parties temper their expectations and aggressively market to its strongest allies – the power user, enterprise and education.

So, what is Microsoft going to do in response to sluggish Windows 8 sales? The Register’s source says the company will be rebooting the launch of Windows 8 alongside the launch of the Surface Pro tablet on February 9. It’s not known what form this “reboot” will take, but it could very well tie into the rumored Windows Blue launch scheduled for 2013.

It will be interesting to see how much of this pans out in the coming year. A reboot of Windows 8 this soon after the launch might be seen as a sign of Microsoft’s admittance that Windows 8 was a “disaster,” but it could also be the best thing to happen to the struggling operating system.

  • mike

    I have been using windows 8 and 7 since last few months. My feeling is that MSFT need to give better guide to people about how to use the TILE interface. It is new to people and I am myself discovering ways to use it better everyday. The other thing is the integrated Mail and calendar, which are absolutely awesome if you learn to sync with existing accounts. Win 8 is revolutionary and Microsoft needs to teachhhhhhh the users, instead of blaming the PC makers.

  • Muarrif

    I upgraded to windows-8 a couple of months back and to be honest I am not at all impressed.
    Why does Microsoft expect users to sync with live ID? Tiles are nothing but just pretty tiles in pretty colours. Windows-7 was the best OS since XP. I had to downgrade to windows-7 because 8 was causing multiple issues with NIC and RAID. Issue with raid was resolved but The network port issue still outstanding and hence the reason for downgrading. Several forums on the net are filled with same issue but no resolution from MS.

    I guess windows-8 probably works better on surface devices and All-in-Onr touch screen PCs but it doesn’t pay off to upgrade a desktop to windows-8.

  • http://Pcrepairnorthshore.com Tinathorsen

    My main issue is w the OEMs that make the cheap laptops. The keyboards never work properly. The touch pad and keyboard layout always puts the cursor somewhere on the page not intended. I cannot lay my palms on the keyboard whatsoever while typing. I adjust the touchpad sensitivity and no help. It’s a problem on the less expensive models. This hurts Microsoft because Macintosh laptops are first class. I love Windows OS but the OEMs should follow Microsoft instructions about the hardware! Just make fewer until it takes off.

    • http://www.glickscomputerrepair.com Dave

      Tina – I have the same problem when I use my laptop – it just has to do with the placement of the touchpad and my fingers accidentally touching it when I type.

      Suggestion: use a USB mouse and disable the touchpad (when using external mouse – it is a setting under Mouse in the Control Panel) – this will solve your issue.

  • Blake

    I bought an Asus laptop with 2gb of memory installed and Windows 8 ran horribly. I upgraded to 4gb and it ran better for a while, but the quirkiness of the new OS kicked in and it started running like crap. I had to rmove all bloatware and am waiting to see if there are any fixes coming out because it needs it.

    • http://www.glickscomputerrepair.com Dave

      Blake – you probably have a hardware issue (or a bad Windows installation) – call Asus to fix it in either of those cases. Windows 8 will run just fine on any hardware out there today. Don’t live with this issue and don’t believe it is a Windows issue – it is not.

      • Mark

        The final release will not run on some of the current hardware that is still in use, and will not run on some of the hardware that the preview releases ran on.

  • Matthew

    I like windows 8 but it needs a few things to ‘fix’ it for the masses:

    1) bring back the start menu for those without touch screens
    2) allow customisation of how the swipe menus and active corners are activated

    That’s it really-

    Under the hood It may be totally new but there isn’t much reason for the average person to think its any different ( unless they want to)

    These comments are based on full W8 not RT.

    RT devices need to be cheaper than the comparable iPad – then we’ll see some traction IMO

  • Mark

    As an IT person that just bought 23 new desktops for my company, with rights to both Win7 and Win8, I can tell you the problem with Win8 is not the hardware makers. Win8 is not designed for your typical desktop, it is designed for touch screens.

    So desktops appear to be the choice of corporate climates now, and no longer a home type machine (with exceptions).

    So, lets look at Microsoft’s concept of everything should be a touch screen. Sitting at a desktop, you sit far enough from the monitor to see the whole thing easily. Guarantee that distance is much further than the length of your arm. So now you will have to lean forward and backward to use your desktop, which will cause a new wave of lower back problems. I guess it will help those that are confined to working at a desk to get some exercise at least.

    The new GUI of Win8 is just too different. It brings with it a steep learning curve. Yes, a learning curve can be overcome, but was it really necessary to force it on to every platform? I understand wanting to make a consistent interface, but force it where it does not fit, such as on to a desktop?

    I will be running Win8 on my machine, since Win9 or WinBlue or whatever the next release is will be based on it, just like Win7 was based on Vista. But for the remaining 22 machines, Win7 is what they will run.

  • http://pilobilus.net Steve K

    Another problem with Wndows 8: Any device that has a Windows 8 logo on its case or its retail packaging is required by Microsoft to be sabotaged by the OEM: A “Secure Boot” feature is enabled that prevents the device from booting any operating system not authorized and signed by Microsoft. That means that standard troubleshooting and repair tools won’t work, network security tools like the TAILS live system won’t work, and the nominal “owner” of the device can not install their own choice of operating system on it. The “Secure Boot” sabotage is also a barrier to recycling discarded units that have it.

    For a lot of users, this makes hardware with the Windows 8 logo stone worthless: We won’t buy it at any price. Give us one and we will sell it on EBay, or strip it for any useful parts and discard the motherboard.

  • http://Mabuzi.com Kevin Rack

    How often is a new version released?
    Now you pay more for modules that would have come as standard.
    After Vista we are pretty wary now of any new Microsoft release.

  • Dan Hugos

    From a strategic perspective, what’s the difference which OS corporate America adopts? They both come from MS. Meanwhile, the consumer market is going to go for W8 and explore how to use W8. The corporate market is instituionally more cautious, and is paid to wring every cent out of their hardware investments, therefore W7 will be here for some time. And W7 is a nice OS, anyway. It lets MS buy time to completely stabilize and upgrade W8.