Microsoft’s hoped-for moment for its most recent operating system, Windows 8, has not arrived a month after its release, according to NPD Group, a firm that tracks sales in the United States. Customers in the United States has not responded well to the new product as shown by sales falling 21% when compared to same sale period in 2011.
Desktop sales decreased by 9%, while laptop sales fell by 24%. The trend shows the continuing pattern slumping PC sales in the country.
The report by NPD Group followed the announcement of the chief financial official from ASUS saying that the “demand for Windows 8 is not that good right now”. ASUS, one of the top 5 biggest PC makers in the world, had its chief executives express their doubts about the performance of the new operating system in today’s mobile-centric consumer world.
NPD announced that Windows 8 tablets were “almost nonexistent”, as it only represented less than 1% of Windows 8 device sales through monitoring channels it is using. However, Stephen Baker said that Windows 8 laptops with touchscreens showed potential after making 6% of sales.
NPD report was made after some component supply chains revealed that Microsoft has lessen its orders for Surface RT to half. The new tablet from Microsoft runs on ARM chips instead of Intel’s chips and uses a special version of Windows 8.
The poor performance of Windows 8 this year can be attributed to the fact that retailers still have substantial amounts of Windows 7 in their inventory during the release of the new operating system. Such backlog needs to be cleared before Windows 8 can really start to fly.
Net Applications said that use of Windows 8 a month after its release only constituted about 1 percent of PC use, while Windows 7 constituted about 3.5% following its release in 2009.
Before the arrival of Apple’s iPad, consumers buy about almost half of all PC sales in the United States. Apple tablets has seriously challenged that trend ever since, diverting consumer spending to its own products as well as to competition. The arrival of mobile computing lengthens the life span of PCs, further slowing down the demand for them. Windows 7 was released before the original iPad’s announcement was made in January 2010.
Another significant factor for the continuing decrease of PC sales for the third quarter is the weak “back to school” period during September and October–the time that usually saw strong demand for PCs as schools, secondary students, as well as first-time university students buy computers, usually laptops, said Stephen Baker, the vice president of NPD’s industry analysis.
“The bad back to school period left a lot of inventory in the channel, which had a real impact on the initial sell-through rates for Windows 8,” he added.
Tami Reller, the new Microsoft head for its Windows division, told analysts that 40 million licenses for Windows 8 had been sold a month after its release. It’s a lower sales figure compared to Windows’ 7 sales at the same period which saw 60 million, based on calculations by Reuters.
Reller did not show a breakdown of the 40 million figure though. There was no delineation whether it includes sales to PC OEMs loading the new operating system to unsold computers, consumers buying online or prepackaged upgrades to Windows 7, and corporate licenses. It is safe to say the majority is more likely taken by PC OEMs. Business and enterprise buyers have the option to buy “downgrade rights” to allow them to buy Windows 8 license but running Windows 7 on their machines.