Windows 8 Off to a Weaker Start Than Windows 7
Microsoft’s Windows 7 sold (and preinstalled) more than 240 million copies during its first year at market, making it the fastest-selling operating system ever. Given the amount of effort the company has put into Windows 8, Microsoft has similar expectations for its latest OS. As Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said back in September, “This is a very big deal.”
For Microsoft, certainly. But for consumers? Well, that’s an open question. According to one report, Windows 8 isn’t selling nearly as well as Microsoft projected.
Sources A source inside Microsoft tells Windows newshound Paul Thurrott that, internally, Microsoft has been disappointed by Windows 8’s early sales figures, which he theorizes have been hampered by consumer confusion over what the OS really is, and by mediocre hardware. “Microsoft blames the PC makers,” he wrote. “My source cited to me the PC makers’ ‘inability to deliver,’ a damning indictment that I think nicely explains why the firm felt it needed to start making its own PC and device hardware.”
We’ve heard similar rumblings. Indeed, according to NPD Group vice president Stephen Baker, retail sales of Windows 8 in the U.S. haven’t been as strong as those of its predecessor, Windows 7.
“I would say that Win 8 has had a faster ramp than Win 7 since launch, but Win 7 had a much stronger launch,” Baker told AllThingsD. “When Win 7 was released the retail channel was fairly clean with few Vista systems remaining. This year, there was a lot of older inventory that needed to sell through before Win 8 product could really start to sell. That is slowly fixing itself as Win 8 keeps growing each week. But it started off with a much weaker share of volume than Win 7 did.”
So consumers may be a bit more hesitant to make the switch to Windows 8 than they have to previous iterations of the OS, at least initially. But that may change as PC retailers roll over older inventory to new Windows 8 machines.
And, in the end, attempting to gauge Windows 8’s popularity at this point is obviously premature, even if sales haven’t met Microsoft’s internal projections. As Harry McCracken notes over at Time, Windows 8 is such a radical departure from what we’ve long understood to be the Windows OS that no one should be all that surprised that consumers are a bit more tentative about upgrading to it.
Microsoft declined comment on Windows 8 sales.