Green Room

Did Windows 8 kill PC sales?

posted at 5:00 pm on April 12, 2013 by

For the first time in more than 20 years, I didn’t have any machines to update when Microsoft first released Windows 8 (although I later did play with it a bit in a virtual drive on my Macbook and Mac Mini).  My, how times have changed.  Where in the past a new Windows release would have prompted a big increase in computer sales, Windows 8 seems to have turned into sales poison.  Or is it the emergence of full-power tablets?

Has the shift from PC to tablet finally reached the point of no return? There’s been chatter about the “post-PC” era for years, particularly after the introduction of the iPad. But recent data suggest that we may finally have reached the tipping point.

Since the start of the year, the PC market has seen its steepest quarterly decline ever — 13.9 percent, according to a report from International Data Corp. That news comes on the heels of a Gartner report predicting the PC market will shrink as much as 3.5 percent over 2013 in favor of ultra-light notebooks and tablets. …

None of this is particularly surprising. But it is bad news for Microsoft, whose new Windows 8 system is being partly blamed for the market’s poor performance. When the company introduced Windows 8 in October, the operating system was supposed to help a flagging PC market gain — or at least lose less — ground against tablets, with a new touch-based interface. Instead, sales of PCs have dropped faster, and analysts are saying that sales aren’t coming back.

“At this point, unfortunately, it seems clear that the Windows 8 launch not only failed to provide a positive boost to the PC market, but appears to have slowed the market,” said Bob O’Donnell of IDC in a press release. “Microsoft will have to make some very tough decisions moving forward if it wants to help reinvigorate the PC market.”

Yahoo Finance is much less diplomatic about it.  The PC sales market tanked this year, and a large share of blame goes to Microsoft:

As if that news wasn’t’ troubling enough, it appears that a pivotal makeover of Microsoft’s ubiquitous Windows operating system seems to have done more harm than good since the software was released last October.

“This is horrific news for PCs,” said BGC Financial analyst Colin Gillis. “It’s all about mobile computing now. We have definitely reached the tipping point.” …

In an attempt to keep the PC relevant, Microsoft released a radical new version of Windows last fall. Windows 8 has a completely new look that’s similar to the design of the software running the most popular smartphones and tablet computers. The overhaul requires a relearning process, a leap that many consumers and corporate buyers aren’t ready to take.

All signs so far point to Windows 8 being a flop. …

The newest version of Windows is designed to work well with touch-sensitive screens, but the displays add to the cost of a PC. Together, the changes and higher prices “have made PCs a less attractive alternative to dedicated tablets and other competitive devices,” O’Donnell said.

From the very limited experience I had with Win8, I was … not impressed.  Win7 was a much better desktop and laptop experience, far more intuitive to existing users and more stable than the last several Windows products, at least in my experience. I was a little surprised that Microsoft dumped it all for a completely fresh start. It should be noted, though, that running Win8 in a “virtual machine” caused a lot of performance issues, which I knew was the case, too.

Honestly, I think I’d still prefer a Win7 environment to the MacBook OS, as it seemed as though I had better control over performance.  But if Win8 is the only option, I think I’d prefer to stick with what I have.

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Win7 is definitely the strong horse here. Windows 8 is the Obama Whitehouse which, by the way, Microsoft supports both via massive software contracts and politically.

RiverCocytus on April 12, 2013 at 5:03 PM

Yep without a touchscreen win8 is pointless

Most home uers dont want/need a 21″ touch screen monitor either. Im happy with the mouse / keyboard controls and have no reason to change it

offroadaz on April 12, 2013 at 5:03 PM

The look of Windows 8 reminds me of the Julia ads.

Butt ugly.

CurtZHP on April 12, 2013 at 5:06 PM

tablet computers…they don’t crash as much. The invisible hand of the the market place will be sans Microsoft.

Oil Can on April 12, 2013 at 5:08 PM

I have Windows 8. It was a huge mistake. I still can’t find various functions and programs on it. Now, I’ll need to pay $4.99 to get the old Windows screens back. Cluster…

Fallon on April 12, 2013 at 5:09 PM

Writing this on a laptop running XP .
Wake me when it no longer works. Until then….

J-Paul00 on April 12, 2013 at 5:09 PM

I don’t get the interface for Windows 8. Why did they make it so butt ugly? They have coloured rectangles and things that slide around. Dunno. Looks like they tried to make it look like a tablet. People will buy a tablet if they want a tablet. PC’s are supposed to be more powerful and flexible.

Windows XP and Windows 7 were their best OS IMO. XP was a huge leap forward compared to 98. And Windows 7 allowed 64bit and 32bit apps to work well on the same machine along with many other improvements. But Windows 8 just looks revolting.

MrX on April 12, 2013 at 5:13 PM

Windows ME v8.

Honestly, I suspect that the horrible reviews of Windows 8 (and they are accurate) combined with the current economy, have worked hand in hand to suppress PC sales.

juanito on April 12, 2013 at 5:15 PM

Yeah, my husband finally updated my desktop from XP to Win7. Eh. I miss some of my XP programs that don’t run at all under 7. On the other hand, he had upgraded it on memory and components to the point where XP couldn’t cope very well.

I know someone who got Windows 8, and I wasn’t terribly impressed. I know it is supposed to be paired with a touchscreen, but seriously, who wants to be stuck that close to the computer screen all the time?

Katja on April 12, 2013 at 5:18 PM

Some of us actually need computers for work, i.e., we must be able to compose on it. I went out and bought a new laptop with Win7 (which I like very much) about mouth ago because I was afraid win7 would be difficult to find and win8 sounded horrible.

Blake on April 12, 2013 at 5:20 PM

Were it possible to keep WinXP and run 16GB of RAM, what reason would there be to upgrade?

The current JedBox is gonna be 8 in June. I’ve never used the same computer for 8 years… but when I have the cash to upgrade, it’ll be Win7.

Jeddite on April 12, 2013 at 5:20 PM

I bought a laptop with Win8 installed on it and, to be honest, it’s not awful. It has memory-dump issues which causes my laptop to reboot occasionally, but every OS has its issues. I just think that tablets will now be the choice for home users, and desktops and laptops will be used primarily for work purposes. Sucks for the computer industry, but it is what it is…

joejm65 on April 12, 2013 at 5:20 PM

XP and Word 2003 were the last real updates…that worked. They destroyed their brand for average users in my world, academia/writing/editing, with subsequent versions, which all tried to look like Mac but weren’t.

PattyJ on April 12, 2013 at 5:22 PM

MS seems to alternate between good & bad OS.

95 – not great
98 – good
Me – terrible
XP – good
Vista – bad
7 – good
8 – TBD, but not promising

Seem right?

22044 on April 12, 2013 at 5:26 PM

I actually did buy a new PC last year. But that’s because my old machine was at least 8 years old and couldn’t handle Civ 5 or Diablo III. But it turns out you have to log into those companies servers to play, so no thanks. Windows 7 seems fine enough.

rbj on April 12, 2013 at 5:26 PM

I still use Office 2000 for personal stuff, by the way.

22044 on April 12, 2013 at 5:26 PM

XP and Word 2003 were the last real updates…that worked. They destroyed their brand for average users in my world, academia/writing/editing, with subsequent versions, which all tried to look like Mac but weren’t.

PattyJ on April 12, 2013 at 5:22 PM

Yep. Unfortunately, XP is no longer supported by Microsoft (I think), so people who are having some kind of issue with XP have to figure things out on their own. Now, as far as Win8 goes, it takes one extra step to get to Desktop. Once that’s done, all program icons can appear there, and users don’t have to mess with the rest of the tiles (most of the time). Like I wrote earlier, it’s not awful. But, it is new, and a lot of the newness seems unnecessary. Since I’ve had to deal with Microsoft products for 20 or so years, I’m used to their quirkiness. I have to be, I can’t afford a MacBook yet. :-)

joejm65 on April 12, 2013 at 5:29 PM

I have Windows 8 and I don’t mind it. I don’t see it to be any different than Windows 7. The start menu is different, big deal. I spend most of my time in the desktop. If anything it boots faster.

Problem is people pay attention to too much hearsay and many tech journalists are not very technically inclined. A lot of people who I’ve come across that parrot the same talking points against Windows 8 have never spent more than an hour using it. I’ve heard this same bull every time a new version of Windows is released and I’ve been an IT professional for 16 years.

Its tablets. Mac sales are also down, can’t blame Windows 8 for that.

Lay-Z on April 12, 2013 at 5:31 PM

I guess I missed the set up question in Win7 that allowed me to reduce internal pop-up question “Do you want to allow this?”. Can somebody tell me how to scotch that? If I didn’t want to go there I wouldn’t have hit the dang link!

I use Win8 on a home entertainment set-up. Looks like a big iPhone displayed on my big screen.

MSOffice10 is what pisses me off though. You have to hit three screen promts to do any editting in Word and they’ve hidden all the typical commands in separate tabs.

XP and MS2003 were fine.

DanMan on April 12, 2013 at 5:34 PM

I have a tablet PC that I upgraded to Windows 8 when the OS first came out. Windows 7 was not a great tablet operating system and Win8 was only $40 at the time so it wasn’t a hard choice to make.

That said, I am not impressed. I mainly use the tablet to carry around Microsoft Office documents that I want to be able to look at and make minor changes to but that forces me to use the desktop instead of the Metro UI which means I’m constantly switching back and forth between the desktop and Metro and it’s just an annoyance.

I’ve since replaced the tablet PC with a Google Nexus 7 running Android Jelly Bean. Much nicer tablet experience.

Rip Ford on April 12, 2013 at 5:35 PM

I’ve used every PC operating system since DOS 2.0, windows 8 is the worse one ever.

I’d rather go back to the command line.

C:\ > windows 8.

Rebar on April 12, 2013 at 5:37 PM

The PC market was/is slowing down to begin with. Windows 8 only exasperated it. This is not excusing Microsoft for the terrible OS that is Win8. That thing’s tore up from the floor up. But as tablets and smart phones look and feel more like computers, the need for a true PC is decreasing. Honestly, I have only one computer of the 4 or 5 at my house running Windows. Android and Linux/iOS and Mac are just becoming the formats consumers understand right now.

Sgt Steve on April 12, 2013 at 5:40 PM

MS seems to alternate between good & bad OS.

95 – not great
98 – good
Me – terrible
XP – good
Vista – bad
7 – good
8 – TBD, but not promising

Seem right?

22044 on April 12, 2013 at 5:26 PM

Yep.

I’m still using an XP computer that I built myself 8 years ago. Still works great for me. Microsoft will only be offering security updates for XP until the middle of next year. I really don’t know what I will do then because I don’t want Windows 8 and I don’t want a Mac.

Mark1971 on April 12, 2013 at 5:43 PM

The ribbon bar folks were let loose on the windows interface and therefore rendered a completely unusable interface.

Rule #1: Your best customer is… your first customer.

Microsoft left so many of us behind so long ago that NOBODY has any allegiance to Microsoft anymore.

beatcanvas on April 12, 2013 at 5:47 PM

These articles read very much like they’re written by people unfamiliar with the personal computer market, which is weird, since you know, Yahoo Finance. Or maybe they’re just sensationalist – I guess we’ll never know.

Either way, you know who predicted tablet sales would outstrip desktops by the end of 2013? Microsoft.

June 27th 2012:

[H]ead of Windows Web Services Antoine Leblond was crystal clear: “Everything used to be desktops, now 60 per cent of PCs sold are laptops. Next year tablets will outsell desktops.”

You’d think people used to being on the receiving end of a “heads I win, tails you lose” media would be on the lookout for things like that :P Desktop sales are dropping dramatically, regardless of what Microsoft does. They’re dropping dramatically because the power and screen size of laptops is increasing, and so, those things being equal, laptops have the added benefit of portability. Tablets even more so.

It’s good link bait though.

apollyonbob on April 12, 2013 at 5:49 PM

The Windows 8 interface is terrible for PC’s. It’s decent for a phone or even a tablet, but for a full fledged PC, desktop or laptop, it sucks.

thirteen28 on April 12, 2013 at 5:49 PM

22044 on April 12, 2013 at 5:26 PM

No, you’re missing a bunch of operating systems.
Windows NT 3.51, Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, and Windows 98SE.

Not to mention that Windows 95 was revolutionary when it came out, and was considered an absolute improvement over Windows 3.1.

People are pattern seekers, but there is no pattern here, especially not one as simple as evens/odds.

Vista was a very secure operating system that was launched very poorly. With the correct hardware, Vista and 7 are almost functionally identical – hence the Mojave demonstrations.

apollyonbob on April 12, 2013 at 5:53 PM

Steve Ballmer should have been replaced at Microsoft after the release of Vista.
He is the problem.

albill on April 12, 2013 at 5:54 PM

Personally, I loved Vista…especially the Home Premium (even though it had no full backup and restore option – ShadowProtect covers that problem). At one time I had 5 or 6 Vista licenses (one was the power consumer Ultimate version, my least favorite).

Didn’t like Win 7 at first…still hate the removal of Folders being able to remember their size and where to open on desktop. Win 7 was a warning that MS was going to make changes, but overall I like Win 7, other than the shotgun folders.

Win 8…a toy. Who wants to touch their monitor?!? Requires bouncing from at least 3 corners and the Start Page and Desktop to maneuver about. Maybe for phones or pads or tablets, but Google and soon FireFox are throwing MS out of competition there. I bought 2 of the $50 Win 8 upgrade versions, since Vista disappeared soon after Win 8 release. My Office 2007 doesn’t’ work, but they have a new version of Office for it (I installed a copy of Apache on one and Libre on the other version…work great and free). No games…Chess Titans is gone, along with the rest. No full backup and restore (from image) ability…though my Vista ShadowProtect did back up both Win 8 versions.

Hate Win 8 so much that I bought another full version of Win 7 to cover me until MS recovers from this touchie screen Win 8 disaster. Hated Win 8 so much that I also bought or downloaded 3 different versions of Linux, just in case it managed to improve over the decades…it hasn’t, though Puppy can be useful at times. Nothing works with Linux after a decade since my last attempt. I like Win 8 better than Linux…all 3 versions.

I use Win 7 as main OS on both my computers, with Vista Premium and Win 8 on my built machine(triple boot), and the Dell has double boot with Win 8.

Karmi on April 12, 2013 at 5:54 PM

I have Windows 8 and I don’t mind it. I don’t see it to be any different than Windows 7. The start menu is different, big deal. I spend most of my time in the desktop. If anything it boots faster.

Problem is people pay attention to too much hearsay and many tech journalists are not very technically inclined. A lot of people who I’ve come across that parrot the same talking points against Windows 8 have never spent more than an hour using it. I’ve heard this same bull every time a new version of Windows is released and I’ve been an IT professional for 16 years.

Its tablets. Mac sales are also down, can’t blame Windows 8 for that.

Lay-Z on April 12, 2013 at 5:31 PM

This has been my experience with 8 as well. If anything it’s snappier with load times than other OS platforms I’ve used. People just don’t like learning a new interface.

Tacitus on April 12, 2013 at 5:54 PM

Steve Ballmer should have been replaced at Microsoft after the release of Vista.
He is the problem.

albill on April 12, 2013 at 5:54 PM

Ditto.

thirteen28 on April 12, 2013 at 5:56 PM

Why doesn’t Microsoft just tweak Windows 8 and release a version that works better on desktops?

Mark1971 on April 12, 2013 at 5:57 PM

XP support ends 4/8/14.

I am the Last Dinosaur in my office on XP. Everyone else is on 7. Nobody is on 8 and nobody wants it.

.

Bruno Strozek on April 12, 2013 at 6:00 PM

Yep.

I’m still using an XP computer that I built myself 8 years ago. Still works great for me. Microsoft will only be offering security updates for XP until the middle of next year. I really don’t know what I will do then because I don’t want Windows 8 and I don’t want a Mac.

Mark1971 on April 12, 2013 at 5:43 PM

I bought my Windows 7 laptop in 2011, replacing a Windows XP laptop I bought in 2005.

I guess you face a challenge, since new PCs probably all come with 8 instead of 7.

22044 on April 12, 2013 at 6:02 PM

I am the Last Dinosaur in my office on XP. Everyone else is on 7. Nobody is on 8 and nobody wants it.

.

Bruno Strozek on April 12, 2013 at 6:00 PM

My employer, which has a lot of employees working from their homes using their own machines, doesn’t want anybody using 8 yet.

22044 on April 12, 2013 at 6:06 PM

From the very limited experience I had with Win8, I was … not impressed.

They were repeatedly warned that Win 8 was a disaster in the making. But arrogance and hubris define MS…they only learn thru abject failures like this one…eventually…sometimes. Despite the wad of cash they still have on the books, they’ve used up most of their nine lives by now. Pretty much all of their new products over the last 5 years have tanked outright or are on life support. The only money makers left are Xbox/Kinect and Office…and office has a lot of competition on the low end.

AUINSC on April 12, 2013 at 6:08 PM

Writing this on a laptop running XP .
Wake me when it no longer works. Until then….

J-Paul00 on April 12, 2013 at 5:09 PM

Which will be next year, when Microshaf…er Microsoft finally stops releasing security updates.

Steve Eggleston on April 12, 2013 at 6:11 PM

I bought my Windows 7 laptop in 2011, replacing a Windows XP laptop I bought in 2005.

I guess you face a challenge, since new PCs probably all come with 8 instead of 7.

22044 on April 12, 2013 at 6:02 PM

Easily addressed by formatting the HD and reinstalling Win7. has the advantage of clearing out all the bloatware that tends to come bundled with a new PC.

(Or 64bit WinXP.)

Jeddite on April 12, 2013 at 6:17 PM

XP support ends 4/8/14.

I am the Last Dinosaur in my office on XP. Everyone else is on 7. Nobody is on 8 and nobody wants it.

Bruno Strozek on April 12, 2013 at 6:00 PM

I’ve done everything I can to keep XP running on every productive machine in this shop. I was hoping to buy time. Maybe MS will throw a bone to people that need the thing to work hard, not blog, watch youtube, and tweet — I hoped. Time’s about up, though.

I’m running Slack on the servers . . . man, I hate to imagine having to move the whole IDE into Linux. I love Linux for what Linux does — sit there, don’t change, and do this exactly. But trying to work from . . . Dolphin? XP was the last, not-homeowner’s version Explorer.

*additional pointless observations*

Meh. I’m boned.

PS: I thought 8 looked pretty good, from a distance. I’m surprised everyone hates it.

Axe on April 12, 2013 at 6:23 PM

Writing this on a laptop running XP .
Wake me when it no longer works. Until then….

J-Paul00 on April 12, 2013 at 5:09 PM

Which will be next year, when Microshaf…er Microsoft finally stops releasing security updates.

Steve Eggleston on April 12, 2013 at 6:11 PM

It’ll still work.

Axe on April 12, 2013 at 6:23 PM

Windows 8 is a touchscreen operating system, and it’s not all that bad at that. Problem is, touchscreen computers are not priced for blockbuster sales.

Greek Fire on April 12, 2013 at 6:28 PM

My Magic Eight Ball does a better job of computing than Windows 8! Not only is Microsoft creating a series of EPIC FAILS, they are driving business customers to Apple. Windows 8 is scaled for tablet computing, and Microsoft in it’s infinite arrogance thought the end-user on a desktop or laptop too stupid to figure out that Windows 8 was never designed for those platforms.
Balmer was a wrestler in college. Wrestlers are stubborn and headstrong (IMO my brother was one) In college, you pin your opponent you win. In business, you will everyone to your thinking, he may think he has won, but he has lost what matters most, INNOVATION!
And don’t get me started on the “ribbon” in Office! I hate that damn thing!
Steve Jobs was many things, some not so nice, but he knew how to innovate! He knew style vs. function. I am glad I got out of IT. And I am now an Apple Man….LOL. Just wait until Apple perfects their Office Suites!
And yes, if any of you were wondering, I am venting. I’m going back to my Magic Eight Ball…..

P.S: How many of you know that MS strong-armed venders to MS8 and forced them to discontinue the option of MS7 for their customers?

JimmyGee on April 12, 2013 at 6:29 PM

I’ll stick with my Mac, thanks.

Bob's Kid on April 12, 2013 at 6:41 PM

It’ll still work.

Axe on April 12, 2013 at 6:23 PM

Mostly as a zombie if left online.

Steve Eggleston on April 12, 2013 at 6:41 PM

I’m still running Vista on a desktop. I don’t want to get rid of my desktop. I have a printer, two different scanners, an external HD attached to it. It’s not supposed to wander around. I have a laptop for wandering around. When this desktop dies I want another desktop.

I’m beginning to hate innovation.

I miss 3.1.

trigon on April 12, 2013 at 6:44 PM

I’ll stick with my Mac, thanks.

Bob’s Kid on April 12, 2013 at 6:41 PM

Which reminds me; isn’t Apple due for a switch to OS11 soon, thus making all you Macites buy all-new software?

Steve Eggleston on April 12, 2013 at 6:47 PM

Microsoft has a distinct pattern in operating system history.

Windows 95 : bad
Windows 98 : good
Windows ME : bad
Windows XP : good
Windows Vista : bad
Windows 7 : good
Windows 8 : guess

Windows 8 is an eyesore and was made for tablets, telephones and the new XBox. It’s not a good desktop OS.

I use Windows 7 and it does absolutely everything that I want it to do. My brother in law has a new laptop with Windows 8 and it’s absolutely disgusting and cumbersome.

Rambotito on April 12, 2013 at 6:50 PM

I’m beginning to hate innovation.trigon on April 12, 2013 at 6:44 PM

Without innovation we’d still have WIN ME.

Renee on April 12, 2013 at 6:51 PM

I’ve been using Windows 8 on a desktop for a long time now and if you pin the stuff you use to your taskbar (which I was doing with Win7), it’s pretty much the same experience as Windows 7. If you absolutely need quick access to the Control Panel at all times, you can make that happen. Then, if you want, you have the metro-or-whatever mode that you can use. I hardly use it at all, but I sure would if it was on a tablet. My system is just as stable as it was when I had Windows 7 installed.

I can’t speak to how it is on a tablet, I’ve never used it on one extensively.

Fezzik on April 12, 2013 at 6:57 PM

I’ll stick with my Mac, thanks.

Bob’s Kid on April 12, 2013 at 6:41 PM

Enjoy paying for the privilege of owning an “Apple product.” I’ll stick with my own Windows 7 computers that I built myself with high quality innards for less than you paid for your Mac. I’ll take the leftover cash and use it elsewhere.

P.S. Windows 8 is crap for anyone that actually enjoys using a PC.

njrob on April 12, 2013 at 6:58 PM

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