Windows 8 launches late October, and that anticipation is stifling PC sales. The market shrunk by 0.1 percent; expectations were that we’d see 2 percent growth.
Excited for Windows 8? You’re not alone
Announcing a product months before release is always a difficult situation, because you want to build hype for the product but want to to keep consumers interested in what you’re currently selling. Microsoft’s announcement of Windows 8 arriving in late October has apparently had the former effect, as consumers aren’t buying PCs.
The market shrunk by 0.1 percent rather than growing by an expected 2 percent. Microsoft has been pushing the Windows 8 Upgrade Offer, where users can upgrade to Windows 8 for $39.99 digitally from Windows 7, Vista or XP. Where’s the incentive to upgrade, as a result?
David Doud, research director at IDC, said Q4 will be when PCs sales grow – when Windows 8 launches. That means it’s going to be a slow summer for Microsoft, even if users can buy PCs to qualify for the Upgrade Offer.
Ultrabooks Slowly Adopted, Lines Blurred With Tablets
A knock-on effect has also been with ultrabooks. Windows 8 is expected to make a big push with the ultra thin devices, combining portability and functionality. Microsoft is aiming for the same formula with tablets, so there’s a definite blurring of the lines for consumers, and the Surface tablets even offer keyboards along with Microsoft referring to them as PCs. Mikako Kitagawa, of research firm Gartner, said ultrabooks are still in the early stages of adoption.
Notably Apple maintained a top-five position, growing 4.3 percent year-on-year and has 12% overall of the U.S. market share. Apple offers an ultrabook-esque device: the MacBook Air, the cheapest laptop available from the company. No-one has combined the gorgeous design and optimized operating system, and sold well … yet.
We’ve said before how it’ll be interesting during launch to see what products Microsoft offers. Are they going to focus on tablets, or will it offer ultrabooks and tablets? Will we even see PCs? The Windows Phone 7 launch in 2010 saw eight phones from partners including Samsung and HTC. Expect those to emerge again, even if companies such as HP aren’t developing for the Windows 8 ARM/RT platform.