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Windows Businesses Stats Hardware

Windows 8 Killing PC Sales 1010

yl-roller writes "IDC says Windows 8 is partly to blame for PC sales suffering the largest percentage drop ever. '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.' According to a ZDNet article, IDC originally expected a drop, but only half the size."
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Windows 8 Killing PC Sales

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  • My theory (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dugancent ( 2616577 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @10:05PM (#43418469)

    There hasn't been a damn thing in the last several years worth upgrading for. Gamers and developers aside, there has been nothing at all interesting happening in the PC world.

    I'm still on a 2.0ghz C2D laptop and had no intention of upgrading anytime soon.

    • Re:My theory (Score:5, Insightful)

      by trparky ( 846769 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @10:07PM (#43418493) Homepage
      Only thing I would suggest as an upgrade to that computer is an SSD. But that's about it. It really is amazing what an SSD can do to an older computer.
    • Re:My theory (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @10:12PM (#43418533)

      The things that are good about windows 8 (modularity of features and some options for speedy lightweight installs, for example) are not at all apparent to most end users.

      The things that are absolute fails about windows 8 are the things that are completely in your face for most users.

      Features from the first group won't successfully justify the antifeatures in the second group.

      All M$ has to do is fix their UI and sales will go back up.

      • Re: My theory (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        They will not go back up. People don't want, or need, a new computer.

        • Re: My theory (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @11:24PM (#43419053)

          People do not want or need a new OS. That's pretty much it. Hell, Win7 wasn't that big a step up, there wasn't even any compelling "must have" thing in 7 that justified going out and tossing the old crate.

          You'll notice that Windows (and also the entailing hardware) sales numbers are a matter of necessity. Nobody really upgrades just 'cause MS creates a new OS. But sometimes, the new OS comes along with critical support that makes the change viable, if not necessary.

          Win95 was just the big leap from CLI to GUI. Yeah, there was Win3.11 before, but it was little more than a frontend. Win95 was the big step ahead and people went and bought it because it really WAS a big step up.

          Win98 was pretty much Win95 "done right". It had everything you wanted, like a working Winsock implementation. The internet became a big thing and 98 made TCP/IP connections easy.

          Win2k was a bit of a hybrid of NT and 98, bringing the compatibility of 98 and the stability of NT together, so it was another big seller. And yes, I'm deliberately omitting ME. Notice how it didn't sell? Not just 'cause it was crap, but even if it had been halfway as good as 98, it didn't bring anything new that you needed. 2k also brought USB support (or at least, usable USB support...), so even if people didn't care about stability wanted to get it.

          XP was a "what for?" for long for me, but it does have its advantages over 2k. Better WiFi support was one thing. A lot of other goodies, not only the improved DirectX support, was certainly part of its appeal. Security became an issue eventually, and XP saw the beginning of an attempt to secure Windows.

          Vista and 7... well, they don't really bring any "must have" things to the user. Yes, the security is way superior to XP, but users don't care about such petty crap. It's not a selling point. Everything you'd want to plug into your computer already works with XP. Why upgrade?

          8 has even worse problems in this area. There is no really compelling reason to step up, get a new system and a new computer (since the average user gets both at the same time). There is no "must have" feature that users want in those systems, nothing they need or at least want.

          • Re: My theory (Score:5, Informative)

            by Chaos Incarnate ( 772793 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @11:39PM (#43419171) Homepage
            XP was the true NT/98 hybrid. Win2K was still firmly in the NT camp, with no Home version and much more expensive pricing.
          • Re: My theory (Score:4, Interesting)

            by WuphonsReach ( 684551 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @11:41PM (#43419187)
            Well, just like XP brought standardized WiFi settings (I despised the hell that was Win2k WiFi, where every vendor had their own proprietary UI), Win7 brings things like better search (especially for programs in the start menu), SSD TRIM support, better security features, and 64bit. The window preview (the thumbnails as you mouseover items in the program list) is also very nice.

            Took me a week or two to get used to Win7. There's still a few stupid decisions, but overall it stays out of my way and lets me get work done.

            We're upgrading all our XP desktops to Win7 this year and hoping that we won't have to upgrade the O/S again until 2016-2019. That is, assuming that the existing hardware (dual-core CPUs, with 4-8GB RAM and SSDs) isn't overly slow by then. Maybe by that point, MS will have released another "good" operating system - or they'll have cratered and release MS Office for Linux.
          • Re: My theory (Score:4, Interesting)

            by symbolset ( 646467 ) * on Thursday April 11, 2013 @12:59AM (#43419607) Journal

            While I don't disagree with what you wrote, GP AC is essentially correct.

            Not 100% of the people who buy PCs want or need to do everything a PC can do. For many people the browser is the Internet, Facebook their home page, and that is all their PC has ever given them. For them, "the network is the computer". They have no want or need to do spreadsheets, PC games, or CAD. As the power, utility and grace of these new mobile platforms allows these people to to have this utility the PC gave them in a portable format they can take with them the less they need or want a PC - that the mobile device is also a media player and ereader, has all-day battery is bonus because those are features they want. As the mobile platforms become more facile, the larger this group grows and it has become a considerable fraction of former PC buyers - particularly in emerging markets. That the mobile platforms are less expensive is bonus.

            Then there is the emerging markets thing. In many of these places a dollar goes a lot further than it does in the US, their power might not be as reliable, for many other reasons for a considerable portion of the public the $1000 PC and its voracious power needs never would have been appropriate. They can start with cheap phones with compute features in them, migrate to an inexpensive tablet, and stop. This market was a huge part of the PC's growth story the last few years, and that tale has come to an end.

            Additionally as many other here have said the PC has been overkill for several years for the tasks most people put it to, so they don't need a new one. The cheap upgrade to Windows 8 tempted many Vista sufferers and doubtless they found the improved performance and responsiveness as good as buying a new PC as machines from that era were quite good, software notwithstanding. Those "upgrade" purchases are lost to PC sellers for a long, long time. SSDs come with software to migrate your OS and data to the SSD now, making an easy swap that makes an existing PC better than one you can get at retail, for a minor price less than swapping out the whole machine. This further delays the time when people might need to buy a new PC. For some, whose needs never will extend to more than a C2D or whatever they have with SSD, this is the End. Many of us have bought our last pc ever - or at least until this one dies. No more is needed. The failure rate is insufficient to sustain the PC market.

            All these things have been true for a while and affecting the numbers a bit in small, deniable ways that could be written off as impacts from "economic downturn" but now people are finding out all over the world that their PC buying habit may no longer be necessary, that buying a PC is not required to join the technology revolution.

            The PC is not required any more. You could plant a whiz-kid in a shack in Belize with nothing but a Transformer Infinity, a nice monitor and keyboard and mouse, solar power with battery, wi-fi Internet, a freezer full of hot-pockets and a credit card and through the magic of the Cloud he could still invent the Next Big Thing and run it for a year. He does not need a PC. Not at all. The magic is once again between his ears, not under his desk.

            For these reasons and many others mentioned here even if Microsoft released a Windows Blue today with W8 features and a classic W7 user interface PC sales would remain in decline at least 7% in units against the year-ago quarter pretty much indefinitely. The era of unit growth in PCs is over, forever - or at least until we adjust to the fact that these new mobile things actually are personal computers and adjust the terminology accordingly.

            The good news is that the tech economy is booming like never before. More units of smart connected devices are being sold than ever before, with unheard-of 50% quarter over year ago growth. They are being used more as well, people interacting with them more hours each day and more frequently, and almost always online - in more and more interconnected an

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @10:21PM (#43418627)

        Speaking of fixing things, whenever you attempt to type a capital S it turns into a dollar sign.

        It could be the basementdweller virus. You should run a scan.

      • Re:My theory (Score:5, Interesting)

        by wisty ( 1335733 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @10:26PM (#43418677)

        MIcrosoft doesn't want to fix their UI. They want to train users in their touch UI.

        The tablet space is an attractive market, and Microsoft wants to use their power on the desktop to win the tablet war.

        This won't win them any friends in corporate IT, but corporate IT is so tied to Microsoft that they could release the next version with MS Bob as the interface, and businesses would still be forced to buy it when they upgrade. The only reason corporate IT is slow to upgrade now is that XP (and now Windows 7) is good enough, and corporate upgrade cycles are slow. Businesses skipped Vista, and went with 7. They'll skip 8 no matter what. When they are ready to upgrade again, Microsoft can just release a "Pro" version which enables a "classic" interface, and leave regular consumers with an interface that trains them to use MS tablets.

        • Re:My theory (Score:5, Informative)

          by bmo ( 77928 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @10:57PM (#43418877)

          The only reason corporate IT is slow to upgrade now is that XP (and now Windows 7) is good enough,

          Corporate IT is happy with ThinPC, aka Windows Embedded Standard. It's a de-goobered 7. It's not de-goobered enough in my estimation, but that's a matter of taste, I guess. ThinPC SP1 gives you a desktop that users don't have to re-learn, is more amenable to policies from hell (you can even choose not to install IE, for example) and all applications behave as if you have 7. It will probably also have a longer support lifetime than 7.

          What I consider de-goobered enough: Windows FLP. I would *love* to see a ThinPC version of Windows trimmed back as far as FLP is. Stick FLP in a VM and Thin PC in a VM, and compare speeds. You'll see what I mean.


          • Re:My theory (Score:5, Interesting)

            by ozmanjusri ( 601766 ) <> on Thursday April 11, 2013 @12:52AM (#43419577) Journal

            Corporate IT is happy with ThinPC, aka Windows Embedded Standard.


            In reality, the elephant in the room is not much bigger than your thumb.

            MK809 II Android 4.1 Mini PC HDMI Dual core 1GB RAM 8GB Bluetooth MK809II 3D + Fly air mouse RC11, US$34.47 / piece

            Plenty of SMEs in Asia are replacing their Windows desktops with these little gadgets plugged into a screen and USB hub with mouse and keyboard attached. They do the same job as a Windows box for a little over $35, and with far less fuss and effort to maintain.

            Microsoft isn't dumb - they have more than enough clever people to see the writing on the wall for their 85% OS profit margins, in fact I doubt MS could even afford to support Windows on their share of a $35 computer. W8 is indeed a lame duck product, intended for a market that's in a race to the bottom, as will be their next PC Office product.

            Microsoft HAS to migrate their customers away from Windows to survive.

        • Re:My theory (Score:5, Interesting)

          by amiga3D ( 567632 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @11:01PM (#43418913)

          I have friends that ask me if I can put window XP on their new windows 8 computers. No one seems to really like it.

          • Re:My theory (Score:5, Interesting)

            by BrokenHalo ( 565198 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @11:15PM (#43418979)
            I can't say I'm surprised. XP (or possibly Windows 7) is about as grown-up as Microsoft have succeeded in making their interface, though they're not alone. Both Microsoft and Apple have gone down the path of attempting to make their desktop UI look like a smartphone's, and all they succeed in is making it look dumb.

            I often wonder what will happen first: Microsoft/Apple realising the error of their ways and making a useful UI, or users collectively sighing and sucking up the crap they are given.

            Fortunately, in the *nix world, we have a choice.
            • Re:My theory (Score:5, Insightful)

              by FatLittleMonkey ( 1341387 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @12:40AM (#43419495)

              I often wonder what will happen first: Microsoft/Apple realising the error of their ways and making a useful UI, or users collectively sighing and sucking up the crap they are given.

              Put it this way, how many corporations have dumped their awful flash-sites? How many websites have you seen give up those hateful JS pop-ups, slide-outs, rolling banners, jiggly follow-me sidebars...? Or the "HEY WOULD YOU LIKE TO SUBSCRIBE INSTEAD OF ACTUALLY READING THE PAGE YOU CLICKED ON?!!! [Yes] [No but please ask me every fucking time]" pop-overs? Or "links" that are JS triggers that don't work like links, even though there's perfectly standard coding for JS pseudo-links? Or...

              How many websites of major newspapers don't use third-party ad-hosting because they have an entire fucking in-house marketing department for their print edition, thus solving 95% of the problem with people using ad-blocking software?

              How many major game companies stop requiring always-on net connections, or other obnoxious DRM, after having yet another first-week horrorshow on the authentication servers, which didn't stop pirates anyway, and instead decide to stop treating gamers who actually paid for the software as criminals?

              How many....

              Well, you get the idea. There's something about the corporate mindset that tends to just double-down on stupidity.

        • Re:My theory (Score:5, Informative)

          by Fluffeh ( 1273756 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @11:02PM (#43418915)

          corporate IT is so tied to Microsoft

          I work for a multinational company, very structured, AMAZING levels of bureaucracy and I thought we were joined at the hip, neck and everywhere else to Microsoft products - yet I was amazed to hear they are moving this company (200k+ employees) over to Gmail for emails and contacts as well as a bunch of other things. Until I heard that, I would have bet body parts to say that they would never move off their current technology.

          Having said that, we are still on XP rather than having skipped Vista to Win 7.

        • Re:My theory (Score:4, Informative)

          by Dracos ( 107777 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @11:44PM (#43419215)

          MS doesn't want to fix their UI, the Blue leak proves that. The UI is what people hate about win8, therefore win8 will conintue to drag down PC sales. The OEMs must be screaming at Redmond.

          The tablet space is an attractive market for now, but that fad will pass in 2 years when the general public realizes that touch UIs suck.

          Corporate IT is about the only friend MS has left, if not now then soon. And it won't be long before corporate IT begins looking elsewhere for future solutions because win8 throws a huge retraining cost in their face: Metro.

          All three points are the result of a two intertwined phenomena: Microsoft's hubris and paranoia. I still think OEMs will finally bring about the Year of the Linux Desktop in 2015, all because of win8.

          • Re:My theory (Score:5, Interesting)

            by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @12:35AM (#43419459) Journal

            People keep claiming the tablet market is drying up but every where I go they're becoming more common. I was at an annual job fair last week and I was amazed to see most of the people at the booths had tablets. Maybe one in four had a notebook. The penetration in the business world is picking up pace so far as I can tell. Touch may suck, but then again so does the QWERTY keyboard.

          • Re:My theory (Score:4, Insightful)

            by qwak23 ( 1862090 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @04:20AM (#43420373)

            I doubt Win8 is the sole cause for the decline in PC sales. Quite a few manufacturers still offer Win7 by default (I just bought a brand new custom built Laptop, Win8 was an optional upgrade). I think it has to do more with the fact that hardware really is outpacing software these days and the only reason I even bought a new laptop was to play games when I travel. My old one works just fine still for the purpose I bought it for and my older ones are still quite usable and are now dedicated Linux machines.

            The upgrade every 6 months or die cycle has long been toast.

          • Re:My theory (Score:5, Insightful)

            by PybusJ ( 30549 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @07:22AM (#43420963)

            The tablet space is an attractive market for now, but that fad will pass in 2 years when the general public realizes that touch UIs suck.

            I'm not sure where you get the idea that touch UIs in general suck. They do suck on desktop/laptop machines where you're reaching up from the keyboard to touch the screen. They also suck for applications which involve significant typing, so are not good for programming, or writing that company report, or your next novel, or where you make significant use of other input devices with precision control, such as in photo editing, 3D modelling etc.

            But that still leaves a LOT of the stuff that people spend a lot of time doing. They're really good for browsing and reading (or watching video, or pretty much any content consumption). They're fine for applications which require only small amounts of input, so all that tweeting, updating facebook, Skype etc. I now find that I'm spending more of my screen time at home in front of a tablet or large screen phone than I am at laptop or desktop computer. Partly, that's because I don't currently have time/energy for any out of work programming projects. The only things I really do sat at a computer is email where a keyboard is more efficient, banking/sorting finances (which with the right software would be fine on a touch screen tablet I just currently have it set up on desktop) and photo editing.

            It's not just home use either. Every single work colleague I know who spends time involved in management committee meetings either has or wants a tablet. It's not just to look cool; flicking through minutes and meeting documents on a tablet is easier and more efficient than using a laptop, and it does save on the volume of printed paper.

            The win8 interface is horrible and confusing on a computer. The 70 yr old woman who's in the process of buying my house came round a few days ago apologizing for not responding to emails; her computer had broken and she'd been all round town looking for a shop which would sell her a new laptop with win7. Failing to find one she was waiting to get her old machine fixed instead. Seeing behaviour like that, I am not at all surprised that new PC sales are hurting. Win8 is becoming as toxic a brand for MS as Vista.

        • Re:My theory (Score:5, Interesting)

          by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @12:02AM (#43419321) Journal
          They should not make MSBob the interface. They should make OneNote the interface. Have a few special tabs for IE and applications, etc. Make a USEFUL UI, instead of all this icon candy.
      • Re:My theory (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @10:52PM (#43418841) Homepage Journal

        The things that are good about windows 8 (modularity of features and some options for speedy lightweight installs, for example) are not at all apparent to most end users.

        The things that are absolute fails about windows 8 are the things that are completely in your face for most users.

        Features from the first group won't successfully justify the antifeatures in the second group.

        All M$ has to do is fix their UI and sales will go back up.

        Well, there are two large factors in the decline of Win 8 sales. One being people dislike Windows 8, as too different. The other thing is people aren't all buying a PC to replace their old PC. Mac sales are up as are tablets and smart phones. People who only needed their PC to keep in touch or exchange photos no longer need a PC, so they aren't going to buy one.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @11:02PM (#43418919)

        PCs are now like refrigerators. They are not obsolete, they are (for most people) essential household appliances. Just like your refrigerator, you don't need to replace your PC every year. Your PC may not last 10-15 years like your 'fridge, but 5 years is perfectly reasonable. Just like your 'fridge, you only need to replace your PC if it breaks, or goes out of style.

        The "death of the PC" has been overhyped. The PC isn't dead, it's just mature. Sales will stabilize at a sustainable level, barring some radical innovation. I'm a little afraid that people are really going to screw up the refrigerator trying to make it into something it isn't, trying to solve a problem that is unsolvable.

        OBTW, this will happen with mobile devices also. Mobile devices get beat up a little more, so they will tend not to last as long, but in the not two distant future the only legit reason to upgrade your phone/tablet will because the old one broke. I know several people still using the iPhone 3GS (4 years old).

    • Re:My theory (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Hadlock ( 143607 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @10:31PM (#43418707) Homepage Journal

      Starting abou 2009-2010 the lowest end computer could play Youtube/Facebook/Netflix out of the box without any upgrades. Those are the killer apps of the home PC experience... and also things that a $150 android Tablet excells at. Your kid can still type up their book report on the old family Pentium 4 from 2002, but a $150 tablet outclasses it in every other way in both features, connectivity and speed for consumer use.
      PCs hit a price floor at around $350 due to the size and cost to ship, along with the various modular components. The $80 tablet (not sale price, the MSRP price) is a thing now, in five years the $50 tablet will exist, and people will look at you like you're crazy if you buy a $150 tablet. Google is about to announce their new $149 Nexus 7.

      • Re:My theory (Score:4, Insightful)

        by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @11:44PM (#43419213)
        You're missing the entire used PC market, which is massive. I run my business on $45 thrift store Core Duo's.
    • Re:My theory (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @10:45PM (#43418787) Homepage Journal

      There hasn't been a damn thing in the last several years worth upgrading for. Gamers and developers aside, there has been nothing at all interesting happening in the PC world.

      I'm still on a 2.0ghz C2D laptop and had no intention of upgrading anytime soon.

      Except memory.

      I settled on Win 7 Pro so I could cram 32GB of RAM onto my mother board. Life with Photoshop and some other hungry apps is quite a lot easier when you aren't paging like a paging fiend on national paging day.

      As for the interface, I wanted to stick with familiar, not revolutionary. Win 8 reviews worried me. Generally Windows releases have departed from the previous one with less emphasis on keeping the system familiar. First things I do is turn off the Mac imitation peek, which I find extremely irritating. Gone also is the Aero/Glass look for the Classic look. I bought this to do work on, not bother me and try to look futuristic.

    • by Gordo_1 ( 256312 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @11:50PM (#43419259)

      Look, PC sales are on the decline. This we all know. So MS decided to tackle tablets in a big, audacious way in order to increase their relevance in the post-PC era. And it might have worked...


      Seriously, how difficult would it have been to do a quick hardware check upon install and say "hmmm, it looks like you have a keyboard, mouse and non-touchscreen monitor. Let's make Metro an icon on the classic desktop and boot to explorer.exe with a mouse-friendly start menu by default."

      Personally, I think Windows 8 offers several welcome improvements over Win7. I installed the OS, downloaded and configured Classic Shell, and haven't so much as whiffed a Metro screen in at least 2 months on my PC. It's great for me, but I'm not your average Windows user! The masses are clueless and if you give them enough reason to dislike your product, you're doomed.

      MS, you successfully borrowed Steve Jobs' arrogant decision-making skills, but failed to deliver on the other half of the equation: an overall better user experience.

  • Apple sales as well (Score:5, Interesting)

    by blarkon ( 1712194 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @10:08PM (#43418505)
    According to the original data, Apple sales dropped 7.5% as well. 's good to see that Windows 8 is killing Apple as well!
  • Too bad for MS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Grim Reefer ( 1162755 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @10:09PM (#43418509)
    Back in the Windows ME days there were no viable options for business to go to, except for NT which many were already using. They can't afford a colossal mistake every other OS release anymore. At this rate, they'd be better off keeping Windows 7 for twelve years, or however long XP went without a replacement. At least then they wouldn't be losing market share.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @10:09PM (#43418511)

    Over and over again? It's the same as what IBM did with the PS/2 MicroChannel in the '80s and Intel with Itanium in the early 2000's.

    Just because you have majority market share doesn't mean you can treat your customer base like a cattle drive. They have to be coaxed, not ordered to move. Show them the mountaintop, but also show them how they can migrate with minimal disruption to their applications, data and working style.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @10:55PM (#43418865) Journal
      "They have to be coaxed, not ordered to move. Show them the mountaintop"
      So true.
      The Windows "8" team needs to set aside their inner city, dorm room 620p -1080p console for 5 to 10 year loving colleagues and sell "this" years and "next" years improvements - every year.
      Intel has amazing CPU power on offer.
      Nvidia and AMD have generations of medium and top end GPU ability to sell.
      Solid-state drive (SSD) are reqady, RAM is cheap.
      Show the world what Windows 8 with DX 11.1 can do. Get fans, developers and consumers dreaming of games beyond 1080p junk.
      MS was always good at this, pushing colourful images/vids onto friendly fan and review sites, getting game dev code/help out to developers, making the PC an easy place to dev for vs Apple or Linux or Sony or ....
      Amazing 2k quality at a reasonable price should be so easy to sell vs what? ios? PS3? a Mac Pro? Porting a game studio to opengl on Linux ...
      Clean up the code base, forget making life so easy for PC and console developers. Run with quality over 5-10 years of code and art stagnation.
      Make sure this never happens with the Win 8 team: []
      Note how Sony tries to be helpful, reach out to the next gen, guide them with the best free win 8 code tools, massive amounts of free online code help.
      Make writing games, artwork, sound and releasing on Windows 8 easy, profitable and fun.
      If a developer does not have to worry about the drama of the OS they are selling on they will put that effort into making a great game.
  • Bull (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slackware 3.6 ( 2524328 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @10:10PM (#43418517)
    Win 8 isn't killing PC sales. Tablets and the fact that most people use their computers for internet and email means you don't have to upgrade your computer every couple years. I still use 6-7 year old computers for everyday use if I need a new one I can go buy one for 3-4 hundred. I don't even use windows so for me and most of my friends and relatives the new computer doesn't even get to boot windows for the first time.
  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <> on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @10:10PM (#43418519) Homepage Journal
    An "important note" at the bottom of the ZDNet article explains that much of this drop is caused by the rise of convertible tablet PCs that run a PC operating system, which IDC counts as tablets, not PCs. Gartner appears to count them as PCs if they run a PC operating system, not a smartphone-derived, all-maximized-all-the-time operating system like iOS or Android.
  • by Compaqt ( 1758360 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @10:11PM (#43418527) Homepage

    If Windows isn't working, how about trying something else guys?

    The answer is staring them in the face: Set up a foundation, share the expenses of development of a Linux desktop (Ubuntu or Mint).

    Ubuntu/Mint is fine, it's just making sure the manufacturers are using all compatible hardware (or writing a driver for the odd device).

    Prerelease only to consortium members.

    It's either that, or sink on the M$ ship.

    • by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @10:47PM (#43418813) Journal

      The "definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result" quote is only applicable if you "did the same thing" more than once and got poor results.

      Windows 7 was working. People would have upgraded eventually. It wouldn't have been a blowout, but this is a mature industry now. You can't expect blowouts unless you really innovate. In other words, Microsoft was getting good results, "did something different" and got poor results. The saner course of action is to go back to what they were doing, namely working on making their desktop robust, working to make it more secure, maintaining as much backward compatability as possible, and maintaining their Office suite and other products that have solid traction at corporations.

      If they wanted to get into mobile the "sane" way, they should have parallel tracked it like the X-box. When they introduced the X-box, they didn't turn the desktop experience into a console experience. That was their fundamental error--deciding that a mobile UI with lots of eye candy was the future, and imposing that on the rest of us.

      As for going OSS/FS, it's like telling Apple to release their OS separately. The response to that is "Apple is a hardware company", likewise, "Microsoft is a software company". Of course neither company is "pure" hardware or software; but they both get their "bread and butter" from one or the other.

      Definition of insanity? Doing something different just for the sake of it, especially when that something is contrary to your historicly successful business model and you are sitting on more than enough cash to help you make much better plans.

  • Jumped the shark (Score:5, Interesting)

    by h8sg8s ( 559966 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @10:13PM (#43418547)

    Windows is bad enough, but Windows + Ballmer is a disaster. MS could save itself with some new management.

  • by isdnip ( 49656 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @10:15PM (#43418569)

    You can fix Windows 8 by adding Classic Shell or something similar, and then it acts a lot like 7, and you can avoid TIFKAM. But Microsoft never admits to a mistake. They are probably doubling down on it in Blue, rather than fixing it. It's a sure sign of too much monopoly power.

    So if you need a new PC, then it's possible to live with 8, but it's true that PCs don't get obsolete as quickly as they used to. Unless you are a hard-core gamer and need the fastest performance, a 4-year-old system is likely to suffice. Especially on the desktop, which is easy to upgrade. Laptops are more likely to physically wear out, though some well-made ones last a long time. Mine's over 6 years old, runs XP, is on its fourth battery, and the keys are worn down, but it still works pretty well.

  • by Freaky Spook ( 811861 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @10:16PM (#43418573)
    Both my parents have computers that are aging and now do 90% of their browsing, emails etc on the tablets I have given them. Windows 8, while a good idea was poorly implemented. There isn't any reason to upgrade to a new Laptop/Desktop for it and its rubbish as a tablet Operating system. After using it for 12 months its a jarring experience to use on the desktop, and using the Win 8 pro tab at work, having to drop back to desktop mode to do most of the tasks makes the tablet just seem pointless if you need keyboard/mouse to do most of your work. I'm not surprised Windows 8/Desktops/Laptops are failing because when it comes down to it, Microsoft and the OEM's are unable to give us compelling reasons on why we actually should buy one, or how they will make our lives better.
  • Win8 Experience (Score:5, Interesting)

    by camicarl0923 ( 1820226 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @10:17PM (#43418589)
    I have had Windosws 8 since before it came out (somehow my school got it a couple days before release...) and I can honestly say that I wouldn't recommend this to anybody. The new start menu, without a touch screen computer, is absolutely ridiculous. I found that I would go to my desktop as soon as I started my computer, and never use the start menu, ever. Sure, startup is fractionally faster, but the interface I would give a score of 2/10. I had to make desktop shortcuts just so I don't have to navigate through the cryptic menus just to shut down or restart. Speaking of the interface, Microsoft should seriously fire the people who are responsible for this garbage. Windows 7 was amazing. It was fast, sharp, and easy to use. Now Microsoft is going in a different direction, trying to make Windows 8 too easy. Like seriously, how the fuck am I supposed to use these native apps on a day-to-day basis? The interface is obnoxiously minimalist and is WAY too much hassle for the everyday user. I have a nice chuckle every time I see the Windows 8 commercials on tv about using their Surface Pro's in a work environment. No person in the technology industry in their right fucking mind would buy one of those to use for work. Soon, I'm gonna downgrade to Win7, and I recommend everyone else to do the same. Not surprised at all that Win8 pc sales are down, it only makes sense. Shitty product = shitty sales.
    • by tarpitcod ( 822436 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @10:38PM (#43418753)

      I haven't run Win 8 and lots of folksI know haven't either. We aren't MS haters - we're pragmatists and pretty much comprise a group of users who have used every MS OS (OK Nobody ran ME) since DOS. If a company can produce a product so crappy that it does that it really makes you wonder what the hell is wrong with management.

      The $64000 question is what does MS do now? The best I can think of is make the Win 8 'Aqua' style interface better - hell throw the Windows 7 UI in there. That way they could keep working on the tile based stuff but not alienate everyone.

      Unfortunately they've pretty much managed to alienate a huge number of users.

      I use Linux entirely for work, and Win 7 on my machines at home when I'm not running Linux. I'm thinking about a new laptop for home but don't want Windows 8. I think I'm actually going to just do Linux on that laptop now steam is available for Linux. If I need Windows I'll run it in a VM. I'm curious who else has come to the same conclusion. Windows in a VM and Linux as your main OS because Win 8 seems so crappy.

    • Re:Win8 Experience (Score:5, Informative)

      by Nefarious Wheel ( 628136 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @11:39PM (#43419167) Journal

      ... Speaking of the interface, Microsoft should seriously fire the people who are responsible for this garbage ...

      They did. []

  • by toygeek ( 473120 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @10:20PM (#43418619) Homepage Journal

    If I buy a new PC (I did buy one instead of build last year before windows 8 came out- for a quick gift to a friend in need) I would not hesitate to buy one with Windows 8 on it. I know how to install a program that'll make it friendlier for every day use. Or if I want I can put 7 back on it or a linux distro if I want. But for the average person, I see nothing but frustration from people.

    PC makers need to give options. 7 or 8 should be available. People will say that Linux should be available too, and I won't disagree, but I don't think it will give an overall good user experience from most PC makers. But that's not what this is about.

    This is about MS forcing vendors to force their customers to be guinea pigs for windows 8's new paradigm that totally sucks. Sales are down? GOOD. Maybe they'll get the message:


  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @10:22PM (#43418643)

    "People won't switch to Linux/Android/whatever because they don't want to have to learn a new system."

    Microsoft: "I know, let's make everybody learn a new system!"

    Suddenly they've given their core customers a reason to look at their competition that they didn't have before.

  • Completely Agree... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RyanFenton ( 230700 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @10:24PM (#43418657)

    Why own a large device pretending to be a smartphone, when you can just use a smart phone?

    I mean, if it were set up out of the box to be used for business and, well, PC gaming out of the box, then I'd be interested in a system with Windows 8... but instead, it's an OS that is very ashamed of being a PC, and every time I access it's configuration, I'm going to see whole-screen interfaces, and other throwbacks to pre-3.1 Windows concepts that phones need to use, and for some reason are pushed everywhere in Windows 8.

    Why would I use a system that is reluctant at best, to serve as an OS the way I'd like to use it? I'll stick to Windows 7 for my PC games, and I can't imaging any of the businesses I've ever worked at wanting to switch to 8 either.

    But I'm sure there's some folks that like Metro. I mean, Microsoft had to be focus testing with someone - I just can't imagine who'd select that interface as the better to use.

    Ryan Fenton

  • by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @10:25PM (#43418663)


    Nothing like an article stating the obvious. MS just won't give in- they continue to ignore users, businesses, reviewers, just about everyone. Treating your customers like enemies is not good for your business, MS. You are not quite the monopoly you once were.....

  • by Irate Engineer ( 2814313 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @10:32PM (#43418713)
    The PC market has reached a point of saturation where, for 99.9% of the folks out there, the hardware in front of them is more than adequate for their needs (email & browsing, docs and spreadsheets). I haven't had a desktop PC for about 8 years, using first a Satellite laptop and now an Asus netbook with XP. Still even runs Word and Excel 97 (installed from CD, both softwares work and are completely adequate for my needs).

    Tell me why I need a PC again? And while you're at it, tell me also why in hell I would need Windows 8? Or even Office 2010?

    The PC is the wagon wheel of the computing world. It did it's job, but save for niche markets the average non-gamer doesn't need or want one and so it very naturally is fading into history. That's how it goes.
  • FLASHBACK! (Score:4, Funny)

    by CheshireDragon ( 1183095 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @10:39PM (#43418757) Homepage
    Oh damn! I thought I was just back in 2006 and Vista was released...

    Big surprise!
  • by EmperorOfCanada ( 1332175 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @11:22PM (#43419033)
    It is the one two punch of abusive bloatware, and people having many needs met through mobile that have knocked the PC to the ground and then the kick to the face that a 5 year old machine is fine for most people's needs.

    Basically everyone who buys a nice machine from wherever boots it up and is presented with a pile of icons and popups that confuse/scare/annoy the crap out of them. Usually the browser is infested with "helpful" toolbars. The search engine has been redirected this way or that. And some crap like Norton pops up and tells them that they are going to die if they don't give them money. The Apple PC market is doing OK and I think that people are willing to pay the huge bucks because they turn the damn thing on and it works, no threats, no weirdness. I am not saying that the Mac is way better but that people would basically be just as happy turning on their Windows machine and being greeted with a default one icon for connecting to the internet unimpeded, no Asus Game world, Trial this or trial that.

    Then there is the fact that most people are consumers not generators of content. Thus a tablet or larger screened smart phone will get them all the cat videos they can eat. These smartphones aren't cheap and thus will eat up many people's technology budget.

    And lastly there is the point that many people who have a PC of some sort can keep it running and running. If they have a laptop their mobile phone might have reduced their porting it around and increased its lifespan even to the point where they don't care that the battery has 5 minutes of life when unplugged. If they have a desktop then the lifespan is even better seeing that most repairs (if any) should cost less than $100. My mother is using a desktop running Linux that is about 8 years old. She has a nice keyboard, nice mouse, nice B&W laser printer, and a nice monitor so she is quite happy. It runs gmail and can play youtube videos at full screen; an upgrade would be a foolish waste of money.

    In the past people upgraded their computers because they had some application that really wouldn't run on their old computer. Now about the only non professional (Photoshop, IDE, etc) application that demands an upgrade is the OS itself. So if you need an OS that can run a browser and some sort of Office Suite then why would you upgrade your OS.

    In the past I can remember getting Windows 95 and bouncing around when it booted up for the first time. It was such a vast improvement over 3.1.1. Then when I finally had a machine that could handle 2000 I was happy again. XP waited for a long time until some application or another wouldn't run and then I left the Microsoft embrace so got to largely avoid Vista on. Even with the Mac about the only reason I have upgraded my OS is that the latest versions of XCode wouldn't run on the slightly older versions of the Mac OS.

    As for games I just about lost my mind when I finally got a 3DFX card. But if anything gaming is probably the last thing keeping people buying the latest and greatest in the PC market. Personally I have long given up making my PC game friendly. I have an XBox for that.

    Personally if I were running MS beyond looking past a world where the OS and office suite drive the bus I would have a super research project where you create the killer app that requires that you have a PC with 100GB of ram and a crazy new processor.

    But maybe this whole PC dying thing is missing the point. Way in the past an IBM PC "killed" my commodore 64. And apple seems to be racing, with other, to a smart watch goal. This will mean that your average person will have a computer on their wrist, a computer in their pocket, computers in their car, computers in their work, multiple computers hooked up to their TV, and maybe(or maybe not) a computer on a desk at home. Yet if we scroll back say 13 years to the dot com boom most people had at most 1 computer that they paid well over $1000 for and a home network was exotic.
  • by linebackn ( 131821 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @11:48PM (#43419237)

    Soon Microsoft is going to point and say that that Desktop PCs are failing because CONSUMERS don't want desktops any more, they want "phones" and tablets instead. When the fact is that nobody happens to want desktops WITH WINDOWS 8.

    Go back to the beginning of what made the IBM PC great. It was spreadsheets, databases, word processing, and boring financial programs. These were, and still are very much critical to businesses. These needs are not going away!

    An operating system package that is only optimized for looking at LOLCats and clips of Family Guy, is not going to go over well with any business that has a clue. And Windows Blue shows Microsoft has no intention of backing down on this.

    So what happens when you need to do a desktop oriented tasks and there are no desktops left because Microsoft killed all desktops?

  • by lilfields ( 961485 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @12:18AM (#43419395) Homepage
    Apple's Mac shipments were down 7.5% in this same study, Lenovo was up 13%...Dell and HP were the blunt of the fall. Sure Windows 8 is not loved by consumers, but with time it will improve...but that's not the culprit here. The culprit the massive slow down that is currently plaguing China. Microsoft has some ground to make up, but this analysis is heavily flawed when you look at the broad picture.
  • by spitzak ( 4019 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @12:57AM (#43419599) Homepage

    Worry that Windows 7 installed machines would become unavailable, and worry about UEFI or whatever the booting is, got me to replace my pretty old desktop which only ran Linux because Windows stopped booting for some reason, with a $425 ASUS. I violated the warranty to put a cheap nVidia graphics card in and to repartition the disk to run Ubuntu as well (the new Unit stuff, unfortunately similar to Windows 8), and ran decrapifier on Windows. Only problem is that the sound is very quiet (in both systems) which is probably a hardware problem, and stupid Windows does not recognize my serial keyboard unless I also leave a USB keyboard plugged in (the serial keyboard works for the BIOS and for Ubuntu), and Ubuntu has an equally stupid bug where it swaps my monitors until the first time I move the mouse between them.

    Any case, I wanted to say that Windows 8 actually *caused* a sale recently. I wonder if people like me, trying to upgrade to the best thing available that did not run Windows 8, caused any increase in desktop sales, slightly offsetting the overall reduction.

  • Its not all bad. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jhobbs ( 659809 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @03:30AM (#43420169)
    Windows 8 isn't that bad.
    Just add the start button back. [] is my fav but does cost $5, [] is free.
    5 more dollars to put all those "apps" back in a window with an icon on the taskbar []
    And here is a great article for switching default apps back, getting rid of the swipe screen, etc. []
    Tell people you are a Consultant and you can charge them to do this stuff for them.
    And just when you think you've charged everyone money for fixing what Microsoft broke, Microsoft will do you a solid and sell them all something else they hate and will pay you to "make work like it used to."
    Oh and if you think Microsoft is desperate and just burning money to be like Apple, you're right. They are offering a $100 an app for up to 15 apps for college students to write pretty much anything and fill their apps store with crap for Win8. Google for one of their App Camps and make yourself some quick cash.

Truth is free, but information costs.