Windows 8 takes blame for 'brutal' PC sales slide
Microsoft's new OS hurts industry as PC shipments contract 14%
Computerworld - Microsoft's Windows 8 took another knock Wednesday as research firm IDC laid much of the blame for the first quarter's historically-horrible PC numbers at the feet of the beleaguered operating system.
Yesterday, IDC and rival Gartner released their estimates for 2013's first-quarter PC shipments. The former painted a gloomy picture of the industry, saying that the 14% decline, year over year, was the largest ever in its nearly two decades of tracking.
Gartner pegged the global downturn at 11%.
While the drop was expected -- IDC, for example, had forecast an 8% contraction year over year -- yesterday's figures had one analyst searching for words. "It's brutal," said Bob O'Donnell of IDC. "These are disastrous numbers. Huge."
O'Donnell was one of the IDC analysts who blamed Windows 8 for the unprecedented fall-off in consumer PC purchases during the quarter. "Not only has Windows 8 not helped, but it's actually hurt PC shipments," he said in an interview.
In a statement that accompanied the firm's estimates, O'Donnell ticked off a now-familiar litany of Windows 8's confusing traits that caused consumers to shy from new PCs, including the bold-but-radical move to the tile-based "Modern" user interface (UI), the removal of the Start button and menu from the "Classic" desktop UI; and the touch-first strategy Microsoft's taken.
"The costs associated with touch PCs have made PCs a less attractive alternative to dedicated tablets and other competitive devices," O'Donnell said in the statement. "Microsoft is going to have to make some very tough decisions moving forward if they want to help reinvigorate the PC market."
Jay Chou, another IDC analyst, also tapped Windows 8 for contributing to the decline in PC shipments. "Users are finding Windows 8 to offer a compromised experience that doesn't excel either as a new mobile interface or in a classic desktop interface," he said in the same statement. "The result is that many consumers are worried about upgrading to Windows 8."
David Daoud, however, said that Windows 8 is only one of several factors that suppressed PC shipments. "This was a perfect storm, and Windows 8 was just one issue among many," IDC analyst Daoud contended in an interview.
He ticked off several other contributors, including a general saturation of PCs, especially in developed countries like the U.S.; the fact that PCs bought since 2008 or 2009 remain "good enough" for what consumers want out of a desktop or laptop; and in some parts of the world, stagnant economic conditions.
But like his colleagues, Daoud agreed that Windows 8's lackluster acceptance played a part. "There's a disconnect between what the OS wants to do and what the end user sees," said Daoud, referring to the touch features of Windows 8 and the higher price of touch-ready PCs.
- Apple hasn't exhausted its supply of Yosemite betas
- Microsoft wants you to forget Windows 8
- Microsoft again writes off Surface inventory, renews profitability doubts
- Lenovo spins 180, says it's still in the 8-in. Windows tablet game
- Google starts work on Chrome bug that slurps Windows laptop juice
- Surface survives Microsoft cuts, but tablet strategy remains muddled
- Why Microsoft isn't spooked by the Apple-IBM alliance
- Microsoft plans price war to stymie Chromebook growth
- China calls the iPhone and iOS 7 threats to national security
- Russian Windows leaker denies link to ex-Microsoft worker who stole trade secrets
- 5 Things You Didn't Know About Cloud Backup IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there's a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical...
- The 5 Big Lies About Going Mobile You've heard about the power of mobile to change your business. But have you realized your mobile potential? It's about much more than...
- BYOP: How Mobile and Social Are Creating New User Personas The digital world of mobile + social creates new customer segments and behaviors. Companies need to reorient their customer interactions around these segments...
- Big Data, Big Mess: Sound Risk Intelligence Through Complete Context This paper examines the insecurity of the small businesses in the supply chain and offers tips to close those backdoors into the enterprise.
- NSS Labs & Cisco Present: Evaluating Leading Breach Detection Systems Today's constantly evolving advanced malware and APTs can evade point-in-time defenses to penetrate networks. Security professionals must evolve their strategy in lockstep to...
- Will the Real Endpoint Threat Detection and Response Please Stand Up? This webinar explores new technologies & process for protecting endpoints from advanced attackers as well as the innovations that are pushing the envelope... All PCs White Papers | Webcasts
Our new weekly Consumerization of IT newsletter covers a wide range of trends including BYOD, smartphones, tablets, MDM, cloud, social and what it all means for IT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!