Friday, 30 November 2012

Microsoft's Windows 8. Not delivering? Key moment in the life of a one-time giant.

The critical launch of Windows 8 for Microsoft didn't deliver the key bounce it expected, or so it would seem. Reports on Mashable indicate sales are actually down - 21% against 2011 numbers, since the October launch. Whilst it doesn't include sales of their new Surface Tablet and of course, holiday sales are ahead of them, it's still not a good sign. Especially since it's more than three years since the launch of Windows 7.

The advent of Windows 8 was expected to lift the market and Microsoft are really needing that bounce. Although during the week, Microsoft have blogged that they sold 40 million Windows 8 licences, this raised eyebrows on the retail reality ground and without detail of those sales, it's not clear what it means. Some of these will have been sold to hardware partners initially rather than sold on to users; some of them sold into Microsoft's own stores; some have been sold at a low price initially, so what will happen when the price goes up; and so on.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (pictured) has said that their new Surface tablet sales have been "modest".

The PC market is of course, pretty dire at the moment anyway and one only has to look at HP awful numbers to see that, never mind Dell's continuing struggle too. The real growth here is in other multi devices (which Windows 8 does straddle to a point) and notably in business, a key Microsoft territory, where Executives now operate 2+ devices.

The PC issue explains why Microsoft isn't the power it once was. It had/has a monopoly practically, but in the wrong things.

Fundamentally too, having rumoured to have spent 1.5 billion usd on the Windows 8 launch, it hasn't had cut-through. Most of us are simply not aware of it unlike Microsoft launches of the past. So Marketing hasn't delivered I think.

The next few weeks will give a clearer picture but the retail buzz is not good and in that I'd trust. It is a critical juncture for the company, so we'll see.

In a lot of ways, make or break.