back to article Microsoft blames poor Windows sales on PC slump

Microsoft has released its quarterly results, and reports that Windows revenues are down 6 per cent when compared with the previous quarter. For the last three months, Microsoft not only saw its Windows division revenues fall 6 per cent, but its business division grew just three per cent despite strong sales of Lync, Exchange …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just look out for next year

    Their tablets at 1x to 4x the price of competing iOS and Android offerings will fix that Windows sales slump. Just you watch!

    1. The BigYin


      The tablets will be heavily subbed to keep the prices down (hence why MS are demanding all ARM mobos be Win8 only) and pressure placed on OEMs to not ship/raise Android prices.

      In short, they will leverage their monopoly on PCs to gain control of tablets and kill off any competition.

      Unlike nature, MS adores a vacuum.

      1. lurker


        Except that won't work for tablets in the way it did for PCs, because their killer App is and always has been office, and nobody really gives a damn about office for tablets, which are largely media consumption devices and facetwatter clients.

        I agree that they will try though, I just think that this time they'll fail.

      2. CABVolunteer


        I'm not convinced that locking will do anything for their Windows sales income. Once you've paid for the tablet/phone device (from which Microsoft has taken their slice of profit), what difference would it make to their income if you then install Linux/Android or whatever? Only if Microsoft see locking your device to use only Windows as the way to generate further income from you (anti-virus subscription, Windows Apps, etc) does this make commercial sense.

        Apple, RIM and the Android-OEMs have such large market shares that Microsoft will have to compete on price and features, and I just don't see locking the device to use only Windows will be seen by consumers as a "must have" feature!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Don't forget that Windows tablets are going to be a different beast to existing tablets, they will feature the full Windows OS, not a slightly upped version of the Win Phone OS. I'd jump at the chance of a tablet with a proper OS, I'd really like a Fedora tablet, I won't use Android because it's too limiting. For this reason I'd seriously consider a Win8 tablet when I can't seriously consider the current Mac or Android offerings, even if it costs more.

      1. The BigYin


        In that case I'd wait about 6 months after the Win8 tablets ship, by then UEFI should have been cracked and you can then install a proper OS on to it.

      2. CheesyTheClown

        Going to be?

        Hmmm... as I sit here typing from Windows 8 Developer Preview on a Samsung Series 7 Slate.

        Oddly, since I bought this thing, 5 other people (all iPad owners) have rushed out and bought one as well. Windows Tablets are PCs for people who actually like to accomplish things.

        I have a dock on my desk hooked up to a 24" screen, a keyboard and mouse and my office network. When I get to work, I stick it in the cradle and use it as a computer to program video codecs on. It's more than fast enough to handle the hard core programming tasks like compiling a bazillion lines of code 30 times a day.

        When I leave the office, I pack the tablet in a netbook case (as I'm still trying to find a fair price on a proper cover for it) and when I get to the train, I sit for half an hour watching TV shows on iTunes, playing Android games, reading news, read books on Kindle, or whatever that I used to do on my iPads.

        When I get home, I plug an XBox 360 controller into it an play DC universe or I connect it using Intel Wireless Display to my projector and watch movies. I use an iPad cradle for holding the tablet at home since it was easier to buy than an extra Samsung dock. And besides, I don't need wired network or HDMI at the house. I have a bluetooth keyboard and mouse in case I want to do something productive.

        So, I have no idea what this "are going to be" thing is... the "is going to be" thing I'm waiting for is fitting all this into a phone.

        I can't wait to get an Ivy Bridge tablet for Christmas next year... better graphics and 8 hours of battery! Intel GMA 2000 (6 core yuck) with 4 hours of battery is a little too little.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          So all the members of your "I want to have Bill Gates Baby" club are running Win 8.

          If you went into the the real world you would find most (90%+) of the world use their tablets to browse the web, media player and some actually read.

          Tasks that the current breed of tablets handle very well and a bloated, expensive Windows product will offer no advantage to switch to - especially since by the time it hits the market Apple (and to some extend Android) will own the market - much like Windows in the past.

          It is nice your company allows you use a business device for home use (or plug in a personnel device into the work network). I would be fired for such a trick. But then I work for real company that worries about the security.

          MS knows they completely missed the boat on the tablets - now their fear is the server market will move away from Intel and right now that means running Linux and ZERO MS products.

          1. The BigYin

            @AC at 14:41

            I have run Win8 DevPrev. It is probably one of the most vile things I have ever had to suffer. GnomeShell annoyed me but I could get things done, Unity was just terrible (I hear it's better now, not tried it of late) but Win8...of dear god. So many clicks to do *anything*.

            Real work does not get done on a Metro app and I do not like having to go through that bull-crap swooshy change thing just to get a neutered desktop.

            Seriously, it's dreadful.

            And at some point I am going to have to write software for the bloody thing.

      3. llewton

        "I'd jump at the chance of a tablet with a proper OS"

        yes, and then add a proper keyboard and a proper monitor to it, and you got yourself one great device.

      4. Homer 1

        "The full Windows OS"?

        So which version of Photoshop, Call of Duty, and all those other Killa Appz® will this "full Windows OS" run ... on an ARM processor?

        Face it, the forthcoming "Windows" tablet will just be "Phone 8", and the nearest thing it'll have to a Killa Appz® is a game of magic squares pretending to be the GUI.

        As for Fedora or any other "desktop" GNU/Linux distro on a tablet ... certainly, if you can find a suitable touch-oriented UI. The current crop of KDE4/Gnome3/Unity UIs seem promising in that respect, but there's still far too much typing required IMO - for a tablet, anyway. Until such time as they've been more refined for tablet use, the existing phone/tablet UIs are far more suitable - even the pig-ugly Metro. I'd run Gentoo on a tablet in a flash (ho, ho) if I thought the UI experience would be usable on that medium, but it isn't IMO, so until it is I guess I'll stick with Android

        Although, now that I think about it, MythTV, XBMC or any of the usual "10 foot interface" UIs might actually be OK on a tablet.

        Canonical recently made an announcement about better support for tablets and Smart TVs, so they're probably the ones to watch for a good GNU/Linux-based tablet solution in the near future - no doubt based on Unity.

        But "Windows" 8? I've heard a lot of comments from even die-hard Windows fanbois who think it'll sink like a brick. Apart from the fact that it's hideous and looks like a kindergarten toy, it ain't really Windows and won't run Windows software. That'll kill it stone dead. If Microsoft's lucky it might pick up the 0.66% it currently "enjoys" in the Phone 7 market.

        The only thing that might save "Phone 8" is if Microsoft "pulls a netbook", but the market conditions are completely different to that last "phenomenon". ARM ain't an x86 architecture that Microsoft can just waltz onto with a resurrected relic, and the OS it needs to usurp isn't something unknown and unfamiliar to the masses. We have Android now. IMO that's game over.

    3. jubtastic1

      Its not the end of the world

      They already make money from each Android sale, once they release Office for iOS and Android they'll be coining it in regardless of how well win8 tablets sell.

      1. Goldmember


        "They already make money from each Android sale, once they release Office for iOS and Android they'll be coining it in regardless of how well win8 tablets sell."

        Er, what...? Since when did MS make Android? And since when was Android for sale, not free under an open source licence?

        1. Vic

          > Er, what...?

          He's right.

          > Since when did MS make Android?

          They don't.

          But they do have a significant number of lawyers who have been claiming patent coverage of Android. A number of tablet manufacturers have apparently caved in[1], and are now paying Microsoft for every Android tablet they sell.


          [1] There is another theory that says these deals are actually *very* advantageous to the tablet makers, and are costly to MS, but provide them with grounds to spread FUD. AFAIK, there's insufficient evidence to know if this theory holds water, but it's definitely in the "wouldn't surprise me" category.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More likely unemployment hurt sales

    With double digit unemployment in the U.S. and elsewhere I suspect this hurt PC sales the most.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What this article fails to mention of course is that the earnings release, was, once again, entitled:

    Microsoft Reports Record Revenue of $20.9 Billion in Second Quarter

    Note the 'record revenue' bit.......

    MS continues to go from strength to strength. Everyone used to say that if Windows took a tumble the company would be in trouble. This is evidently not the case.

    1. The BigYin

      I think you mean

      "MS legal department continues to go from strength to strength. "

      They are gouging money from Android over untested patent threats. You may recall that B&N describes them as "trivial", has found lots of prior art and is fighting back. Good.

      Maybe if B&N win MS will be forced into operating within a free market and facing some competition. If they do, it's use (the consumer) who will benefit.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      A premature conclusion since you can see how much money is coming in, yet you have no idea how much money is going out again.

      A big revenue by itself looks impressive, sure. Then take a look at the size of the company and its assets, then then ask yourself how much such an environment would cost. And all of a sudden those high numbers aren't so impressive after all.

      Focus your attention on net income instead, then you might be less optimistic.

  4. Turtle

    “Competing Form Factors”

    "Customers were, as he put it, faced with 'competing form factors' - a polite way of saying that tablets are selling like hotcakes and Redmond still hasn’t a good-enough OS for that market."

    Out of curiosity, have *any* tablets other than iPads been selling in significant numbers?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Turtle - Looking at how desperately Apple tries to stop them

      I would answer yes.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Google would say no

        Looking at how apple tries to stop what?

        It certainly isn't sales.

        Googles own figures aren't that great

        People just aren't buying android tablets.

        1. Gerhard Mack

          @Nergatron two points

          1. It's hard to get good numbers when your product is banned in several markets.

          2. The most popular Android tablets for the moment (Samsung Galaxy Tab) are running Gingerbread making that Znet article completely pointless.

          1. Anonymous Coward


            Two points

            1). If your product is banned, then there are no sales. Zero is a fairly precise number

            2).. These are googles own figures so they are not pointless

            1. Gerhard Mack


              It doesn't matter whose figures they are because they are being used to show something they can't possibly show. You can't extrapolate tablet uptake based on ICS and Honeycomb activations if most of the Tablets being sold are using Gingerbread instead.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward


                The Gingerbread figures are stated in these 'pointless' numbers

                1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

                  60% of 200 million activated devices is still over 100 million devices. Admittedly this will also include phones, but I'm not sure anyone can say that they aren't selling.

                2. Gerhard Mack


                  I can't tell if you are trolling or just fail at reading comprehension but just in case:

                  "The figures just released show that of all Android devices activated to date, only 3.3% of them run Android 3.x, aka Honeycomb. Honeycomb only runs on tablets, so the numbers paint an accurate picture of just how few Android tablets have been activated. If we use Andy Rubin’s latest tweet claiming 200 million devices have been activated to date, that 3.3% running Honeycomb only represents 6.6 million Android tablets."

                  He adding up the numbers for ICS and Honeycomb and assuming those are the total amount of tablets when, in fact, the hottest selling tablet still runs on Gingerbread and his interpretation of the numbers will count those as cellphones rather than tablets.

        2. Homer 1

          "People just aren't buying android tablets"

          Well, "only" 40.3% of them:

          "The free market, in all its terrible beauty, is Apple’s most friendly enemy. After 18 months of being effectively the only tablet game in town (as a function of sales, anyway) the Cupertino giant’s deathgrip on the slate market is starting to crack. According to IDC, Android’s share of sales in the fourth quarter of 2011 will reach 40.3 percent of all tablet sales. That’s up considerably since the third quarter, which has been variously projected as 20-30%."

          You were saying?

  5. T J


    In some ways I'm going to miss Microsoft. They were colourful.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I most definitely won't, because that "colourful" was from being covered in blood from all the backstabbing. Personally, I think MS has caused more harm to the computing world than anything else out there, and they are still at it (take the ISO standards gaming and the more recent standards disaster at the UK's Cabinet Office as an example).

      Showing that blatant law abuse makes you rich isn't a good example in my book, and neither is buying up geniuses so they won't innovate for the competition. There's precious little innovation coming from Redmond other than new ways to bypass monopoly laws, so the quicker they go the better.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Collapse in popularity of netbooks blamed ?

    After what they did to them ? Wasn't Microsoft who imposed those draconian hardware specs restrictions and that idiotic Windows starter edition ? And they are now surprised that customers are buying Android tablets and iPads like crazy ?

    Sorry, Microsoft, but by killing the netbook you gave a massive opportunity to tablets, all running non-Windows operating system. Now catch Android if you can!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "that idiotic Windows starter edition"

      "That idiotic Windows starter edition"? Meaning Windows XP? Well, as far as I can tell, the vast majority of PC users (both at home and at work) and indeed IT departments would actually be quite happy with Windows XP. It's only because MS can strongarm the volume PC builders into installing what MS want installed that there was a Vista disaster, from which Windows 7 is finally recovering. But XP does most things for most people in a relatively satisfactory way.

      1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

        No, Windows 7 Starter Edition

        The intentionally crippled version for netbooks.

        This is what it lacks WRT "standard" Win7:

        - Aero Glass, meaning you can only use the “Windows Basic” or other opaque themes. It also means you do not get Taskbar Previews or Aero Peek.

        - Personalization features for changing desktop backgrounds, window colors, or sound schemes.

        - The ability to switch between users without having to log off.

        - Multi-monitor support.

        - DVD playback.

        - Windows 7 starter Media Center for watching recorded TV or other media.

        - Remote Media Streaming for streaming your music, videos, and recorded TV from your home computer.

        - Domain support for business customers.

        - XP Mode for those that want the ability to run older Windows XP programs on Windows 7 starter.

      2. Rob 21

        No, it means Windows 7 Starter Edition

        The Jar Jar Binks of code.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ T J

    More like 'ker cheching' methinks. $20B in 3 months. Tasty.

    And I am still chuckling at the suggestion that MS needs to 'catch Android'. Android comes under the 'utter fail' catagory in the tablet space. Win8 will decimate it.

    1. PhilipN

      Is that what you meant to say

      ..bearing in mind that "decimate" means to (cause to) reduce BY (not TO) 10 per cent?

    2. kevin biswas

      Why is android an utter fail ?

      I dont get it.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You would think there would eventually be a time when those wanted a PC finally got one. Wanting a PC isn't like wanting an iphone. PC owners don't buy a new one every year.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Even the computer illiterate have realised that you don't need a powerful machine to dick about on facebook and watch the odd flash video.

      This is probably part of ms's problem, they try and sell a new os or encourage you to buy a new machine with their new os, but all people ask is 'can i still dick about on facebook and watch videos? Oh. I can do that already'.

      1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

        "I'm a PC and Windows 7 was my idea"

        I told Microsoft that I'd like to be able to dick about on Facebook and watch videos, and so they released this new feature in Windows that allows you access just by clicking the Internet button......... oh.

        [cut to flashcard]

        Windows 7 - It lets you do everything you did on XP, but we may support it past 2014!

    2. Vic

      > PC owners don't buy a new one every year.

      I've met quite a few people who decide that they need a new PC because their old one is running slowly.

      I always try to explain to them that a bit of a tune-up (i.e. a reinstall) would make it like new again, but this never seems to work; I suspect many people just want an excuse for some new shiny.

      So these days, I offer to take the old one away. And I acquire another quick box running a RHEL clone...


      1. Chemist

        "And I acquire another quick box "

        Ditto but with OpenSuse on it

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I call bullshit

    Show me the reduction in actual sales of Windows against actual sales of PCs themselves and I'll believe it. Or are they afraid it will show a divergence away from actual sales of Windows greater than the sales of actual PCs showing a desertion to FOSS or Apple?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Bullshit indeed.

      Where's the *analysis* of these numbers? Or at least a link to the press release?

      E.g. where is Windows revenue coming from these days? Boxed retail sales? Corporate licence agreements? Big PC OEM deals (aka Windows tax)? C'mon El Reg.

      Here's the press release link anyway:

      But obviously it doesn't answer the important questions like where does Windows revenue come from now in comparison with two years ago, and where they expect it to be two years from now. And how do they plan to deliver that in the new world order where Wintel are increasingly irrelevant and ARM is out there in volume but currently lacks a single unified platform standard (other than MS's attempts to make mass-market ARM hardware Windows only by dodgy dealings at the BIOS level)?

  10. Steve McPolin

    I don't get it....

    Microsoft dives and Intel soars. I find that a bit of a head scratcher....

    1. LaeMing

      Intel picked up some nasty sores in one of Microsoft's dives?

    2. shaolin cookie


      Macs run on Intel iron too.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ PhillipN

    Get with the plan old boy....

    dec•i•mate [des-uh-meyt]

    verb (used with object), -mat•ed, -mat•ing.


    to destroy a great number or proportion of: The population was decimated by a plague.

    And Kevin. It is fail because they have sold about 6 Android tablets. People want iPads, not the cheaply made, yet overpriced copy cat rubbish that represents the android tablet 'ecosystem'. It is a horrible operating system when it is on a phone and it just gets worse on a tablet.

    1. M Gale

      OMG, you're right!

      This is the most awful phone and tablet OS I've ever seen. The way it reacts immediately, and the various launchers you can get if you don't like the stock look and feel. The unified marketplace across so many different devices, the cheap price, the battery life that gets longer instead of shorter with each release, the voice recognition and notifications area that Apple thought was so bad they had to copy it, the ability to do all of this without touching a rooting utility...

      You're right. I have seen the light.

      I shall replace my Arc S and Tab 7 with iProducts immediately!

      1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

        @ M Gale

        And you have now proved to me that you can take a balanced opinion.

        A true fanboy would have come out in hives if they'd so much as mentioned battery life on Android!

        I do love the fact that (presumably the same) A/C is kindly ignoring the fact that Android sales are affected because Apple is a litigious toerag. Of course, should Moto decide to start going for injunctions, I'm sure the dive in iPad sales will be blamed on that (quite correctly, but you can't use it on one side and not the other).

        My personal view is that iOS is designed for use by people who've just survived an accidental lobotomy. That's not to say smarter people can't use it without feeling embarassed, but to claim it's the greatest thing is a bit rich.

        I'll refrain from listing the numerous historical fuckups on the iPhone, as someone will only do the same for Android (whilst conveniently forgetting that a wider range of hardware = more potential for bugs).

    2. bob's hamster

      Get with The Plan Old Boy (2)

      Actually decimate orginally means to reduce by 10 percent, I believe actually it came from the Romans, where if a legion fought a battle in a cowardly way it would be decimated as a punishment (1 in every 10 soldiers was executed). History lesson over.

    3. Colin Wilson 2


      What sort of a dictionary claims that decimate is pronounced 'des-uh-meyt'?

      Perhaps the one that Loyd Grossman uses? In the volume marked 'Shudder toThink'

    4. Philip Lewis
      Paris Hilton

      Not just me then ...

      I concur

      (Paris, for no apparent reason)

  12. toadwarrior

    other way around

    I'd say PC sales are down because of windows. Hardware upgrading has slowed so the only good reason to upgrade is your OS and face windows offers nothing of value. So people are happy to stay put.

  13. Martin 63


    Wasnt the original post about windows?

  14. Anonymous Coward

    And I think its going to get worse.

    Solely focusing on Windows here, but when I look at my customers (approx. 30 - 40) I still usually come across XP environments. People use that because it suits them, they're happy with it and they don't really need all the hassle with upgrading.

    A few of them have upgraded to Vista during the past years but despite the annoyances they're not planning to perform yet another upgrade to Win7 anytime soon. Or put differently; to them getting rid of the annoyances isn't worth the purchase price of a new Windows (7) version.

    When XP finally expires, approx. 2 years from now, then quite frankly I'd sooner expect people to upgrade to Windows 7 than Windows 8. Assuming that Win8 will be the current Windows version by that time it wouldn't surprise me one bit if people started to buy "second hand" licenses for Windows 7 because as we all know; as soon as a new Windows version has been released the first thing MS does is pull back all the "old and inferior" stuff. EVEN when people might actually still be quite willing to buy. Of course this is assuming "fair play". Just search for "Windows XP" torrents and check the availability; does that look like a "dead" OS?

    How many people will at this time reason: "If I can't buy it anymore I have no other alternative than to download it" ?

    Needless to say, but in these scenarios MS will once again lose a lot revenue.

    Which I think is another problem for MS; they should give people what they want, not what MS wants you to have. If people want to buy XP versions at this day and age, why stop them? If that's what they want then that's what they should get. Could turn out to be win-win too; after 2 years they'll need to upgrade. Not too unlikely that they might pick Windows 7 at that time. And if its still available for purchase it would mean extra profit for MS.

    But no; MS likes to dictate to people what they should do. This approach worked just fine "back in the day" but nowadays? Now we have real competition, so people are much more likely to switch to "other solutions".

    Gee, even less revenue for MS... I wonder what made that happen.

    MS needs to wake up and get with the program, FAST.

    1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      1 of our customers

      bought a new laptop, which came with Win 7. They are primarily an XP shop so I asked if he wanted me to install XP or if he was happy with 7. He said he'd give 7 a shot.

      When I visited them to sit and configure the system for their network we hit a major boo-boo. Laptop came with Win 7 Home Premium. They run a domain, but Win 7 Home * doesn't do domains, and the cost of the upgrade to Pro was around £100.

      He asked what extra he'd get, so I brought up the comparison list in the Anytime Upgrade and showed him the differences. When asked which of those he'd benefit from, the only honest answer I could give was "the ability to join the domain".

      The next system they buy is going to be deliberately sourced with no OS on it all all. They have a multi-system license for XP, and being a small business aren't willing to pay over the odds for "business" systems when most consumer kit will meet their needs anyway.

      Longer term in fact, he'd like us to look at the possibility of migrating away from Windows altogether. They only have a single business-critical Windows App, so if we can find a replacement they're happy to move to Linux (he likes Macs but doesn't see the cost as worthwhile to the business).

      I can't imagine they are the only ones to feel this way, if they can't have XP (and the future lack of drivers will see to that) then they are likely to move to something else entirely as they'll need to learn a new interface anyway.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Seems strange..

        That you'd let one of your customers buy something in the knowledge it wasn't suitable..

        1. Ben Tasker Silver badge


          He bought it and then asked me to configure. Never been an issue before, it's their hardware and their network we simply maintain it. If he wants an iPad, it's my job to get it working not to sit and tell him why he shouldn't buy it.

          And in all fairness, given that it was on sale it was far, far cheaper than anything I'd have found with Win 7 Pro on it. It was also far cheaper than the equivalent specced laptops _without_ an OS that I looked up afterwards.


      This years slightly better crap.

      There is so much in the PC market to muddle issues. So it's hard to know who or what to blame when you find something that is a bit of a disaster. Is it the crufty old XP? Is it the crap that the PC vendor added? Is it the fact that the old XP driver is crap. Perhaps the whole thing could be sorted out by dumping the bundleware copy of XP for an OEM version.

      PCs are a saturated market. People probably already have as many as they are interested in having. If the crapulence of the OS is what is encouraging them to buy new kit, they may decide to not bother. Consumer packaged versions of Windows may be too expensive (or limited) for most people to consider.

      Microsoft is in a perfect storm. Only part of it is it's own making but a good part of it nonetheless.

  15. Arctic fox

    Let me see now, anything unusual about this thread? Not in the least.

    Android and Apple supporters slagging each other off and both of them slagging Redmond off. Business as usual.

  16. jubtastic1

    Giving this more thought

    I think Apple have missed a trick here, they've had the tablet market all to themselves for coming on three years and they've left the door open for MS to storm back in on the back of Office. If iWork had been free from the get go, most of those iPad users would already be using it and the demand for Office would be severely reduced, as is it's going to drop straight into the number one spots on various app stores as soon as its available and both fund MS and allow them to lever in Win8 kit with tighter integration.

    I believe in these current financials are mo likely a blip rather than a portent of doom.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My God

      Why do so many people think that people want to use a tablet to do work. Maybe you go home and curl up with a nice spreadsheet, but most (almost all?) tablet users are surfing the net, media, playing simple games or reading. Things an Apple and now some Android devices do very well for less then a MS tablet will cost.

      While the Revenue and profits are interesting I think the most important indicator is the stock price - it tends to be future looking. MS has been stuck in the dirt for years. Investors do not think that MS will do well down the road.

      If you look at how MS make money, it is usually from product lock in (Office, server tools, ..) or the XBOX. Future technology (tablets,web search, mobile, ...) MS has been, to put it in nice terms, a complete and total failure.

      Investors see the future in Apple and till the last few days - Google.

  17. vic 4

    PC sales down

    obviously means less new copies of windows being sold. How long before MS start trying to sell incremental updates to existing windows users.

  18. John I'm only dancing


    So when is the computing dinosaur going to do the decent thing and go the way of Kodak?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In my own limited sphere ...

    I've noticed for years people have been buying either a Mac (yes, yes, I know) OR have discovered Linux and the new life that breathes into their old existing gear that has plenty of life left in it (people like me have used Linux for years).

    Sales of Windows are dropping because its ugly, boring and unreliable filling up with malware and viruses within days and constantly giving grief. Those who don't know better, but seek a more "reliable" computing experience, ditch Windows and buy a Mac OR realise Linux is in fact perfect for their needs (dicking about on facebook, email, browsing for shit and iplayer, writing the odd letter and archiving their photos) and requires no financial layout.

    The number of non-techies I've seen with some flavour of Linux has gratifyingly been growing slowly but surely. Their tech issues have also stopped and all but dried up.

    Windows is just not seen as cool anymore. I can see why MS are keen on the idea of locked down PCs that can't boot anything else.

    1. Vic

      > The number of non-techies I've seen with some flavour of Linux has gratifyingly been growing

      I supplied a copy of Fedora to a customer who had something of a problem[1] with malware. I didn't hear from him for many weeks - I though perhaps I'd upset him, but it turned out that he just wasn't having any problems he needed help with.

      Then his son came home and convinced him that Linux was too difficult for him to use, so he went out and bought a new Windows PC :-(


      [1] He was something of a prodigious consumer of one-handed websites...

      1. Keep Refrigerated

        Anecdotal but...

        In addition to Vic's experience, I've noticed a trend of people my age and up (30+) much more open to embracing alternatives to Windows and giving Linux a try, whereas when I speak to young people they come across fairly indoctrinated into the 'Windows as a superior OS' meme.

        I really thought it would be the opposite, young people embracing alternative, edgy, smart ideas and tech, old people being stubborn and sticking to legacy. But as I've grown older I've noticed the exact opposite; young people seem to be very easily indoctrinated into bad practices, dumb ideas and lock-in.

        I don't quite know if this is something specific to the X and Y generation, or if it's always been that way and I've only just noticed as I've got older.

        Oh, and... get off my lawn!

        1. Chemist

          "I've noticed a trend of people my age and up (30+)"

          I've noticed it too.

          Maybe it's the fact that they have hardly been exposed to anything else.

          When I think of the bare board micros , ROM Basic, .... Amiga, Forth, PC, Linux that I've been exposed to as an amateur let alone the terminal/mainframe, PDP11, VAX, Linux workstations and farms in my professional life I guess anyone 50+ has lived through a lot of changes.

  20. Ron Christian

    natural for this stage of the PC's development

    Back in the nineties, computers were slow for what we wanted to do, and we hungered for that next faster processor, because it really did make a difference. Similarly, we were excited to get off Windows 95 because 98 had to be better (we were right) and get off 98 because ME had to be better (we were wrong, but never mind) and then get off the crap fest that was ME because XP had to be better (we were right, but only after SP1).

    Now we're in a position where most people can do what they need to do with XP on moderately priced hardware. Only the gamers need white-hot CPUs and only extreme power users need Windows 7 (for >4GB memory access). As far as I can tell, *nobody* needs Windows 8.

    We've reached the flat end of the curve for PCs. It had to happen eventually. The current processor speeds are faster than most people need, and XP provides the resources and device support necessary for most people to get their work done. The difference between 386 and 486 was noticeable and worth the cost. The difference between 1.8 Ghz and 2.6 Ghz i7 is less so, yet the cost of upgrade is still significant. There's just no reason to do it.

    This is actually a good thing. For the first time in the history of the PC, we can finally stop being obsessed with upgrading our hardware and software and get the work done for which we bought the PC in the first place.

    The only possible exception is storage. The mediums on which we used to store information (video tape, film, slides) are obsolete, everything has gone to hard disk. So for instance, although my computer was purchased at the turn of the century and still runs XP, I'm always short of drive space.

    Actually I'm surprised that Microsoft's sales haven't dropped more.

    1. unitron

      There are no mediums...

      ...unless you mean more than one of the type of person who conducts seances.

      The plural of medium is media.

      And if MS wants more sales, they should put reasonably priced full retail versions of XP Home and Pro back on the store shelves.

  21. P. Lee Silver badge

    Not sure I buy it

    Tablets are 3rd devices (phone, laptop, tablet) but may move up to second devices for low requirement households (granny etc) with things like the transformer, in the near future.

    I'm not convinced that they are canabalising pc sales. I suspect what has been said above about sufficient power for most people available in a laptop (which is itself not a high-power device) is true.

    Market saturation on the desktop and multi-core rather than multi-host in the server-room would be my bet, all other things being equal, which they aren't.

  22. Graham Wilson


    Who still cares?

    I still use XP, and it's the last O/S I'll ever buy from M$ (and on some machines I expect I'll be using it well past its 2014 support deadline).

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Poor products from Microsucks could also be the real issue

    I see more and more people switching to Linux to get away from Microsucks, their O/S problems with their products and the never ending hacks, updates, crashes, etc.

  24. JeffyPooh

    Free advice to MS...

    There's nothing more annoying than how PCs handle start-up, software updates, and shut down. Zero respect for the user. This is one reason why more people are picking up smartphones and tablets to access the Internet - unless the PC is already powered on, its simply much quicker to use any device except a PC.


    Powering up from Hibernate shouldn't have to reload all 4GB of RAM from HDD. The OS was actually only using about 1GB of RAM, but the Hibernate image is 4GB. There's no excuse for such laziness, making Hibernate four time slower than required. Kludge. Fail.

    Route *all* software updates (including applications, including even checking for updates) through a single OS gate-keeper module. Give the user a simple control panel where he/she can instantly shut down all updates so the the user can access the damn Internet without being essentially locked out by rude (e.g. Adobe) updates. Those on slower and/or expensive Internet access shouldn't live in fear of SW updates. The OS should offer complete control to the user, including a big red button to shut down all SW update processes, and allow the user to gain instant dedicated access to the entire available bandwidth to the Internet. FWIW - Ubuntu is exactly as annoying as Windows. Smartphones (iOS) and Tablets (PB) are good examples of how to give the user more control.

    To those with itchy thumbs down fingers, yes I know that I can spend an hour adjusting each apication to do as I please. Perhaps you've not noticed that many PC applications will readjust the update settings back to annoying with each update? It's like the Yahoo toolbar and cockroaches - they just keep trying to get it again and again.

    I hope that these suggestions help. Sometimes it's difficult to believe its 2012 and we have to put up with such annoyances.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It doesn't matter

    Windows 8 will be such an epic fail, it'll make both Windows Vista and Windows Me seem like a huge success.

    Mixing ARM and x86 is a very, very, VERY bad idea.


    Corporate users will stick with Windows 7 or XP.

    Consumers and OEMs will demand downgrades to Win7 on new PCs.

    In the tablet market, Win8 tablets won't dent the marketshare of iPads. Or Android tablets.

    Steve Ballmer will be sacked in the not-so-distant future.

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