back to article Retailers report slow Windows 8 sales, low demand

Reports that Windows 8 hasn't been moving as briskly as the industry had hoped continue to emerge, with major retailers reporting slow sales and Microsoft insiders allegedly describing the initial numbers as "disappointing." In an interview with Readwrite, Merle McIntosh, senior VP of product management for online tech …


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  1. tonysmith

    can we trust him?

    his name is "McIntosh".

  2. Bob Vistakin


    That is all.

  3. bdam

    A "boost during the holiday season"?

    WTF are these guys on? As if anyones gonna trash someone they care abouts computer by giving them windows 8.

  4. Ilgaz

    How will they sell?

    If I see a win8 pre installed notebook,I would expect basic touch functionality.

    If I a will emulate a tablet with keyboard& mouse, I would go with Android. More apps.

  5. Nathan 13

    shock horror

    A shit product has low sales numbers.

    1. Piro Silver badge

      Re: shock horror

      That's basically it.

      Windows 8 is a product with no market. It'll only gain traction because it's pre-installed on new machines, and people have to buy a new one sometime, maybe when they spill booze in their laptop, or whatever it may be.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On a scale from kin - win95, this is going to be a zune.

    1. Piro Silver badge

      More like a Bob, I think - a useless, gaudy, front end to something you actually wanted to get at.

      Zune was, I hear, a half decent product, but with no uptake simply because Apple was dominating the market - it was either an iPod or another brand of cheap MP3 player, in most people's minds.

      1. Bob Vistakin
        Paris Hilton

        My wife, Clippy Metrozune, doesn't rate it much either.

        Paris, for we talking of all style, no substance.

      2. ChrisInAStrangeLand

        Zune was an extremely flawed media player in it's first iteration. The hardware (besides it's color palette) was excellent, well ahead of ipod. It had an extremely expensive 802.11g/bluetooth chip for music sharing, but only official zune library songs to other zunes. You couldn't buy music over wifi or sync your album between pc and zune. That was a lost opportunity.

        What really killed zune however was playsforsure. If you made a Microsoft DRM investment earlier, say on a Sansa media player, it forsurecouldntplay on your Zune. Fool me once. Shame on you.

  7. The_Regulator


    Can't disagree apart from power/tech junkies who want the latest and greatest.

  8. jb99

    The problem is this....

    The basic problem with windows 8 is this -

    It makes it a bit harder and slower to do all the things you've been using your computer for for years due to the new slightly confused interface, and the new metro apps don't really do much, and making them full screen isn't great for many of them.

    You can fix most of that with settings and 3rd party stuff.

    But you end up with a new operating system that with some effort is almost as usable as the one you had before. There doesn't seem to be much "new" to it other than the new UI.

    So it's not awful but it's not really an upgrade when you can run your appliations "nearly" as easily as you could before is it?

    1. csumpi

      Re: The problem is this....

      But it worked for Apple. Just try a bit of Xcode4 after Xcode3.5. What used to be seamless, is now a click, some scrolling, and another click or two. Except there are no 3rd party apps to fix it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @csumpi - Re: The problem is this....

        Of course it worked for Apple because you must make a conscious decision to buy a Mac while with Windows it is the other way around: you must be really determined to avoid it getting it shoved down your throat.

    2. Anonymous IV

      Re: The problem is this....

      "the new slightly confused interface" [TIFKAM, or Metro]

      One of the glories of the English people has been their skill at understatement.

  9. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    A single change...

    If Microsoft (or perhaps just some people there) didn't have such a massive ego, they could make one singular change that'd help sales -- give the end-user a choice between booting into Metro or booting into a more traditional interface. Even people who don't know anything about computers, have been advised by friends of theirs that Windows 8 is change for the sake of change, confusing, and different (not by me, I advise against Windows, period.) Those people who are buying a new computer now are seeking out ones with Windows 7 (or god forbid XP) for that very reason. If Microsoft gave a choice of bootup UI, a lot of them would get Windows 8 machines instead of actively avoiding them.

    1. Richard Plinston

      Re: A single change...

      Windows 8 isn't "change for the sake of change", it has a deliberate and specific purpose.

      Sales of desktop machines are decreasing. Partly this is due to saturation, but it is also because there is little need to replace or even upgrade a machine bought in the last few years, they have been 'good enough' for a decade. This is especially true when desktop functions are being done on iPads, Android tablets or phones. The next growth area is smartTVs for internet access, beyond that will be pocket devices (phones) that connect to TVs to make these into desktop PC replacements.

      Microsoft has no presence in the new markets having made phones but seen their market share decrease and tablets (slates) that never sold well. Consultants have told them that the reason is that the WP7 UI is 'unfamiliar'. They think that they can fix that. Force TIFKAM onto every desktop and soon _everyone_ (or at least 400 million) will be familiar with it and will _demand_ it on their phones and tablets.

      They haven't considered any other outcome. It is so essential to future growth, or indeed survival, that making it optional is not an option.

      What happens if the user goes into the phone shop, sees WP8, and says "that's the UI I hate on my desktop" ?

    2. Amish-Bill

      Re: A single change...

      I am specifically seeking out as gifts either Win7 laptops or Win8 laptops that are an exact copy of the older Win7 laptops and have proper Win7 driver support. This way I can get a final Win7 hardware refresh in place before I'm forced to put Win8 in front of any of my family members.

      The really sad thing? If it wasn't for this, I would probably not even be looking at the newest $250 Samsung ChromeBook. Win 8 is so compelling that it has be considering a completely non-MS substitute for relatives that have light computing needs....

  10. David Simpson 1

    So they expect big sales coming in Q2 next year but not during the Xmas holiday period ? Sounds about right.

    This will be a bigger disaster than Vista.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    History repeats itself

    I see direct parallels with the moment Vista shipped. In the beginning we also got reports about "Expected sale figures" and stories about "Large amounts of Vista being shipped" (to where? customers or retailers?) and so on. And we all know how that ended.

    Of course its good that El Reg reports stories like these, but one has to wonder; is this really news? In the sense of something which no one (apart from the boys in Redmond of course) could see coming ?

    Wake me up when Windows 9 is in the making ;-)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: History repeats itself

      When building PCs on the last tech refresh for my demanding godchildren they were supplied with exchangeable drives for XP and W7 - apart from one early adopter who had XP and Vista. The XP/W7 ones quickly migrated to using only W7. The one with XP/Vista gave up on Vista very quickly and has stayed on XP.

      There is no intention of offering anyone an upgrade to W8. The few remaining XP stalwarts will get W7 before XP support stops.

      W9 will get considered if it provides a desktop like W7 - and with no TIKAM in sight.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    NewEgg has sold with Windows 8 preinstalled have been traditional desktops and notebooks.

    In other words..

    The only people that have Windows 8, are those that bought a new PC, and it came with it... They didn't really want it...

    How many exercised their downgrade rights?

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      How many exercised their downgrade rights?

      All of the ones who know that they have those rights and have access to the media needed to do so.

      In other words, almost none of them.

      I'm not even sure whether the OEM versions of Win8 even offer downgrade rights, as MS have screwed around with these rather a lot in an attempt to stop people doing it.

  13. Spoddyhalfwit

    When I saw Windows 8 I thought MS were crazy.

    But its all part of the plan... in fact its genius.

    Corporates have clung onto XP. Now they see the end of support of that by MS in sight, and the replacement is Windows 8. What do they do? Jump for Windows 7 as soon as they can, while they still can - this is why you don't see much Windows 8 kit around - its all part of the plan.

    I suspect that having managed to get loads of them to jump for Windows 7 they'll give the option to turn off Metro in Win 8 SP1, which would make Win 8 quite usable.

    1. Paul Shirley

      "option to turn off Metro in Win 8 SP1, which would make Win 8 quite usable"

      ...after a couple of weeks fighting the beast, it's going to take much more than that to make Win8 an improvement over anything. Reinstating the start menu, XP theming, bypassing Metro doesn't make up for the astonishing buginess and never ending discovery of small but irritating missing features.

      If XP hadn't developed a deep and abiding hatred for working with Android devices in it's bit rotted (and inherently rotten) USB support I'd revert back tomorrow. Unfortunately I dislike Win7 almost as much (it's when the dumbing down really set in) so that's not an option.

  14. mrfill

    Wait and see

    a variety of factors have led customers to take a "wait and see" attitude

    They are going to wait and see if Windows 9 is any good

    1. Paul Shirley

      Re: Wait and see

      I see an OS rushed out before it was finished, a frankensteined construction of 2 incompatible OSes badly stapled together. It feels like halfway through building a completely standalone Metro OS they had to ship a real product but didn't have enough 'new' OS ready to replace all the old UI.

      Until Win8 undeniably fails, MS will push on with removing more desktop mode. Right now MS employees will be sweating in their cubicles trying to make Metro UI replacements for the remaining desktop functionality. That's the Win9 roadmap, it's what Win8 was probably meant to be.

      It will take a year of failure before MS management even consider reversing that roadmap. It will take a lot more years for their engineers to actually achieve some viable 'not classic desktop' replacement. Waiting for Win9 is at best optimistic, the Win9 MS are working on is not likely to be what you want.

      Worse still, by the time they change course there will be no new innovation to ship, the code will be forgotten or rotted and just getting back to Win7 parity will take plenty of time.

      What's really going to happen is Win7 will be supported at least as long as XP was and Win9 will just be a renamed Win7 SP3. Or more likely just Win7 without the pretence.

  15. Michael Thibault

    Might be worth a shot...

    to 'update' Win 7 to make it more "Modern". A little here, a little there. No one shrieking in pain, but ... pained. At familiar levels of pain. Soften 'em up. Remind them who's boss. Until SPn leaves them no easy way to downgrade, and the difference being near enough as makes none. Eventually those several hundred million will see the light, and they'll jump out of their chairs on cue, enthusiastically shouting, in chorus, "Long live Modernity! Long live Modernity!"

    Or not.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wake me up when ..

    .. when they have finally fixed the one, MASSIVE problem they will need to address before any new Windows release:


    Until that happens I don't really see the point of paying much attention to this sinking ship. Sure, it's a BIG ship in terms of value, and the holes are partially plastered over with hubris, ignorance sales and plain vanilla BS but it IS taking water and they did eject the one guy who had the nerve to think and act different (oh shudder)..

    I cannot see why I should expose a user base to something that again demands them to change how they work, just after most of them have finally come to some sort of grudging acceptance and learned-by-rote sequences to get something done. They're normal people who have other things to do in the day than yet again go through a "find the feature" game - the ribbon was more than enough.

    New UIs may be fun for geeks, they are not fun for people who just want to get the job done and any sales person who has the nerve to utter the phrase "improved productivity" in a sales pitch for this crap is unlikely to touch anything between me booting their rear end and them landing on the pavement outside on aforementioned body part.

    1. Levente Szileszky
      Thumb Up

      Re: Wake me up when ..

      I am saying this for YEARS: BALLMER MUST GO or nothing will change.

      Here is a primer/must-read about Microsoft's 'lost decade' under Ballmer from last August's Vanity Fair - "How Microsoft Lost Its Mojo: Steve Ballmer and Corporate Americas Most Spectacular Decline":

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    4G anyone?

    So the rarest animal now in the wild is someone with a Windows 8 Mobile device on 4GEE... lol

  18. sambob223

    This Is why I still have my XP and Win 7 Installation disk's. Let's me downgrade or upgrade depending on you're point of view anytime I want.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I am not a point of view

  19. Revelationman
    Thumb Up

    I took the Windows 8 plunge

    I decided to upgrade, my Windows 7 experience was well not that great slow boots, and shutdowns, so HP gave the the 14 pound offer, I said why not. I do not have a touch screen but a pretty decent laptop with good specs. Now close to a month or so with Windows 8 I am truly enjoying the experience the boot times are almost a good minute faster the Windows 7 and the shutdown times are amazing.,the system is smooth and fluid,, the apps are fine I have figured out hot keys,

    So I enjoy Windows 8 but that is my opinion

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