back to article Microsoft 'cautiously optimistic' about Christmas sales

Microsoft is quietly confident it can avoid a repeat of the pantsing it took last Christmas with a triple consumer hit of Windows 8.1, Surface 2 and Xbox One. Terry Myerson, installed chief of all things Windows operating system at Microsoft in a massive Microsoft re-org during the summer, told Wall St yesterday there’s …


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  1. stu 4

    Windows 8.1 - you shouldn't have

    no really, you shouldn't have....

    what poor bastard is going to open his exciting gift wrapped present this xmas morning to find a windows 8.1 DVD.

    If he manages to look pleased and thank his gift giver he deserves an oscar.

    1. theblackhand

      Re: Windows 8.1 - you shouldn't have

      I'm sure lumps of coal will continue to be more popular than Win8.1 DVD's for Xmas presents....

      I suspect all the Win8.1 sales will be via laptop sales (OK, and the 3 people buying PC's...).

      Interested to see UK tablet sales figures for the Christmas period - I'm interested to see how the ~£100 tablet market skews overall sales for the more expensive models.

    2. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Windows 8.1 - you shouldn't have

      No OS makes a good gift but a PC running it might do.

      1. Bonce

        Re: Windows 8.1 - you shouldn't have

        Oh. I once asked for -- and received -- DR DOS from my parents for either Christmas or a birthday, I forget which.

        I was dead chuffed with my new-found levels of conventional memory.

    3. Bob Vistakin

      Any time you're ready to launch one of your phones

      We're here looking out for one.

      Is there a prize for the first one spotted in the wild?

  2. Big_Ted

    That because some people like an 8 inch full windows tab for about the same price or lower than their RT version, that means people will be cruel enough to foist a Surface tab on a family member.

    Lets be honest here how many will pay for a surface pro 2 when they can get a laptop and an 8 inch full windows tab for the same price.

    As for windows 8.1, surely theres enougth arguments at Christmas without showing how much you dislike someone giving them this.

    Finally if they are expecting Windows to drive Windows phone sales, well thats worked so well for them so far hsan't it. The only reason there are as many Windows phones sold as have been are down to Nokia making quite nice lower end ones like the 520 and dropping the price for the top of the range so quickly. Its Nokia selling them not MS and windows.

    1. Mikel

      Sales of all Windows slabs together = 3%

      People don't like any sort of Windows slab.

  3. Tom 35

    People will buy 8.1 because it came with the computer, much like the box* that came with it. It's not because they picked Win8 (or liked the colour of the box). If they had a choice I expect a large number would buy it with windows 7.

    "IDC report showing Windows Phone is outselling the iPhone" I smell fudge cooking...

    * If you have a cat, the box may have more value.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Of course people buy a PC with Windows not Windows alone, but it was very clear that last year, people were NOT buying PCs BECAUSE they had W8. The hope is clearly 8.1 does enough to remove the OS as an impediment to purchasing a new machine.

      As for WP Vs iOS, it's not hard to out-sell a company who only sell expensive high-end products, on number of units sold. No doubt Lada used to outsell Porsche.

    2. Gerhard Mack

      @Tom 35

      I just spent some time hunting down that IDC article and was wondering why their worldwide figures still show Iphone in second place but then I found it: "Windows Phone outsells iOS in Latin America"

      In other words, what they said was technically true while still being misleading and more than a little dishonest.

      1. Tom 35

        @ Gerhard Mack

        Yes I figured it was something like that.

      2. Richard Plinston

        Re: @Tom 35

        > "Windows Phone outsells iOS in Latin America"

        And there is more to it:

        "Windows Phone shipments in Latin America have surpassed those of the Apple iPhone family"

        The drop in Apple shipments is likely due to delaying until the new models were available.

        """According to Kantar, a large chunk of Windows Phone sales come from lower-end devices. That suggests that in Europe as in Latin America, people looking for a cheap smartphone may be finding the Windows Phone an attractive alternative to Android."""

        Apple sell at the high end so these are not directly competing anyway.

    3. DaveyG

      I bought a new laptop with Windows 8 and I had to buy a second copy of Windows 7 just to avoid using the ridiculous new interface. My laptop was twice as fast afterwards! I don't know what Microsoft were thinking.

      PS Microsoft, people don't use touch screens with servers. Why did you inflict tiles on that interface as well???

      1. Steve K

        Classic Shell

        Classic Shell is way cheaper than another copy of Windows 7 and works a treat....

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ""IDC report showing Windows Phone is outselling the iPhone" I smell fudge cooking..."

      It's true, they just didn't state where that was as WP outsells the iPhone at the Microsoft stores. The fact that the iPhone isn't available there is just semantics.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I wouldn't wipe my arse on IDC reports, fudge notwithstanding.

  4. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    A casual Observation

    made at my local PC-World (while waiting for my other half to get her hair done, sigh) was that no one was interested in anything with any flavour of Windows on it. There were people around the Apple kit (at the back of the store) and some were buying peripherals like All-In-One printer thingies. That was it at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon less than 1 month before Crimble.

    This was my first visit to one of their stores in a long time. Sine my last visit to this one, they'd reduced the floor area by about 1/3rd and there was considerably less items on show. Stock levels seems poor as well. A sign of the times I suppose. I didn't stay long as I kept being asked 'can I help you' by sales droids. I went to the pub instead.

    I know that this is not a scientific survey or anything but I get a feeling that anything with an MS label (apart from an X-Box) might not be very popular this year.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A casual Observation

      Our PC World seems to be full of TV and home cinema systems, and a lot of tablets. But similar to you the interest is not round the Windows 8 kit, I saw more people looking at cameras (video and "still") and peripherals than I did looking at Windows.

      Microsoft seem to have this idea that people will go out and buy a new computer just because it has Windows 8.x on it. People don't - people buy a new computer when the old one bites the dust. I'd love an Apple computer but I cannot justify that amount of spend so I go for what I can afford and what I can afford has Windows on it - yes I know I can go to a special company who will build me one without windows on it - but that doesn't help at 2om on a Sunday when your current PC has gone bang and you have got work to do.

      So people end up with Windows not through choice but because financially and from a practical point of view, there isn't a viable alternative.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: A casual Observation

        Were people ever interested/excited in buying a PC/laptop for its own sake? Other than ultrabooks or gaming rigs, the whole point of a PC is that it isn't exciting, it's just something you need. You don't get people excited about the Ford Focus or a crowd in the toaster section, but people keep buying them.

        1. Bonce

          Re: A casual Observation

          -10 geek points for you then! I used to buy PC magazines just to lust after different models of PC with the latest x86 processor or mind bogglingly capacious (120MB) hard disk drives.

          I'm feeling like maybe I've said too much.

          1. Pirate Dave Silver badge

            Re: A casual Observation

            120 meg hard drives? Christ, were you using a mainframe? I remember slobbering over a 5.25" full size Bigfoot that I think was 40 megs. 120 megs was like, no way I'll ever get a hard drive that big. Imagine all the porn GIFs I could store...

            And for the record, in 1991 or 1992, I was pleased as punch when the wife "bought" me grey-market OEM copies of Windows 3.0 and DOS 4.1. DOSSHELL FTW!!!

            1. Bonce
              Thumb Up

              Re: A casual Observation

              Hehe, true, true. We've all got a "my removable storage was smaller than yours" anecdote!

              1. Kevin Johnston

                Re: A casual Observation

                I stil remember the day when discs dropped below the £1 per MB barrier.....a 120MB drive for £105 including VAT

                1. Tim99 Silver badge

                  Re: A casual Observation

                  @Kevin Johnston

                  Oh crap, I feel old, I remember when I bought a 25MB 19" rack-mount Winchester drive at £200 per MB, and telling my colleagues how cheap it was...

    2. stu 4

      Re: A casual Observation

      yup, our one sat next to Currys (same owners). This year it got merged into Currys, and pcworld is no more.

    3. Splodger

      Re: A casual Observation

      I can't help feeling that if Currys/PC World and the rest want to shift (lots) more laptops/PCs then they should stick large signs up all over the place stating that you can have Windows 7 on the box you're purchasing instead of bloody Windows 8.x if you want.

      1. Bootman

        Re: A casual Observation

        They should, but do they actually offer it though? Presumably they are locked into certain contracts with manufacturers who are they themselves locked into agreements with Microsoft. Not that PC World has Dell kit for sale to my knowledge, but it always makes me laugh on the Dell site where it says 'Dell recommends Windows 8', when I am sure they'd rather flog 7 on their consumer range. No doubt they would invoke serious ire from Microsoft if they dared...

    4. N2

      Re: A casual Observation


      Its a similar scene over here in France at the various tech outlets, X-Box seems the only MS attraction.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows phone outselling iPhone?? Nah

    "But it’s not all gloom and doom. According to IDC, Brits and Italians seem to have taken a liking to the Lumias. In the U.K., Nokia more than doubled its smartphone volume sales to 396,000 units, albeit the company still falls outside the top five brands in the country."

    So it wasn't in the top 5 from Lumia sales in UK, meanwhile, in Italy:

    "And in Italy, where Nokia saw a 17% yearly increase in smartphone sales, it still ranks as the No. 2 vendor of smartphones, behind Samsung Electronics Co."

    So Asha + Lumia ranges make it No.2 in the market, Asha is a far cheaper range based on Symbian that does bulk sales.

    It isn't that Microsoft based Lumias outsell iPhone in Italy, it's that Asha+Lumia does.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Windows phone outselling iPhone?? Nah

      That's a report from August on Q2 sales. It's now December. Things move fast.

  6. Bootman

    X-Box is the only desirable thing for 90% of consumers from that choice. Most will be purchasing an iPad of course. I regularly travel by train, and can't help noticing the hardware my fellow passengers have - usually due to being stood up and forced to look over their shoulder might I add! Plenty of iPads, a surprisingly large number of Macbooks and PCs pretty much universally running Windows 7 or XP. I have so far seen one Ubuntu machine and one Windows 8 PC which was firmly in the desktop. Never seen anyone on the Start screen or with any form of Windows tablet in the wild. If this observation in any way reflects the market then Microsoft should be concerned.

    1. Mike Flex

      "a surprisingly large number of Macbooks"

      Long battery life and small size (for 11" screen versions) = handy for train.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Oh but Microsoft should be concerned.

      The question is : is it ?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MS's business plan:

    1. Write an OS

    2. ?

    3. Profit!

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: MS's business plan:

      2. Get it on a PC in every home

      This is well known and has been incredibly successful the last 20+ years

      1. Mikel

        Re: MS's business plan:

        And a grand plan it was too until the hobbitses started hiding their PCs in their pocketses.

    2. Tom 35

      Re: MS's business plan:


      2. is Give it a UI for a 4" phone then everyone will want to buy our phones and tablets too.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'Cautiously optimistic' is just euphemism for 'we expect the worst'

    You won't believe the sheer number of consumers out there who, whenever possible, conscientiously avoid anything Microsoft or Windows. It's a tainted brand.

    Even Xbox won't salvage this Christmas season for Microsoft, not after Don Mattrick making a mess of things at the unveiling event.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Decided not to listen to all the winging and moaning on so called tech sites and tried out a dell venue 8 after i couldn't do work + Leisure on my nexus 7 on the occation where carring a device of that size suited whatever i was doing. The nexus will soon be in the hands of my kids so they can watch peppa pig + play some games, which it is perfected suited for

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Microsoft is quietly confident it can avoid a repeat of the pantsing it took last Christmas with a triple consumer hit of Windows 8.1, Surface 2 and Xbox One."

    That sentence is not correct so I'll fix it.

    Microsoft is confident it will repeat the pantsing it took last Christmas with a triple consumer flop of Windows 8.1, Surface 2 and Xbox One.

  11. Charles Manning

    How soon they forget....

    Anyone remember Zune???

    Zune took out the top spots in all the Amazon rankings. Yes, even the brown one,

    MS were dancing the jig then. Perhaps they think it will be different this time.

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