Microsoft wanted us all to believe Windows 8 would spark a new wave of consumer upgrades, and finally put to rest all the doom and gloom stories about declining PC sales. Skeptics were skeptical (surprise), but at least a few of these naysayers have been proven right. Windows 8 hasn’t lit the PC world on fire, but can we all at least agree it’s just a bit too early to say Windows 8 is a flop? Blogs from around the web pounced on the Supersite’s headline declaring Windows 8 a failure, but the story here is much more complicated.
Windows 8, to be fair, is launching into a very different marketplace than Windows 7. Business users have spent the last year preparing to roll out 7, and consumers are drawing out the upgrade cycle more and more each year. When Windows 7 hit the market, it was competing against a nearly decade old Windows XP, and its barely competent replacement Windows Vista. Consumers were ready to upgrade, and took advantage of the rave reviews.
Companion phones and tablets aren’t helping either. Consumers are increasingly looking at a traditional PC as a machine to get work done, and mobile devices as a source of entertainment. When you stop to consider the average workload of your typical home consumer, it’s not hard to see why PC sales are struggling, despite a new OS release. Even five year old hardware has no problem running Microsoft Word. Consumers will still buy hundreds of millions of Windows 8 PC’s, however longer upgrade cycles combined with a fear of the unknown will drag out the process.
Windows 8 may still ultimately become the bestselling version of Windows, it just doesn’t have consumers lining up at Best Buy en masse.