Windows 8 – Enough to Move PC Sales?
In a world of economic uncertainty and dwindling interest in traditional desktop/laptop PC’s, there’s pressure on Microsoft to inject new life with its fall launch of Windows 8. Growth in computer hardware sales has been flat to single-digits over seven consecutive quarters.
Not that consumers aren’t buying anything – sales in tablets and smartphones remain strong. Today’s action is in touchscreens with a simpler, more direct user interface.
Microsoft has been paying attention; the touchscreen look and feel is what Windows 8 is all about. Hot on the heels of Windows Phone, the new operating system will bring a streamlined, visually attractive look to PC computing. Features include:
• “Live tile” Metro multi-touch tablet optimized interface (touchscreen-enabled PC’s will use it directly, while traditional PC’s will rely on mouse and keyboard)
• Integrated app store allowing updates
• New overlay notification system
• Faster response overall
• Lower system requirements and smaller footprint than Windows 7
Sound familiar? Just as Apple tweaked its upcoming Mountain Lion OS to resemble the “insanely” popular IOS designed for iPads and iPhones, Microsoft is also letting tablet technology lead the way. Similarities to Apple continue, by the way: The upgrade will cost an affordable $40.00, and there’ll be no boxed version in retail stores.
Some critics argue that Windows 8 is the most radical change since Windows 95 arrived to the tune of “Start Me Up” by the Rolling Stones. The computing giant actually showed a loss for the first time since 1986. Declining PC sales translate into declining Microsoft business, and the company has scant market share in the products that are replacing traditional business PC’s.
Don’t expect a tag day for Microsoft some time soon, however. They still have a 93% market share. But certainly Microsoft is looking for a winner to take them into a brighter computing future.
They’re not the only ones. HP, Dell, Acer, Lenovo, Toshiba and the others will be banking on Windows 8 to turn things around, too.
The Windows 8 release is scheduled for this October. Stay tuned.
Cam Levak, Raven5 Ltd, Toronto, August 2012