How Microsoft plans to sell a 'couple hundred million' more Windows 7 PCs before Windows 8

How Microsoft plans to sell a 'couple hundred million' more Windows 7 PCs before Windows 8

Summary: Given there's still a year (give or take) until Windows 8 launches, what is Microsoft's game plan to keep the bottom from dropping out of the Windows PC market?

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As Microsoft's fourth-quarter fiscal 2011 earnings made clear, Windows 7 sales -- with the glaring exception of netbooks -- are good, but not as good as they used to be. Given there's still a year (give or take) s until Windows 8 launches, what is Microsoft's game plan to keep the bottom from dropping out of the Windows PC market?

The enterprise market will likely keep Windows 7 sales chugging, as many larger businesses are only now finally deploying Windows 7, after months of planning and testing. And, as Microsoft execs said during yesterday's earnings call, the emerging market countries are snapping up a lot of Windows 7, though at lower prices -- and with substantially higher piracy rates -- than the "developed" nations.

It's probably safe to assume Microsoft will launch another upgrade-guarantee program, as it traditionally does a few months before a new operating system launch, allowing those purchasing current Windows-model PCs to get a free upgrade to the next Windows release once it's out.

But Microsoft needs to keep consumer demand coming in for Windows 7 if the company plans to sell "those couple of hundred million PCs between now and 'Windows 8'" that Microsoft expects to move, according to OEM Chief Steve Guggenheimer, who spoke at Microsoft's recent Worldwide Partner Conference. (Note: Microsoft officials said that the company has sold 400 million Windows 7 licenses since the product was introduced in 2009.)

Even though Microsoft doesn't make Microsoft-branded PCs, increasingly it is positioning itself as selling Windows PCs (no doubt thanks to a little lot of pressure from archrival Apple). This is one of the slides Microsoft General Manager of Worldwide OEM Distribution, Terry Hagerty, showed during her session on "OEM Through Distribution" (slide deck available to registered partner show attendees only) at the Worldwide Partner conference in Los Angeles on July 11.

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Microsoft has begun making available a "Windows 7 Featured PCs" list to distributors to try to get more information out about the breadth and depth of Windows 7 PCs available to consumers and businesses, Hagerty told her Partner Conference audience. This is a "best in class" list for sales, marketing and technical teams that Microsoft is hoping they use to "create excitement and demand for Windows 7 PCs."

There are a number of Windows PC form factors and models that many current and potential users -- who don't go to trade shows where they can see lots of different Windows PC models from different vendors side-by-side -- have no idea even exist. Retail chains usually only stock a few Windows PCs, and Microsoft brick-and-mortar stores, for now, are very few and far between. (Microsoft officials have said they plan to open 75 more MIcrosoft retail stores in the next two to three years, and will expand the stores internationally.)

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Here's a sample of the July Windows 7 Featured PC list for consumers from Hagery's slide deck:

(click on the image to enlarge)

Here's a sample of the Windows 7 Featured PC list for businesses:

(click on the image to enlarge)

One observation: Microsoft isn't touting any of the available Windows 7 PCs as "tablets" in these materials. It uses the word "companion" to describe slates/tablets in its two Featured PC sample pages. And the PC matrix slide above doesn't use the "tablet" designation at all, either. Instead, it describes Windows "slates" as "PCs with no built-in keyboard or mouse and which use touch and/or pen for input." Maybe Microsoft is trying to distance itself from its less-than-successful tablet past (and not-so-plucky tablet present)?

In any case, it will be interesting to see what happens with Windows and Windows 7 PC demand in the coming few months, as Microsoft finally begins sharing more specifics about Windows 8....

Topics: Software, Hardware, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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36 comments
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  • RE: How Microsoft plans to sell a 'couple hundred million' more Windows 7 PCs before Windows 8

    Microsoft Windows 7 practically sells itself on how versatile it is. Security, compatibility, familiarity are just some of the pluses of working with Windows 7.
    LoverockDavidson
    • hot air and wet dreams!

      @LoverockDavidson
      will not happen folks! Peoples are adopting Android in droves and are shunning M$ and its 'partners':
      http://techrights.org/company-blacklist/
      Linux Geek
      • Remember

        FOSS is about choice... as long as the choice is FOSS.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: How Microsoft plans to sell a 'couple hundred million' more Windows 7 PCs before Windows 8

        @Linux Geek
        I don't know, I like wet dreams. And I know a lot of people who do too.
        Darkninja962
      • RE: How Microsoft plans to sell a 'couple hundred million' more Windows 7 PCs before Windows 8

        @Linux Geek I don't understand this. It's like saying I don't need to think about getting a dish washer because I have a washing machine. Windows has nothing to do with Android. Windows Phone 7, yes, but this article has nothing to do with WP7.
        Aerowind
      • RE: How Microsoft plans to sell a 'couple hundred million' more Windows 7 PCs before Windows 8

        @Linux Geek
        Bang your head on the nearest piller and you may gain common sense. There were over 200 OEMs building android tablets at begining of the year and where are they now???. 2012 will be year androdid died, possibly due to disease(malware), code theft, IP theft, stealing others ideas and useless in a business environment.
        owlnet
      • RE: How Microsoft plans to sell a 'couple hundred million' more Windows 7 PCs before Windows 8

        @Linux Geek
        what has android got to do with windows 7?
        taabello@...
      • I know you were one of roy schezowitz

        @Linux Geek ...puppets. Embarrassing you would link to a guy with no credibility even in the OpenSource community. Even Linus Torvald hates him.
        Mr. Dee
      • RE: How Microsoft plans to sell a 'couple hundred million' more Windows 7 PCs before Windows 8

        [i]Microsoft Windows 7 practically sells itself on how versatile it is. Security, compatibility, familiarity are just some of the pluses of working with Windows 7.[/i]

        Crap. It's sells because it's conveniently pre-installed on 90% of the PCs out there. No alternatives are offered.
        ScorpioBlue
      • RE: How Microsoft plans to sell a 'couple hundred million' more Windows 7 PCs before Windows 8

        @owlnet
        you have some mistakes in your message.
        during 2012 it's windoze who dies not android.
        please fix your post!
        Linux Geek
      • RE: How Microsoft plans to sell a 'couple hundred million' more Windows 7 PCs before Windows 8

        @Linux Geek,

        You keep giving us the same url. Are you Dr. Roy Schestowitz?
        bmonsterman
      • RE: How Microsoft plans to sell a 'couple hundred million' more Windows 7 PCs before Windows 8

        @Linux Geek
        Nope, Dr. Roy is an award winning scholar.
        Linux Geek
      • RE: How Microsoft plans to sell a 'couple hundred million' more Windows 7 PCs before Windows 8

        @Linux Geek,

        Really...what awards has he won?
        bmonsterman
      • RE: How Microsoft plans to sell a 'couple hundred million' more Windows 7 PCs before Windows 8

        @owlnet<br>

        >>There were over 200 OEMs building android tablets at begining of the year and where are they now???. 2012 will be year androdid died, possibly due to disease(malware), code theft, IP theft, stealing others ideas and useless in a business environment.

        +1. <img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/grin.gif" alt="grin">
        Ram U
      • ScorpioBlue, the excuse master

        @Linux Geek
        here's a question for you Scorpy - why do all those computers sell with Windows 7?

        How come they don't preload 90% of PC's with Linux, since people only use Windows because it's preloaded on the PC?

        The OEM's would be saving millions, and 90% of the world would be using Linux.

        So lets hear a logical explanation for this, if you can come up with BS that doesn't sound like BS?
        William Pharaoh
      • RE: How Microsoft plans to sell a 'couple hundred million' more Windows 7 PCs before Windows 8

        @bmonsterman

        He's got some awards from FSF and other FOSS communities but he's too modest to brag about them.
        Here is his public profile:
        Roy is a Software Engineer, interdisciplinary researcher, and an advocate of fair competition. He holds a doctoral degree in Medical Biophysics.
        Linux Geek
      • RE: How Microsoft plans to sell a 'couple hundred million' more Windows 7 PCs before Windows 8

        [i]here's a question for you Scorpy - why do all those computers sell with Windows 7?[/i]

        The same old collusion with the OEMs. You know that, Ferret.

        Here's a whole litany. Take your pick.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_litigation

        Old article but still valid.

        http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2001/10/23/13219/110

        [i]How come they don't preload 90% of PC's with Linux, since people only use Windows because it's preloaded on the PC?[/i]

        How come they don't preload 90% of PC's with nothing but blank HDs? Why do you arrogantly assume [b]everybody[/b] wants Windows preloaded on to their new computer?

        [i]The OEM's would be saving millions, and 90% of the world would be using Linux.[/i]

        Build up the "network effect" with vendor lock-in and you create a captive audience. If they could throw off the restrictive licensing agreements they have with them, they could. But they're afraid of retaliation against their volume licensing costs.

        [i]So lets hear a logical explanation for this, if you can come up with BS that doesn't sound like BS?[/i]

        Did you know that will_ferrets are obedient animals? Even more so than dogs? Always willing to do their master's bidding? Unquestioning everytime their master snaps their fingers?
        ScorpioBlue
      • RE: How Microsoft plans to sell a 'couple hundred million' more Windows 7 PCs before Windows 8

        @ScorpioBlue

        Please this argument has been done to death. Desktop Linux is DOA.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • RE: How Microsoft plans to sell a 'couple hundred million' more Windows 7 PCs before Windows 8

    I just started my Win 7 deployment to nearly 7000 computers. I have a three year refresh plan for each computer so I will be buying Win 7 licenses with new computers for the next couple of years.
    frankwick
  • Tablets

    Tablets are in both the companion and the mobile productivity row (e.g., Dell Latitude XT3). Therefore, it would have been confusing to label a single category as "tablet." Mary, you could really get off your anti-tablet soap box. It's getting mighty old.
    WebSiteManager