Microsoft admits PC shipments down ahead of next week's earnings report

Microsoft admits PC shipments down ahead of next week's earnings report

Summary: Microsoft execs are noting a week before reporting Q2 fiscal 2012 earnings that flooding in Thailand last year is affecting PC shipments.


Microsoft officials are continuing to decline to answer Wall Street's questions about the timing and rollout plans for Windows 8. But they did acknowledge this week that PC market growth will likely fall short of expectations -- something that may impact Microsoft's Windows client revenues for the latest quarter and beyond.

(Microsoft is scheduled to report its fiscal 2012 second quarter earnings next week on January 19. Back in October, when it reported FY2012 Q'1 earnings, Windows/Windows Live Division revenue was $4.87 billion, up two percent over the prior period, which Microsoft officials said was “in line with the PC market.”)

PC market growth expectations back in October were in the mid-single digits, but IDC and Gartner lowered those back in December to "minus-one," following massive floods in Thailand that affected disk-drive suppliers. That is according to Bill Koefoed, Microsoft's General Manager of Invetstor Relations, who spoke to financial analysts at the JP Morgan Tech Forum on January 10.

"We will see that number decline further as the impact (of floods in Thailand) is felt faster than people anticipated," Koefoed said. "The supply chain is recovering faster than expected, but it has had an impact on the PC market."

Microsoft officials reiterated at the Consumer Electronics Show this week in Las Vegas that Microsoft has sold 500 million copies of Windows 7 to date.

Tami Reller -- the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Marketing Officer of Windows/Windows Live -- told Nomura Securities' Director of Research Rick Sherlund that businesses are about a third of the way through their desktop migrations from Windows XP to Windows 7, with 90 percent of large businesses ultimately committed to deploy Windows 7. She also noted that Microsoft has designed Windows 8 with the understanding that businesses will be running mixed Windows 7/Windows 8 environments for some time to come.

Neither Koefoed nor Reller would answer analysts questions this week about Windows 8 timing (beyond the fact that the one and only Windows 8 beta is still on track for delivery in late February). Koefoed wouldn't comment on a question about whether Microsoft will roll out Windows 8 for tablets and PCs at the same time or on a staggered basis. He did say that developers should be able to write their Metro-style applications once and "compile for different processors" across Intel/ARM PCs and tablets.

Microsoft execs and the company's OEM partners still aren't showing or saying much about the coming generation of ARM-based Windows 8 PCs and tablets. At CES this week, a number of Microsoft OEMs and system builders showed off new ultrabooks that will be capable of running Windows 7 and WIndows 8 both. Dell showed off its first ultrabook, the XPS 13, coming in "early 2012." Lenovo showed off a new kind of convertible ultrabook, the IdeaPad Yoga, that is due in the second half of this year.

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


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).

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • keeping quite helps Apple

    so why shouldn't other companies do the same?
    William Farrel
  • RE: Microsoft admits PC shipments down ahead of next week's earnings report

    These are forward looking statements, so I presume the lawyers were involved as to what is to be said.<br><br>I did note two things. "...should be able to compile..." with my emphasis on should. May mean nothing of significance, but the store is opening in seven weeks, shouldn't there be certainty by now?<br><br>The second thing is that the floods were an interruption to the supply chain. Any reduction in sales would be because supply fell below what the market wanted and an actual decline in units sold would have been preceded by a significant price jump and possible premium expenditures in order to expedite and prioritize shipments.<br><br>Did that happen and I missed the reporting on that?<br><br>If there was no price response, than demand is soft, either adjusting down with disaster related production delays, or manufacturers had overestimated and were in one sense relieved that they could cut back without signaling market problems.<br><br>I'll be curious if the Thai floods appear as Apple discusses its financials, and I'm no investment analyst, but I think there's some troubles a-brewing and the spin is starting.
  • Nothing to do with tablets and phones

    That money for 60 million tablets sold in the year, the hundreds of millions of phones - that was delivered by the tablet fairy and the phone unicorn. That didn't impact PC sales at ALL.