Initial Windows 8 PC sales estimates 'mixed,' say analysts

Initial Windows 8 PC sales estimates 'mixed,' say analysts

Summary: Analysts are mixed, while some are skeptical on Windows 8 sales and Surface tablets in the first fortnight of sales. Is this what Ballmer meant by "modest" sales?

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Windows 8 and Surface sales are "modest," according to Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer. Of course, only he truly knows what the figures are currently looking like, but some analysts are skeptical that even "modest" might be an overstatement.

On the whole, however, it appears that most analysts remain optimistic knowing full well that it's still early days.

Pacific Crest analyst Brendan Barnicle said he checked in with 16 North America and German PC retailers to find that 75 percent had met or reached beyond expectation in terms of sales, up from 59 percent during the same period after Windows 7 was first released.

Surface sales, however, were nothing to shout home about. In discussing with Microsoft retail store representatives, Surface sales were "in line with expectations," but that all of the stores had to "[restock] Surface inventory more than once." That said, there was a "downtick in demand for Surface." 

He believes in spite of Microsoft's move to build 3-5 million Surface tablets for this quarter, Microsoft may sell only 1.5 million Surface units for the December quarter.

Barclays hardware analyst Ben Reitzes is cutting his market estimates from this year through 2016, giving a stark warning that the PC market "could decline for many years to come." The PC market at the moment is "blind" to the post-PC revolution, particularly those without a smartphone or tablet on the market.

Regarding HP, he sais: "We are cautious on HP's PC segment given secular pressures, share losses, market confusion over ultrabooks and Windows 8, and a slowdown in markets like China." While the global economy is the main reason, "market confusion" over Windows 8 must hurt Microsoft to the very core.

And then when he does note Dell, Windows 8 will not save the company's ailing business -- which according to IDC figures, the firm lost 14 percent in market share quarter-on-quarter between Q2 and Q3 2012. He says while federal government spending on PCs is up, it's not enough to counter-balance the loss in revenue from the post-PC market.

We see tablets encroaching on PC sales in education and financial services verticals in particular of late [...] With respect to Win 8 tablets, we do not believe that Dell will see meaningful traction.

Cowen analysts Gregg Moskowitz surveyed more than 1,200 consumers between pre-order and Surface delivery times, and found that 64 percent of existing PC owners had not heard about Windows 8 by the time it was launching. Out of that, 32 percent saw Windows 8 favorably, while 18 percent less so. 

Roughly two-thirds of the respondents do not plan on buying a PC over the next 18 months. Also, our study indicates Apple [Mac] and MacBook computers could take as much as 42 percent of the combined consumer PC/Mac market. This is concerning for [Microsoft], as Windows 8 likely won’t be enough to slow Apple's PC momentum.

He also noted that Ultrabooks "[do not] appear likely to have a material market impact" at the moment, with less than 20 percent of consumers willing to spend more than $600 in the next year-and-a-half on a new PC with an Ultrabook.

(via Barrons: 1, 2)

Topics: Microsoft, Laptops, Tablets, Windows

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20 comments
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  • Stating the obvious

    The adoption curve for new versions of Windows always starts steadily and ramps up later, because the old OS and older PCs still work the same as they did the day before launch:
    http://www.zdnet.com/windows-8-is-the-new-xp-7000006095/

    And Windows 8 is no big deal, Windows 9 will soon be in the product development pipeline, armed with extensive user feedback from Windows 8:
    http://www.geekwire.com/2012/windows-8-launch-big-youve-told/
    Tim Acheson
    • Whoa!...

      Über Microsoftie apologist Cowboy Tim '...Windows 8 is no big deal...' cos there's always something better coming over the horizon. As someone who boorishly decries Apple and Google for 'spin', that's a whopper of fail.
      frogspaw
    • Playing the MS "next version is really good" card early

      Problem for MS we've heard it too many times before to be effective.

      Like with Vista, then Win7 PC manufacturers were counting in the release for an uptick in sales in a depressing market. Win8 appears to ne heading the Vista route; some of the hardware manufacturers will struggle to survive.

      If the figures of 42% of potential buyers are looking a Macs I'd say game over; most marginally if at all profitable currently.
      Richard Flude
  • Windows 8

    I upgraded two of my laptops to Windows 8 and I find it's a bit faster loading from start. The interface is something to get used to but it's not hard to learn. I will keep my other laptops with Windows 7 because HP hasn't released drivers for it's fingerprint readers. The upgrade price for the Pro version was $40 for the download version which is a reasonable price. The only negative was I had to do a clean install instead because Windows 8 kept having conflict with some programs from Win7.
    kanehi
  • Retailers?

    I bought 2 Surfaces and two Windows 8 upgrades for existing PCs online, as I imagine most Windows 8 purchasers did. I think I'll wait until MS releases their figures ;-)

    Retail shopping, it's just like the Internet but with none of the convenience...
    Tony_McS
  • Windows 8

    I had one touchscreen computer. I bought Windows 8 for it and it is very good. I have not put it on my machines without a touchscreen because it simply does not provide any advantage for my usages other than a quicker boot.
    hayneiii
  • Why was the head of the Windows

    program summarily fired and replaced today?
    Tony Burzio
    • Rumour had it

      ...that he wasn't a team-player, stepped on too many toes over the past few years and other MS execs wanted him out. That's the rumour though.
      saqrkh
  • Initial Windows 8 PC sales estimates 'mixed,' say analysts

    You quote 3 nobodies and expect us to believe what they say. This is just bad reporting. 4 million copies of Microsoft Windows 8 sold the first weekend. Surface sold out then had to be restocked. Based on that I'd say sales were pretty darn good. Microsoft can keep doing what its doing and be fine.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • "nobodys"?

      Posted by the ultimate nobody. It is a strange world we live in.
      D.T.Long
      • is Like Willy Farrell talking honesty

        or Adornoe & his crystall ball talking credibility
        theo_durcan
        • theo_durcan ...Loverock Davidson is correct about Surface

          They did all sell out and all were all returned in a week because of cracks developing on the key boards and for POOR font rendering in the display.

          I enjoy using W-8 on my twin 25 inch monitors, I like Metro with its tiles, it fun to use ....... but If I'm doing anything important I still prefer any one of my Linux versions over it.........
          Over and Out
    • This is bad reporting

      First of all, Microsoft doesn't have to tell anyone sales figures. But what really chaps my hide and Loverock Davidson's hide is when so-called "journalists" make some sort of so-called "effort" to fill the void left by Microsoft Trademark's silence with so-called "facts." Conducting interviews is so 2010. Surface Is A Hit! Deal with it.
      gregv2k
  • No CIO is going to understate sales - "modest" is a MAX ceiling

    Get real, MS fanbois ... no way is Ballmer going to understate sales. If he says "modest", at most the sales are modest, i.e., below projections. If they were hitting projections, he would SAY that. At worst, sales are dismal, and he's not foolish enough to admit it (hints of the Elop effect).

    Likely they're somewhere in between - well below projections, but not so bad that the word "Kin" is on everyone's lips.
    daboochmeister
  • Good grief

    Why can't people be civil on this board? I've been around here since it was Ziff Davis and all it's done is degenerate into a bunch of high-school name calling. Ridiculous!

    -Max
    Max Peck
    • Because a lot of these posters are...

      .... losers, and probably have low selfesteem, or a valgur mind (as needing to always be right).

      They read information on stuff they have no interest in, to bad mouth it (a company, a product) when something is negative, and to downplay it when something is positive. What is the point? Your product or company doesn't get any better or worse based on what you say.

      Take me for instance, I rarely read Apple news, as Apple products don't fit my lifestyle. If I do read something, I never leave a comment. Why would I, it would probably be negative, so there is no need to rain on some one else's parade. I'm secure enough about myself and my likes and dislikes not to have to get them confirmed by some internet reader.

      Give it a rest people, enjoy what you like, and let other people enjoy what they like.
      Fuhrer D
  • windows 8

    do not buy it or use it you give all of your rights to microsoft and you can not sue them at all and they can log in to your computer at well and they will own your pc if you install windows 8
    ttx19
  • Can't buy when you can't find answers

    Bet you money that my situation is typical of what a would-be PC buyer, faces, and THAT is more the reason for slower sales, than is touted. When my Main machine died in May, while it was in the shop I learned to my surprise, that my little Acer netbook could do all my desktop could do, whicn connected to monitor and peripherals. So I wanted another one. Why? IT WAS SIMPLER, lighter, easier to carry.

    My desktop had died, owing to a Windows REGISTRY crash. My computer guys couldn't restore it, despite my backups. So they did a clean install, and began a nightmare for me which lasted through July. During May-July, 800,00 files of god-knows-what software, I had to reinstall; and of course couldn't even know what to reinstall, since the programs were all arcane. Finally, after registry searches and all kinds of nonsense, I was able to get 90% of what I had, back on the machine. Vowing never to go through this again, I went on another nightmare trip trying to find the right BACKUP software, going through all the major players, which turned out to be incompetent, settling finally on Macrium. It worked.

    So now, I realized the central flaw of Windows, and wanted to get off it, which meant learning Linux. But of course, I'd still have to use dual-boot. So went hunting for computers to BUY, at the major players like Asus, Dell, Acer, even Walmart. Because I'd not want to make a dual-boot machine, on my existing machines. I needed their stability, and they were mostly older, pre-XP.

    So you'd think that a PC manufacturer would make it easy on their website, to compare and buy a machine.. and you'd be WRONG. Acer's website had NO mechanism for comparing their bizillion modles in a table so I could see the different specs, side by side. How am I to know the difference between Aspire and Timeline? Those names don't tell me anything. So after four times TRYING to buy, I quit. One of those times, I even chatted with the rep online, only to find out that I can't get the max RAM a machiine can hold, at the point of sale. The configurations offered were woefully inadequate for purchase, and you might know it's really hard to open up a small netbook or laptop yourself, and add RAMM. So no sale with Acer.

    Walmart's configurations of Acer were even worse. Getting answers from them was difficult. So no sale at Walmart, either. By this time I knew what I wanted to buy, an Acer 8573-9627. No sooner did I fainally (after DAYS searching) figure out what I could do tiwh it, than Acer removed that model from all its webpages. Bad sign.

    So, the meanwhile I also went to Dell, trying several times to buy a 6530 laptop. Then, suddenly on returning after finding ELSEWHERE what the machine even looked like (Dell's pictures show the machine BACKWARDS, so I couldn't even see the keyboard), -- suddenly, I can't find THAT model, either. So I guessed at what was the nearest one -- bizillion models again, no good way to get a tabular comparison of specs -- I finally guessed at one style of laptop, and during checkout configuration of the options, guess what? The automated website wouldn't ALLOW me to buy 8 GB of RAM on a 32-bit OS. As if the machine couldn't be configured for dual-boot (32-bit and another OS aat 64-bit), which I knew it could. So again, a cat with a rep, me compalaining about this, and the rep said no can sell.

    Okay, so Dell lost a new PC sale, Walmart lost a new PC sale, and Acer lost a new PC sale. But I still needed new PCs, now that I had Macrium to handle the INSANE WINDOWS REGISTRY VULNERABILITY. What to do?

    So, I just bought 2 desktops at Dell Auction, and one Acer Aspire netbook, all used. Why? BECAUSE IT WAS SIMPLER to buy them, and I could get what I wanted. Sure, I need to do some tweaking, but given the extreme cost savings, that tweaking money will go to my computer guys. Instead of, to the manufacturers of the machines.

    Bet you money a number of people like me are doing that; buying again, systems we know, so to avoid the hassle of a bizillion 'new' models which are poorly defined and impossible to compare.

    Second bet: the tablet craze represents a REBELLION against the insanity of Windows architecture, and against the complexity of buying a PC. SIMPLER to buy a tablet and do less with it, than learn a convoluted OS with an ever-changing interface which makes you relearn even basic tasks de novo, a system which will crash without telling you why, and which you can't thus understand and depend on.

    People underutilize computers, because the dang things are not simple to buy, not simple to maintain, not simple to use. They COULD be simpler, but the software makers just don't care about KEEPING THE INTERFACE THE SAME. And when something comes along which gets rid of the hassle of dealing with the jargony, arcane and ever-changing 'features', they go to what's basic.

    So now, surfing, videos, music, email are basically all anyone wants from a PC. Anything more, requires actually learning the OS, mastering compatibility issues. WE ARE TIRED OF THE GLITCHES. So we won't buy.

    That leaves the business sector. And it doesn't buy what radically changes in-house vertical applications, procedures; for the training cost alone is too time-consuming. So unless and until hardware and software companies realize that CHANGING THE INTERFACE and MAKING SALES DIFFICULT is slowing PC sales, sales willl keep on sliding.

    HINT: make it easier to get new parts for older computers. You can make good margin on that. Modularity is key. HINT: when you want to sell newer versions of your software, KEEP THE INTERFACE THE SAME, and craft new your features as an add-on-module, so the existing structure is ADDED TO, rathr than redesigned. (That's what made MS Word popular.) HINT: FIX THE BUGS and charge for those fixes, again without changing the interface, except to ADD to it.

    Then and only then, will you make it easier for busineses and finally consumers, to buy what you sell.
    brainout
    • frustrating life

      Wow. I take it you don't have a professional job since simply buying a ubiquitous windows O/S based machine was to challenging for you. God help us if you were put in charge of something really important.
      rmillersbs
  • Waiting

    With Microsoft, I'll stick to tradition and wait for the Zune 3.0 and Surface 3.0.
    SanPasqual