It's funny how many analysts have come out making outrageous assertions that "Windows is dead", "Windows 8 is dead", or better still, something to the tune of "Microsoft is lost in the post-PC era". Well I hope those kinds of headlines garner you some pageviews, and I'm sure they do, but do they have anything to do with reality? The simple answer to that question is "no".
Microsoft isn't "bovvered"* by cheap shots or by hip-fired analyses that paint it as ill-prepared for the coming post-PC era. Nor is it upset by its meager** 60 million Windows 8 license sales as of January 2013. I'm sure the number is close to 100 million or so by now. But it doesn't really matter if it is or not.
Here's what I think that people, especially analysts, fail to realize. Microsoft will cease to support Windows XP as of April 8, 2014. That means that there are millions of people who still run XP, or possibly Vista, on their desktops. PC sales are sluggish because people haven't needed to upgrade.
But the onslaught is coming because people will need to upgrade to move to Windows 7. Yes, I wrote "7" because there's been so much bad press about Windows 8 that a lot of folks will decide to run with an "N-1" approach to the desktop operating system choice.
Microsoft will be happy to sell you Windows 7 with or without a new computer. "Thanks, and have a nice day; we're not bovvered." And why isn't Microsoft "bovvered" by selling you Windows 7? I hope I don't really have to answer that.
I feel like most companies will move to Windows 7 for their desktop operating systems. Windows 8 will take over the phone, personal PC, and tablet market for Windows devices, but the corporate market is slower to change. But 500 million copies of Windows 8 worldwide isn't a failure, for sure. That number is what Microsoft expects to sell of Windows 8 by the end of 2013.
I'm not sure that it will be all Windows 8 in that 500 million. I think it will be more like 300 million, and then another 200 to 300 million of Windows 7 as people transition away from XP and Vista.
Windows 8 is really oriented toward tablets, mobile devices, and portable computers (laptops, netbooks, ultrabooks) equipped with touchscreens, but you'd think that Windows 8 is a total flop by how horrible PC sales are and how rotten Windows 8 sales are.
We're at sort of an interesting crossroads in computing with phones, tablets, mini tablets, ultrabooks, netbooks, laptops, and desktop computers all colliding in our heads. A lot of companies and individuals find it a bit overwhelming to be at this place.
On the one hand, if you buy new, you'll have Windows 8, and maybe you can downgrade to Windows 7 as others did with Vista/XP and 7/XP. On the other, you can choose to stick with the hardware you have and upgrade its memory, its disk, and possibly its CPU, and move to Windows 7 where you'll be safe.
Let me try to put this in plain English for you from Microsoft's perspective. Microsoft isn't bovvered because you need Windows for whatever computer you're going to use. Use Windows 7. Use Windows 8. Heck, you can even use Vista if you want. I'll laugh, but you can do it if you want to. You're going to pay Microsoft for Windows Vista, 7, or 8 on your devices, regardless of which you choose.
And when Windows 9 comes out, we'll have this discussion all over again, when the analysts decide that Windows 9 is the "bringer of hate to the world", or some other such nonsense. But the best part of Windows 9 is that you'll think that Windows 8 is the greatest thing since, well, Windows XP maybe.
In fact, I think I'll draft up a whole series of articles telling everyone how Windows 9 sucks, that it's the end of Microsoft, that it's the end of personal computing as we know it, how Linux or Mac are perfectly acceptable replacements, and how Microsoft is solely responsible for the Zombie Apocalypse. I'll bet all of the zombies will wear T-shirts with the number 9 on them.
I've seen it all before. Windows 95 was the first Zombie Apocalypse harbinger, and Microsoft and Windows are still here. Look at my face. I'm not bovvered. And neither is Microsoft.
*A British term meaning "bothered" from one of my favorite (favourite) comedians, Catherine Tate, whose chavette character, Lauren Cooper, barrages some poor teacher with her rapid fire "I'm not bovvered" retorts. Watch a few episodes and if you don't spew your drink, the next round is on me.
**Sixty million sounds very respectable to me.