Windows 8 demand: Reading the tea leaves

Windows 8 demand: Reading the tea leaves

Summary: Execs say early response to Windows 8 is positive, but it's unclear whether that reaction turns to demand. The jury is out based on e-commerce site spot checks.


Technology and retail executives say that they are optimistic about the early demand for Windows 8, but checks of e-commerce sites tell a more nuanced story.

Staples CEO Ron Sargent said the early response to Windows 8 has been positive, but didn't comment beyond a few days in the company's third quarter. Sargent said:

Similar to the trends we saw during the second quarter, demand for computers and software remained weak during the third quarter ahead of Windows 8. Throughout Q3, we spent a lot of time preparing for the launch. Since August, we have remodeled about 1500 of our stores to improve our technology presentation and assortment and we now have over 4000 Microsoft-certified advisors. Our associates can assist customers with one-on-one training and equip them with the knowledge necessary to use the great features of this new software platform. And while we only had two days of Windows 8 sales in our third-quarter results, the early response from our customers has been positive and we look forward to continued momentum from Windows 8 throughout the holiday season.

On Dell's third quarter earnings conference call, Steve Felice, chief commercial officer, said:

With the launch of Windows 8 we have new tablets and convertibles including the XPS 10, XPS 12 and latitude 10. In addition we have to touch enabled all-in-one desktops. While it is too early to share specific demand numbers we're encouraged by the initial customer interest in our touch enabled computing.

Bott: What do normal people think of new Windows 8 PCs? | Initial Windows 8 PC sales estimates 'mixed,' say analysts 

However, it's unclear whether interest turns into demand. A questionable survey highlighted by USA Today finds that consumers are wary of Windows 8. And a spot check of e-commerce sites highlights a few oddities. For instance, Amazon's most popular laptops are Google Chromebooks and Apple MacBooks. Windows 8 barely surfaces in the top 10, but and isn't lighting up the charts. Granted, this isn't a scientific survey but you'd expect something stronger out of the gate.




The takeaway from Amazon's listings is this: Retailers are clearing out Windows 7 laptops first. Amazon's most popular laptops include Chromebooks, MacBooks and a handful of Windows 7 devices. Amazon's most popular tablets don't include Windows 8 devices in general.

On NewEgg, the top selling laptop is a Windows 7 Dell. No. 2 is a Sony Vaio with Windows 8.

Best Buy's site features a bevy of Windows 8 laptops and devices, but doesn't sort gear by best sellers. As for the brick and mortar stores, Best Buy's Windows 8 area is relatively sparsely attended relative to its space devoted to Apple.

Bottom line: Windows 8 demand may largely depend on the Black Friday weekend.

Topics: Windows, Enterprise Software, Hardware, Microsoft

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  • Re: Retailers are clearing out Windows 7 laptops first.

    The only reason Windows 7 devices are still able to sell in any quantity must be that users simply don't care about Windows 8.
    • Yeah, that must be it.

      (Rolls eyes)
      Hallowed are the Ori
    • It's a positive, not a negative

      I think it's great because there's choice. I have nothing against Windows 8, but I think it's great that one can choose a computer with Windows version that suits his/her needs.
    • Maybe not...

      something I've given thought too is the $14.99 Windows 8 upgrade for "new purchase"
      computers. People could be looking at the close-out deals on new computers and think
      "Why spend extra when I can get basically the same computer, then spend $14.99 and
      get the new Windows".
    • Windows 8's web usage has blown by Android's usage in 15 days.

      And by the end of the month will exceed Linux's web usage.

      All indications are that it is doing pretty well all things considered.
      • In only 15 days?

        It's been in use for a lot longer than the 15 days since the official release.
    • I think it is customers......

      ......who are clearing out Windows 7 while they can.
  • i just bought a new laptop

    I bought a new Win 7 laptop a couple of weeks ago. Win 7 is a mature product that works well. Win 8 seems like a Beta release that shows some promise but still has a way to go.
    • You made a poor decision...

      But you still have time to fix it. I upgraded all three PCs in my house to Windows 8, and I don't regret it.

      1. Windows 8 is faster than 7, and there's no argument to have there.
      2. Windows 8 includes everything in 7 (minus the start menu), but also includes the Metro UI world. That means as the action picks up on Metro, you have both worlds in one PC.
      3. Not worrying about AV bologna. I don't know about you, but playing around with AV packages that slow down my PC was getting annoying.
      4. One place to setup and your other Windows PCs will follow. You set it up on one PC, sign into another, and minus the apps, it carries forward your settings.
      5. Parental controls - it's pretty amazing in Windows 8.
      • I see my point following was spot on.

        No discussion when presented with the facts. Just 5 flags from fruit loving jockeys and Linux heads. Don't argue it, just bury your head in the sand.

        Have fun in the past boys. I'm going to get some stream-lined work done on my Win 8 PC.
      • How can you claim it was a poor decision when you know nothing about him?

        Just because you like Windows 8 doesn't mean that everyone else is going to want it. You may have very strong opinions on what you like but hate to burst your bubble, they only apply to you and nobody else.
  • yes and no

    The problem with these kind of articles is they don't cover the whole story. I can write an article about why iPhone is so bad, while I can write another one why it's so good. Bot articles can contain correct information, but in the end they are both rubbish. A good article contains the full story.

    First of all, a new version of Windows is never something hundreds of millions of people are dying for. It's "too serious" and they buy that stuff when they need another computer or think it's time to evolve and use the "latest version". That's completely different than "gadget consumer stuff" like an iPhone (although the phone is good IMO). Let's take XP as an example: after 1 year sales were "too low" and didn't get a lot of traction in the Enterprise world. Well, a little bit later XP became the most used and popular OS version ever (recently that title was given to Windows 7).
    Secondly, I don't buy those top 10 lists, at least not blindly. Chromebook? Oh, well, I wish them luck. They could be a success, but till now I've never heard of anyone even considering one. Of course things can change, but don't tell me Chromebook is all OK right now and Windows 8 not. Duh-uh!
    Thirdly, what's the point of this article? There are many good signals and of course also a few bad signals about the Windows 8 sales. What do you want to achieve by writing a small article about the few bad signals you want to focus on? I want a serious article covering the whole thing from A to Z with different sources, analysts, aspects, etc. Not "Hey look, Windows 8 is not in the top 10 of company X, that's not good, oh no, it's not good". That's low journalism. Look, in Belgium there is a popular online smartphone webshop and most of the time iPhone is not in its top 10. If I write an article about that and nothing else, that would be rubbish, as everyone KNOWS iPhone is popular.

    To end with: it's good to have some operating systems around and that things are evolving. But at the same time I'm very disappointed in the way this happens. Many "new" OS's are based on simple stuff and are unflexible in its use ("there is 1 way to do your work!"). It's for people who want their computer to be as simple as their TV. Great for them, bad for the "real" computing world. I agree "normal" end users should be able to easily work with computers too, but I see things not evolving in the right way. I've even heard someone telling you can do everyting, even serious stuff, with a smartphone only and you don't need more; but you do need an iPhone, otherwise you can't. Great evolution... It's a pity to see how dumb some people are...
    Alos bad is the fact that everyone now seems to be a professional IT person. Some dumbasses even laugh at professional IT people when they don't share the same ideas. Also, you need to be a fanboy of a system nowadays. Google, Apple or MS. "Oh, you use Windows 8? You are a blind MS fanboy!". Sight... This evolution is definitely no fun anymore....
    Padre Pedro
    • A PC needs to accommodate all.

      And I think that's what Windows 8 is about. You speak as though you have no choice with Windows 8, and I strongly disagree. The desktop on Windows 8 is the same one we've been using for years as developers and/or "power users." Yes, the start menu is gone, but I have pinned a dozen of my apps to my bar, and when I need something else, I have to fall back to the metro search (but how often does that really happen?).

      Here's the thing: An operating system is a utility. It should operate on all fronts and attempt to attack them all.

      I have a PC that can do development, high end gaming, virtual machines, metro applications, and anything else I task it with (it even has a command prompt if I so choose).

      Why do we need a green screen PC taking up room in our houses, when one PC can appease every need we have?

      I don't get it. The geeks are going nuts because Microsoft doesn't create a monochromatic nightmare with esoteric commands to accomplish simple tasks, yet if you're the type that enjoys that sort of thing, you could easily shell script out a command prompt as your entire screen and color it green. You could load the entire Linux command line tool (cgiwyn?) if you are desperately looking to type 1000 commands in a single line. They even offer you many choices in ways to run virtual machines if you have a stiffy for memorizing the 1000+ non-intuitive keyboard shortcuts in VI.

      Seriously. If it were a command prompt, you'd be complaining that it wasn't versatile enough to do graphics intensive applications. If it were graphics intensive, you'd be complaining it wasn't command line enough. If it were for simple users, you'd be complaining it wasn't advanced enough. If it were advanced UIs, you'd be complaining it wasn't simple enough.

      So Microsoft develops an operating system that appeases all of the above, and what do we get?

      More complaining.

      The truth is that the advances being made mean nothing in customer satisfaction. This is where "fanboys" step in. Microsoft will never make an operating system Apple fans or Linux fans like (even if it mimicked them). Apple will never make an operating system Linux fans or Microsoft will ever like. And Linux will never make an operating system Microsoft fans or Apple fans will ever like.

      So everyone comes to the board to spit in the wind on everything and anything that doesn't appeal to their fanboydom.

      It has nothing to do with the facts. I just posted the facts, and everyone will flag me for it. It has to do with brand loyalty. Fruit loving boys will scream, Flag waving Microsoft fans will scream, and Linux terminal boys will scream.

      These discussions and the articles that spark them are COMPLETELY pointless.
      • Windows 8 is a good desktop OS but Micrisoft should worry

        This said, an operating system is not an utility software as you said. Anti virus, data compression, backup, disk defragmentation, disk partition, system configuration, etc, are utilites. An OS is a collection of software that manage computer hardware resources and provide services to applications ( utilities inclusive). Without applications, an OS is useless. Linux is a very good OS but lacks business desktop applications. This said, apart desktop computing, Linux dominates everywhere, from embedded system , trough servers and supercomputers. You may have been using devices powered by Linux but you don't know. Linux dominates supercomputers and servers maket shares, Linux OS simply scales better than any Windows. The November 2012 Top 500 Supercomputer list, 469 out of 500 machines on the list are currently powered by Linux. The remaining are not Windows but other Unix flavors. The list of what you can do with your Window 8 is not impressive at all, and there is nothing to be proud and snooty. What a supercomputer can do is far more impressive and thanks to Linux, scientifics around the world have great tool to do their job. No to mention the unprecedented level of impact Linux has had on almost all parts of the modern technology landscape: cloud computing, mobile computing, etc. The development of Linux is so fast, and Microsoft can't compete. Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, Google, Skype (owned by Microsoft) are all powered by Linux Operating system. This said, high end games are coming to Linux thank to Valve, this could eventually bolster the adoption rate of Linux and put the hurt on Windows 8 sales. The future will tell, and if it happen, winner are consumers. Windows lovers will get their favourite OS for less money. Every body will be happy except fans but no one can't help them to become clever.
  • re: staples readiness for Windows 8

    Re: Staples CEO Ron Sargent
    "we spent a lot of time preparing for the launch."

    I have to commend Staples for their in-store W8 displays with all-in-one touch pc's and product demonstrations. On launch day they were the only retailer in my city with ANY w8 products ready for testing, while conversely BestBuy was a complete and utter mess.
    • Staples readiness...

      Actually bought a Toshiba laptop with Windows 8 on it shortly after launch at Staples. I went hoping to find a Windows 7 laptop, but my local Staples ONLY had Windows 8 on display for purchase. Being bummed, I bought one anyway, because my old laptop was about to go belly-up. I've been pleasantly surprised with Windows 8 - they intelligently provided an easy way to get to the standard laptop display. It works fast and well - I have no complaints so far. I'm even thinking about purchasing a full install version of Windows 8 and upgrading my laptop with a new hard drive and additional memory. When I do that, I'll let you know how that process goes...
      • Correction on myself...

        I actually have an older desktop that I'll be upgrading to Windows 8, with the new harddrive & memory... Sorry for the typo!
  • Why the hardware?

    I don't mind Win 8 but I'm not going to go out and buy new hardware just for a new OS.
  • W8 is caught between two stools

    It's absolutely lousy for traditional desktop, better for touch. Nobody in their right mind should buy a W8 device without a touch-screen. Worst mistake MS ever made was making the artist formerly known as prince compulsory for DT users.
    Alan Smithie
    • Totally agree

      W8 is stool.