updated 08:54 pm EST, Thu November 29, 2012
PC sales don't see usual boost following Windows 8 launch
The launch of Windows 8 was expected by some analysts to revivify a stagnating PC market, but new figures say the traditional computing sector continues to languish. According to NPD Group's latest report on computer sales, Windows-powered personal computer sales fell 21 percent overall last month, even with Microsoft's new touch-enabled operating system debuting. The report doesn't take Microsoft's Surface RT tablet into account, and it doesn't look at PC makers' sales to businesses, so it may not fully reflect the reality of the PC market. Still, the figures are not encouraging for a segment that has largely been holding its breath and hoping for a reversal of fortune.
With the exception of Lenovo, Asus, and Apple, much of the PC sector is struggling. A report last month saw the US market shrinking 12.4 percent over the third quarter. Some had attributed the poor overall sales to pent up demand for machines running Windows 8.
In the month since Windows 8's launch, though, Windows laptop sales are down 24 percent according to NPD, while desktop sales are down nine percent, for an overall drop of 21 percent.
Apparently, touchscreen laptops running Windows 8 have sold well. Those devices, which take fuller advantage of the interface potential of the new operating system, accounted for six percent of Windows laptop sales. Since Windows 8's launch, Microsoft is said to have sold 40 million licenses for the OS, though it is unclear how many of those were sales through to customers.
Windows 8's possible difficulties in the market reflect a larger ongoing shift in the consumer technology sector. As smartphones and tablets become more and more powerful and capable, many consumers are opting for those as their preferred means of computing. Even as the traditional computing sector slumps, devices running mobile operating systems are surging. Companies affiliated with mobile devices are experiencing boom cycles, while those tied to traditional computing are on the downslope.