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Company expects another year of record sales, despite imminent successor incoming

Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Windows 7 has by far surpassed the company's expectations, becoming the fastest growing operating system in history.  The well liked product already achieved the distinction of passing Windows XP.

Now, even with Windows 8 looming ahead for a late 2012 launch, Microsoft says it expects to move a record amount of Windows 7 personal computers -- 350 million -- in 2012.  The figure came courtesy of Microsoft's larger than life CEO Steve Ballmer, who told reporters at a conference in Seoul, South Korea, "It makes Windows the most popular single system."

The implied message is "more popular than Apple".  Apple, Inc. (AAPL) has been challenging traditional PC makers in sales, assuming you count the best-selling iPad tablet as a "personal computer".

Gartner, Inc. (IT), a top market research firm estimates that 103 million tablets will be sold in 2012, with two thirds of those being iPads.  That places cumulative iPad sales close to 70 million units.  Apple sells many more tablets than traditional personal computers.

Windows 8 hopes to gobble up some of Apple's tablet sales [Image Source: Lenovo]

Still Windows devices will outsell the popular tablet, based on Mr. Ballmer's numbers by roughly a 5-to-1 ratio.  Microsoft hopes Windows 8 will expand on that margin, with both Intel Corp. (INTC) and various ARM Holdings plc (LON:ARM) licensees planning major tablet pushes.

Of course Microsoft could face a backlash if Windows 8 is perceived as too much of a "tablet-centric" operating system and a poor choice for traditional personal computers.

Source: Bloomberg

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By Bateluer on 5/22/2012 5:25:38 PM , Rating: -1
Thus: Windows 8 will be a colossal failure, and unable to take any market share away from the iPad. And by then, you'll be seeing mature, high end Android tablets as well.

By ShaolinSoccer on 5/22/2012 5:28:17 PM , Rating: 2
Why do you say that? Windows 8 is extremely easy to use.

By StevoLincolnite on 5/22/2012 6:57:49 PM , Rating: 2
What I find easy to use is the same GUI layout I've been using for pretty much almost the last 2 decades...

With that said, the Developer preview of Windows 8 has been fantastic on my Atom convertible netbook/tablet.

But touch and the keyboard and mouse are very different input methods, metro is designed for touch in mind, there is allot of clutter that will be replacing relatively clean desktops that most users have laid out the way they want.

On the bright side, Metro can essentially just replace the start menu for allot of people, which I hardly used anyway, I prefer to keep all my apps and games shortcuts in separate folders on the desktop and frequently used apps in the taskbar.

The other flipside to this is that Microsoft has been rolling out metro on all it's platforms, from phones, xbox, PC's...
So people will automatically recognize the devices and know what OS it is instantly, with Windows pushing power it may translate to more Windows phone sales because it is something people can use easily because of prior experience.

By leviathan05 on 5/23/2012 10:01:58 AM , Rating: 2
I go a step further and don't use any GUI layout at all. A "desktop" with "windows"? No thanks. I'll stick to DOS prompt on boot. What kind of an input is a mouse anyways? How will that help me be more productive in any way?

I can run any program on my computer with my keyboard and it works just fine. Change is not for me.

By ShaolinSoccer on 5/23/2012 1:45:33 PM , Rating: 2
I go a step further and don't use any GUI layout at all. A "desktop" with "windows"? No thanks. I'll stick to DOS prompt on boot. What kind of an input is a mouse anyways? How will that help me be more productive in any way? I can run any program on my computer with my keyboard and it works just fine. Change is not for me.

LOL! I sure hope you're being sarcastic :)
Though there are people out there who use the non-graphical UI of Linux.

By Bateluer on 5/22/2012 9:40:26 PM , Rating: 1
MS made the same prediction with WP7, that it was going to revolutionize and revitalize their mobile product line as well as outsell their competitors. And oops! They have a 1% smartphone market share. They make more money in frivolous litigation and lawsuits than they do from selling WP7 handsets.

W8 is a complete and total fail on any non-touch device due to Metro. And every tech pundit and analyst has said as such. Just like with XP to Vista, people aren't going to see the need to purchase a whole new OS so soon and especially one that radically reduces the usability of the machine.

By ritualm on 5/23/2012 12:29:41 AM , Rating: 3
Hey look, Apple fanboy says W8 is going to fail because Steve Jobs/Tim Cook says so!

Name a company that says its newest product sucks right out of the gate - there isn't any.

Name a company that has made accurate predictions all the time - there isn't any.

I'm likely going to integrate W8 into my primary computer setup... and lovin' it... while you sit on the sidelines saying untrue things because you have no experience with it.

By GPig on 5/23/2012 1:58:39 AM , Rating: 2
W8 is a complete and total fail on any non-touch device due to Metro. And every tech pundit and analyst has said as such

And every tech pundit and analyst has based that opinion on a beta release of the software. Try reading the latest on the multi monitor improvements which addresses pretty much every complaint I've so far heard.

By dark matter on 5/23/2012 7:57:27 AM , Rating: 1
Ah, so because Microsoft said it's fixed. It's fixed is it.

By nafhan on 5/23/2012 10:04:14 AM , Rating: 2
W8 is a complete and total fail on any non-touch device due to Metro
...yeah, you don't know what you're talking about, at all. For non-touch users, it's generally no better or worse than Windows 7. A little different, and not something I'd pay $100 to upgrade to from Win 7, but absolutely not a "total fail".

My predictions: on the PC side of things, Windows 8 will be less successful than Windows 7 or XP - mostly due to lack of enterprise adoption, consumers will be fine with it. For tablets: no idea; I think things could go either way.

By JediJeb on 5/23/2012 2:54:28 PM , Rating: 2
I can see it for people who use their computer for browsing and office apps, but for me in an industrial setting, it would mean trying to get vendors of expensive pieces of equipment to rewrite their software which usually doesn't happen. Our biggest vendor just now started to release software with their new equipment that is compatible with W7, up till then the best you could do is something with XP SP2, if you had SP3 the software would refuse to install. When you pay $150k for a piece of equipment the vendor can pretty much say you use whatever OS they wish. We have some equipment now that works perfectly, yet if we wish to move away from a WinNT OS we will need to spend another $100k to replace it with a new piece what is compatible with the software running on W7.

Rewriting operating systems just because someone can ever few years is great for OS vendors and may be acceptable in shops and homes that only use basic apps, but for those using specialized programs and hardware interfaces it can be a nightmare. They still make a lot of this equipment that uses COM ports and those are becoming difficult to find on a PC, especially when you need more than one.

By nafhan on 5/24/2012 10:15:13 AM , Rating: 2
To be fair "people who use their computer for browsing and office apps" make up essentially the entire non-server market.
It sounds like you guys should not upgrade to Windows 8 on your industrial control machinery. With embedded stuff in general, I'd say if it is not online and it works fine, upgrading the OS isn't really necessary. So, it's kind of a non-issue. Upgrade when you have to for a good reason, not when a new version comes out.

By kleinma on 5/22/2012 5:28:20 PM , Rating: 3
Or it will sell like a beast. I think sometime within a month, all windows 7 sales will get free windows 8 upgrades. That will get those people on board. Once the flood of tablets, hybrids, and other form factors hit the market running windows 8 and windows RT, we will see how your prediction holds up.

By AEvangel on 5/22/2012 5:51:30 PM , Rating: 2
I think that will be the key....if they offer an inexpensive price point to upgrade from 7 to 8.

Then most of the average users might do it. Thus allowing them to use the new system and push the average user more into purchasing Windows phones and tablet products.

By kleinma on 5/22/2012 5:47:15 PM , Rating: 2
The people who will benefit the most from upgrading will be those who have gotten the AIO machines over the past few years. Even though they only have 2 touch points, they will be able to use metro quite well, as MS made sure all core touch is based on 2 touch points. They will get an instant boost in feature usage by going to windows 8 from windows 7.

I am running Windows 8 on my laptop and on 1 desktop here, neither of which have touch, but I like Windows 8 all the same, and like the metro interface. I don't miss the start menu. So far the one thing I have found annoying is the number of clicks to shut the machine down, versus start -> right arrow -> enter, which I am very used to now. On a laptop I can just set it to sleep/power down on power button press, or on lid close. Nothing should take MORE steps than it used to.

By damianrobertjones on 5/22/2012 5:46:07 PM , Rating: 2
So... do you base your views on a 'Consumer Preview'?

A preview.... A damn PREVIEW! Maybe wait for the final film... sorry, operating system to appear before passing your verdict.

P.s. High end Android tablets? Will they compete with the processing power of a low voltage i5 or i7?

By dark matter on 5/23/2012 7:58:47 AM , Rating: 2
What makes you think Android can't run on a lower power i5?

Microsoft != Intel.

By fishman on 5/23/2012 10:05:06 AM , Rating: 2
Android already runs on intel processors.

By Reclaimer77 on 5/22/2012 6:37:25 PM , Rating: 2
Windows 8 will fail to answer the iPad until, and I stress until, Intel gets a viable x86 SOC going for mobile devices. Ivy Bridge Medfield is close, the next version will pretty much be there.

But for now, Windows 8 RT is dead in the water once everyone understands it's not compatible with their desktop Windows. Their dream of "unparalleled" synergy between desktop, phone, and tablets is hilarious. Hardly anyone has a Windows phone, Windows 8 RT has NO synergy with the desktop Windows, and it's just yet another proprietary app environment to deal with. A fledgeling one at that. Windows 8 is just fundamentally flawed as a response to the iPad.

It was a big mistake building their next-generation mobile OS and interface on top of existing Windows. There's a reason why the iPad runs iOS not OS X.

I cheer any attempt to take some market-share from Apple. I just don't see this working for Microsoft the way they envision. Certainly not outselling the iPad by 5 to 1! Not UNTIL we have x86 mobile devices at least.

By Pirks on 5/22/2012 8:00:38 PM , Rating: 2
Windows 8 RT is dead in the water once everyone understands it's not compatible with their desktop Windows
Crapdroid tablets were not compatible with Windows and Samsung sold quite a few of them. iPad is not compatible with Windows either and still people buy it in droves. And you are saying that since these two tablets, with crapdroid and with iOS, were selling pretty well, the Microsoft's tablets, also not compatible with Windows, will NOT sell well, right?

So when Google/Apple make non-Windows compatible tablets we can expect decent sales, but when Microsoft makes non-Windows compatible tablets, there will be no sales?

Pretty funny shit, Reclaimer. Could you please elaborate a bit more? I wanna know if you're high/drunk, or if you have valid points that I missed.

By Reclaimer77 on 5/22/2012 8:22:24 PM , Rating: 1
I don't even know why I'm responding to you, buuuut...

People know what they are getting with Android tablets and Apple tablets. However there is a level of expectation that something named "Windows" comes with, and Windows 8 RT doesn't meet that. It should have been named something else in my opinion and that of many others.

Crapdroid tablets were not compatible with Windows and Samsung sold quite a few of them.

More proof you're a troll. Any other time you would point out how "nobody" buys "Crapdroid" tablets. Now suddenly they've sold "quite a few". Which is it?

Is this like the stupid tooth thing where you come after me over silly semantics, or do you think Windows 8 tablets will be a big hit?

And yes, I'm clearly the high/drunk one here. Have you ever actually stood back and read one of your posts from an objective viewpoint?

By Pirks on 5/23/2012 12:47:50 AM , Rating: 2
there is a level of expectation that something named "Windows" comes with, and Windows 8 RT doesn't meet that
Time to change that level of expectation. If people keep expecting old time slow overbloated desktop monster from Windows brand - the Microsoft itself will die off slowly. The only way to survive is to adapt the brand to new reality. Windows used to be slow clunky desktop OS, now Windows RT means fast nimble fully touch driven tablet OS. Your premise that building brand from scratch is always easier than repurposing the old established one is apparently ungrounded. Windows brand itself is not that bad, it's not like people are repelled by the W word :) Well, a few freaks like Tony are repelled, but most are not. So why not reuse the brand huh? Why build new Kin or something? MS built Windows, Office, Xbox brands, now they are building WP because WM failed spectacularly and was hated by most. But desktop Windows is not hated by most yet, hence it's easier to repurpose that brand. Yeah, I agree with you that there will be some confusion initially for some extremely uneducated people but it'll clear up with time. So then in the end MS may have Windows brand on phones, tablets, laptops and desktops, which is not bad at all! I like the idea of Windows brand counterattacking uberpowerful Apple brand on all fronts. Splitting Windows into Kins, Shmins, TableOSes, CourierOSes, FlOSes BlOSes and myriads other subbrands will only make crazy clutter. MS tries to be like Apple with one uberbrand that covers all and they are right, that's the onbly way to survive and prosper. Android somehow is NOT fragmented into subbrands when it's released on tablets and on phones, it's still always Android. If they make netbooks with it it'll be also Android and not some crazy new brand as you suggest. Google and MS know better than you, Reclaimer. You can trust me on that :P

By Bateluer on 5/22/2012 9:37:15 PM , Rating: 2
Just curious, how do you define 'incompatible with Windows'? I own two Samsung Galaxy Tabs, the Tab 8.9 and Tab 2 7in. From each, I can connect them to my Windows desktop or MBA and access the internal storage. Chrome browser is synced between all devices. I can browse Windows shares from each tablet. That's pretty compatible in my book.

Unless you're referring to application compatibility. Obviously, I can't install ME3 on my tablet, for obvious reasons. Even between Windows desktops and notebooks, you'll run into the same problem. I can't install ME3 on my Windows notebook either, doesn't have the processing power to run it.

By TakinYourPoints on 5/23/2012 1:09:27 AM , Rating: 2
Pretty much. MS Office file formats are natively supported in iOS, and it is easy to RDP to a Windows machine from an iPad if you wish. Incompatibilities aren't something I really think about with these devices, they all work together pretty well. iOS even has Exchange support built in.

By TakinYourPoints on 5/22/2012 10:05:56 PM , Rating: 1
Crapdroid tablets were not compatible with Windows and Samsung sold quite a few of them.

Less than two percent of tablet traffic comes from non-iPads. That two percent includes Honeycomb, WebOS, and ICS. The best selling one so far is the Kindle Fire, and sales went off a cliff after the holiday rush.

So no, not that many have been selling well so far. Maybe Microsoft will make it happen with Windows 8 RT, we'll see. I still think mashing together two different UI paradigms is a bad idea though, I hate that they're compromising the desktop by cramming the tablet oriented Metro into it. Launchpad in OS X is a semi-attempt at trying to roll iOS app navigation into OS X, but unlike Metro it is completely optional. Nobody uses it either.

By Alexvrb on 5/22/2012 11:17:33 PM , Rating: 2
If you read the rest of his post, I think you'll find that his point was that these iOS and Android devices also lack legacy Windows compatibility - and it hasn't hurt them a damn bit! So why should it hurt ARM-based Windows tablets?

Especially given that even though they lack backwards compatibility, they will be forwards-compatible with most/all WinRT based software (Metro apps). Those will work across x86 and ARM Win8 devices. Most people won't be interested in running legacy junk on a tablet anyway. They get their shiny new apps, their facebook, etc. We're the few exceptions, and we can buy the more expensive (and probably less power efficient) x86 Win8 tablets, etc.

Also, I just agreed with Pirks. Holy crap, I need a stiff drink.

By TakinYourPoints on 5/23/2012 1:05:22 AM , Rating: 2
The problem is that there is no tablet market outside of the iPad, maybe Amazon if they can get their act together and deliver better hardware in the next revision.

The problem is that Windows tablets have a huge mountain to climb right now, the fact that the classic Windows desktop is being compromised by gambling on the Metro tablet UI. Save for Windows Me, I've kept up with Microsoft operating systems since the late 80s. This is the first one I'm thinking twice about upgrading to. I even liked Vista SP1!

Windows 8 performance enhancements are a huge plus, ditto native PDF reader and ISO mouting (OS X from 10 years ago says hi), but I'm still far from sold on the schizophrenic UI they're pushing on it. Its all because of tablets that probably won't sell because people are buying iPads instead, ugh. I would be fine if they segmented Windows for desktops and Windows for tablets, as Apple has been doing with OS X and iOS. There is a little UI crossover in Lion (ie - Launchpad that nobody uses) but nothing as bad as what is being forced in Win8.

By Alexvrb on 5/23/2012 10:59:12 PM , Rating: 2
I wasn't really talking about those issues though. They might fail to sell a single ARM-based Windows tablet. My point is that if they don't sell any ARM WinRT tablets, it won't be because they lack backwards compatibility. That's all I was really trying to say. I am tired of people harping on ARM WinRT's lack of compatibility with legacy Windows software, like the average (ARM) tablet buyer gives two sharts. If you really care, get an x86 tablet, or don't get a tablet at all.

Regarding Windows 8 on traditional PCs, there's lots of issues which could hurt Win8. You certainly make some valid points regarding traditional systems. I won't try to dispute them. I will say that when you look at how children use mobile touch devices like iPods and tablets as primary systems, you start to understand why they wanted a unified interface. Metro is about touch, but it's also about the next generation and transitioning to (and from) laptop/desktop PCs (and thus potentially saving them in the future).

If you get them using Metro (or something similar) on a mobile or other touch device, it's pretty easy to get them to use Metro on a laptop/desktop as they get older, touch or otherwise. Today's youth is tomorrow's consumers, when you see the competition gaining traction, you have to look forward too. The "older" crowd will of course resist tooth and nail, but hey you can always stick with Win7, modify Win8, or just get used to it. Personally I don't mind Metro so much. Then again, I was never a "DOS forever" kind of guy either.

By TakinYourPoints on 5/24/2012 12:47:39 AM , Rating: 2
They might fail to sell a single ARM-based Windows tablet. My point is that if they don't sell any ARM WinRT tablets, it won't be because they lack backwards compatibility. That's all I was really trying to say.

Got it.

Yeah, I totally agree there.

By nikon133 on 5/23/2012 12:46:12 AM , Rating: 2
To start with, I'm expecting that MS core apps for RT will be much more compatible with their desktop counterparts (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint) than what Android and iOS platforms have.

I'm also expecting MS to cash in on corporate market - better SharePoint, CRM, RDP, Lync... and other MS services. Tablets will not replace computers in corporate for a while (if ever), and for using tablet as a sidekick to one's PC, for majority of people you don't need much more than what I mentioned.

It is not that I'm expecting RT to better Android and iOS in every possible scenario - number of available apps will be lagging for long time, Divx/XviD/Flash playback might never be available, etc... but still, I'm expecting RT to offer number of exclusive advantages hard to ignore for significant chunk of market.

By dasgetier on 5/23/2012 3:16:57 AM , Rating: 2
The biggest problem of Windows 8 RT will simply be its license cost.

“So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents." -- Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith

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