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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 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.

"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer

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