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Windows 8 is the next Windows ME? The sales numbers suggest that accusation is malarkey

Windows 8 was an incredibly bold redesign on the part on Microsoft Corp. (MSFT).  The move to a more touch-friendlygraphically rich operating system certainly seemed to mirror the general direction of the device market, but that did not shield Microsoft from loads of criticism. Many wondered whether it went too far with the graphical gloss, whether it was disrespecting developers with its shift to a walled-garden "Windows Store" app distribution model, and whether it was forsaking traditional desktop power users.

I. Windows 8 Upgrade Sales: Very Strong

But the proof is in the sales, and Microsoft announced today that for all the haters, Windows 8 appears to be doing great.

In its first month of sales Windows 8 has moved 40 million licenses, according to Microsoft.  The company announced the news in a blog post and at a conference presentation.  It also points out that buoyed by reduced upgrade fees, the Windows 8 upgrade rate is outpacing that of Windows 7, the previous sales record-holder.

Indeed, our own polling shows that the majority of users are upgrading to Windows 8, although there are certainly many holdouts bitter about the changes.

Windows 8 boxes
While some upgrades have been via disc, the new OS has largely been digitially distributed.
[Image Source: The Verge]

Windows 8 is the first Microsoft OS to transition to a primarily online distribution.  That shift has not seemed to adversely impact sales.  It appears Microsoft timed its transition to disc-less media correctly.

II. The Road Ahead

Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc also brags that its Windows Store is thriving, writing:

There were more apps in the Windows Store at launch than any other app store at their launch and since then, the number of apps in the Windows Store has doubled. A number of apps in the Windows Store have crossed the $25,000 revenue mark and the developer keeps 80% of the revenue they make off downloads for the life of their app. A lot of great new apps have been added to the Windows Store since launch such as CBS, ABC News, ABC Family, Engadget, Flixster, OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network), Vimeo and my (current) personal favorite - Top Gear.

A strong app market is good news for Microsoft.  While it offers a more favorable revenue split than other players like Apple, Inc. (AAPL) or Google Inc. (GOOG) (with developers keeping 80 percent of the revenue), Microsoft still is closing the loop to include itself in Windows software sales profits.

In the past, Windows Certification processes offered up small cuts to Microsoft, but software publishers largely pocketed these profits.  Now Microsoft has cut out the middle man by playing super-publisher with Windows 8, the same move Google and Apple have made with their mobile and personal computer platforms (although Google does allow unofficial third party channels).

Ballmer Slate
Microsoft needed a bold reinvention in the mobile direction to keep up with market trends.
[Image Source: Bloomberg]

Looking ahead, Microsoft has a lot of unanswered questions -- most notably on the leadership front.  Windows 8 was the baby of departed Windows President Steven Sinofsky.  His shoes are currently being filled by former CFO and CMO Tami Reller on the business/marketing front and by Internet Explorer, Office and Windows interface veteran Julie Larson-Green on the software/hardware development front.

And the deep divisions between those who love Windows 8 and those who hate it, could hint that sales may dip to a slower pace than Windows 7 after the fans have completed their upgrades.

But, given the already modest success, and given the life-or-death need for Microsoft to have a cohesive, touch-friendly mobile platform, it appears overall Microsoft made the right choice.  Windows 8 isn't perfect, certainly and as they say, haters are going to hate.  And that is certainly true of Windows 8.  But it's better to be hated for innovation than panned for lack thereof.

Source: Microsoft

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Few Problems with Windows 8
By abzillah on 11/28/2012 1:15:52 PM , Rating: 1
I have been running windows 8 on my desktop and laptop for two weeks now, and the tiles are cool and I don't miss the start button.

Playing a video or reading a PDF, the program goes into full screen without the option to re-size the window. It's very annoying not being able to control the window size a program takes when 2 or more screens are used.
I'm also having issues with logitech G700 mouse drivers, and software.

RE: Few Problems with Windows 8
By kingmotley on 11/28/12, Rating: 0
RE: Few Problems with Windows 8
By xti on 11/28/12, Rating: 0
RE: Few Problems with Windows 8
By 91TTZ on 11/28/2012 9:36:09 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think techies are anti-change. Some techies are just good at discerning what's an improvement and what's just "a change"

I've tried Windows 8 on a tablet and it looks really nice. It's a great fit.

I'm using Windows 8 on a laptop and it's not a good fit. The start screen and the apps seem to be totally optimized for a tablet with a touch screen instead of a laptop or desktop with a mouse. I hate having to navigate the apps in that manner, it's just not as efficient.

Windows 8's fonts and performance are very nice. It's just that the tablet optimizations make it a sub-optimal UI for desktops and laptops. I will say that Windows 8 with Start8 loaded on it makes it much more usable in my opinion.

RE: Few Problems with Windows 8
By cyberguyz on 11/29/2012 1:43:55 PM , Rating: 2
Not so much being reluctant to change. If I am in the desktop and push to that oversized metro "start button" it takes over the whole freaking screen! I have a 27" screen. Why the hell do I want a single program monopolizing all that real estate? The reason I have a 27" high rez screen is so that while I do one thing I can visually monitor what is going on in 4-5-6 or more other programs right there without having to flip through them.

I come from the CP/M, DOS and DesqView era. I have seen Windows from the Version 1. Windows 8 has gone from a highly productive multitasking OS to an obsolete page-flipping primate from the 1980s.
no Windows 8 is a step backward for sure.

RE: Few Problems with Windows 8
By Mint on 11/28/12, Rating: 0
RE: Few Problems with Windows 8
By 91TTZ on 11/28/2012 9:52:08 PM , Rating: 2
I mean really, how on earth does Win8 reduce productivity when you're clicking less and see more information?

If you're using the Windows 8 optimized apps, it does reduce productivity on a desktop. That's because tablet apps have a clean, simple way of displaying information that works well on a tablet with a small touch screen. However, on a desktop the UI seems to be sparse. The information density is too low when you have a screen of this size and a precise pointing device like a mouse.

I don't hate Windows 8, I just think that there should have been 2 installation options that you choose from when you sign on for the first time - 1 for tablets and 1 for desktops. This would enable those who have tablets to use the customizations for their touch screen while still allowing desktop users to keep the customizations for use with a mouse. It was Microsoft's decision to FORCE us to use the new UI that angered people.

Removing customer choice is never a good thing in my opinion. Microsoft did this as part of a larger plan to gain traction in the mobile market. They want us to get used to this UI so that when we go to buy a phone or tablet we'll choose one with this familiar UI.

RE: Few Problems with Windows 8
By WinstonSmith on 11/29/2012 10:13:37 AM , Rating: 3
"I just think that there should have been 2 installation options that you choose from when you sign on for the first time - 1 for tablets and 1 for desktops"

Exactly. You'll notice that all of the Win8 ads show nothing but touchscreen devices, including laptops.

RE: Few Problems with Windows 8
By Doh! on 11/28/2012 1:35:58 PM , Rating: 3
Open them in desktop mode with desktop apps then you won't have the "forced" full screen problem (change the default apps).

RE: Few Problems with Windows 8
By cknobman on 11/28/2012 1:52:47 PM , Rating: 3
Windows 8 may not be perfect but it is not nearly as bad as some make out to be.

My mother is 59 and a novice computer user at best and when I visited her for Thanksgiving I took her to the store and bought her very first laptop which had Windows 8 installed on it. She is in love with her new computer. Even though the last computer she had was a Windows XP machine it took her less than a full day to get used to and even prefer the new Windows 8 interface.

Now my Dad, who is a BF3 gamer and Windows 7 user, has been playing with my moms Windows 8 laptop and is begging me to upgrade his laptop to Windows 8 too.

Sure Windows 8 interface is not perfect and has some quirks but I can even say that after a few hours I adjusted to it and started to like it myself. For all of these "reviewers", "analysts", and critics saying the interface is confusing and too hard for average people to use I say your either stupid or full of shit. If my 59 & 60 year old mom and dad can learn to use, and like/prefer, Windows 8 in a day then so can most other people.

RE: Few Problems with Windows 8
By Mint on 11/28/2012 1:57:10 PM , Rating: 2
How sad is it that you got rated down for this innocuous post?

RE: Few Problems with Windows 8
By geddarkstorm on 11/28/2012 2:03:53 PM , Rating: 2
Welcome to Dailytech.

RE: Few Problems with Windows 8
By Burticus on 11/28/2012 3:20:32 PM , Rating: 3
Well yeah. Take some computer novices and take away their desktop, only let them choose from their 10-20 installed apps with big icons they can't miss? Sure. MS should have called it "Windows for the Elderly". It's tablet computing on my desktop computer and I hate it.

Not having an option to do away with Metro during the install process? Suckage for mass rollout.

When I need a 3rd party app (like Start 8) to get functionality that was a given in older versions is just dumb.

I can tell I will be on Win 7 for more years to come.

But why cry about it? Don't want it, don't buy it. Not even for the $30 giveaway prices MS is throwing around.

RE: Few Problems with Windows 8
By Kefner on 11/28/2012 4:07:11 PM , Rating: 2
I hear you. At least with Start8 and 8Gadget, it is now usable! I think I've been in Modern UI a handful of times (and that was just to play a couple games). With boot to desktop option in Start8, I don't even have to deal with it. Stardock must be doing well!!! I haven't bought Start8 yet, still on my 30 day trial (reinstalled Win8 a couple weeks ago due to a hardware issue, and restarted the trial), but it's very well done, and worth the 5 bucks, so I'll be purchasing at trials end.

RE: Few Problems with Windows 8
By HackSacken on 11/28/2012 5:00:12 PM , Rating: 2
What functionality was removed in Win8 that you found in previous version of Windows?

RE: Few Problems with Windows 8
By Argon18 on 11/30/2012 5:25:16 PM , Rating: 2
How about being useful? Not looking like a speak-n-spell?

RE: Few Problems with Windows 8
By StanO360 on 11/28/2012 5:08:49 PM , Rating: 2
But that's what MS has to do, most people won't take 5-10 minutes to learn how to drag something onto the desktop! Or search with the Windows key, etc.

My sister is little more than a novice with a computer at her office (underwriting) she is the go to expert! Apple convinced people that it was easy (though rarely much different in reality), and perception is reality for some folks.

RE: Few Problems with Windows 8
By Argon18 on 11/28/12, Rating: -1
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