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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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By 91TTZ on 11/28/2012 10:30:47 PM , Rating: 2
I think the real problem in subjects such as this is people who feel the need to force their views on others. It's an immature, self-centered thought process that invades politics and just about every other aspect of life. Self-centered people don't like others to have the ability to make their own decisions. They think that what they believe should be adopted by everyone. In politics you see this every day:

People may not like guns or have any use for guns so they don't want anyone else to own them either.

They might be straight and not have any desire to marry someone of the same sex so they feel the need to block the ability of gay people to get married.

They might drive a pickup truck or a hybrid and have no desire to own another type. Therefore they support legislation that limits ownership or development of other types of cars that they feel are unnecessary. "Sports cars/Pickup trucks just waste gas and should be banned"

On the other hand you have people who support freedom of choice, even if other people's choices are different.

You have pro-gun people who think that people should be allowed to own guns if they wish. They also think that if people don't want to own guns they shouldn't have to.

You have open-minded people that support gay marriage. It might not be their thing and be of no benefit to them but they support the ability of gay people to get married.

You have people who may be a fan of one particular type of car (such as electric cars, sports cars, or pickup trucks) that support the ability of people to choose what kind of car to drive.

In this current debate you have people trying to defend the act of forcing people to use certain customizations in an OS. They say that they like it so others should just get used to it. They'll usually claim that their preference is "progress" and that everyone who doesn't agree is a luddite. They might like the Start Screen so they feel that everyone should be forced to adopt it. They might like the Metro UI so they feel that everyone should have to use it and there should be no way around it. This is a strange belief, since Windows has always been customizable. If you wanted to use the Classic Interface instead of the Windows XP/Vista native interface you could choose it.

I'm a person who believes in choice and I'll go out of my way to defend your ability to have a choice even if your taste is different than mine. I'm not arguing that Microsoft should do away with the Start screen, I think that you should be able to choose either. In fact I really don't care how you customize your computer- it's your computer! But to see the self-centered mentality that some people exhibit is just depressing.




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