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  (Source: AP)
But Ballmer says improvements, including a new Surface and a new Metro Start Button, will win customers back

At a quarterly all-hands type meeting, Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) boisterous and ebullient CEO Steve Ballmer was more sedate than usual.  While he raved about the upcoming next generation Surface tablet -- which was garnering rave reviews internally -- he also reportedly owned up to an unpleasant fact that Windows 8 isn't selling well.

The news -- which was pretty much a known fact to analysts and tech enthusiasts already -- came shortly after Microsoft's major leadership shakeup, in which it put the people in charge of Windows 8 (Julie Larson-Green, Tami Reller) in charge of key leadership positions over the entire company.

Revenue for the Windows unit dropped 55 percent (-$1.3B USD) in the second calendar quarter of the year (Microsoft's fiscal Q4 2013).  After beating street expectations the previous quarter, Microsoft saw its efforts unravel badly with sales of both Windows and the embattled first generation Surface sinking to Vista-like levels of market apathy.

Steve Ballmer
Windows 8 is turning into a nightmare for CEO Steve Ballmer. [Image Source: AP]

Microsoft and Mr. Ballmer came under fire from some of their major partners.  Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930) blamed Microsoft for drooping PC (and by proxy semiconductor component) sales.  Jun Dong-soo, head of the memory chip unit who sells DRAM and NAND to PC makers, called Windows 8 "less competitive" and complained, "[It is] no better than the previous Windows Vista platform."

Those are pretty harsh words coming from a major partner.

At the meeting Mr. Ballmer tried to convince employees that the free Windows 8.1 update would make up for the flop of its predecessor.  He pointed to the return of a "Start Button" (although it's not the Start Button you used to know) and the use of telemetry data to improve weak spots in Windows 8 as critical keys to the turnaround.  He also discussed increasing spending on professional services (consulting), although the leaks from the meeting made it unclear whether Microsoft is looking to recruit outside consultation for itself or make money off providing it to others.

Windows 8.1 Preview
Ballmer thinks a new Metro Start Button will thrill Windows fans back to the ranks.
In the second calendar quarter Google Inc. (GOOG) ChromeBooks gained major ground on Windows PCs, establishing a beachhead of approximately 4-5 percent of total personal computer sales, and a quarter of <$300 USD personal computer sales.  Some OEMs such as Samsung and Acer, Inc. (TPE:2357) (another prominent critics of Windows 8) have turned to Chromebook offerings, and may be eyeing dumping Microsoft entirely, shoudl consumers continue embracing Google's offerings and rejecting Microsoft's.

Microsoft can take some solace in that Apple, Inc. (AAPL) saw sales of its Mac computers miss expectations, leaving Google the only clear winner in the PC market for the quarter.

Source: NeoWin

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*!*! Sandwich
By Reclaimer77 on 7/25/2013 3:25:34 PM , Rating: 5
Gotta love this style of management lmao!

"Hey guys, this shit sandwich I forced you to foist onto our customers isn't doing good enough! Make it do more gooderer!!!"

Windows 8 doesn't fail in it's implementation. It's flaws are conceptual. And you can't fix something that's core concept is broken.

And a touchscreen UI for the mouse/keyboard desktop PC environment IS a completely broken concept. No matter what anyone says.

RE: *!*! Sandwich
By inighthawki on 7/25/2013 3:48:01 PM , Rating: 2
8.1 Seemed to focus a lot on the shortcomings of metro, so let's hope the next round focuses on the shortcomings that now exist in the desktop. Microsoft needs to understand that their power users help drive sales of their OS. When they don't like it they're typically the ones running around yelling and screaming and telling everyone it sucks.

RE: *!*! Sandwich
By retrospooty on 7/25/2013 4:40:28 PM , Rating: 2
"And a touchscreen UI for the mouse/keyboard desktop PC environment IS a completely broken concept. No matter what anyone says."

It is broken, but they can fix that easy... They took the start menu out between the dev preview and official release. Just put it the f#$k back baldy!

RE: *!*! Sandwich
By YearOfTheDingo on 7/25/2013 6:02:17 PM , Rating: 3
The conceptual flaw is that people don't actually want all that distraction on the desktop computer. If I sit down at a desk, I'm trying to work. That's often the reason people buy tablets--to separate the time-wasting stuff from the serious stuff. Microsoft is missing the point completely. The problem is information overload and not the absence of yet another way to check Facebook.

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007

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