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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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RE: MS just doesn't get it...
By someguy743 on 7/25/2013 4:30:59 PM , Rating: 2
I think that Windows 8 is just fine ..... but only after you install "Start8" by Stardock on it and get the settings just the way you want them. Hopefully the new Windows 8.1 is not going to mess up "Start8".

I have it working pretty much like my old Windows 7 now. I use the Modern UI sometimes too. You might even start to like Modern UI after you mess around with it for awhile. It's like my "secondary Windows desktop" in order to use apps like on my smartphone.

90% of the time I'm using the good ole Windows 7 style desktop with this multi-desktop software called "Dexpot". It works fine for me. I use 7 different desktops for different types of work ... or play. It's the same way I have different projects sitting on different side desks and tables in my office at work.

RE: MS just doesn't get it...
By retrospooty on 7/25/2013 4:44:09 PM , Rating: 2
"I think that Windows 8 is just fine ..... but only after you install "Start8" by Stardock on it and get the settings just the way you want them. Hopefully the new Windows 8.1 is not going to mess up "Start8"."

Get classic shell... Its better than start8 and free.

RE: MS just doesn't get it...
By cditty on 7/25/2013 5:18:41 PM , Rating: 3
I disagree. Classic Shell updates too often and gets in the way. Start8 just works.

RE: MS just doesn't get it...
By retrospooty on 7/25/2013 5:45:14 PM , Rating: 2
I dunno. I have never seen it not work, nor have I had a single issue with it, updates or otherwise.

RE: MS just doesn't get it...
By ResStellarum on 7/25/2013 8:09:07 PM , Rating: 5
Using classic shell here too. Works like a charm, and the only thing that makes Windows 8 bearable.

When a third party addon is required to make an OS usable, there's a serious problem.

RE: MS just doesn't get it...
By JPForums on 7/26/2013 7:27:07 AM , Rating: 2
You know, Microsoft could easily monetize the start menu and make people happy at the same time. They could simply create an official Microsoft start menu and release it at a low price. I'm willing to wager that the people that really want it will be happy enough just to get it that they won't mind the charge. People that don't care, won't buy it. People who already bought third party software could just stick with it unless they had a compelling reason to switch. Of course, it would go over better if Microsoft released it as part of a suite that includes official multi-desktop support, and other niceties.

"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)

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