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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 tayb on 7/25/2013 6:10:38 PM , Rating: 1
Windows 8 is a great OS. In almost every way it is superior to Windows 7. It's faster, has more features that people want, boots faster, just in general is a superior OS.

The mistake Microsoft made is they tried to make an OS that would work well on a tablet and with a keyboard mouse. Instead of having separate UIs that a user could switch between they tried to meet in the middle and come up with a single interface that would work for both. No such interface exists or will ever exist. There is nothing that can be designed that works well with a mouse and with a finger. It's a failed idea from the start.

The fix for Windows 8 is simple. Separate the UIs and allow detection of input method and automatic or manual switching. In the desktop you don't see Metro and in Metro you don't see the desktop... unless you want to. If you have a Surface Pro and you dock it... Desktop. If you undock it... Metro. Simple

There are tons of improvements in Windows 8 that I love and if Microsoft would stop being so stupid they could actually gain market share and get more developer support. With Haswell the Surface Pro could be a really awesome device... if they let it.


RE: MS just doesn't get it...
By wacawaca on 7/26/2013 3:31:22 PM , Rating: 2
I wish this was the way it worked, i mean seriously i have seen it suggested many times, why does Microsoft not listen to the people that use the software, why don't they browse the comments section about their software to see what people want, I am sure that the one simple change as you stated would make most if not all happy. And then they can start adding different things to the different GUI's maybe add something to the touch interface that would be a waste in the mouse interface, and visa verse. Come on Microsoft stop being anal and start listening to some of the great and clever ideas like the one above.


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