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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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Sad but true
By sluze on 7/25/2013 7:00:14 PM , Rating: 1
Had MS released Win8 and told everyone that the Metro UI was a redesign of the 'desktop' (which in reality it is) and that the 'start' button had moved (which is basically what the 'all programs' button is). They could have had a 'classic' button in settings and consumers would have understood what they were doing.

Calling it a 'Start Screen' was insane and completely untrue. Now they are adding a start button that brings you to the screen you already hate?!? Ballmer drank the kool-aid a long time ago but thinking that a trick start button will solve Win8's misery is crazy even for him.

The simple fact that Ballmer put the idiots that made Win8 in charge of even more shows you just how bad things are at MS. Useless touch interfaces, poor menus, complete disregard for intuitive design, pissed off customers - yep lets promote the people that made all that wonderful stuff happen.

MS has completely forgotten what made them great and worse believes that Apple of all companies is what they should be imitating. Its like Ballmer took the 'I'm a Mac, I'm a PC' commercials to heart...guess what if you want to get shit done you don't call the Mac kid you call the old boy with experience that knows what he is doing. MS has become that 40 year old in the club that doesn't realize the girls aren't laughing with him they are laughing at him.

Its sad but its true.

RE: Sad but true
By Cape Consultant on 7/25/2013 11:11:51 PM , Rating: 4
We agree! I gave up teaching people Windows becasue I REFUSE to say, "Now click the "Charms Bar" " WTF were they thinking?

It is like putting a helicoptor rotor on a car. No one knows how to fly it and no one wanted it to begin with.

And like you say, a crippled "Start" Button that is not really a start button in anything but name only is INSANE. I mean actually certifiably INSANE. Bill, where are you?

Do whatever you want with tablet and phone. Plenty of room for innovation there. But NO ONE wanted a new desktop paradigm. NO ONE!

I use WIn8 in Parallels because I like it with Start8. But when I mess up and accidentally click something that brings up that mess of a "Metro" interface, I throw up a little bit in my mouth.

I hate everything about Metro. And I will NEVER EVER buy an app. Ever. A pathetic attempt to be Apple. An APP for my desktop? Ouch.

RE: Sad but true
By retrospooty on 7/25/2013 11:55:16 PM , Rating: 4
"Do whatever you want with tablet and phone. Plenty of room for innovation there. But NO ONE wanted a new desktop paradigm. NO ONE!"

so totally true... Windows 7 was more universally accepted and loved then any other MS OS in history, it was simply amazing. They finally got it right, so what's the answer to finally getting it right? Change everything! And you are absolutely right, no one asked for it ... no one.

now Windows 8 is selling like crap, most of the world hates it and the leadership that allowed it to happen is pushing people to make it sell better, but they won't put back the one thing everyone wants. piss poor leadership

"Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?... So why the f*** doesn't it do that?" -- Steve Jobs

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