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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 JPForums on 7/26/2013 8:00:04 AM , Rating: 2
It is funny how many posts I've read that criticize Microsoft for trying to be like Apple, and then go on to use Apple as an example of the way it should be done. At least your points make some sense.

I do disagree on one account, though. While Windows 7 was and still is the best desktop OS for both personal and professional use, there is an increasing number of people leaning towards convergence devices that Windows 7 is ill suited to handle. Many people who buy a tablet start questioning their need for a desktop/laptop computer. I've even seen a few dump their desktop/laptop only to buy another several months down the road, when they realize that traditional tablets aren't well suited for productive use. While I don't think everyone will end up there, I do think convergence devices will occupy a not-so-insignificant portion of the market once they are executed well enough.

I still think an auto mode switcher that gives you a traditional desktop environment while docked and a tablet environment while on the go would be ideal. Obviously, I'd want access to either at any given time, but the ability to choose which interface I default to in any given situation would make things much simpler.

Also, I see no reason why applications should be divided by metro and non-metro. This is an arbitrary distinction that only serves to get in the way of the seamless crossover that a convergence device is trying to accomplish.

In short, Windows 7 is great for today's computing environment, but not necessarily for tomorrow's. Windows 8 is a forward looking OS, but still leaves some things to be desired, especially in today's computing environment.


"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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