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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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What is he smoking ?
By jmarchel on 7/26/2013 11:56:25 AM , Rating: 2
Balmer either thinks his customers are bunch of idiots or he simply is so isolated from their customers that he doesn't get it. Start button is not what users asked for. Users asked for complete removal of any trace of Metro and return of the classic start menu. Majority of Windows users do not dream of Windows mobile and don't care if Microsoft has or hasn't have mobile OS. We are buying Android or Apple devices because they are the current market leaders, they are cool, they have all the apps and in case of Android they are cheap. We do not care about Surface. We want however our full fledged PC to behave properly with keyboard and mouse. Therefore we hate Windows 8 and no amount of updates to Metro will help. And hate is correct word here. This is why we react on anything Metro with allergy and this is why we refuse to buy into it. We want Metro out completely from PC.

Regarding mobile devices Blamer should forget his greed. If you want to propose closed system where only you have control of what application runs on it, then you simply forgot how you won the PC market in the first place and you always are going to be a looser. The mobile system is sold by apps. Restricting who can write apps for your OS in a situation where you are figthing uphill battle against established duopoly of Androind and iOS is plain stupidity. Even fully open system would have hard time winning. Closed system is a predictable flop.




"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad














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