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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 robinthakur on 7/29/2013 6:47:45 AM , Rating: 2
I think that (one of) the big problem with Windows 8 is that you have apps which behave differently on desktop, compared to the modern interface. Having two versions of IE, Lync etc is really dumb and difficult to explain to end users, what the difference is and why it matters. iPad doesn't have two versions of Safari. If I have my full screen MS Lync running at the same time as my desktop app Lync, the results aren't pretty.

There are also apps which could never hope to run as full screen full touch apps, like Visual Studio, and I do think that touch screen apps need to be considered differently in terms of their design, so hmm, Microsoft have pushed themselves down a very tricky road here...When I'm using a touch screen Windows 8 tablet and am in desktop mode, its all a bit painful to use: the keyboard doesn't pop up whenever you need to use it, and some webpages and apps just don't work correctly (like Chrome).

I don't see why it is isn't possible to just have profiles saying what sort of device you are using, like in Media Centre setup and Windows just gets customised for your install. That would be a one size fits all approach which works and would seem to keep a lot of people happy! Windows 8 contains lots of cool technology like Hyper-V on the desktop and the improved copying, global search etc. so it is a real shame that it is the Modern UI which has sunk the ship and stopped people appreciating the hard work which has obviously gone into it!

On a slightly selfish note, I hope MS does not go down because my business is SharePoint, and there is the risk that people will start to turn away from Microsoft entirely. I already find that what would have been laughable options 5 years ago such as Google enterprise apps and OSX/iOS in the workplace are taken seriously now, simply because MS have shown such poor judgement of late in some of their most highly publicised products, and people had managed for so long in an increasingly mobile device-centric business world without access to MS Office or Windows, that it has got them thinking. On the server end, MS is clearly moving towards the Cloud services model for most of its products rather than on premise, and there, MS Azure is having to complete heavily with Google and Amazon. It's going to be interesting...


"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer














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