Microsoft’s Windows 8 off to a slow start, group says

The Microsoft Windows 8 operating system is unveiled at a news conference in New York City. Windows 8 includes a new interface called the Start Screen, which was designed for tablets and touchscreen computers and features moving tiles similar to those on Windows Phone devices.
(Mario Tama / Getty Images)

The Windows PC and tablet market didn’t get the boost it needed from the launch of Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system, according to a market research firm.

Since the highly anticipated OS launched on Oct. 26, Windows device sales have fallen 21% compared with the same period in 2011, NPD Group said Thursday. Notebook sales, which have been weak throughout most of 2012, were down 24% while desktop sales dropped 9%.

Through Nov. 17, Windows 8 had captured just 58% of Windows computing device unit sales, compared with 83% for Windows 7 in the four weeks after that operating system’s debut, the firm said. Windows 8 tablet sales have “been almost nonexistent,” NPD said, with unit sales representing less than 1% of all Windows 8 device sales to date.

“After just four weeks on the market, it’s still [too] early to place blame on Windows 8 for the ongoing weakness in the PC market,” said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD. “We still have the whole holiday selling season ahead of us, but clearly Windows 8 did not prove to be the impetus for a sales turnaround some had hoped for.”

Baker went on to say that a sluggish back-to-school shopping season left a lot of unsold inventory in the channel, which hurt initial sales for Windows 8.


Average selling prices of Windows computing devices have jumped significantly this year, NPD said. Last year, overall prices were $433; this year’s average selling price during the last four weeks was $477.

“The strong performance of Windows 8 notebooks with touchscreens, where Windows 8 truly shines, offers some reason for optimism,” Baker said. “These products accounted for 6% of Windows 8 notebook sales at an average price of $867, helping to reestablish a premium segment to the Windows consumer notebook market.”

NPD said its research excluded sales of Microsoft’s new Surface tablet.


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