Windows 8 has been around for a few months now and Microsoft is beginning to question whether or not the new operating system will ever catch on. Of course, it’s bundled with a ton of new devices on the market but Microsoft’s own sales figures for the 2012-2013 holiday shopping season show that buyers just aren’t snapping up Windows 8 like they did Vista. Indeed, one of the few arenas in which Windows 8 actually did succeed is on the Steam network – but that’ hardly an accurate measure of the “average” PC user.
Windows 8 Disappointing Sales Figures
Analytics firm Net Applications collects data about the operating systems used by individual web browsers over time and their figures show that Windows 8 holds a mere 2.67% share in the OS arena across the board. That’s dismal considering that 38.99% of users are still running XP and a whopping 44.55% have adopted Microsoft’s last OS Windows 7.
And the trouble might not get any better from here on out. Microsoft’s Windows 8 discounts are drying up and shoppers are going to have to pay full retail ($120) to get their disc drives loaded up with this code.
What Went Wrong With Windows 8?
The biggest issues facing Windows 8 are, in fact, those that set it apart from predacessors. It was customized to be a simplified visual operating system and is compatible with touchscreens. Almost every screenshot you see of Windows 8 – whether in Microsoft’s own marketing materials or retailer’s TV ads) spotlights the Live Tiles featre and shows people swiping away with gleeful fingertips. Unfortunately, not only do most basic PC users not “get” the new set-up, most still don’t even have touchscreen computers at home.
You can use Windows 8 with a mouse and keyboard but relying on the old input combo is clunky and unsatisfactory.
Microsoft will undoubtedly see those sales figures (and market share) climb as people swap out their older computers with newer models (forcibly bundled with the Windows 8 OS). Sadly, at least for Microsoft, most don’t swap out operating systems when something shinier comes along. The vast majority of PC buyers stick with the OS that’s factory installed on their machines.
But this discussion may be moot. Judging from recent trends, Microsoft will have another OS out before Windows 8 has a chance to earn respectable market shares. Will Windows 8 be a passing fad or a complete hiccup?