Microsoft Windows 8 lags predecessor in first-year sales

SEATTLE Thu Feb 13, 2014 4:11pm EST

A Microsoft Surface tablet is seen during the launch of Microsoft Windows 8 operating system in Hong Kong October 26, 2012. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

A Microsoft Surface tablet is seen during the launch of Microsoft Windows 8 operating system in Hong Kong October 26, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Bobby Yip

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SEATTLE (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp's Windows 8 system has racked up more than 200 million license sales since its launch 15 months ago, according to Tami Reller, its head of marketing, lagging Windows 7 which sold 240 million within its first year.

The latest Windows 8 sales figure, announced by Reller at a Goldman Sachs technology conference on Thursday, is the first that Microsoft has made public for more than six months.

The relatively slow sales of Windows 8, and its latest incarnation Windows 8.1, reflect a steady two-year decline in personal computer sales, as smartphones and tablet sales explode. Sales of tablets are set to overtake PCs worldwide next year.

(For graphic, click on link.reuters.com/jac26v)

Windows 8 was designed as a flexible new system that would work equally well on desktops PCs and touchscreen tablets, but it ended up alienating many traditional users, while the company's Surface tablet has not won over many Apple Inc iPad users.

More worryingly for Microsoft, the number of people actually using Windows 8 is persistently low. While many businesses technically have purchased Windows 8 licenses, few have installed the system on office machines.

According to tech statistics firm NetMarketShare, only about 11 percent of PC users worldwide are using Windows 8 or 8.1. Meanwhile, 48 percent are sticking with Windows 7 and 29 percent are still running Windows XP, which is more than a decade old.

Windows 7, helped by the fact that it replaced the generally unpopular Windows Vista, is Microsoft's most successful operating system to date, selling more than 450 million licenses.

(Reporting by Bill Rigby; Editing by Paul Simao)

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Comments (6)
dreyfus2 wrote:
Exactly right. Technically (due to software assurance programs and new hardware delivered with Windows 8, but upgraded to Windows 7 by our administrators) we “own” almost 7,000 Windows 8 licenses. We do not use a single one and have no intentions of even considering it.

We will look at Windows 9 if, and only if, it is a pure desktop OS with no second GUI and without a slew of new vectors of attack and reasons for support calls that our admins have to deal with. Horses for courses, MS should look at Apple for how to do it right.

Feb 13, 2014 5:30pm EST  --  Report as abuse
notfooled2 wrote:
I don’t need or want tablet software on my desk top.

Feb 13, 2014 6:18pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Simplerman wrote:
Microsoft has become a very silly company.
Yes, I don’t need tablet software on my PC. I actually use my PC to perform a thing called work.

This musical operating system nonsense has become a huge $racket that hopefully will result in MS getting spanked.

Feb 13, 2014 8:36pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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