* Windows PC retail sales down 21 pct last month
* No sign of boost from Windows 8 launch Oct. 26
SEATTLE Nov 29 Consumer sales of
Windows-powered personal computers fell 21 percent overall last
month, according to a leading retail research firm, indicating a
lackluster debut for Microsoft Corp's Windows 8
operating system, which many in the industry had hoped would
revive slack PC sales.
Since the launch of Windows 8 on Oct. 26, Windows laptop
sales are down 24 percent, while desktop sales are down 9
percent compared with the same period last year, said NPD Group,
which tracks computer sales weekly using data supplied by
Usually a new Microsoft release boosts PC sales, as many
consumers hold off from purchases for several months prior so
they can get hold of the latest software immediately.
"After just four weeks on the market, it's still 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."
NPD's data does not include Microsoft's new Surface tablet,
which is only available in its own stores, nor does it take
account of sales of PCs to businesses, which has recently been a
much stronger market.
But if the trend is borne out over the rest of the holiday
shopping season, it would be a huge disappointment for
Microsoft, as well as PC makers such as Dell Inc, HP
Since launch, Windows 8 accounted for only 58 percent of
Windows computing device unit sales, compared to the 83 percent
Windows 7 accounted for at the same point after its launch in
2009, NPD said, partly caused by poor back-to-school sales that
left many Windows 7 PCs on retailers' shelves.
One patch of light for Microsoft is strong sales of
touchscreen Windows 8 laptops, which accounted for 6 percent of
Windows laptop sales, according to NPD.
It is still unclear how successful Microsoft's Windows 8
will be in the long term. The touch-optimized, tablet-friendly
system was designed to appeal to younger users with a colorful,
app-based interface, but has confused some traditional Windows
customers more used to keyboard and mouse commands. Beneath the
new interface design, it does not offer any radical new
On Monday, a top Windows executive said Microsoft had sold
40 million Windows 8 licenses in the month since the launch.
That is ahead of Windows 7 at the same stage, but it was not
clear how many of those were pre-orders, discounted upgrades, or
bulk sales to PC makers.
According to tech research firm StatCounter, about 1
percent of the world's 1.5 billion or so personal computers -
making a total of around 15 million - are actually running