Windows 8 is a big hit … on budget PCs at Walmart

How did Microsoft’s new Windows 8 fare on its first big holiday shopping weekend? Here’s an encouraging picture, submitted by a GeekWire reader who took the photo at a Walmart in Indiana after the Black Friday mayhem had ended. The HP, Gateway and Toshiba notebooks ranged in price from $328 to $248.

However, the scene wasn’t so rosy for Microsoft at the Mall of America in Minneapolis, where analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray and team observed and tabulated traffic and sales at Microsoft and Apple stores. Microsoft saw 47 percent less foot traffic than the Apple Store did, and far fewer sales — 3.5 items per hour, compared with 17.2 items per hour at the Apple Store, as reported by Fortune’s Philip Elmer-Dewitt.

Most of the items purchased from the Microsoft Store were Xbox 360 games. During the two hours that the Piper Jaffray team observed the Microsoft Store, they didn’t see any Microsoft Surface tablets being purchased.

Walmart doorbusters aside, it’s more evidence of a somewhat lackluster start. Prior to the big holiday weekend, longtime Windows watcher Paul Thurrott reported that initial sales of Windows 8 were falling “well below” Microsoft’s internal projections.

We probably won’t get a sense for the official numbers until Microsoft reports earnings early next year, and the big research firms come out with their PC sales numbers. However, there may be a clue or two at Microsoft’s annual meeting with shareholders later this week.

Back at the Walmart, you may be wondering what you can get in a sub-$250 Windows 8 laptop. The Toshiba on the right (which normally retails for more than $300) has a 15.6-inch screen with 4GB of RAM, a 1.3 GHz AMD dual-core processor, a 320 GB hard drive, around 5.5 pounds. Here are the full specs.

That wasn’t the cheapest Windows 8 notebook available on Black Friday. Best Buy offered a 15.6-inch Lenovo with 2GB of RAM and a 320GB hard drive for $187.99, which quickly sold out, as well.

Best Buy’s Cyber Monday deals on Windows 8 machines aren’t nearly as aggressive.

  • Guest

    I’ve been buying these ultra cheap laptops for years. Very first thing I do is wipe the hard drive and install Linux. This turns a sluggish laptop into a fast little machine. I guess that still counts as an adoption success for MSFT Windows. Yey.

    • http://www.techin5.com Techin5

      Yea good luck gaming on that.

      • Guest

        I work on computers, but thanks anyway.

        • meme72

          And what OS do you use to get on blogs and gloat about only working on computers?

          • Guest

            Linux.

        • guest

          Pro tip: trolling != “work”.

          • meme72

            Take note microsofties! Blah, blah, blah, buy a superior WP, Apple is evil, apps aren’t everything, everyone I know is ‘getting’ a WP…blah, blah, blah.

          • guest

            Got fired, huh?

    • guest

      I’m sure they’ll be mortified to know they didn’t keep the 1% troll market.

      • Guest

        Right now, that right there would double their share. ;)

    • noone

      Which Linux distro is faster / less sluggish than Win8 on comparable hardware? So far on my Thinkpad X200, I have exetensively used Mint, Ubuntu, OpenSuse, and Fedora. None of them are as fast as Win8 on that hardware.

      • Guest

        LOL. Nice try. Faster regarding what? And please don’t say boot-time now; I haven’t rebooted my Linux PC in months so I don’t care if it happens to be a few secs quicker.

        In general, when you buy an ultra cheap laptop with all its inherent hardware limitations, it feels rather sluggish. I mean, why else would anyone want to buy a higher end laptop? Once you remove Windows and install Linux on those, the machines become actually usable. I’ve done it dozens of times for friends and family, the advantage of Linux here is that it has a small footprint and can run very well on virtually any hardware.

    • johnny

      Or you could wipe the hard drive and install Windows 8 without all the bloatware, and have it run even better than Linux.

      • viduthali chiruthai

        Why don’t you buy an arabian horse which is faster than both!

      • http://profiles.google.com/michel.memeteau michel memeteau

        Humm, from my experience, on the same machine linux is always faster. mainly because it requires less I/O to launch programs

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003952851640 Mark Bloggs

      What version of Linux do you install? I like Ubuntu or Zorin OS

  • Guest

    Nice! The budget PC market represents the 99% of consumers who know to buy what they can afford.

  • RLewis

    Todd, I have no idea whether Win 8 is or isn’t selling. I only know two things: believing a blogger who cites a single, anonymous source is something only done on tech websites. And any analyst standing outside a store for two hours and extrapolating anything meaningful beyond foot traffic is equally pathetic.

    • Guest

      If that was the only data-point, you’d be absolutely right. But there are many more … for example Newegg reported the same, it’s not selling well so far.

    • WestCoastStar

      And this is only because it makes Microsoft look bad. If Apple was not selling, we would call this a scientific approach.

  • guest

    Apple stores are a primary distribution point for their products. MS stores aren’t. That’s a secondary objective for them, as you’re well aware. Apple stores are also among the most successful retail stores (sales volume/ft, traffic, etc) of any type. So this particular comparative data is hardly surprising. It also has very little impact on how W8 adoption is going overall, as you’re also well aware. That said, I agree it’s likely off to a slow start. Oh, and Munster is one of the best known Apple perma bulls. And Elmer-Dewitt is without question one of the biggest Apple fanboys in journalism. Any reason why you didn’t disclose that while referencing them?

    • Guest

      MS stores aren’t primarily interested in selling?? What are they then, museums?

      Ever asked yourself, WHY “Apple stores are among the most successful retail stores”? Yeah, that would be unfair to compare MS stores to Apple stores, because Apple stores are obviously too successful.

      • guest

        Learn how to read.

    • WestCoastStar

      So you’re saying that Emer-Dewitt is either lying or that he can’t count. If an MS fanboy was reporting on the same facts, how would they present it?

  • guest

    None of these machines were touch screens, as far as I can tell. Pretty poor example of the intended W8 user experience. Walmart’s not doing MS any favors here.

  • Just by a laptop instead

    Best way for Surface RT to eventually turn a profit… License the kickstand technology to Samsung.

    • WestCoastStar

      If I could install iOS or Android on an RT tablet, I might get one.

  • gillza

    Guest is right. I have installed Debian Linux on old compaq netbook and fell in love with the little and yet quick beast. It had win7 starter on it before and even after the fresh installs the system was sluggish. As far as win8 goes… saw and played with the OS only in best buy. First impression = cumbersome useless …. and for me first impressions count. I have slowly moved all my relatives (whom I had to periodically visit to flush out crap from their windows PCs) onto ubuntu/mint and so far no one complained.

  • just a guy

    For the past 8 years, every January 1st, I have gone to Ebay and bought what 2 years previously was the must have rocket machine. When it gets here, I have stripped the hard drive. and loaded Linux on it. I actually BUY and then trial 10 or 12 distro’s. Whichever one “:wins” I send a check for $20 to.. This year the winner was Sabayon 7.
    I eagerly await this years moronic masses rush to buy the latest and greatest that they will never need or use nor have any idea what “it” even is, to replace last years latest and greatest that they never needed nor used nor knew anything about for all their CPU intensive Ebay and YouTube and Email and Facebkook “Liking” needs.
    Yep just 1 week after Christmas and my “new to you” $200 PC is on its way home…
    And last years PC goes to a friend or relatives kid or grandkid, with a clean hard drive and a shiny new copy of whatever this years trial time winner might be….
    Works for me.

  • PooSlingingFoo

    your sample size and frequency for doing statistics seems questionable..but yes I would believe Microsoft Windows 8 will not sell as much. Microsoft needs to stick to desktop and laptop tailored operating systems. If they want to do tablet operating systems then they need to design a OS specifically for that. Putting a tablet OS on desktops and laptops creates huge initial distaste and will affect sales. I’ve tried Windows 8 and I do not like it compared to XP or Windows 7.

    • Anonymous Coward

      I think the reason for W8 not taking off is its absolute novelty re. UX/UI. And when used with this new UI, legacy Windows apps don’t integrate well. But I think the major reason for MS not selling too many high end tablets with W8 is simply the price.

      OTOH, I do think that the idea to bring desktop, laptop and tablet/phone OSes together is a good one. Bringing the corresponding UIs together is a whole different thing, and IMO not such a good idea. But here’s where MS has a huge technical problem: the architecture of Windows is such that the UI is strongly coupled to everything else in the OS. For them, creating one OS with three different UIs is on one hand blasphemy on the other hand extremely difficult.

  • freeiam

    This is the end of Apple

  • jbelkin

    At $300 or under, WIN 8 will sell but above? Nada. That is why ultrabooks have failed – even at 50% of the pricing for 80% of a MB air, it’s not selling – WIN OS is so devalued, it’s an acceptable OS on a $188 machine – but to get MAC OSX? People have no problems growing the market 30% every quarter and pay $1,300 … it’s just two different markets – the danger for MS is this time, people have an option, a % will buy chromebooks, a larger % will buy macs, an even larger % will buy ipads, and most will try and hunt for a WIN 7 notebook or not buy anything. Corporayions will try and put off buying until 2015 …

  • John with Widerview

    Wipe the disk, install Ubuntu. Keeping a nice workable and fast notebook.
    Only the fact that if you buy a notebook you have no choice to leave Windows out.
    And you are paying for a not used license, but still counts for the sales :-) Strange world.

  • http://profiles.google.com/ee2718 admin 1

    Windows netbook / budget laptop firesales!

    These things haven’t been shifting because people are buying tablets and other devices, so Walmart is putting up a clearance sale.