Is Windows 8 off to a weaker start than Windows 7?

Microsoft is spending big-time bucks to get the word out about Windows 8 (reportedly to the tune of $1.5 billion). But are folks buying it?

A report out from Microsoft watcher Paul Thurrott seems to indicate things aren’t going that great, with Thurrott citing unnamed sources at the company who say that sales of Windows 8 PCs are below Microsoft projections.

And the report even includes mention of the dreaded “V” word: Vista. He writes that Windows 8 will likely do better than Vista, but points out a number of challenges facing the new OS:

The net effect of all this stuff, I think, contributes to a wait-and-see approach with Windows 8. And that is exactly the opposite of what Microsoft and even the broader industry should want at this time. In this way, the Windows 8 launch is much like that of Vista, where a nagging (and in that case, tech blogger-led) cabal of disappointed voices dominated the discussion at launch and torpedoed the product before it had a chance. Windows 8 is no Vista, in many ways. Until it is.

Of course, the report comes a few days after Microsoft announced that longtime Windows 8 boss Steven Sinofsky was leaving the company, something that Thurrot also cites, noting that the “timing couldn’t be worse.” He also calls Windows 8 confusing, noting that it is a “Frankenstein’s monster mix of old and new.”

The Windows 8 launch comes amid increasing pressure on Microsoft in the personal computer market. (Interestingly, a family member, and longtime Windows user, just reached out asking about Google’s Chromebook, one of the many competitors that Microsoft now has on the low end).

As we’ve noted in the past, Windows 8 is absolutely critical for Microsoft. It needs the operating system to do well, a challenge given that it marks a radical departure from previous versions. That transformative nature of the product could give some users cold feet, sticking with existing products or considering alternatives.

[Hat tip to All Things D]

Previously on GeekWireWindows 8 launch: Sinofsky defends ‘bold’ overhaul of Microsoft’s flagship product

  • Disgusted PC User

    We don’t always need “newer and better”, especially when it doesn’t map properly to what we already know. Had this been called something like “Windows Mobile” and aimed only at those devices it would have been praised. But it was also aimed at replacing windows on all PCs and is woefully inadequate for “serious” work. I need to be able to have multiple windows open, to see them simultaneously at a size that does not require vision aids, and to properly file my projects. The last OS to do this was Vista, and the last one to do it well was XP.

    • CluelessPCUser

      Hard to take anyone seriously who still pines for XP. But Win8 does virtually everything Win7 does, only faster and better In most cases. Seems like a lot of “serious work” getting done on Win7. Ergo, it can get done on Win8. And both do everything you listed. Not liking Metro, full screen, touch, and thinking that should be separate is a legitimate but different issue. However, touch is coming to desktops too. In fact, if you’ve been around a while you’d know that touchscreens have been in the enterprise for decades. Finally, nobody is forcing you to upgrade.

    • ConfusedPCUser

      Please explain the this: ” I need to be able to have multiple windows open, to see them
      simultaneously at a size that does not require vision aids, and to
      properly file my projects. The last OS to do this was Vista, and the
      last one to do it well was XP.”

  • ConnectedWorld

    Could not agree more with Disgusted PC User! It’s a fine *mobile* O/S, but not for a full PC. But the real test will be whether or not major IT organizations in the Fortune 1000 adopt Windows 8 for their workforces and I can see no reason they would. Who was Microsoft trying to please?

    • Luddite

      Yawn. For those who can’t handle change of any kind, you can spend $5 on Start8. Bam! Now you get all the speed and security goodness of W8 in a W7 UI. Next…

      • guest

        Or run various other free alternatives, including the Classic shell.

  • guest

    I was disappointed in Thurrott reporting this news from a single source and while admitting he doesn’t know the exact context. I was even more disappointed by the supposed well placed MS employee who leaked it. True or not, that person showed terrible judgment and it’s embarrassing that someone that irresponsible is in any kind of position of importance in MS. And I’m scratching my head at Thurrott’s apparently shock that his story was subsequently picked up and is now being rewritten as “W8 not selling well”. What else did he expect?
    Anyway, I guess we’ll know how it’s selling come the earnings report. With the generally high W7 satisfaction, the UI change that people tend to either love or hate, and the current lack of CT-based W8 tablets, I’d expect sales to be a slow ramp. I assume MS did to. If so and they’re coming in even below that, then that’s obviously a concern.

  • rearden215

    I was so close to clicking the link to upgrade my Windows 7 laptop to Windows 8.

    But, I hesitated and searched the web for any reports of problems upgrading my barely two month old ThinkPad.

    Boy, were there ever problems!

    I scanned the list of devices on my laptop that would need to be disabled in order to upgrade along with the list of devices and software packages that may no longer work after the upgrade and decided: no way.

    I am no amateur at computers and software, but this upgrade path and it’s risks are ridiculous.

    • guest

      What sort of “no amateur at computers” would extrapolate from supposed issues with one particular model to the population at large? Maybe your opinion of your skills is overrated. I’ve installed it on three different machines, including one quite old one. No hardware issues. One app issue on one, for which a new version solves it.

  • guest

    I was a fool who upgraded from XP to Vista.

    I loathed Vista every single day.

    All devices were eventually replaced when Win 7 emerged. I’m pretty happy.

    I’ve seen the interface for Win 8 and do not want to turn my business computers into social media toys or faux-tablets. I don’t even want my personal computer to change.

    Someday, I may be stuck purchasing a device with Win 8 installed. I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. ‘Til then? No upgrade. No way. No reason.

    Burned once…

    • guest

      A really weak troll attempt.

      • GrowUp

        what is it about MS backers who label every posting that doesn’t proclaim absolute love for every product as a troll attempt? Sure reads as genuine feedback from a real user to me. Speaks volumes of a head-in-sand approach to customer feedback. I think thousand of of people had the same experience with Vista.

        I’m a MS user but this kind of attitude really lessens my desire to want to stick with you guys.

        • Comeoutoftheclosettroll

          another really weak troll attempt.