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windows8What’s going on with Windows 8, anyway? That was the gist of a question posed to Intel CEO Paul Otellini during the chipmaker’s earnings conference call yesterday. In short, Otellini said he’s a fan — and a user — of the new Microsoft operating system, but he acknowledged that it faces an initial “adoption curve” for new users.

He also said he believes the adoption of touch screens, over time, will help make the value of Windows 8 more clear.

Otellini said “it gets into the form factor innovation and the integration with touch as I spoke about earlier, which I think is really part of the recipe required for Win 8 adoption. I’ve recently converted personally to Windows 8 with touch, and it is a better Windows than Windows 7 in the desktop mode, when you implement the touch and the touch-based applications and operating environment. It’s just a lot easier to use.

He added, “There is an adoption curve, and once you get over that adoption curve, I don’t think you go back. And we didn’t quite have that same kind of adoption curve in Windows 7 versus XP before it. This requires a little bit of training. And I think people are attracted to touch, and the touch price points today are still fairly high, and they’re coming down very rapidly over the next couple of quarters.”

Side note: It’s funny how the industry has completely “forgotten” about Windows Vista, the operating system between Windows XP and Windows 7, which faced a certain adoption curve of its own.

Otellini’s comments followed a report last week from IDC that PC shipments were down 14 percent in the first quarter, following the Windows 8 release. Intel’s first-quarter profits were down 17 percent. The company is looking to its upcoming “Haswell” processors to help reignite the market, with significant improvements in battery life and performance.

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