Paul Thurott: Windows 8 sales "well below" Microsoft's projections

By on November 19, 2012, 3:00 PM

Despite Microsoft's excitement at selling four million Windows 8 upgrades in four days, well-known industry blogger Paul Thurott says sales of the OS are "well below" Microsoft's internal projections. Get your salt shakers ready, but Thurott cites ones of his "trusted sources" at Microsoft for the tip, although fails to produce any specific numbers. To be fair though and in hindsight, Thurott does seem to have pretty accurate sources.

Despite the lack of numbers though, investors are a curious bunch, so we're likely to see official Windows 8 sales figures in the not-so-distant future. Until then though, anyone interested in watching the Windows 8 drama unfold will have to wade through a variety of anonymous leaks, specious rumors and fuzzy analyses in order to develop their own judgments.

Of course, if you don't fully trust Thurott's anonymous source, there have been plenty of other attempts to interpret Windows 8 sales. ExtremeTech touches on some of the facts we have to work with, including a chart of limited sample size from Soluto which paints Windows 8 in a positive light. There's also AdDuplex whose preliminary report indicates Surface is the single most popular Windows 8 device -- a potentially discouraging figure when you consider Microsoft's own CEO said Surface sales were off to a "modest" start.

Although it's early yet and solid figures are difficult to find, analytics firm Net Applications determined in October that users were 5 times less likely to be running the release preview of Windows 8 than Windows 7 back in 2009. It's a tenuous but interesting link to potentially slow Windows 8 sales, indicating a lack of overall consumer interest prior to launch.

Additionally, I'd like to note that StatCounter, another web analysis tool, shows a very modest a bump in "other" operating systems. This doesn't mean much on its own, but "other" had been holding pretty steady between 2.5 and 2.75 percent since May. With the inclusion of November though, "other" shot up by two-tenths of a percent to finally top three percent. Were most of these Windows 8 users? Who knows, but with XP holding about 26 percent and Windows 7 holding about 40 percent of the market, take that as you will. 

ExtremeTech also supposes Microsoft's silence itself may be a clue, as the company has been conspicuosly quiet since its "four million" announcement. Their premise is: if a company has a chance to brag about sales, they will. So why hasn't Microsoft been more forthcoming with positive news surrounding Windows 8 sales figures? Well, an absence of such news is certainly one possible explanation.

As Thurott points out though, even Windows Vista -- arguably the most hated Windows since Windows Me -- sold hundreds of millions of copies per year . Bearing that in mind, even if sales of Windows 8 remain below Microsoft's expectations, that doesn't necessarily mean Windows 8 should be tagged as a failure. Redmond will most likely distribute hundreds of millions of copies of 8 even if it doesn't meet the hype.




User Comments: 28

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1 person liked this | VitalyT VitalyT said:

Wow, what a shocker!

My man Balmer is sad???!!! - No way!!!

lipe123 said:

I loaded win8, after the "seamless upgrade" most of my older games refused to work and I had to do a full clean install before they worked again.

Then there is metro, It's so freaking frustrating and pointless on a desktop it makes me want to RAGE. I soon after loaded a start menu replacement app and forced the system to load the desktop "app" as soon as it boots.

I have a 21" and a 19" screen hooked up to my computer and metro is a f-ing slap in the face to the power user/gamer. Firstly metro can not be used on two monitors at all, and having every single app go fullscreen with a tedious and slow process of switching between apps sux. Not being able to see two apps at once sux.

Turning my computer into a 1920x1200 ipad is STUPID, sure its pretty decent as a tablet type interface but they dropped the ball badly by not asking the user on install "is this a desktop" and then retaining the old win 7 interface if the uses sais yes.

Littleczr Littleczr said:

Been using windows 8 for a month now. I can honestly say I have never touched the Metro UI, but I am very pleased with the other changes like the task manger and other stuff. I also spent 5 dollars and installed start menu from star dock.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I'm really not surprised, we've got a Microsoft "Windows 8" Bus turning up to my work place tomorrow to sell us the OS and we've got clients coming along as well to learn what all the fuss is about, I still don't like Windows 8 myself but maybe after a tour I may be persuaded.

Cota Cota said:

I'm really not surprised, we've got a Microsoft "Windows 8" Bus turning up to my work place tomorrow to sell us the OS and we've got clients coming along as well to learn what all the fuss is about, I still don't like Windows 8 myself but maybe after a tour I may be persuaded.

I hear you, in work I had been trying to postpone 8 getting into our routine work, still I find amusing that some non Tech workers had been asking me when we will get it. My deadline will be when boss asks about it.

But more important, im the only one that just wants to shut his ears and don't listen to it

Seventh Reign Seventh Reign said:

What really ticks me off, is we all know damn well that Microsoft is counting ALL PCs with Windows 8 installed on them. That includes every single PC sitting on the shelves at your local Best Buy, Staples or Office Max. Whether sold or unsold. That number probably makes up a good 70%+ of their 'claimed' sales. So in reality, they havent sold nearly a fraction as much as they say they have.

Tygerstrike said:

Win 8 = yet another in a long line of Microsoft OS that will have problems. Microsoft will blame the user, the user will blame Microsoft. What we have here is a failure to make the consumer happy. They prolly did a focus group of 25 college students and made win 8 off their feedback. Typical MS BS!!

Guest said:

On the biz front, I see a very slow migration to Windows 8. Comparing this to the Windows 7 release in the same time frame our company had a full rollout plan being started. With Windows 8 everyone is like yeah, whatever... I think in time we will upgrade however that may be a year or two down the line.

On the home front, I'm upgrading to Linux.

lipe123 said:

Don't make a mistake, win8 is GREAT. its fast the task manager improvement is amazing and a host of those good things.

The only downside is compatability with some programs and the stupid metro UI, the user should have a choice right at the installation to not have metro at all and stick to the old desktop.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

A few other sites have reports of Microsoft blaming the OEMs for not creating hardware that makes Windows 8 appealing... Which is ironic, considering their Surface products are showing rather underwhelming sales figures. It can't possibly be that it's because:

They gambled on a gimmicky interface that is turning off long-time and/or power Windows users...

That it's only been 3 years since Windows 7 dropped and it's just hitting its stride...

That the whole Windows RT vs Windows 8 marketing thing is rather confusing for the average consumer (and many retail salespeople in my experience)...

Or that the economy is still a bit tight and people don't want to go buy shiny new touch-enabled equipment just to leverage the few distinct advantages Windows 8 has over 7...

Nah, that can't be it!

2 people like this | captainawesome captainawesome said:

Loving Windows 8. It's lightning quick. Loving the new file manager and copy functions. The task manager is simply superb. Beats even linux task managers. In fact, to use a grotesque example, it consolidates top, htop, iotop, iftop, memtop, iostat and more into one brilliant package. And finally no missing processes. glad that issue is finally sorted.frustrated the crap out of me in win 7 when troubleshooting load.

I agree that metro should be an optional feature for desktop users but on the other hand I do love how fast Metro is. The search feature sucks on my bu77hole though.

1 person liked this | ReederOnTheRun ReederOnTheRun said:

Regardless of whether or not people upgrade, it is a great OS, hands down. Maybe the UI is too difficult for some people to grasp, and maybe some people don't like the cleaner looking theme. Either way, I learned fast and like the minimalist look - callin it a win.

Cue the haters.

2 people like this | Guest said:

Windows 8 is fantastic and a huge step above windows 7. Complain about metro all you want but you don't need to use it at all. No start menu is needed as you can pin anything you want to 3 different locations and if you RIGHT CLICK in the very bottom left corner you get a menu 10x better then the old start menu.

Win 8 does everything win 7 did plus more. Stop complaining about improved and added features.

Jack43011 Jack43011 said:

Microsoft is shooting themselves in the foot. The reason why people stuck with windows is because they were afraid of change, or were gamers. They are counting on the teeming masses of "Ill never switch away from windows because I am familiar with it" buying windows 8 PCs then buying windows 8 smartphones and tablets, because after they have it on the pc, well, why wouldn't they? They are gambling their bottom line to open up a new market, and to be honest, it is pretty silly. Microsoft should just get behind android, it already is pretty seemless with windows, and the android marketing strategy is very similar to windows.

This is just microsoft blatantly attempting to throw their weight around to force us to buy their mobile devices. I dont want a UI designed for touch, I want one designed for quick twitch mouse movements.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Loving Windows 8. It's lightning quick. Loving the new file manager and copy functions. The task manager is simply superb. Beats even linux task managers. In fact, to use a grotesque example, it consolidates top, htop, iotop, iftop, memtop, iostat and more into one brilliant package. And finally no missing processes. glad that issue is finally sorted.frustrated the crap out of me in win 7 when troubleshooting load.

I agree that metro should be an optional feature for desktop users but on the other hand I do love how fast Metro is. The search feature sucks on my bu77hole though.

I had the chance to play with a Surface for quite a while last week... And I'll say that Windows 8 really shines on that kind of hardware. As you stated, there are quite a few perks and nice features that have been incorporated into this new OS, but in my experience with running Windows 8 on a desktop, the perks didn't seem to outweigh the negatives. I just can't get over that overwhelming feeling that it was designed from the beginning to be touch-centric, and the actual desktop mode was just slapped into the framework to appease bajillions of current users out there... On something like the Surface, it is an absolute winner, hands down. But would I put it on my current (non-touch) laptop? Not in its current state... But hey, if I get a Surface and get comfortable with using that, over time the transition probably wouldn't seem as jarring, so who knows?

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

I was quite happy with it for the first 3 days, then I upgraded my video drivers and I couldn't play videos anymore. After trying to search for a solution (which I did eventually find later) I gave up and reinstalled windows 7.

Guest said:

I had windows 8 for over a month, went back to 7.

Since A LOT of the games I played kept crashing. So it's not worth it for me at-least.

But It's noticeably faster that's why I tried it out in the 1st place

It wasnt even a pb error , just something else .

Guest said:

Have windows 8 installed on 2 PCs and a laptop within the house and nobody has had any issues with any of the 85 games in our steam library or any games outside if steam for that matter. Could be another deciding factor with your problem to run games within windows 8. Mayhaps a driver issue.

Point is Windows 8 is running games perfectly on 3 separate and completely different systems in my home so windows 8 in itself should not be your problem.

soldier1969 soldier1969 said:

No reason to go with 8 when 7 works just fine. No way in Hell am I putting that metro crap on my desktop. Why would I want my home screen to look like a Windows phone which I do really hate. Will wait for the next OS, reminds me of Vista too much. I have 2 SSD drives, a GTX 680 4gb and latest i7 ivy bridge at 4.5 ghz, 16gb of ram, 2560 x 1600 res. So hardware isnt an issue. That OS is. No thanks. Keeping 7 for as long as it takes.

wiyosaya said:

As I have said before, it will not matter if 8 is the greatest thing since sliced bread. IMHO, the business world is not about to invest in it, and without the business world's investment, 8 will not do well. IMHO, this is no surprise.

If the business world had not just finished upgrading to 7 from NT, then the story might be different; however, I do not see the business world being able to justify the expense of the upgrade to 8 after just having spent a fair sum to upgrade to 7. I doubt that the business world will bite until 9 or later.

Perhaps this will result in an adjustment to Micro$oft's future vision and them waking up to the real world.

Guest said:

Problem is the economy is in the pooper for many people and wasting money on an OS is just not an option.

Those who have money (or think they have money) spend it on Apple crap so they can be "in" with their "clever friends".

;-)

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I have been using Win8 on my work PC for months now, and I'll say that I am not disappointed by the performance bump it offers. But the best feature for me is, lack of start button

Note: Metro isn't bad, but I don't use it either.

Pulagatha said:

It's the JIGSAW interface of Windows 8. It is awful. Well, this part is in metro, that isn't. FULL SCREEN APPS. THE GOD AWFUL START SCREEN. It's like someone took the worst parts of a mobile operating system and stuck them on a desktop counterpart. Not to mention, the in-system advertising. Jesus... That is awful. A lot of these metro apps should be only for a mobile device. A lot of people who use Windows 7, and love it, have desktops. They want a desktop equivalent. NOT THE METRO MOBILE VERSION. Did Microsoft think no one was going to notice that they just wrote one version of quintessential programs and tried to tailor it to desktop computers? Is Microsoft just trying to be cheap? I should be paid for how many times I've complained about every thing that is wrong with Windows 8. Are the developers too out of touch? Out of touch for a touchscreen UI... There is a great joke there. The App Changer Window. The WiFi Window. They are coded to look like Metro on the desktop. WTF?

Microsoft needs to focus on what is essential. Make desktop equivalents to the new emerging apps that are becoming essential. Messaging. Notifications. Contacts. SEPARATE METRO FROM WINDOWS ALL TOGETHER. MAKE A DESKTOP APP FOR THEIR STORE. THE END.

mailpup mailpup said:

Pulagtha, please stop shouting. Thanks.

1 person liked this | MilwaukeeMike said:

I think the biggest problem with Windows 8 is that Windows 7 is a great OS. Only Apple can get away with pointless upgrades.

I think making a single OS for all platforms is a great idea. But Metro should be a feature of Win 8, not the focus. The tablet focus makes it far too much trouble for even someone with two monitors. The Surface tablet is great at multitasking apps, it even shows two on teh screen at once. Why can't Win 8 be great as well? When I drag a window to the corner, dock in 25% of my screen... stuff like that.

They're forcing people into a box... again... just cause Apple does it, doesn't mean it's a good idea.

Guest said:

You can move the desktop tile to the upper left hand corner of the start screen. Then when the PC boots into Metro, just tap the enter key and go right to the desktop. Simple enough even I do this. -Anonymous Coward

TileGuyJesse TileGuyJesse said:

" Windows 8 sales "well below" Microsoft's projections" ---So was Win7 when it first came out. Now it's number one.

I've been using it and like it. Took all of 5 minutes to get the hang of it.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Far be it from me to disagree with an esteemed Tech website, but

ExtremeTech also supposes Microsoft's silence itself may be a clue, as the company has been conspicuosly quiet since its "four million" announcement. Their premise is: if a company has a chance to brag about sales, they will. So why hasn't Microsoft been more forthcoming with positive news surrounding Windows 8 sales figures? Well, an absence of such news is certainly one possible explanation.
On the other hand, a sullen, woebegone, and downtrodden "outlook " (*) on the part of M$ execs, could simply mean they're trying to make you buy Windows 8 out of pity....

(*) Yep, that was a bad pun, so what?

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