Microsoft’s revamped Windows 8 accounts for evolving PC industry

May 15, 2013

While the numbers on Windows 8 migration haven’t been stellar for the first six months of Microsoft’s new operating system, there’s reason for optimism going forward. Because the OS has an interface that emphasizes interactive tiles and touch controls, it should be well suited to a marketplace that’s been rapidly moving away from personal computers and drifting toward smartphones and tablets.

The Associated Press recently reported that according to statistics reported by leading research firm International Data Corporation, worldwide PC sales saw a 14 percent declineduring the first three months of 2013, the biggest year-over-year drop in the market’s history. This trend is backed up by stock prices across the board – Apple, which manufactures the iPhone and iPad, is soaring, as is Samsung, which sells most of the devices running Google’s Android OS. Meanwhile, leading PC makers like Hewlett-Packard and Dell are in a financial funk, questioning whether their current business models can survive.

Windows 8 makes the perfect operating system for computer users who are caught in the middle of this OS transition, as it offers the best of both worlds. For those who are gravitating toward mobile devices, the OS is touchscreen-friendly, making it a good fit, but at the same time, Windows 8 still works well in traditional PCs as well, albeit with some changes from previous models such as the lack of a “Start” button.

A slow upward trend

Microsoft’s sales numbers are slowly growing as users begin to discover the operating system’s flexibility. Tami Reller, marketing and financial chief for Microsoft’s Windows business, told the AP that over 100 million licenses for the new OS have been sold since its release in October, a significant increase from about 60 million in January. Reller noted that Windows 8’s numbers are “in the same general ballpark” that Windows 7 was at this point, but she also admitted that Microsoft still had work to do, especially considering how much technology has evolved since April.

“Are there things that we can do to improve the experience? Absolutely,” Reller said. “There is a learning curve [to Windows 8], and we can work to address that.”

Windows 8 still controls only 3.82 percent of the OS market to date, ranking it a distant fourth in the power rankings according to ZDNet, trailing Windows 7, XP and Vista. But considering the software’s versatility in a market that needs it, we may soon see a further rise in its popularity.