Further confirming our suspicions that Windows 8 is off to a slow start, a Newegg senior vice president has said that sales of Windows 8 have been “slow going.” Likewise, sales of hardware with Windows 8 pre-installed has been “slow and steady.”
These quotes come from Merle McIntosh, Newegg’s senior vice president of product management, in an interview with ReadWrite. The fact that Newegg (see: Cracking the shell: Inside Newegg’s east coast distribution center), one of the world’s largest retailers of computers, components, and associated paraphernalia, is actually going on the record to register its disappointment is a huge blow for Microsoft. In the absence of official figures from Microsoft, Newegg’s Windows 8 stats are probably the best bellwether that we could hope for — or the worst, depending on your point of view.
“We were prepared for some pretty big upside on the software side of the equation, and the hardware side of the equation, and it is has been steadily improving. But it did not explode, as I think you know, coming out of the gate,” McIntosh says. “On the software side it has been slow going, and I think it will be that way until the pricing normalizes sometime next year.” With regards to specific hardware form factors, another Newegg spokesperson says that most Windows 8 devices sold so far have been desktops and laptops, with tablets sales starting to grow. Unfortunately, Newegg doesn’t provide a single hard figure on how many Windows 8 devices/licenses it’s sold. According to ReadWrite, Newegg has sold about half of its original stock of Windows 8 discs.
As far as Newegg is concerned, it doesn’t seem wholly surprised at Windows 8′s slow start. “As you know … the Windows 7 launch was coming in to solve a Vista problem, and there was lots of lots of pent-up demand for it. And so for the launch — at launch — the Win 8 stuff doesn’t compare, really.” McIntosh goes on to note that Newegg picked up additional Windows 7 hardware between August and October, anticipating continued demand even in the face of Windows 8′s release. It goes without saying that, just because Windows 8 is on the scene, it doesn’t mean that non-touch-enabled computers will simply stop selling. In fact, if you’re not wowed by the idea of using a touchscreen Windows 8 desktop computer (who is?), then now’s the perfect time to pick up a cheap Windows 7 PC.
Finally, just to flesh out this story a little more, Windows super-fan Paul Thurrott has an insider source at Microsoft who says that Windows 8 sales are “disappointing” and “well below projections.” Furthermore, the same source tells Thurrott that Microsoft blames its OEMs for the slow adoption of Windows 8, pointing its large, fleshy finger at “lackluster… designs and availability.” Ostensibly, the entire purpose of the Surface tablets was to avoid this predicament — to show OEMs that it’s possible to build a sexy Windows device. At least for now, the strategy doesn’t seem to be paying off.