In general, when a product or service is introduced, one of two things will happen.
It will be praised and hailed as “in innovation” or some similar synonym. It will break sales records, be very popular, and send its competition scrambling to try and duplicate its success.
Or–it will be damned by critical reviews, panned by critics in general, shunned by the public. Those companies associated with it will try and distance themselves. The company that produced it will scramble to create a better and more popular version, using the criticism as a basis for its improvement.
I would ask you to tell me which of these two scenarios best described Windows 8–except, I don’t have to. The president of Samsung’s memory chip division, Jun Dong-Soo, will do it for me:
“The global PC industry is steadily shrinking despite the launch of Windows 8,” he said Friday, as reported by the Korea Times. “I think the Windows 8 system is no better than the previous Windows Vista platform.”
Sounds like an attempt at distancing to me.
NPD and Gartner reported that PC sales actually declined through the Holiday season. Jun also said that there has been “lackluster demand” for Microsoft’s Surface, and consumer demand for Microsoft’s and Intel’s new thinner laptops stalled “mostly because of the less-competitive Windows platform.”
Samsung has not been alone in its criticism of Windows 8. Acer President Jim Wong said in January that “Windows 8 itself is still not successful,” pointing out that sales of PCs did not pick up even after the new OS was released.
HP, the world’s largest manufacturer of PCs, has opted to not move ahead with any of the Windows Surface models, instead releasing a new Chromebook last month and preparing its first Android tablet for an April release. While the company has said nothing publicly about the Surface models, the executive VP of the company’s Personal Systems Group has made some offhand comments, according to this PCWorld article.
It’s interesting that the OEMs are pointing fingers at Microsoft, as if it was only the software that was the problem. Clearly, hardware has also got to be at least a small part of it, as to how well it adapts to the Windows 8 environment. Perhaps because of a perceived public indifference over Windows 8, OEMs haven’t made a great effort to introduce many models specially designed for that OS, such as hybrids and convertible models (from PC to tablet and back).
However, the ones that have been released by makers such as Asus have been selling well.
There is the possibility that the next generation of processors from Intel and AMD might help with the transition into this New Era of the Hybrid…or, maybe the upcoming software update known as Windows Blue might help knock off some of the rougher edges.
Perhaps Microsoft will slash Windows 8’s licensing costs, allowing companies like Samsung to sell Windows PCs for a reduced price. This would make the transition to the new OS less of a financial burden to users, possibly increasing its adoption.
Whatever happens down the road, the fact that there is finger-pointing over who’s to blame for Windows 8’s perceived failures isn’t doing much to boost the beleaguered OS’s public perception.