Windows 8 was released in October of 2012. Since that time, Windows 8 laptops and tablets have been released in the millions. Unfortunately, sales of all of these devices have been mostly underwhelming.
The tech world already knew that, but when pressed for comment, Microsoft would always say that sales figures were right on track and that the company had sold plenty of Windows 8 licenses.
Well, it looks like Microsoft has finally admitted that sales aren’t quite as good as the company had hoped. In a recent interview with The Verge, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer revealed that:
“We’re not selling as many Windows devices as we want to”
Windows devices include Windows 8 tablets and laptops as well as Windows Phone 8 smartphones. Ballmer’s statement is reinforced by the fact that PC sales are in their worst state ever, with some analysts saying that the “PC industry bleeding” in 2012 has now turned into “full-blown hemorrhaging in 2013”
Windows RT sales have also been thoroughly disappointing, with the main reason being that consumers were never able to understand the difference between Windows 8 and Windows RT. The difference is significant, since Windows RT is basically a shell of Windows 8 and can only run certain Microsoft-approved apps from the Windows Store, which is a relatively small app store.
I know the difference between Windows 8 and Windows RT because I write about tech for a living, but most of the people I talk to – friends and family – are totally unaware of the difference. Judging by my small sample size, Microsoft has a marketing problem.
Ballmer specifically addressed the Microsoft Surface RT’s disappointing sales in his interview with The Verge:
“We built a few more [Surface RT] devices than we could sell”
That statement comes on the heels of Microsoft dropping the Surface RT to a price of $350, which apparently took away nearly $1 billion out of Microsoft’s accounting books, causing Microsoft to miss estimates for 2nd quarter 2013 revenue.
Meanwhile, Windows Phone 8 seems to be the company’s most popular product, since WP8 devices recently overtook Blackberry for third place earlier this year. With the controversial Xbox One shipping out later this year, Microsoft’s future is decidedly hazy.