It’s official: Windows 8 is not the miracle cure for the sluggish PC market’s woes, just as Ultrabooks failed to shoulder the burden last year. So sayeth the NPD Group, which claims that holiday sales of Windows notebooks declined 11 percent compared to the 2011 season.
While that’s obvious cause for concern for PC stalwarts, NPD’s Stephen Baker told Business Insider that the numbers aren’t shocking in the slightest, and they don’t have anything to do with the tepid consumer response that greeted Windows 8’s Jekyll and Hyde interface. According to Baker, the drop in holiday sales simply continues the downward trend the PC market has suffered at the hands of tablets—which should be the true concern for the bigwigs in Redmond.
Baker contends that “Microsoft doesn’t have a credible response” for any segment of the mainstream market, from the $500 arena closely tended by the iPad to the $200, 7-inch market so thoroughly picked over by Amazon, Google, and Barnes & Noble.
Indeed, there has yet to be a Windows RT tablet released in the 7-inch form factor, though HTC, Nokia, and Microsoft itself have all been rumored to be working on 7-inch prototypes for release sometime in 2013. Meanwhile, 10-inch and up Windows tablets have reportedly been plagued by poor sales, which isn’t surprising when you consider their price premium and the lackluster state of the Windows Store. Windows RT tablets can only run Modern-style apps and not legacy PC programs.
Another worrying trend for Microsoft: NPD reports that only 4.5 percent of all Windows 8 notebooks sold during the holiday season sported a touch screen—not exactly resounding stats for such a finger-friendly operating system.
Image credit: Microsoft.com