Exclusive Microsoft blames PC makers for underwhelming Windows 8 sales over Christmas, The Register has learned. The software giant accused manufacturers of not building enough attractive Win 8-powered touchscreen tablets.
But the computer makers are fighting back: they claimed that if they’d followed Microsoft’s hardware requirements and ramped up production, they'd have ended up building a lot of high-end expensive slabs that consumers didn’t understand nor want.
The Reg has learned Microsoft provided clear and specific guidance on the hardware it wanted inside any machine running Windows 8 so as to show off and utilise the operating system's new capabilities, such as the touch-driven interface. Microsoft also gave its advice on the mix of high and low-end form-factors manufacturers should build, namely Ultrabooks, hybrids and simple laptops.
The Redmond giant had held a competition between competing computer makers, and the PCs it deemed the best were to be promoted under two labels: Hero PCs and Featured PCs. Microsoft wanted 10 Hero PCs to advertise globally and promised to pay retailers to display and promote 20 PCs on the Featured list.
However, the wheels came off that plan: Gartner said last week that during Q4 2012 Windows 8 didn’t make a “significant impact” on PC shipments and other analysts said sales of Windows 8 are lagging Windows 7.
Now Microsoft is planning to reboot its launch of Windows 8 next month. On Tuesday the company gave 9 February as the date for the US and Canada unveiling of the Intel-powered Surface Pro tablets. But sources tell us Microsoft is actually preparing for a February “relaunch” of Windows 8.
The Windows Pro Surface was planned to emerge in January, 90 days after Windows 8 and ARM-powered Windows RT Surface devices went on sale. That has clearly slipped.
Our well-placed source said that bad sales combined with PC makers “ignoring” Microsoft's advice has left Redmond executives fuming.
“Microsoft is very frustrated with major OEMs who didn't build nearly enough touch systems and are now struggling to find parts and ramp up. Microsoft says they provided very specific guidance on what to build,” our insider said.
Source and more
Edited by Calum, 24 January 2013 - 13:37.
Added a 'rumour' tag to remove the possibility of misguidance and the possibility of false accusations being made. What The Register's article says has not been confirmed at all by anyone.