Third-party research firms paint a dreary retail picture. Computer sales have actually dropped precipitously since Windows 8 hit the streets. NPD reports that holiday sales of Windows notebooks dropped a whopping 11% in 2012, while both Gartner and IDC say that overall PC sales dipped in the fourth quarter by an estimated 4.9 and 6.4%, respectively. Net Applications says Windows 8's user adoption lags behind Windows Vista's. All that corresponds with talk from executives at HP, Acer, Asus, Fujitsu, Newegg, and more, who have universally said Windows 8 is off to a slower-than-expected start.
"To really know the state of Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and Surface, additional granularity is required," says Patrick Moorhead, founder and principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. "We really need to know how many Windows 8 licenses and Surfaces sold through retail. The biggest unknown is why Windows 8 revenue looked good while all [manufacturers] had shaky quarters."
Software sales of Windows 8 will no doubt slow going forward as the pricing of a Windows 8 Pro upgrade is set to increase from $40 to $200 in February. Windows 8 has also largely been a dud in the enterprise arena, a few large exceptions aside. When Reller was asked about enterprise adoption of Windows 8 at CES, she explained how BYOD Windows 8 devices should work just fine alongside a Windows 7 deployment.
Grade: C- (Hey, 60 million licenses and $5.88 billion is nothing to sneeze at!)