"We are seeing some differentiated, higher-priced products for Windows 8, those in the $700 and above range, including touch screens, convertibles and the like," said Baker, who added that the higher price and resulting higher ASP provided a note of optimism for OEMs around Windows 8. "They're pretty differentiated from what Apple is doing."
Traditionally, Apple has owned the bulk of the premium personal computer market, accounting for large majorities of the over-$1,000 systems sold in the U.S. Windows 8's touch capabilities, Microsoft's aggressive marketing of those functions, and some of the OEM products may be able to rejuvenate the moribund premium PC market, said Baker.
Baker's take on U.S. retail sales was the latest of several pieces of Windows 8 uptake news in the last weeks. On Monday, a senior Microsoft executive said the company had sold 40 million Windows 8 licenses so far -- a number that included sales to OEMs for PCs that have yet to end up in customers' hands -- while last week a Wall Street analyst claimed that orders by OEMs to their Asian manufacturers slipped in October, hinting at lowered expectations for the year.
"Even if the Windows 7 machines had not been there [in inventory], we would have seen better results if Windows 8 had any impact," said Baker. "We still have the whole holiday selling season ahead of us, but clearly Windows 8 did not prove to be the impetus for a sales turnaround."