Analysts Blame Retailers for Windows 8's Failure

Dennis Faas's picture

In a new report, tech industry analysts suggest that the world's major electronics retailers have contributed to slow sales of Microsoft's newest operating system (OS), Windows 8.

The problem: retailers didn't make Windows 8's changes clear to consumers or do enough to try and help those consumers understand the OS' new user interface.

"Windows 8 brought a brand new UI [user interface] that had not fundamentally changed since DOS," noted Moor Insights & Strategy analyst, Patrick Moorhead. "[So] how did big-box retail respond? The same way they have for the last 20 years."

"Massive Disconnect" Between Consumers, Retailers

Moorhead indicated that major electronics retailers in North America, of which Best Buy is the largest, failed to adapt their selling strategy for Windows 8, an operating system that radically overhauled the existing Windows formula.

"There exists a massive disconnect between what consumers want to and need to know about the latest generation of PCs" and what retailers did, and continue to do, to sell those PCs," Moorhead added. (Source:

"The stores just do not provide, for many, the environment that meets the needs of someone trying to buy a new Windows 8 notebook."

Moorhead is not alone in making the argument that retailers dropped the ball when it came to marketing Windows 8. "Nothing happened at launch," noted NPD Group analyst, Stephen Baker. "Everyone treated it as if was another Windows 7."

According to Baker, the fact that retailers didn't change their strategy for Windows 8 left consumers confused and even annoyed. That inevitably led many potential computer buyers to look elsewhere for their tech needs, driving down sales of PCs.

Of course, Microsoft is not escaping blame here. Baker insists that the Redmond, Washington-based firm should shoulder much of the blame because it didn't properly prepare retailers for the new OS.

Apple Retail Stores Establish Useful Model

In drawing comparisons for how the Windows 8 launch should have proceeded, Moorhead pointed to Apple's chain of retail stores.

"Interestingly, I never see [similar retail problems] at an Apple store. Never, ever," Moorhead said. "I can sit at the Apple store there for hours and literally do a test drive like I would a car." (Source:

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