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Hey Microsoft, What’s Up With Win8 Sales?

For the last few weeks I thought Hurricane Sandy had managed to knock Microsoft’s Redmond campus off the power grid.

The almost total lack of noise from the software giant regarding Windows 8 sales in both the aftermarket and PC OEM arena is quite telling, and the only reason I could come up with was its email system was down due to the high winds that crushed New Jersey and New York. The hush surrounding the Surface tablet is just as damning.

Not that Microsoft needs to be compared to Apple any more, but Apple wastes no time pushing out sales figures for its new products. Granted, Apple usually has some pretty good numbers to crow about post launch, but with all the hoopla Microsoft put behind Windows 8, I expected to see a steady stream of press releases touting its success.

Instead, all that has come across is a very tepid comment from CEO Steve Ballmer over the weekend in Paris that the Surface sales are only modest so far.

Could you ever imagine Steve Jobs, or now Tim Cook, saying iPhone sales are modest?

One of the few hard figures released by Microsoft was that 4 million upgrades were sold during Win8’s first week of availability. While this is a strong-sounding figure, consider the fact that there are 670 million Windows 7 computers already in homes and businesses, and millions of additional XP and, even (mercy on their souls), Vista users. All of whom are potential upgrade sales.

Apple sold 5 million iPhone 5s and 3 million iPad Minis within a week of release.

Will consumers with an older OS adopt Win8? Windows 7 is a very nice piece of software, and since most people do not own a Win8-capable touchscreen device, my guess is adoption will be slow. Also, holiday shopping surveys indicate consumers have a few very specific computer devices on their shopping lists: tablets and smartphones.

Of course, Microsoft will sell tens of millions of Win8 licenses to manufactures, so one cannot feel too badly.