Windows 8 Uptake Still Low in the Middle East and Africa

Microsoft’s new OS fails to spur PC demand in the region

Windows 8 isn’t selling very well right now, even though Microsoft has previously stated that its sales performance is in line with the one recorded by Windows 7 after launch.

Research firm IDC revealed in a new study that Windows 8 had failed to spur PC demand in the Middle East and Africa in the first quarter of 2013, as the local market recorded a 14.1 percent year on year drop.

According to the report, PC shipments fell to 5.3 million units, with desktop computers accounting for only 2 million units, while netbooks dropped 11.2 percent to 3.3 million units.

Windows 8, Microsoft’s flagship operating system that was expected to increase sales of the continuously collapsing hardware industry, failed to make any difference, mostly due to the lack of touchscreen devices, IDC said.

"Since adding the touch-screen interface hikes up the price of a PC by a considerable margin, the majority of PCs shipped presently still lack touch-enabled screens," Fouad Rafiq Charakla, research manager for personal computing, systems, and infrastructure solutions at IDC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey, said in a statement.

"This has had the consequence of preventing the operating system from delivering to end users the user experience it is capable of, thus causing the demand for PCs to slow down."

According to figures released by market researcher Net Applications for the month of March, Windows 8 currently has a market share of 3.17 percent, still lower than Windows Vista’s 4.99 percent. Windows 7 tops the rankings with 44.73 percent, followed closely by Windows XP with 38.73 percent.

The good news is that Windows 8 is slowly gaining users, most likely because we're getting closer to the public debut of Windows 8.1, its first major upgrade that projected to see daylight sometime this summer and likely to bring quite a lot of improvements, including a new Start button.

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