Windows 8’s Start Screen Not to Blame for Poor PC Sales [Gartner]

The lack of a Start button isn’t keeping so many users away from Windows 8, says analyst

A report released by market researcher IDC on Thursday revealed that Windows 8 is partly at fault for the disappointing PC sales recorded during the first quarter of this year, with analysts pointing to the lack of a Start button, but also to the many UI changes introduced by Microsoft in the new operating system.

Research firm Gartner, on the other hand, says that Windows 8 is not the one to blame for the continuous decline of the PC industry, but the hefty price of touchscreen-based computers.

The statistics released by Gartner are pretty much in line with those published by IDC, indicating that PC sales have dropped by 11.2 percent in the first quarter of 2013, to only 79.2 million units.

The main difference, however, is the cause of this steep decline. While IDC says that Windows 8 is one of the main reasons why people stay away from new PCs, Gartner analysts point to the price of new computers running Microsoft’s “reinvented” operating system.

“Touchscreen-based Ultramobiles offer PC manufacturers an opportunity to recover market share from media tablets, but Windows 8 PCs with touchscreens accounted for only a small percentage of consumer PC shipments in the first quarter of 2013,” Isabelle Durand, principal research analyst at Gartner, said in the report.

“The majority of consumers remain unwilling to pay the price premium for touchscreen capabilities on PCs at this stage. But, even so, touchscreens and Windows 8 will represent key opportunities for PC manufacturers in the second half of 2013.”

Microsoft seems to be well aware of the fact that touchscreen computers are very expensive, so it’s now offering Windows 8 with special discounts to manufacturers, in an attempt to bring more affordable units to the market.

In addition, the Redmond-based technology giant is also working on a major refresh for Windows 8 that would bring several improvements in terms of performance and user interface.

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