Does Microsoft Need More Time to Prove Windows 8 Successful?

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and the rest of the PC ecosystem have been struggling amid the growing shift to more portable and popular gadgets. Companies like Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) and Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) have been counting on the new Windows operating system to spark a catalyst in sales, but a recent report shows that more time will be needed.

How Slow are Sales?

Windows 8

Microsoft launched Windows 8 on October 26 in the United States, but it is off to a slow start. Windows device sales dropped 21 percent between October 21 and November 17, compared to the same period last year, according to leading market research company The NPD Group’s Weekly Tracking Service. The report is based on data from a subset of retailers such as Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) and Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), but does not include sales from Microsoft’s websites and retail stores. Notebooks powered by Windows have struggled all year and fell 24 percent from last year. Desktops performed better, but still declined 9 percent.

“After just four weeks on the market, it’s still early to place blame on Windows 8 for the ongoing weakness in the PC market,” said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD. “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 some had hoped for.”

Since its launch, Windows 8 has managed to capture about 58 percent of Windows computing device unit sales, far below the 83 percent Windows 7 represented after only four weeks of hitting shelves. Adding insult to injury, NPD Group notes that Windows 8 tablet sales have been “almost non-existent,” with unit sales totaling less than 1 percent of all Windows 8 device sales.

Is there a silver lining in the report…

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