A day before the release of Windows 8, anti-virus company Avast conducted a user survey that delivered a distressing report for Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and its partner personal computer manufacturers and rather excellent news for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). According to the survey, reported by USA Today, only 9 percent of curent Windows users said they were going to speed up buying a new computer because of Windows 8. Overall, 16 percent of those surveyed said they planned to buy a new computer sometime soon and a huge 42 percent of them said they planned to switch to either an Apple iPad or a Mac. Nearly a third of those who plan to buy a new computer plan to buy an iPad, though some of those buys would only be supplemental.
The survey covered 135,000 Windows users across three versions of the operating system: Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.
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“It doesn’t surprise me that people wouldn’t be in a rush to buy a new PC just because it has a new operating system,” Gartner analyst Steve Kleynhans told USA Today. “If Microsoft somehow demonstrates through its marketing that users can do new things in new ways, that might start to get people interested.”
Windows 8, which has a radical user interface designed specifically for touchscreen usage, was released on October 25 along with the launch of Microsoft’s new Surface tablet. Chief executive Steve Ballmer announced a few days after the release that the company had sold 4 million Windows 8 upgrades and tens of millions of licenses to businesses. However, Steve Sinofsky, the head of Microsoft’s Windows division, was fired last week, with the move leading to questions about possible design issues or an internal conflict.
Whatever the case, it is clear that Microsoft will need a stronger strategy if it is to undercut the growing clout of the Apple tablet.