back to article Windows 8 hype has hurt PC makers and distributors - Gartner

Gartner slashed its PC sales forecast yesterday evening amid warnings that a glut of unwanted Windows 8 kit is sitting in warehouses gathering dust. The beancounter expects global shipments to reach a little over 305 million PCs this year, a decline of 10.6 per cent versus the previously projected drop of seven per cent. It …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. terry 1
    Thumb Up


    I like Lenovo kit. a nice little i3 W7 machine for around £315 with optional W8 upgrade. Better than struggling with a W8 with no downgrade option.

    Sold a lot in the last few weeks

  2. TheTrouser
    Thumb Down

    I still wouldn't touch Win 8

    Balmer - time to clear some space in your garage.

    1. Keith 72
      Thumb Up

      Re: I still wouldn't touch Win 8

      I don't touch Win 8 either. I do use it every day without any problems however.

  3. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Also, according to Gartner predictions ...

    Professional programmers are not required because development tools became so easy to use.

    Linux users pay $500 -$700 license fees per computer to SCO.

    Winphone has 10-20% market share.

  4. wowfood

    I don't think the problem is just windows 8 (although that might be a small part of it) people just don't need to upgrade right now.

    Lets face it, everybody stuck with xp through thick and thin, 2000, ME, Vista some other one I'm sure I forgot, none of them really made a dent on the XP market share until Windows 7. Windows 7 brought with it a lot of usability, security, gaming and various other benefits.

    Before that shift thanks to OS it was a shift thanks to hardware. Back in ye olden days having the latest hardware meant something. a year between graphics cars was the difference between playing a game at 30fps, and cringing at a game running at 10fps. Nowadays hardware is jumping ahead by leaps and bounds still, but software hasn't kept up. I have a 260gtx in my PC, I can still play the vast majority of the newest games on it.

    Basically what I'm getting at is this. There are two reasons people may want to upgrade. They need new hardware, or the new OS is a vast improvement over the old (and it'll only run on new hardware)

    The amounot of grunt software uses these days doesn't push hardware enough to warrant an upgrade for the average user, and Windows 8 isn't that big a jump over windows 6.1 so there's no need to upgrade from that either.

    Effectively the only people who are really upgrading their rigs at the moment are hardcore gamers, but in this case they aren't buying pre-packaged systems, they're just buying a new CPU or a new graphics card for their existing windows 7 system.

    Unless software begins to use up more grunt (not simply by installing bloatware) there really is no need for the average user to upgrade their system anymore.

    Beer because people are still buying it.

    1. Tom7

      I think it's even worse than that. People are discovering that you can make old systems much slicker by changing a HDD for a SSD and SSDs are getting cheaper sharpish. It takes a little technical nous to do the changeover, sure, but why replace a perfectly good CPU, graphics card, motherboard etc when they perform perfectly well?

      For a long time now poor disk performance has been hiding adequate performance in other parts of the system. While there was no real option for upgrading the disk, people upgraded all the other components. The difference was incremental rather than large, but it was the only way to improve performance. Now there is an option to upgrade one component and make the system feel much much faster overall and the result is that the bottom has fallen out of the market for all those other components.

      This will balance out eventually - as disk becomes a smaller factor in system performance, all the other components become proportionally more significant and so worth upgrading again. But it might take a little while.

      1. Pookietoo

        re: People are discovering that you can make old systems much slicker by ...

        ... switching to Penguin Power. :-)

    2. mmeier

      Correct, hardware-upgrades slow down everywhere. What we see is the trade from "end of leasing" and "finally to old to upgrade" with a limited switch to notebooks.

      Actually Win8 is slightly smaller than Win7 (interesting for SSD users mostly) and slghtly fine tunes. So any Vista+ hardware will run it fine. Drivers for W7 will run as well (unless XP drivers revived/relabled - those will finally fail)

      Used units returned from leasing are "good enough" for many privat jobs as well. A high end 2008/2009 system runs W7 just fine and can be had quite cheap. And when money is tight people turn "second hand" and "upgrade".

      Add in the new CPUs announced and slowly comming out and the sales drop even more. A smart person planning a notebook / 2in1 / tablet pc will wait until Haswell and Baytrail are out (Or if you prefer AMD whatever they have). The first mobile Haswell systems already give a good idea of the increase in endurance for same weight and the increase in on board graphic performance. Even if current gen is good enough - why not wait until the last are sold off shortly before holliday season...

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

        Plus it's the fact that your basic £250 PC/laptop/whateverbook is now powerful enough to do everything 99% of users want, so unless they break the thing or it wears out then there's no need to update it.

        Hence why we now get told that the machine can (for example) edit HD video. Now I'm sure that's not something that most people would wish to do, given how long such things take to upload to YouTube etc. Most people are happy just to watch them, plus surf the net, do email and maybe a few games, most of which will quite happily go on a 2-3 year old machine, or on a new budget one.

        Was looking earlier with a colleague at a new laptop he was going to replace a failed desktop machine with. £250 for something that will do everything needed.

        Yes you can pay more (thank you Intel), but unless you're a road warrior lugging the thing about, who needs excessively thin and light when it'll just sit on a desk most of the time, and by being bigger and chunkier it can have all sorts of archaic but useful things on it like a DVD drive, ethernet and a nice handful of USB or similar.

        1. mmeier

          For some use cases a newer notebook with either USB3 or a relatively new "business" system with a docking station can be useful. Use as a mobile device "on the move" and plug in a USB-3 dock / docking station for stationary use with dual monitors and a normal keyboard/mouse.

        2. P. Lee Silver badge

          > your basic £250 PC/laptop/whateverbook is now powerful enough to do everything 99% of users want,

          I saw around 30 ex-lease core2 desktops go for around $19-$24AUD at auction the other night.

          Its getting to the point where buying a complete second-hand system is cheaper than replacing a power supply or a new case.

          My next upgrades will provide x5 graphics performance and x6 cpu performance from my current setup and will still be second-hand kit.

          I notice a move to core-hobbled software licensing - perhaps an acknowledgement that generic servers offer enough grunt to service major enterprises in a single box - dual boxes are mostly for DR, not capacity. I suspect this is hurting AMD in the server market.

          Time to dust off that i7-3960k and put together some enterprise water-cooling :)

    3. jason 7

      I love nothing more.....

      ...than to open up Task Manager to see a time intensive app using 25% across all four cores in 2013.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "Lets face it, everybody stuck with xp through thick and thin, 2000, ME, Vista some other one I'm sure I forgot, none of them really made a dent on the XP market share until Windows 7"

      Of course Windows 2000 and Windows ME didn't affect XP market share.... they both predate XP.

      "Windows 7 brought with it a lot of usability, security, gaming and various other benefits."

      So did Vista. It was a beast, but it could be slimmed down into a usable form... but *only* if you bought new hardware. You couldn't put it onto machines that you bought a year or two ago... so corporations were reluctant to upgrade. On the other hand, by the time Windows 7 came around, most of the machines were capable of running it, with minor upgrades such as adding RAM. Not having to replace every machine meant corporations could roll it out.

      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Re: Seriously?

        "Of course Windows 2000 and Windows ME didn't affect XP market share.... they both predate XP."

        However, w2k was rather good and lasted me until 2008, and olny reald advantage I saw from XP was better USB support (which was missing completely from NT4).

        On the other hand, ME was an abomination by any accounts, so XP would be a huge improvement on it!

        But really, and already said, most folk don't have much spare cash and older PCs work just fine. De-crap an older XP machine, or better still stick Linux on it (as then you can usually do without the burden of AV bloatware), and it will do 99% of what the average user wants for little cost.

        1. mmeier

          Re: Seriously?

          Comparing ME and NT is like comparing a Trabbi and a VW Golf. ME is a member of the "Dos Extender" familie and other than name and basic UI has nothing in common with the "NT" familly.

      2. Belardi

        Re: Seriously?

        Vista was garbage. Sure it got mostly stable by SP2, but its memory sucking problems were never fixed. And in truth, Vista worked like a re-skinned XP. The finer features of Win7 makes its quite different from Vista on the surface.

        But even ON NEW hardware, lower end computers at the $300~500 range were HORRIBLE! A typical low-end NEW vista computer with 1GB of RAM was a nightmare compared to an older or just previous model with WinXP that has 512mb. Back then, 4GB of RAM was about $400USD! Vista really needed 64bit with 8~12GB of RAM to function well and MANY PC makers sold such systems. That added $300~700 to the costs of the computer! I recently worked on a Win8 notebook with 1GB RAM. I disabled and removed junk and settings, spend $25 on 2GB of RAM (very expensive, but its for an old computer) and the customer loved how it runs better than it ever did out of the box.

        Today, you'll find low-end Win7/Win8 systems with 1-2GB of RAM because of the memory problems.

        I'm already going to Linux in my household. Windows7 is my last. WinOS PC sales will end up being 25% lower overall since the release of Win8. Face it, nobody loves Windows 8... and those that do say the same things:

        - "Its not that bad"

        - "Its fine once you add XXX-Start menu replacement, and I never go into Metro"

        - "Spend 15 minutes learning it"

        - "Once you learn all the keyboard shortcuts, its faster" - huh, but the whole point is that its a "touch" UI that should work great without a fracking keyboard.

        If you are avoiding Metro, you are avoid HALF the feature seat of Windows 8. So why bother "upgrading" for a better copy/move window and a *gasp* fast boot up?

        The other half of Win8 users just deal with it... unhappy... as its the only thing they have in stores and don't know they can order ThinkPads with Windows7Pro - which costs a bit more money.

        Win8 is not hard to learn, its just a very stupid, crumblesome and ugly OS UI. I've gone to LinuxMint because of Windows8 and its easier to use as it works like a COMPUTER OS. And better, its free. No keys to enter, no activation, no spying.

        1. Tom 13

          Re: Vista worked like a re-skinned XP.

          That's being way too generous. I had dual boot XP 32-bit/Vista 64-bit, 8G RAM, Quadcore CPU, Raptor drive for the OS and separate drive for data. I worked mostly in XP because Vista was such a dog. Vista drive failed, bought a new one. Win 7 was out at the same time. Picked up Win 7 to reinstall the new OS part. Hardly ever use XP anymore. Mostly I boot to it to make sure it is patched. The difference is in the quality of the OS.

      3. Tom 13

        Re: Vista. ... beast, ... could be slimmed down ...but *only* if you bought new hardware.

        Damnable lies!

        I bought new hardware. Good new hardware. Hardware good enough that I needed 64-bit to take advantage of it. Vista still sucked. Win 7 made it usable. Even though by that point I was running a 3 year old system.

    5. mark 63 Silver badge

      all "most" people do on their computers is email each other .

      the mind boggle where all this power goes, they not doing much you couldnt do on a C64 20 years ago a processor 1000 times slower

    6. Tom 13

      Re: I don't think the problem is just windows 8

      But much of it is. I passed on another hardware decent $400 laptop again today because it came with Windows 8. If it had come with Win 7 I probably would have pulled out the plastic and gotten it for Dad.

  5. jason 7

    Didnt we have pretty much this same article.....

    ...last week...and the week before that.....

    Can we have some new stories please?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Didnt we have pretty much this same article.....

      What, didn't you know W8.1 lipstick edition is being released and MS are filling column inches trying to talk it up and trying to make us forget the not metro abomination ?

    2. mmeier

      Re: Didnt we have pretty much this same article.....

      But last week was another "consultant agency". So this is new

      1. jason 7

        Re: Didnt we have pretty much this same article.....

        Ah yes you are right! Good to see the 'Consultancy Agencies' earning their money by copying all the others and stating the bleeding obvious.

        Churnalism at it's best.

    3. ben_myers

      Re: Didnt we have pretty much this same article.....

      How do you think Gartner gets some press for itself as a "premier" computer research group?

    4. Tom 13

      Re: Can we have some new stories please?

      Maybe when they release Win 8.2, but more likely we have to wait for Win 9. Until then things look incredibly bleak.

  6. Shagbag

    "Microsoft and channel partners have a better job to do to explain the benefits of Windows 8 for consumers and businesses"

    Then they can explain how to get blood out of a stone and how to sew a purse from a sow's ear.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ...Gartner couldn't correctly predict the location of the eye in a hurricane so generally articles quoting their predictions is a waste of time. They're onto a safe bet here though. Windows 8 is a dog and the difficulties in buying a machine without Windows 8 or with Windows 8 and downgrade rights to Windows 7 is putting off a lot of people. I myself am waiting for MS to come to their senses before buying a new laptop. Either that or for manufs. to offer a choice of 7 or 8 with their machines.

    1. Belardi

      Re: Unfortunately...

      Lenovo ThinkPad models come with Windows7Pro by default. (Of course, MS counts these as Win8 sales).

      go to their website, select which one you want... takes about a week to get it.

    2. Daniel B.

      Re: Unfortunately...

      But the fun thing is that this is actually something they predicted before Win8 was released. They outright said that TIFKA Metro was awful on the desktop, and that it would be horrible.

      They were right.

      I'm pretty sure hell froze over, as that assessment still stands.

  8. Shagbag

    Win8 - Hype or Shyte?


  9. Jess

    Didn't they actually TRY Windows 8 before stocking up on it?

    If they did, I guess it is unfortunate that they were in the 5% (?) who actually seem to like it. (I find it the most unintuitive interface I have seen on any computer, ever, and I must have used a couple of dozen. The only interface I can think of that is worse, is some horrid harddrive and DVD recorder I encountered.)

    However I suspect even if Win 8 were good, the market would still be quite poor, due to the lack of need of replacement PCs as noted by others.

    Windows 8 is just like kicking someone when they are down.

  10. Red Bren

    All these unsold boxes

    Do all these unsold boxes account for the majority of Win8 licences that Microsoft claim to have sold? How long until the vendors decide on radical action to cut their losses? The year of linux on the desktop could be upon us!

    1. gerryg

      Re: All these unsold boxes

      <= not

      Alas, not until UEFI has a stake driven through its heart. But right now I use a mixture of old hardware with my desktop motherboard over 11 yr old, newer cpu, 6200 nvidia, ssd, etc. plus a few new and second hand acer aspire ones scattered across my stamping grounds - total cost of all machines over a decade well under £1000 - well happy

      all running openSUSE 12.3 upped to KDE 4.10.4

      1. mmeier

        Re: All these unsold boxes

        UEFI, appart from bad implementations by the hardware guys, is not a problem. Actually a replacement for the clunky old BIOS is nice.

        What might keep the Penguin frozen to the ground is Secure Boot. That may or may not (Susie IIRC can life with it) a problem for the 1.x percent crowd

        1. Daniel B.

          Re: All these unsold boxes

          < 2% Linux market is MS-paid FUD. Anyone who has worked for even half-decent companies knows that the server market is swarmed by Linux and UNIX variants. While the desktop side is still low, the server market is a different story!

  11. All names Taken

    Maybe W8 marketing is not too hot?

    (All the arguments against upgrading seem consistent whatever the platform)

  12. graeme leggett

    Did Gartner explain... despite being experts at predicting things, that sales were not as they had predicted?

    in other words - if they got it wrong previously, how do we know they are right this time.

    (I'm not saying that sales will go up, others above have given clear reasons for this)

    1. Tom 13

      Re: Did Gartner explain...

      Gartner did warn Win 8 would be less successful than MS was hyping. As for their predictions, they are still at the mercy of what the businesses they talk to tell them. If they order too much stock, Gartner will predict they will shift too much stock.

  13. btrower

    Win 8 -- Worse than you thought

    Had access to Win 8 a long time ago. Tried a few times but never found it anything but an irritation.

    This past week I purchased 3 cheapie HP notebooks and all had Windows 8 pre-installed, along with a vast selection of crapware.

    After about 12 hours wrestling with Windows 8, I was tearing my hair out. It is just beyond awful. Worst Windows transition ever and that is saying something considering Vista.

    MS are not letting up, it seems. The V8.1 stopgap does not look promising.

    Unless Windows 9 comes quickly and vastly improves on Win 8, I will probably be shifting a lot of stuff to Linux for a back end and browsers for a front end.

    Microsoft is soon going to discover how much more difficult it is to get an old customer back than it is to keep them.

    1. Belardi

      Re: Win 8 -- Worse than you thought

      Return the HP computers... you should have done research.

      Lenovo sells ThinkPad notebooks with Windows7Pro by default - they are $450~1800USD, takes about a week to get them in. And since they are business computers, they do NOT come pre-loaded with crap. hell, even their consumer IdeaPad lines doesn't come preloaded with 1/4 the garbage as HP.

    2. Parousia

      Re: Win 8 -- Worse than you thought

      I find it hard to believe that a man who orders 3 notebooks and is considering moving to Linux cant understand an operating system in 12 hours, that is very similar to the previous operating systems bar the addition of a reworked start menu.

      Oh no its full screen how can you possibly understand it?!?!?!?

      1. Daniel B.
        Thumb Down

        Re: Win 8 -- Worse than you thought

        As much as someone who is trying to switch to Linux after a horrible Win8 experience does baffle the mind as I'd avoid buying any Win8-loaded gear, I can't blame him on not learning it.

        I can definitely learn to eat a turd, but that doesn't mean I want to eat turds. Same applies to Win8.

  14. s. pam
    Thumb Down

    Could it be, prostitution?

    Win 8 sucks more than a trainload of hookers heading to the docks in Amsterdam when the ships come in.

    Serves them right for all their carp advertising too.

    Load NetBSD or FreeBSD or gawd forbid Scumlaris for Intel for a better experience.

    1. Belardi

      Re: Could it be, prostitution?

      I'd trust the train load of hookers with my data and money well spent than Windows8.

  15. Tom 35 Silver badge

    Windows 8 hype has hurt PC makers and distributors - Gartner

    So that would be the PC makers that listened to Gartner then.

    1. Daniel B.

      Re: Windows 8 hype has hurt PC makers and distributors - Gartner

      Didn't Gartner actually say that Windows 8 sucked donkey balls on the Desktop?

      Oh yes, they did. More like nobody listened to Gartner, especially Microsoft.

  16. ben_myers
    Thumb Up

    Lenovo Thumbs Up #2

    Lenovo has made it easy to get a Windows 7 system? Ya think there is any correlation between ease of buying Win 7 and sales revenue? Had a pricey but like-a-jewel Thinkpad T430 delivered the other day. Win 7 was pre-installed, and there were Windows 8 DVDs included in the carton. These went on the shelf.

    Dell is now getting the Windows 7 message, too. A Dell catalog came in the mail the other day, one for businesses like mine. Yep, Win 7 systems there, too!

    Ballmer, ya screwed up, big time. It happened on your watch... Ben Myers

    1. Roger Greenwood

      Re: Lenovo Thumbs Up #2

      Agree with you Ben. I also like my Lenovo's.

      I wonder what would have happened if MS had branded win8 as win7.x and ditched the tiles (having had fair warning)?

      Too late now, of course, and with ego's the size of a supertanker that ship won't be turning.

      1. Belardi

        Re: Lenovo Thumbs Up #2

        And ditched the ugly Metro-ized Desktop UI as well.

        Nobody would have had an issue.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lenovo Thumbs Up #2

      Dell have always made the version before the current version of Windows available for business use. When Windows 7 came out you could still get XP if you didn't want Vista.

    3. Wade Burchette

      Re: Lenovo Thumbs Up #2

      I helped someone order a Windows 7 laptop from HP earlier this month. For reasons I don't know, HP has different models for Windows 7 and Windows 8. Because of that and the high demand for Windows 7 computers, this person had to wait 2 weeks for the laptop to ship. And she was told over the phone that the delay was because of high demand.

      People want computers; they want Windows 7 and not Windows 8.

    4. Belardi

      Re: Lenovo Thumbs Up #2

      And the thing is, MS counts all Windows7Pro sales as "Windows 8" sales. To get Win7OEM, it must be the PRO version, which is from downgrade right from Win8Pro.

  17. Ged T

    Desktop makers are getting out - Say goodbye to Windows Server, too...

    Samsung announced that they a going to drop desktop (then laptop) manufacture, a couple of days ago.

    Michael Dell expressed his vision of dropping desktop/laptop and server manufacture, transforming his company into a software and services provider ('cause no one's ever done that before, have they...?) instead.

    Lenovo? HP?

    Without those Windows desktops and laptops, where's the need for Windows Server, AD et al?

    And with all that depletion, even the future for 'flagship' Office, cloudy or not, looks bleak.

    1. mmeier

      Re: Desktop makers are getting out - Say goodbye to Windows Server, too...

      Samsung builds 2in1, simple tablet pc and convertibles (Just announced a new one) as well as notebooks / ultrabooks (2 new announced)

      Lenovo does the same and desktops

      HP does the same and desktops

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I love Gartner

    One of my former employers made it into Gartner's Special Magic Quadrant of Death, every year, until they get themselves erased from history, through acquisition.

  19. Barnie

    PC Makers & distributors could have prevented this mess

    For years PC Makers have colluded with Microsoft to keep alternatives such as Linux out of the market. Everyone knew Windows 8 would be a train wreck but no one would stand up to them.

    As for the <2% Market share myth of Linux, just because its repeated ad-infinitum does not make it true.

    1. mmeier

      Re: PC Makers & distributors could have prevented this mess

      PC Makers (Dell, HP, Lenovo) offer their units without OS - just ask. It is not in the Webshop for "end users" for the same reason Linux is not in retail stores.

      Retail stores sell what makes the least problems. And customers bringing back the box because <Latest ego shooter> and <Beloved picture manipulating software> does not run or <last pirated Game of Bones sequel> does not play on it is trouble.

      So the client share of Linux is well below 2 percent because it is too much trouble.

      1. Barnie

        Re: PC Makers & distributors could have prevented this mess

        "So the client share of Linux is well below 2 percent because it is too much trouble." What is this trouble?, there may be an issue regarding specific software but for some users Linux is fine. The 2 percent is debatable, as far as I know there hasn't been independent research into real Linux use.

        I remember when the reason given for users not to use Linux was due to it being unfamiliar to Windows users exactly the problem with tifkam!

        From experience the real reason many small businesses stuck with Windows (particularly XP) was due to requirements of software they used., lots of this software is badly written and is not (or cannot) be updated so does not work well with Windows 7 and even Worse with 8.

        1. mmeier

          Re: PC Makers & distributors could have prevented this mess

          The average customer has been buying "Windows" maschines for two decades now. He is used to the fact that all "PC" software runs on his computer and does not look any further that the sign "PC" on the shelf.

          Now we sell Auntie Annie a Penguin box. It may even look like the old one. But it won't run her software. Be it games, be it the (very popular in germany) tax software or the other stuff she has getten used to. Sure there are "alternatives" (OO instead of MS-Office, GIMP instead of Photoshop Elements....) for some but they are "new" and require a lot of learning. Software can no longer be gotten easily since Repositories, downloading etc, are well above Aunties background and the nephews do not service Penguins(1)

          Win7->Win8 just requires to learn "it's big shiny icon instead of dig the menues" and the way many users have set up their WinXP+ boxes even that is not required. Because - they have big shiny icons on the desktop and do not dig through menues anyway.

          So any big outlet chain selling "Linux" will get a high amount of returns and complains. Problems the generally under-trained and under-paid stuff can not handle most of the time resulting in escalations, lengthy discussions etc. Therefor they do not sell the stuff and keep problems low.

          Company use is another field. There most software is "Windows only" and that's it. And many developers have learned the hard way that it is best to develop and test on the target platform. With Windows supporting fine tools for all languages and being sturdy platform ever since NT 4.0 at least - why use something else?

          (1) Windows,Mac-OS and Solaris services are available in the family. Penguins get rm -r / and replaced

  20. tempemeaty

    It's Windows 8

    Poorly anticipating how much hardware to purchase for sale is just another way of saying Windows 8, is unwanted while trying to make it look like something else.

  21. James Pickett

    "We believed the hype"

    From MS, who gave us "the wow is now"?

    I've no sympathy at all.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019