Why Windows 8 launch may do nothing for PC vendors
Acer doesn’t expect “explosive” sales growth following the release of Windows 8 – but will the arrival of Microsoft’s next OS actually boost flagging PC sales?
Acer has been critical of Microsoft’s own Windows 8 tablets, saying Surface will be “negative” for the PC market – and today even partially blamed a 2.2% quarterly revenue slide on the OS.
“We originally expected high growth in the second half, but because of the global economic situation and the uncertainty of the Windows 8 ecosystem, the big growth expectation turned out to be medium growth,” Acer’s chairman and CEO JT Wang said on a conference call, adding he didn’t expect Windows 8 products to have “explosive growth”.
Acer will start shipping products for the launch of Microsoft Windows 8 in August and September, therefore anticipates revenues to rebound, and consequently expects Q3 revenues to reach about on par with Q2
The PC maker posted $3.7bn in revenue and $1.87m in profit after a tax settlement. Despite the criticism, Acer has previously said it plans to release a Windows RT tablet next year, and confirmed x86 Windows 8 products will arrive soon – helping boost its sales.
“Acer will start shipping products for the launch of Microsoft Windows 8 in August and September, therefore anticipates revenues to rebound, and consequently expects Q3 revenues to reach about on par with Q2,” the company confirmed today. Windows 8 doesn’t officially launch until late October, although Acer may send stock to retailers beforehand.
Analysts Gartner noted slightly slower PC sales this summer, partially pinning the blame on soft demand ahead of the release of Windows 8 – predicting that Windows 8 will boost shipments, but not until the fourth quarter.
Not everyone agrees, however. “While consensus thinks Windows 8 will boost PCs, we think it will accelerate tablet cannibalisation as the operating system focuses on touch,” Jefferies analyst Peter Misek told Reuters earlier this summer.
Windows 7 launch
Windows 8 is launching into a very different tech landscape than its predecessor, but it’s worth noting that Windows 7 didn’t initially boost PC sales. Windows 7 was released in October 2009. In the quarter following the launch of Windows 7, PC shipments jumped by their highest rate in seven years – but analyst firm Gartner pinned that on a weak previous year rather than Microsoft’s OS.
“The impact of Windows 7 was minimal,” analyst Ranjit Atwal said at the time, with Gartner saying the OS didn’t create any additional PC demand.
Sales of the software itself were impressive, however. The first ten days of Windows 7 sales were Microsoft’s best OS launch yet, up 234% compared to Vista’s launch.