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The Windows 8 numbers are part of a bigger picture of lower U.S. Windows PC sales generally, according to NPD. Fewer Windows devices have sold in the U.S. since Windows 8 launched last month than were sold during the same period last year, the group says.
Since the Oct. 26 kickoff, sales of Windows devices in the U.S. is off 21% from the figures racked up during the same weeks of 2011, dampening hopes that the new operating system would jump-start the flagging PC market, the group says.
While the results so far aren't encouraging, it's premature to dump all the responsibility on Windows 8, says Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD, in a press release. "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," Baker says.
The numbers are bleak across different PC form factors with notebook sales down 24% and desktops down 9%, NPD says, but Baker holds out hope. "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."
Part of the problem is slow back-to-school sales that left retailers with higher inventories of Windows 7 devices than anticipated, drawing off potential Windows 8 sales.
Looking just at Windows 8 sales, touchscreen devices with the operating system are doing pretty well, NPD says. "The strong performance of Windows 8 notebooks with touchscreens, where Windows 8 truly shines, offers some reason for optimism," Baker says. "These products accounted for 6 percent of Windows 8 notebook sales at an average price of $867 helping to re-establish a premium segment to the Windows consumer notebook market."
In an effort to further recruit for an army of Windows 8 developers, Microsoft is holding a training session for iOS developers on how to write Windows 8 applications.
Scheduled for Dec. 13 and 14 in Mountain View, Calif., the training will be taught by former iOS developers who are now building Windows 8 applications.
Microsoft executives repeat and repeat that having desirable apps in the Windows Store inventory is essential to the success of Windows 8. This outreach to iOS developers may be an attempt to draw in people who have proven development ability or it may be a try at luring in developers who may have successful iOS apps they might want to recode for Windows 8.
Either way it can't hurt to cast a wide net.
Read more about software in Network World's Software section.