Microsoft Planning On Cutting Windows OEM Prices to Jumpstart Sales

Windows 8 still struggles with both acceptance and even its own identity. Is it a tablet OS, is it a desktop OS? Are the changes between Windows 7 and Windows 8 too much? The questions go on.

I have personally spent tons of time with Windows 8 and have found it to be better, faster and stronger than Windows 7. I still spend 90% of my time in the desktop, but have found that keeping their new UI (I have no start menu replacement) doesn’t at all get in my way – I just only use it for a few things like the weather app.

Regardless of the reasons behind it, Windows 8 has yet to take the world by storm when it comes to sales numbers. It is far from being a failure, but if Microsoft wants to usher in a new era that brings the mobile and desktop world together, they need to find a way to reach out and gain more support for its new OS.

Now it seems that Microsoft is attempting to bring up demand by offering manufacturers a discount on the operating system, at least according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal. People “close to the situation” say that Microsoft is also bringing down the pricing of Office, and might even start including Office in a bundling deal to manufacturers – that way Windows 8 tablets can stand out by including free Office, just like Windows RT.

Besides sales being down for Windows 8 in general, even Microsoft Surface sales estimates are pretty low and according to Pacific Crest analyst Brendan Barnicle, Microsoft will likely sell just 600,000 Surface units for the current quarter (down from the previous forecast of 1.4 million).

Will Lowering the costs of Window 8 make a difference?

I have a feeling that there is little Microsoft could have done with Windows 8 to make PC sales jump through the roof. Even keeping the desktop UI and not introducing Metro would probably have had little affect.

That said, the tablet market is a major space for growth, so what gives? A few things I’d wager. First there is negative talk about the changes in Windows 8. While 99% of this negative points have to do with using Windows 8 on a keyboard/mouse rig, it still creates uncertainty among less tech savvy consumers.

Cutting the price might make consumers more willing to “take the risk with Windows 8”, if laptops and tablets become cheaper as a result.

The bigger issue, at least in my opinion, is one of timing. Windows 8 is a solid OS that helps bring 10+-inch tablets to the next level. Unfortunately, Microsoft missed the timing here since just about every other vendor (and consumer) seems to be focusing on 7-8 inch tablets instead.

If Microsoft could cut the cost of Windows license to manufacturers AND work with a vendor to create a reasonably capable sub-$300 7 or 8-inch tablet? I think that Microsoft could further open up support for Windows 8.

We will likely get there in time, once people realize Windows 8 is better than they think. Still, it feels like marketing and strategy on Microsoft’s part could have been a little bit better. What do you think? Share your thoughts below.

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