The Windows 8 launch was remarkable in many ways, but perhaps the most astonishing part of the arrival of the new operating system were the hopes the PC industry had pinned on it.
So much so that some hardware vendors were solely counting on the new OS to reverse their fortunes, and stop the decline in sales of desktops and laptops. It was after New Year, when the holiday season ended that it became evident that the hardware market continued its decline.
In reality it was fighting on two ends, the rise of the tablets, and high price of touch-enabled devices. The sweeping UI changes introduced in Windows 8 also did not help matters one bit.
Windows 8.1 is set to get its first public beta next month at the BUILD developer conference, with the final stable version poised for release sometimes later this year.
But it seems that while the upcoming refresh of Windows 8 is project to be a breath of fresh air for the PC industry in general, the hardware vendors are keeping their expectations in check this time around. Not many expect the industry to post a growth following the launch of Windows 8.1.
One of the reasons cited is that users already have several third-party programs to modify the Windows UI or add Start buttons, meaning these kinds of enhancements in Windows 8.1 may very well have a reduced impact.
What this also means is that other improvements in the upcoming OS will become a deciding factor in just how successful it is — and this surely something that Microsoft will be aware of.
Ultimately though, the hardware makers expect Redmond to reduce the final price of the operating system even more, as they believe such a decision would allow them to bring more and more affordable Windows-based devices to the market.
What is your say on this? Should or will Microsoft discount the licensing fees even more? Or will the advent of smaller (and more affordable) Windows 8.1 tablets be enough to turn the tides? Comment below and share your thoughts.