Windows 8 hard sales numbers are finally out

Analysis: What rhymes with

2012 Microsoft Logo“Wait for the hard numbers”, otherwise known as the mating call of the Lesser Skulking Microsoft Shill, Redmondus petardsmoochii was heard far and wide this week. Unfortunately for those propagating these transparent fantasies, they did come out and you will never guess what they said.

You might recall that last Tuesday, Microsoft broke form and announced that Windows 8 had sold 40 million licenses. The sycophantic Microsoft press proudly trumpeted this in headlines, obviously more fearful of ad revenue losses than being called out. Most went much farther and breathlessly highlighted how much better than Windows 7 these numbers were. Only later in an update was it pointed out how hollow those numbers really are, and that Microsoft refused to clarify what the numbers actually represented when asked. In spite of it’s intentions, the article did indeed paint a very clear picture of Windows 8 sales.

But still the shills denied reality, “Wait for the hard numbers”, they cried, “Wait for the hard numbers”. We laughed, but we did, and we were curious about what they would eventually say. As SemiAccurate said in that article, we had hard numbers, several sets in fact, but unfortunately we could not make them public. Suffice it to say that the Redmondian ripostes, in both paid and misguided forms, did not even rise to the level of third rate entertainment. They could only reach as high as sad.

And so, much to Microsoft’s chagrin, barely two days later the real numbers did come out. No, not some third rate hack quoting dubious figures, but no less than NPD, basically the gold standard for sales numbers. Their report on Windows 8, actually Windows PCs in general, is downright scathing for this type of missive. Worse yet for Microsoft and their swarming apologists, it reflects the reality that every industry watcher is seeing on the ground.

How bad is it? Is down 21% from last year bad enough? Windows 8 making up a mere 58% of sales vs Windows 7 in the same period after release has a good explanation, channel inventory, but even that isn’t exactly comforting. Luckily for Redmond, tablet sales are going to power Windows 8 right back to the top of the sales chart blowing past iPads, right? According to NPD, they were less than 1% of sales. Ouch. That number does exclude Surface because it is a direct sales product only, and Microsoft will not release hard numbers there. Any guesses why? Smile and repeat 40 million or you won’t get the next ad contract you daring investigative journalist you.

There is one upbeat statistic in the NPD numbers that seems to have been taken way out of context by people reporting this story, the ASP rise. ASPs for Windows 8 devices have gone up by about $80, something attributed mostly to the cost of touch screens. We would be shocked by this, except, well SemiAccurate wrote that exact issue up two months ago.

If you factor in the percentage of Windows 8 devices that have touch screens, our numbers are eerily close to NPDs ASP rise.  Surprisingly the same information we said two months earlier and at a much lower price than NPD. This ASP rise is unequivocally not a good thing for end users, only people selling devices. Actually, it is more of a problem than a two edged sword if you look at the big picture. There is a bump in ASPs, no question there, but even the most rabid fanboi would have to admit that ASPs * volume is a net loss for everyone, top to bottom.

In the end, not just hard numbers but independent hard numbers are out. To the surprise of no one who is not directly or indirectly on the Microsoft payroll, they just suck. To be honest, they are actually slightly worse than SemiAccurate initially saw and expected. Microsoft predictably came out with dubious number, backed up by a few other equally specious bullet points, and the tame press ate it up. No surprise there, that is how Microsoft messaging works. The few softball questions that were lobbed at Microsoft PR were bobbled, leaving no doubt how bad Windows 8 sales really are. At least OEMs are not rebelling in the face of this disaster. Squawk. Polly has the numbers now.S|A

Author’s note: This was typed on a VoodooPC keyboard. Touche!

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also available through Guidepoint and Mosaic. FullyAccurate