One thing I'm noticing is that Microsoft has lowered the cost of buying the OS with this release. I'm trying to figure out why as that skews the analysis of profit for them. Except for Geeks, most mom, pop and gramps buy a computer and never upgrade the OS. My Dell e510 came with XP and has a label that it is certified for VISTA. Does not say anything about Windows 7. Do I want or need Windows 7 (or 8)? Not really. It does everything I need right now. Well, what about the 2014 date for XP to stop being supported? By then, I'm pretty sure I'll by a new PC by then. Maybe. You spend a lot of time setting up a PC exactly the way you want it. Can I upgrade to Windows 7? No. How about Windows 8? No. There is no upgrade path from XP except maybe to VISTA. Even then, you really need to wipe the machine and start fresh. Would I be using Windows 8 with a mouse or a touch screen? At work, with a mouse. Definitely. Judging by screen size and visual dexterity, I would not even be able to reach the screen to touch it without standing up.
The county government I work at has, as a standard, Windows XP SP3. They have over 100,000 users and do not like having too many OS versions out there to support. So, we recently upgraded from IE 6 to IE 7. That was after a lot of work to get the applications to work in IE 7. Some departments are still stuck on IE 6 and some are stuck on Windows NT or Windows 2000. That is because they have applications that do not run on anything else and they don't have the source code to redo the applications (contractor-coded) and no money or time to upgrade them anyway. In my department, they are very slowly upgrading to Windows 7 but they have to do this one PC at a time. It is taking a few months just to do a handful of PCs and the upgarde is actually a replacement with a new box. A lot of the old applications were a stretch to upgrade to XP, especially the mainframe interface applications and software development stuff (what is "Natural" anyway?).
Also, the employee unions said that there won't be any upgrade until appropriate (expensive) training has taken place for every employee.
I think a lot has to to do with business. Those who think that the desktop is dead need to look in a REAL office. If you have 100's of workers that sit in their cubicle every day and never really travel much, they are NOT going to get tablets or laptops. Those items tend to get stolen as they can easily fit in a newspaper. As far as touch screens, where I work, many would go out on disability for Carpal Tunnel Finger. These are the same people who connect from home, check their email and then claim 2+ hours of overtime because they did it.
What it comes down to is this: I'm willing to bet that most copies of Windows out there are those that CAME on a PC. Most are not because some old person walked into a store and BOUGHT the OS. So, how do we tell if an OS version is a success or not? Vista wasn't exactly a winner. Neither was Windows ME. Neither was Windows BOB. If it goes by how many copies sold then we have to see if Windows 8 is a winner or not. However, if Microsoft is pushing vendors NOT to allow downgrades and they have also reduced the price of Windows 8 then the numbers might reflect that. But what about the person buying a copy of Windows 7 and then overwriting Windows 8 on the hard drive. That counts as a double purchase by the customer (one PC but two OS licenses). So, we will have to see what happens, I guess.