Analysts turn negative on Windows 8 prospects

Windows 8 gets little love from analysts. They cite a mix of factors including a confusing interface and confused positioning of Windows 8 and Windows RT.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Brooke Crothers
2 min read
Is Windows 8 off to an unusually rough start?
Is Windows 8 off to an unusually rough start? CNET

Windows 8 got pummeled today by analysts, who cited it as a major factor in tepid PC growth.

The launch of a new Microsoft operating system rarely, if ever, goes smoothly. But Windows 8 is having an especially bumpy takeoff.

The first reason Deutsche Bank listed today for cutting its PC estimates this quarter was a "lackluster initial uptake of Windows 8," in a research note from analyst Chris Whitmore.

After citing the impact of amorphous factors like "macro weakness" and the "fiscal cliff," Whitmore continues.

As in past cycles we expect the introduction of a new Microsoft OS to spur an increase in PC demand. However...we believe Win8 will have a more muted impact than prior cycles for a several reasons: 1) Win8 reviews are mixed due to a confusing UI; 2) there is a lack of Enterprise interest in Window 8; 3) tablet form factor complicates positioning (Win8 vs. Windows RT), 4) continued substitution of PCs by iPads/tablets 4).

Windows 8's "confusing UI", aka user interface, is becoming a theme for analysts. Usability expert Jakob Nielsen said essentially the same thing today in a report.

And Topeka Capital Markets chimed in, saying Windows 8 orders have been weak.

"Much lower than...PC makers originally expected a few months ago," according to Topeka analyst Brian White.

Computerworld, which has tracked usage patterns of Windows 8 in the months leading up to, and including, the launch, found that the new operating system "is being run by less than a fifth as many people as ran Windows 7 in the same months before its debut."

Watch this: Windows 8 leads with tiles, apps, sync -- and a learning curve, too