Gartner: Windows 8.1 Great, but PCs in Trouble

Dennis Faas's picture

Analyst firm Gartner has both good and bad news for Microsoft. The good news: Gartner thinks Windows 8.1 (otherwise known as 'Windows Blue') represents a major improvement for the firm's Windows 8 operating system (OS).

The bad news: PC sales continue to slump, and it's unlikely Windows 8.1 will do much to right the sinking ship.

In a recent report called "Windows 8.1 Could Become What Windows 8 Should Have Been," Gartner says Windows 8.1 effectively addresses all of the problems preventing the new OS from becoming a runaway success.

Analysts Appreciate Windows 8.1's New Features

What did Gartner most appreciate about Windows 8.1? The firm lists the new boot-to-desktop option and the revival of the long-missed Start button as two major reasons to get excited about the update. (Source:

On those grounds Gartner's report recommends that businesses seriously consider upgrading to Windows 8.1.

Specifically, the firm says that Windows 8.1 now makes Microsoft's newest OS appropriate "for broader development," whether businesses use touchscreen devices or not.

That will be welcome news for Microsoft, which has struggled to sell Windows 8 since its late 2012 launch.

The best example of Windows 8's failure may be Microsoft's own Surface tablet, which has flopped so badly that the Redmond, Washington-based firm is now giving away previously pricy peripherals.

Android Devices Expected to Surge in Popularity

Ironically, it's the generally booming tablet market that poses the greatest threat to Microsoft. The company continues to depend primarily on the strength of the PC market, and right now Gartner doesn't see a rebound coming for that sector.

Gartner says PC sales will drop more than 15 per cent in 2014 (when compared to 2012). The number of units sold is expected to drop from 341,273 in 2012 to just 289,239 in 2014.

That shift will have a dramatic impact on Microsoft's business. Gartner says that by 2014 Windows-based devices (including tablet computers) will account for just 15.1 per cent of all computer sales.

By comparison, it's expected that Android will hold a 42.3 per cent market share at that time. (Source:

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