BlueStacks on Tuesday announced the availability of its Android “App Player” for the Surface Pro tablet and other Windows 8 devices. The announcement comes a little over a year after the company first announced that it was working on bringing its popular program, which gives users access to more than 750,000 Android apps, to Microsoft’s (MSFT) latest operating system. More →
I first laid eyes on Microsoft’s (MSFT) Surface tablet just about four months ago. It was a rainy Monday morning in Redmond, Washington and we were barely into the first 20 minutes of a full day of meetings when I knew the Surface was a huge, huge deal. Microsoft — the world’s largest software company, responsible for the operating system that powers roughly 92% of all personal computers on the planet — was now a hardware vendor. More →
The adoption rate of Windows 8 increased by more than 30% in January, according to the latest monthly numbers from analytics firm Net Applications. Microsoft’s (MSFT) latest operating system accounted for 2.26% of the market, compared to 1.72% in December and 1.09% in November. Despite the small increase, a majority of users continue to ignore Windows 8 and prefer older Windows versions. The Windows 7 operating system is still found on nearly half, or 44.48%, of all computers, while the more than 10 year old Windows XP operating system has a market share of 39.5% and the widely panned Windows Vista continues to be used by 5.24% of users.
Despite the fact that most people haven’t upgraded to Windows 8, the promotional price for Microsoft’s (MSFT) latest operating system is coming to an end. The company has offered Windows 8 upgrades for as little as $39.99 for the past few months, but starting on February 1st that price will more than double to $119.99 and a comparable upgrade to Windows 8 Pro will jump to $199.99. Microsoft will also be offering its Media Center, which had previously been free to early adopters, for $9.99. Students and school faculty will be able to upgrade Windows 8 Pro for $70.
Executives at Acer (2353) have had some harsh words for Microsoft (MSFT) regarding its Windows 8 operating system. CEO JT Wang was fuming after the software giant unveiled its Surface tablet and even issued a warning to the company, while other executives have blamed Microsoft for confusing would-be Windows 8 buyers. President Jim Wong said in an interview with Bloomberg on Monday that Windows 8 has not been successful and the company has explored alternatives to increase revenue, such as Google’s (GOOG) Chrome OS. More →
Microsoft (MSFT) has a problem on its hands: Its Surface tablets cost an arm and a leg to purchase, and so far it looks like no one is buying them. The ARM-specific Surface RT is available for $630 with the optional, but highly recommended, magnetic keyboard dock, while the Window 8-powered Surface Pro is offered for $1,030 with the dock. During the company’s earnings call on Thursday, Microsoft CFO Peter Klein suggested that cheaper and more Windows 8 devices will be available in the future. More →
Microsoft (MSFT) previously announced that the Windows 8-powered version of its Surface tablet would launch in January starting at $899. The company was unable to meet its deadline, however, and on Tuesday announced that the device will now launch on February 9th in the U.S. and Canada. The base model of the Surface Pro is equipped with a 10.6-inch high-definition display, an Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage and a microSDXC slot for up to 64GB of additional memory. Microsoft will also be offering a 128GB model for $999. While both models come with a Surface stylus, the magnetic Touch Cover and Type Cover are not included and will be available for $120 and $130, respectively. The company also said it will soon double the number of markets where the Surface with Windows RT is available when it launches in 13 new European countries.
Microsoft (MSFT) has been running a special promotion to entice consumers to upgrade to Windows 8, where the company has offered the operating system for as low as $39.99 since it was released last year. However, that offer price is slated to end on January 31st and Microsoft on Friday announced pricing information for Windows 8 that will take effect on February 1st. The prices are as follows: the Windows 8 Pro Pack will be available for $99.99, the Windows 8 and Windows Pro upgrade editions will be sold for $119.99 and $199.99 respectively, and the Windows 8 Media Center Pack will be offered for $9.99. Despite selling more than 60 million licenses, analysts have said that Windows 8 adoption is off to a slow start and the company’s new pricing model is only expected to hamper it further.
Another week, another gloomy assessment of the PC market. Gartner on Monday released new research showing that “worldwide PC shipments totaled 90.3 million units in the fourth quarter of 2012, a 4.9 percent decline from the fourth quarter of 2011.” The reason that PC sales have fallen, says Gartner, is that consumers are using tablets as their primary content consumption devices and are only using PCs for productivity. In other words, consumers feel much less impetus to replace their PCs if they have tablets they can use for basic functions such as reading the news and watching videos. More →
The post-PC era is arriving faster than many of us had expected. New research from IDC shows that global PC sales in the fourth quarter of 2012 actually shrank by 6.4%, marking the first time in five years that holiday PC sales have slid. This comes despite the fact that Microsoft (MSFT) launched a $1.5 billion marketing blitz to promote the new Windows 8 operating system that launched this past fall, and IDC analyst Jay Chou says that all of those marketing dollars did very little to promote sales of Windows 8 machines. More →
Despite initial concerns that Microsoft’s (MSFT) Windows 8 operating system wasn’t living up to expectations, a company executive on Tuesday revealed that sales have been in line with the launch of Windows 7. Tammi Reller, chief financial and chief marketing officer of Windows, announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada that Microsoft has sold 60 million Windows 8 licensees to date. The figure includes sales to manufacturers for new PCs, as well as upgrades. The executive said that while “Windows 8 is a big, ambitious change,” sales are “roughly in line with where we would have been with Windows 7.” Microsoft previously revealed that it had sold 40 million licenses of Windows 8 by the end of November.
Besides getting used to the Metro user interface, one of the most common complaints about Windows 8 is the operating system’s lack of available applications. Dropbox on Monday released its highly anticipated Windows 8 and Windows RT app, bringing one of the most popular cloud storage services to Microsoft’s (MSFT) new platforms. The application was originally showcased at Microsoft’s developers conference in October, however it seemed to have disappeared since then. Dropbox for Windows 8 includes support for the Share Charm, which allows users to share any photo, file or folder, and lets users open, edit and save files from other Windows 8 apps. Dropbox is available now for free in the Windows Store.
It seems that Acer (2353) president Jim Wong can’t decide whether to praise Microsoft (MSFT) or to bury it. Just days after Wong defended Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system, he told AllThingsD that the company has done a poor job of marketing both the platform and its signature Surface tablet. In particular, Wong thinks that Microsoft has vastly overplayed the Surface’s click-in keyboard at the expense of showing off its touch interface features. More →