Microsoft is planning on doing whatever it takes to get Surfaces and third-party Windows tablets into homes over the holiday season. WinSuperSite reports that Microsoft’s goal is to sell 16 million Windows tablets before the end of December, while simultaneously repairing consumer opinion of the company’s brand after the botched launch of Windows 8. With Windows 8.1, Microsoft is going to spend a boatload of cash, $405 million according to WinSuperSite, in order to change consumers’ minds. This is a significant leap over last year’s $241 million for retail Windows marketing.
It’s no secret that Windows 8 is designed to be compatible with touch-based PCs, but the demand just doesn’t exist yet. This will be another aspect of Microsoft’s marketing plan — incentivize touch PC purchases. Starting on November 15th, anyone who buys certain Windows devices with touchscreens will receive a $25 gift card to be applied to any other Microsoft purchase. Microsoft will also be flooding retail spaces with Microsoft experience locations in order to give consumers hands-on time with the products.
The company’s biggest hurdle might be the lack of Windows 8.1 PCs shipping over the holidays. WinSuperSite says that only 20% of computers that will be purchased in the next two months will come preloaded with Windows 8.1. It will be vital for Microsoft to make the upgrade as visible as possible and simple to complete. That’s where the “USB-based Windows 8.1 Upgrade Kit” comes in to play, which will be available at several retailers over the holiday season. Perhaps not the most elegant solution, but Microsoft has to work with what its got.
Although Microsoft has a ways to go before it can make good with customers still feeling slighted by its expensive tablets and its OS redesign, Windows 8.1 upgrades are on the rise, which is the first step to a positive season for the company.