Preston Gralla

New evidence shows that Windows 8 sales are bleak

January 02, 2013 9:30 AM EST

There's new evidence that sales of Windows 8 devices remain lackluster at best, so much so that Fujitsu, a key Microsoft hardware partner, has complained about weak sales. This isn't the way that Microsoft drew things up when it designed the new operating system.

Net Applications says that for December only, 1.7 percent of desktops, notebooks, and laptops using the Web used Windows 8. How bad is that? InfoWorld's Woody Leonhard notes that at the same time in Windows 7's life cycle, it had a 21 percent market share.

And Computerworld's Gregg Keizer notes that Windows 8 lags behind even the much-maligned Windows Vista in uptake during the same time frame. He writes:

At the same two-month mark in Vista's release timetable, that OS accounted for 2.2% of all Windows systems, double the month prior.

Fujitsu has noticed and is not pleased. Bloomberg reports that Fujitsu President Masami Yamamoto told reporters that demand for Windows 8 is "weak." Bloomberg also quotes Yoshihisa Toyosaki, a Tokyo-based analyst at Architect Grand Design, as saying:

"We can't be optimistic about the PC industry. PC makers' bet on Windows 8 has failed, as cheaper tablet computers are taking away customers."

Acer has complained about the same thing, with Acer CFO David Chang saying back in November that Windows 8 demand " was "not that good right now."

As for mobile sales, Windows 8 slumps there as well. Net Applications reports that in December, Windows Phone had a 1.05% market share, versus 60.13% for iOS and 24.6% for Android. The Android and iOS numbers include both tablets and smartphones, while the Windows Phone 8 number is only for smartphones. But Windows 8 tablet sales are so small they don't even register in the Net Applications numbers.

It's too early to say that Windows 8 has been a failure; after all, it's only been around since late October. But still, initial reports continue to show a very weak uptake. For now, Microsoft's gamble in designing a dual-duty operating system more for tablets than PCs hasn't paid off.