Microsoft CMO hits out at Windows 8 critics

Microsoft’s top marketer Tami Reller has responded to criticism of its flagship Windows 8 brand, confirming an update will come later this year.

Microsoft’s CMO, plus CFO, Reller, confirmed months of speculation over a planned update to its Windows 8 product, codenamed “Windows Blue”, in a blog post yesterday (7 May).

The update will make the Windows platform more compatible with an increased range of devices, such as consoles, tablet PCs and smartphones, according to Reller.
She says: “The Windows Blue update is also an opportunity for us to respond to the customer feedback that we’ve been closely listening to since the launch of Windows 8.”

The announcement ends weeks of speculation, and follows what many industry observers have called a “lukewarm” response to Windows 8.

However, Reller denied sales have been slow, claiming there has been over 100 million Windows 8 licenses sold since its launch six months ago.

“Apps momentum has been steady as the number of apps in the Windows Store has increased 6x since launch [Novermber 2012].

“Comparatively, that’s already passed what [Apple’s] iOS had in store, in its first year of app development. We’ve also surpassed 250 million Store apps downloaded in the first six months and almost 90 per cent of our app catalog has been downloaded every month,” she says. 

The roll out of Windows 8 comes as shipments of traditional PCs is in serious decline, mainly at the expense of smartphone and tablet PCs, with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer dubbing it the company’s biggest-ever launch when it was first unveiled in October last year.

However, Reller adds the slowdown in traditional PCs is an evolution of how consumers access the web, maintaining “the PC is very much alive” in the Q&A.

She says: “The PC part of the market is rapidly evolving to include new convertible devices and amazing new touch laptops, and all-in-ones.”

Analyst house IDC recently reported shipments of PCs, dropped 13.9 per cent annually in the first quarter to 76.3 million units. The extent of the year-on-year contraction marked the worst quarter since IDC began tracking the PC market quarterly in 1994. The results also marked the fourth consecutive quarter of year-on-year shipment declines, according to the firm.

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