[This story is running in the print edition of The Seattle Times Jan. 23, 2013.]
After weeks of reports that sales of Windows 8, Surface tablets and other Microsoft products may not have done as well as expected, some concrete numbers may finally be coming as the company reports its fiscal second-quarter earnings Thursday.
This is the first quarterly report since the late October launch of Windows 8, the radical revamp of Microsoft’s flagship operating system, and of Surface, the company’s first branded computing device.
So far, reports from research firms including Gartner, IDC and Canalys have not been encouraging. All three firms found year-over-year declines in worldwide PC shipments, and all three said the Windows 8 launch did not boost that market.
Microsoft has said it has sold 60 million Windows 8 licenses so far, putting the new operating system on a trajectory similar to that of Windows 7. But licenses include sales to PC manufacturers as well as upgrades, and are not necessarily a clear gauge of sales to end users.
“I expect a disappointing report,” said Michael Yoshikami, chief executive of money-management firm Destination Wealth Management. “I don’t think it will be disastrous. Just soft.”
Analysts’ consensus estimate is for earnings per share of 75 cents on revenue of $21.56 billion.
[Continue reading the story here.]