Veteran Microsoft analyst Rick Sherlund of Nomura has come out with an investor’s note in which he says Windows 8 has not helped stem the tide on the slowdown in PC sales.
Indeed, Sherlund has cut his forecast of PC-and-Windows tablet shipments from a growth of 5 percent in 2013 to a decline of 1 percent.
“Windows 8 is awkward in that it tries to address the intuitive ease of use of a tablet with the compatibility and features of a PC,” he wrote in the note. “For a consumer, they see no need for all this when a low priced tablet or smartphone is sufficient and they can easily learn a few alternatives to Office for the consumer needs.”
Sherlund notes, however, that the enterprise market — traditionally Microsoft’s strength — will likely ramp up in the second half of the year. Though those customers haven’t been in a rush to upgrade to Windows 8, he says, they are “stickier” customers who value Office more. And that — combined with likely decreases in Windows 8 hardware; increases in battery life, number of apps and new form factors; and the expected Windows “Blue” (the reported codename for an upcoming Windows 8 and Windows RT update that could also address smaller, sub-10-inch tablets) — makes Sherlund a bit more optimistic about late 2013.
(Sherlund, by the way, also says in his note: “Don’t hold your breath waiting for Office on your iPad. … We have been skeptical of Microsoft permitting the Office team to release Office for competing platforms. In a way, this is a price Office pays for subsidizing the Windows business. We have allowed that we could see a perhaps scaled down version of Office for iOS and Android, something that would minimize the Windows cannibalization while enhancing the ability for Office 2013 users to collaborate with others who are not on a Windows device. Our take is not anytime soon.”
Others have speculated that Microsoft may release a free Office app for iOS and Android. But in order to use the app, users will have to have an Office 365 subscription.)