Hardware vendors softening on Windows 8

After months of severe pessimism on the Windows 8 front, hardware vendors are showing signs of renewed optimism in the operating system’s prospects, and even have nice words for software giant Microsoft Corp.

The decline in PC sales has continued since the launch of Microsoft’s much ballyhooed next-generation operating system, which drastically remade the user interface for what the vendor sees as a touch-first world. Users have been resistant though, license sales have been lower than expected, and PC vendors have blamed Microsoft for failing to stem the bleeding of declining PC shipments. Microsoft, for its part, has reaffirmed its belief that touch is the future, and put the responsibility on PC vendors to develop more innovative designs that leverage the power of touch.

Signs of a thaw though from the Wall Street Journal, which reports recent comments from Asian PC vendors that Microsoft has listened to their complaints.

“When we were talking to Microsoft, our input to them is balance,” said Acer president Jim Wong. “The world in the next five years is not going 100 percent to touch. Although touch makes a lot of possibilities for PCs, you need to take care of the rest of the world that doesn’t need touch.”

It’s widely expected that the next release of Windows, code-named Windows Blue but likely to be released to developers next month as Windows 8.1, will address key user complaints, such as the removal of the Start Button and inability to boot directly to the desktop. Microsoft has also made steps to lower the price of Windows 8 tablets, and making them more tablet with Android-based devices.

Asustek Computer CEO Jerry Shen told the Journal he expects the price gap between Android and Windows 8 devices to come down from $150 to $50 later this year, which would put starting prices for a Windows 8 tablet below $300.

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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