Looking At Microsoft's Weak Windows 8 Sales

Chris Lau, Kapitall  ZDNet posted an update on Windows 8 sales, which was streamed on Google’s (GOOG) social network, Google+. Despite the greatly refreshed user interface, reduced clutter, and improved stability and security of Windows, sales remained weak. Sales are so weak that they failed to outpace sales of Microsoft Vista after 5 months from the date of launch:

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Screen shot 2013-03-12 at 11.45.08 AM

Chart Source: ZDNet

The lack of appeal for Windows 8 tiles could be one reason why consumers are hesitant to upgrade. Corporations are not upgrading right away, since the Windows 7 refresh is still underway for most.

Microsoft (MSFT) has two major challenges that it needs to figure out. First, the company must let users know that the Windows 8 title is not mandatory. A download called “classic shell” could be installed to provide the traditional start menu. Second, Microsoft must lead its partners by example. The Surface tablet reference release is an example of providing this leadership. A senior advisor to Microsoft said that Surface is the Apple competitor that partners should have made.

Apple Not Worried

Surface RT does not appear yet to be a challenge for Apple’s (AAPL) iPad, due to pricing, inferior developer support, and product familiarity. To be fair, Android-based tablets are not yet a challenge to iPads either. Surface Pro, which could compete with Apple’s Mac Book Pro, is competitively priced, but will need significant marketing to be better-known by consumers as another option.

Conclusion

Microsoft shares are on an uptrend in 2013, closing recently at $28. According to Kapitall.com, the company’s price of profit (or “POP”) is 9. Apple also has a POP of 9, while Google (GOOG) has a POP of 22. For now, interest in Microsoft shares will be driven by Windows Phone 8, through Microsoft’s partnership with Nokia (NOK). For investors wanting exposure to tablet and computer makers, Apple looks more attractive than Microsoft at this time.

1 Month Return

The monthly return is illustrated below.

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