Microsoft has poured marketing dollars into Windows 8 for well over a year as the entire PC industry is depending on a decent launch.
It is imperative that the update for the core product will get off the ground smoothly, given the fact that Windows currently accounts for 26 percent of Microsoft's revenue and 42 percent of the company's operating income, not to mention the rather depressed mood among PC makers and the sales outlook for the remainder of the year.
There is now a rumor that Microsoft has allocated between $1.5 billion and $1.8 billion of marketing spending for Windows 8. There was no official source for this number, but it sounds reasonable in light of the significance of the product. Slashgear reminds us that Microsoft spent just $200 million on marketing 95 in 1994, which is about $310 million in today's dollars, but we also remember that the company sunk about $300 million in the launch campaign of its Zune player, and more than $500 million into Windows Mobile.
A Windows flop could prove catastrophic not just for Microsoft, but for PC vendors, hardware makers and software developers alike. Unless the success of the operating system is guaranteed, which is not the case at this time, it may be cheaper for Microsoft to spend a few billion now, rather than having to deal with the fallout of another Windows Vista.