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Ballmer Could Be Out if Windows 8 Tanks, Analysts Say

The New York Post paints a very gloomy picture for Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer if Windows 8 doesn't prove to be a big success, especially in the mobile sector. Ballmer, who admittedly missed the smartphone and tablet boat once Apple invaded the mobile scene with its iPhone and iPad, can't bomb again, the paper said. Even more, if the platform disappoints, he could be out altogether.

The problem Microsoft may be having at the moment is an identity crisis. The company is best known for its desktop Windows platform which resides on millions of desktops and laptops. Customers have "computed" in a certain way for around two decades. Now the company wants to shake up the PC sector by offering a completely new interface that spans multiple form factors. It's even selling its own hardware.

Thing is, not everyone is hip to change. Personally, after upgrading to Windows 8 the moment it became available, the "Modern UI" has been used very, very little. If fact, it's seemingly nonexistent thanks to Stardock's Start8 app which lets the PC boot directly into the desktop. The Windows 8 apps haven't been updated in weeks, and the charms are rarely used.

But thanks to Windows 8, using devices like a Windows 8 tablet, Windows Phone 8 device and an Xbox console (current or next) will be easier to understand thanks to the experience. But you can't help but wonder if consumers will be reluctant to update to Windows 8 – or purchase a new machine with Windows 8 installed – because they're reluctant to change. Up until now, all Microsoft and Ballmer have seemingly done is promote that new interface, not the improved desktop experience.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it" is what I hear in the south. But we should thanks Apple for this big change. Apple turned bulky slates into convenient, super-thin tablets. Apple made the smartphone fun and sexy with the iPhone and iOS. Microsoft is attempting its own flavor of sexy and convenience with Windows 8, a baseline blanket that expands multiple screens, unlike Apple. Yet it's here in the mobile sector, this mobile arena, that Microsoft really needs to succeed.

"Absolutely there is lots at stake in terms of the mobile segment," said Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi in speaking with the New York Post. "Microsoft needs to be successful in mobile, because it’s where consumers are going."

So far that mobile effort looks shaky. Despite Microsoft reporting that sales of the Surface RT are doing well, the company supposedly pushed up the retail release of its self-branded ARM-based tablet – originally only sold through Microsoft's online and physical stores – into December because of a lack of sales this quarter. Barclays Capital analysts even predicts that only 700,000 units will be sold before the end of the year. How many units of the iPad mini will Apple sell in the same quarter?

The big problem, it seems, is not only with the previously limited Microsoft-only availability and the platform's new Modern UI, but in the Surface RT price itself. "Industry observers" claim that consumers think the average $550 pricetag is too high, especially when they're used to shelling out around $200 for 7-inch models. Google's own Nexus 10 starts at $399, and Apple's iPad at $499. Because of this, Microsoft may be forced to slash prices in order to move units off shelves.

On the smartphone front, Microsoft reports that the company is selling four times as many Windows Phone 8 smartphones as it did last year. Still, Windows phones will only capture 13-percent of the market by 2016, Gartner predicts. Meanwhile on the PC front, Milanesi points out that, according to Microsoft's own admission, 40 million people have upgraded to Windows 8 in the desktop/notebook segment. That's less than 1-percent of all Windows-based laptops and desktops currently in use.

With all that said, will Microsoft's four-window assault on Apple and Google work? It's too early to tell for the moment, but if it doesn't, Ballmer could be outed as the New York Post suggests. Bill Gates may even make a Steve Jobs-like return to bring balance and order back into the Microsoft Force.

To read the full report from The New York Post, head here.

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  • kracker
    Windows 8 has, in a way split people.

    Start menu vs metro people.
    Reply
  • ohim
    No Start Menu cryes no more :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=acVtWAPq3Y0#!

    and you can pick up between Simple , XP , Vista/7 Style Start Menu.
    Reply
  • jhansonxi
    The only reason Ballmer is still employed is because Gates is chairman.
    Reply
  • john15v16
    Yay...Steve Ballmer is weird guy and lacks the vision which bill gates had...I just don't take him seriously anymore...especially after his stage performance. check it out on youtube and LOL as much as needed...

    Reply
  • bucknutty
    I'm a start menu person.
    Reply
  • dameon51
    krackerWindows 8 has, in a way split people.Start menu vs metro people.
    I don't use metro, and I don't miss the start menu. The task bar is all you need a production environment. If you're digging through the start menu all the time, you're wasting time. Time = $.
    Reply
  • john15v16
    Fixed link...here ya go:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvsboPUjrGc
    Reply
  • john15v16
    Yay...Steve Ballmer is weird guy and lacks the vision which bill gates had...I just don't take him seriously anymore...especially after his stage performance. check it out on youtube and LOL as much as needed...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvsboPUjrGc
    Reply
  • omnimodis78
    Windows 8 has tanked - honestly, what Windows 7 user wouldn't have embraced 8 if Microsoft would have genuinely listened and implemented a solid desktop experience? I am thoroughly content with W7 and I am genuinely over the W8 hate days, but no matter how hard MS tries, or how eager some people are in "geting used to" Modern UI, we all know that 7 is a superior desktop OS. Anyway, Ballmer is one high-profile CEO in the current capitalist machine I definitely won't miss!
    Reply
  • ohim
    Incredible, i post an Youtube link where you can get a Start Menu application for Windows 8 and i get - for my link , guess for those who hate Win8 for "no Start Menu" button , giving this will take away their only Win8 issue to hate it ... thus must - it.
    Reply