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Can Windows 8 save the PC?
Sales of the once-dominant PC are sagging, but a new report claims that the October release of Windows 8 will reinvigorate the market
Used personal computer keyboards wait to be recycled: PC sales are flat, but a "re-imagined" Windows operating system is expected to help move more units.
Used personal computer keyboards wait to be recycled: PC sales are flat, but a "re-imagined" Windows operating system is expected to help move more units.
Erich Schlegel/Corbis
T

hese days, it's nearly impossible to ignore Apple and its sleek and sexy gadgets. But PC makers are hoping that Windows 8 will revive what has become a lethargic market. According to Bloomberg, the "reimagined" Windows OS will go on sale in October, along with a splashy new cast of ultrabooks and other razor-thin computers (some of which will have touchscreens equipped to take full advantage of Windows 8 swipe-based interface). The debut couldn't come any sooner, IDC analyst Bob O'Donnell said in a recent report. "Many consumers are holding off making PC purchases at the moment because tablet devices like Apple's iPad are proving to be a powerful distraction." PC shipments managed only 1.8 percent year-to-year growth in 2011, and 2012 isn't looking much better with a projected 5 percent. But will releasing Windows 8 right before the holidays change the picture?

Probably not this year: "Personally, I like Windows 8," says Joe Wilcox at BetaNews. But "pardon my skepticism": Microsoft's new operating system still has a lot to prove. If Windows 8 and ultrabooks are tag-teaming to take down Apple, the PC companies will have to release "compelling, and, more importantly, affordable" products to even come close. "Can Windows 8 save Christmas for Microsoft and its partners? I answer 'No' for holiday 2012. Perhaps 'Yes' for holiday 2013."
"Will Windows 8 save Christmas?"

A Christmas launch is too late: "I'm kind of surprised that Microsoft wouldn't launch the operating system sooner," says Tom Cheredar at VentureBeat. The company is already "well behind both Android and iOS when it comes to device adoption," and with the current PC market "depressed" as it is, Microsoft is losing ground with every passing moment. Apple already sold millions of the new iPads in the device's first few days. "I'm guessing that it'll take quite a bit longer for as many Windows 8 devices to sell." 
"Windows 8 to go on sale in October, sources say"

The PC market is doomed, anyway: If ultrabooks and Windows 8 are supposed to save the PC industry, says Chris Nerney at IT World, "I don't buy it." The new Microsoft OS is "being released into an entirely different world than its predecessor (Windows 7) three years ago." The future is all about mobile, and that isn't going to change. "Can Windows 8 really kick-start shipments of a product line (the PC) whose era seems to be coming to an end?" Not a chance.
"IDC: Windows 8 will fuel PC shipments. Me: I think not."

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