Can Windows 10 save PC sales (and Windows Phone)?

Windows 10 Devices

Now that Windows 10 has been available for several weeks, PC manufacturers will be hoping that Microsoft’s operating system will encourage consumers to splash out on new hardware. The US software giant is also pinning its hopes for mobile on Windows 10, making it easier for developers to create cross-platform, mobile and desktop apps in a single binary, as well as providing tools to more easily port Android and iOS apps to the platform.

In a somewhat stagnant desktop PC & laptop market, Windows 10 could prove to be the catalyst for consumers with older hardware to upgrade.

PC sales and Windows 10…

For anyone who hasn’t used Windows 10 yet, it aims to rectify some of the main complaints levied against Windows 8; such as reinstating the Start Menu, as well as dozens of other enhancements for keyboard and mouse users. It certainly appears that Microsoft has spent a lot of time optimising the experience for whatever input device is being used.

Windows 10 The New Windows 7

Personally, the most productivity-enhancing feature I have found in Windows 10 are the virtual desktops (the equivalent to “spaces” for Mac users). The concept is pretty much the same as on the Mac’s OS X – you can create additional virtual desktops and arrange your apps on any of those as desired, switching between them quickly with the Ctrl + Windows + arrow keys. For me, that was worth the upgrade alone as it means a dual-monitor setup can effectively be used as two, four, six or even more individual displays.

I’ve been using Windows 10 since the first day of release, and despite a few minor niggles (my PC refusing to stay in sleep mode has been the main bugbear, for example), it has been quite painless to use and has been extremely stable – no “blue screen of death” crashes have occurred…yet. But is Windows 10 enough of a reason to buy a new laptop or PC? And what about the mobile side of things?

It’s well known that the desktop and laptop PC market has been in a decline (or at least, slowing growth). The trend was initially attributed to the rise of tablets but that market has also slowed in the last two years. One of the few companies to buck the trend is Apple – the company reported that it sold 4.8 million units of Mac and $6 billion in revenue in the June quarter (Apple’s third quarter 2015). Unit sales of Mac rose 9% year-over-year.

But as far as tablet sales – as you can see they’re not immune from the general downturn, either:

Global Tablet Shipments

While the UK is typical of most developed markets in terms of consumer spending habits, most traditional PC retailers are struggling to convince us to upgrade – after all, we are all increasingly mobile and most people are more likely to purchase a new mobile phone every year than a new desktop.

Despite the fact that PC makers are struggling, some retailers in the UK have seen an uplift in computer sales in recent months. Perhaps surprisingly, supermarket chain Tesco is one of the few to buck the trend and experience rising computer sales. That may be due to more effective marketing, retail footprint and decent offers, as well as the fact that people are probably impulse-buying while browsing the store. To Tesco’s credit, they are making it simpler for consumers to understand what they’re buying, with an online laptop jargon buster for example.

Here’s how previous versions of Windows have stacked up between 2012 and June 2015 in sales:

Global OS Market Share

As far as Windows-based smartphones are concerned, Microsoft cut its losses on its Nokia acquisition and took a write down of $7.6 billion, but still remains firmly committed to the smartphone market, for now. If anything can revive Windows Phone, it’s surely a combination of great new Lumia devices, as well as the features and better cloud syncing that Windows 10 brings.

As far as the original question is concerned, Windows 10 does seem to be a step in the right direction. It’s probably a little to soon to know just yet whether it will actually boost desktop, laptop and Windows Phone sales however…

Are you a Windows 10 user? Does it live up to the hype, and are you tempted to upgrade and buy a new computer/phone to use it with? As always, let us know in the comments below…

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