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Windows 8 sales figures point to sluggish start

Microsoft announced this week that it has sold 40 million Windows 8 licenses since the OS launched on 26 October, but new stats from NPD claim that the updated operating system has not helped boost laptop or tablet sales just yet.

Since the launch of Windows 8, sales of Windows devices in the US have dropped 21 per cent compared to the same time period last year, NPD said. Notebook sales dropped 24 per cent, but desktop sales fared a bit better with a smaller 9 per cent decline.

"After just four weeks on the market, it's still early to place blame on Windows 8 for the ongoing weakness in the PC market," Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD, said in a statement. "We still have the whole holiday selling season ahead of us, but clearly Windows 8 did not prove to be the impetus for a sales turnaround some had hoped for."

About 58 per cent of the Windows-based devices purchased in the last month were Windows 8 gadgets, NPD said. When Windows 7 launched in 2009, about 83 per cent of gadgets purchased in the same time period were for the new OS. NPD described sales of Windows 8 tablets as "almost non-existent," making up less than 1 per cent of all Windows 8 devices to date. But NPD said that its stats do not include sales of the Microsoft Surface.

"The bad Back-to-School period left a lot of inventory in the channel, which had a real impact on the initial sell-through rates for Windows 8," said Baker.

The touch-based Windows 8 laptops offer "some reason for optimism," Baker said. "These products accounted for 6 per cent of Windows 8 notebook sales at an average price of $867 (£540) helping to re-establish a premium segment to the Windows consumer notebook market."