Windows CFO complains there are not enough touch screen Windows 8 PCs in retail yet, OEMs protest

In a shareholder meeting the new Windows CFO Tami Reller maintained the party line that OEMs are not supporting Windows 8 enough.

When asked about the relatively low amounts of new Windows 8 PCs in retail with touch screens Reller said:

So, I would describe it this way, which is if you go into retail today, you will see some great touch devices, whether it’s touch laptops, or whether it’s a tablet or two with Windows 8 or Windows RT. It’s not enough in our opinion. I mean, we think the pipeline is great, and we’re excited to see that pipeline come into retail. And they are coming. And so our OEMs are doing great work, and we’ll see that come in over the next several months. Some you’ll see in December, some it will take longer. But I think it’s good, but not great in terms of the full touch assortment.

The good news is that the touch screen PCs consumers crave are coming, but the bad news of course is that these devices were not ready from the launch of the OS, making Microsoft’s pique pretty understandable.

OEMs on the other hand complained of  an underdeveloped supply chain for touch components and slow consumer education stemming to scattered branding and PR, and said sales met their muted projections, as they understood these issues from the start.

“We had a little bit different expectations for Windows 8 than previous OS launches,” Jeff Barney, VP and general manager of Toshiba America’s PC and TV business, said. “In the past Windows was the only game in town, when it was Windows 7 or Vista it was the big event of the year. These days it’s a different environment.”

What do our readers think.  Is Microsoft being unrealistic, or have OEMs provided poor Windows 8 support? Let us know below.



  • Old IT Pro

    No point in blaming the OEM, they are trying to minimize their exposure to a very limited potential market. Desktop touch screens will have a very small penetration in the corporate IT world, and those of us with significant investments in quality displays are not about to abandon them without seeing some advantage to doing so. I work at a good distance from a pair of large screen wide colour gamut displays, I am not about to start bobbing around finger painting on them even if they did have touch capability.

    • Ef Jay

      Nice story, but im pretty sure the push for new Windows 8 devices is focused around detachable tablets and docks not touch screen monitors for desktops. There’s no rule that says you cant use your non-touch monitor or even a touch monitor with a keyboard and mouse so this old fable about being required to hold out your arms to use a Windows 8 device is well and truly debunked.

    • Bill

      Limited potential market? The tablet market is exploding. In another year or two tablets will outsell PCs by unit volume. If traditional PC OEMs don’t get on that aggressively, which is one of the key scenarios W8 was designed for, then they (and MS) are going to be in a world of hurt. They already are; look at their respective stock prices, stock trajectories, or growth rates. Sure, enterprises aren’t going to upgrade to touch based monitors or laptops in a hurry. The OEMs and MS know that. Enterprises are notoriously slow; a large percentage are still running XP. But they *are* going to keep buying massive numbers of iPads (and Android-based tablets) for various mobile workers, in many cases substituting them for either an existing PC or a planned purchase. Plus BYOD will continue, and that will drive more tablets into the workplace.

    • willdoors

      your title ‘old it pro’ says it all…… nuff said

    • Tips_y

      This is precisely why I advocate for MS to produce their own-branded products, and not just in tablet form but the whole gamut of forms from phones, to desktops and servers, to tablets, to hybrids, to ultrabooks, and laptops. In case their OEMs fail, they can always count on themselves to push their products forward.

  • Steve

    Large size (11+ inches) touchscreens are new and apparently they are trying to improve the manufacturing process. Most new laptops will have touchscreens once people recognize its benefit. It’s a learning process for both consumers and PC makers.

  • blackhawk556

    blogger gave windows 8 a bad rep. Some was justified, some wasn’t. As a result, Windows 8 did not have the excitement it needed in order to convince people to run out and get Windows 8. Vista got a huge amount of negative press and it never recovered. The same might happen to Windows 8 if MS doesn’t move quick enough to fix bugs and make improvements that it needs.

    • guest

      Yes, that’s an increasing risk. And unlike Vista, a failure this time would likely spell the end of MS as a major technology player. Dell, HP, INTC, and many others would also be permanently damaged. So they’d better all quit the public blame game and do whatever it takes to turn this around.

    • Asgardi

      True and not true what you said about bloggers. There is an increasing bunch of people who bash MS products no matter what they do. But the truth is that they have lost some of their friends also to write against Windows 8, most notable Paul Thurrot and Mary Jo Foley.

      Part of the problem is ofcourse OEMs. There are tens of them, but they cannot design cooler devices than what the mobile companies do (most notably Apple and Nokia). But even then MS could have done much more themselves. It is unacceptable that their own products won’t work in Metro environment (Office for starters). Almost none old MS software has been successfully moved to Metro. How can they make demands for other developers, if they cannot handle the situation even by themselves?

      For example in Skype you cannot even change the account you want to use or in Lync you cannot select the server by yourself. That kind of limitations makes the apps useless in many scenarios so it doesnt matter if the apps are there or not.

  • Michael

    Windows is still the only game in town. Especially for Toshiba, HP, Dell, Vaio, come to play or go home. Time to bring your A game.

    • guest

      For legacy that’s in decline, yes. For mobile where all the growth is, no.

  • Breakingillusions

    poor supply i haven’t seen a single windows 8 device in this country

    • guest

      Checked my primarily online source today to see what W8 tablets they had. None. They have just about every version of Android tablet ever made, but not a single W8 tablet. Don’t know what demand exists, but for sure you can’t sell them if nobody can buy one.

  • willdoors

    WINDOWS has still more than 90% of world’s PC’s users, so OEMs are wrong!

  • Pierre Venescar

    OEMs are slacking and they’ll regret it.

  • RWalrond

    I see more Microsoft hardware coming. The tide is changing. OEM are hedging their bets Microsoft should too

  • Scubadog

    This would all happen much quicker if the display manufacturers would kick out a bunch of multi-touch screens so that those of us with legacy PCs who don’t want to buy an entire machine just yet can still take advantage of the full Windows 8 experience. I’d buy a 24 or 27 inch multi-touch display if it became available separately.

    • UncleFan

      You raise a great point, and I’m really shocked that tech bloggers aren’t asking this question, too. Almost immediately after upgrading to Windows 8 I went shopping online for a touchscreen display and I couldn’t find *anything* worth buying. How is it possible that nobody in the display business seized this opportunity to profit from the new Windows?

      • Mista Wet


    • vba

      Have you seen the new touchpads and touch mice that are available? Haven’t tried them just yet myself (I’m fine with Win8 even without touch), but the reviews are good.

  • Kazi

    IMO this could be the reason of Sinofky’s departure. OEMs probably hate him, and Ballmer had to react immadiatelly. Just a theory.

    • arcana112

      Sinofsky never had any dealings with the OEMs. There is a whole different organization in MS just for that.

      • Kazi

        Thanks for the info, then I had a wrong guess :-)

  • Jérémie Corpinot

    OEMs seemed at beggining to be ready (at CFA for ex) but the 26st of October, there were only a few devices showed that OEMs wasn’t that ready and i thing it’s a bad thing for Windows 8. Everybody look for a new Windows 8 device and they can’t find it for now.
    No more Acer Iconia w700 in France, i’ve to wait, or get it online.

  • namikral

    Very poor supply, the oems are very slow in releasing their products that were announced a year ago

  • Gavin Tom

    OEMs are just lucky MS doesn’t make a convertible surface tablet, my god that would be awesome. I would buy that thing in a heartbeat.

  • ustudio

    as soon as win came out I visited several stores and there was no touch screen I just now saw one a day or two ago all I saw was last years model with win 8 on them , touch is one if not the reason to upgrade. Made me wish I was a oem I would have made a killing cause there was interest

  • Ak fred

    Letter to Mr Bill Gates 4rm Mr.Akpors.
    TO: Bill Gates Microsoft
    From: Akpors
    Subject: Problems with my new computer.
    Dear Mr Bill Gates,
    we have bought a computer 4 our home and
    we have found some problems, which i want
    to bring to ur notice.
    1. There is a button ‘start’ but there is no
    ‘stop’ button. We request u 2 check dis.
    2. One doubt is whether any ‘rescooter’ is
    available in system? I find only ‘recycle but i
    own a scooter at my home.
    3. There is ‘find’ button but it is not working.
    My wife lost the door key and we’ve tried alot
    to trace the key with this ‘find’ button, but
    was unable to trace. Pls rectify dis problem
    4. My child learnt ‘MICROSOFT WORD’ now he
    wants to learn ‘MICROSOFT SENTENCE’, so
    when wil u provide dat?
    5. There’s MICROSOFT OFFICE, wat abt
    MICROSOFT HOME since i use d pc at home.
    6. I bought computer, cpu, mouse &
    keyboard, but there is only one icon which
    shows ‘ My Computer’, when wil u provide d
    remaining items?
    Last one Mr. Bill Gates
    P.S ‘Sir, how is it dat ur name is Gates but u r
    selling WINDOWS?
    Best wishes for your day…..

  • oldjovian

    I think that Microsoft has done a poor job of educating the public and perhaps OEMs on the vision of Windows 8 and the market segments for these different devices. There’s a lot of confusion and people turned off by getting the wrong information . . .

  • NegLewis

    MS knew since 2001 (see first tablets) that OEMs have no power, brains or designers to create something NEW and exciting.

    Their business model – with introduction of touch – was changed. First by Apple, then by Android.

    After all.. it’s been 5 years of touch… what’s missing? Well… their balls!!!

    Going strong after Apple or even Google means a lot… a lot that they have not… it’s easier to just wait and… slowly die… than risk a crush.

    The fact that they are not convinced that TOUCH enabled OS’s are the future say so much about their ability to rule those big company’s into the 21 century.

    Windows is (still) the Alpha Dog. They have no reason to believe that Apple will allow MAC on their machines… or evens some drivers.

    Same with Linux – where are the productivity tools…?

    There are none.

    This is such a big mistake – especially from DELL,HP… even MSI… and so on…. Only Acer has some W8 vision… Asus too…

    • guest

      Asus is playing both sides. Look at their heavy involvement with Android and Chromebooks.

    • guest

      You’ve left out a major detail that affects all traditional OEMs and MS. Amazon and Google are selling tablets at cost and justifying that against future use of their services. OEMs don’t have services to do that with and MS doesn’t really either, since Bing loses money. That’s a major business model shift problem for OEMs and MS. It’s unclear how long Amazon can sustain that for financially. But Google can do it forever, unless the Government grows some balls and calls it what it is, namely a blatant attempt to maintain their search dominance by cutting off the air supply of their remaining competitor: MS.

  • lemonheads

    Same story in the Philippines. Not enough Windows 8 Touch devices but there’s a big demand. I’ve asked the resellers and they told me that they are just getting 6 pieces of laptop delivery (as of Dec.1). One store told me that their 6 Asus Vivobook S400 sold out in less than a day. I’ve been to 4 malls and the Asus Vivobook series seems like selling well.. But lacks supply. So far, we have lots of choices for Windows 8 laptops. For the touch-capable devices, We only have the Asus Vivobook (Atom, i3, i5), Acer Aspire V5, Samsung Ativ Tab and the Acer Iconia Tab W510. We also have touch-slider-tablet from Sony.. horrible design in my opinion.

  • jimski27

    At launch, every major OEM should have had touch devices for; RT tablet, Pro tablet, Ultrabook and mid-range 14″ laptop. They had plenty of time to prepare and plan. And plenty of clout to push the touch display market into action. Instead, they are offering the same thing with a new Start screen. Consumers, who are cautious with their spending because of our sour economy see them and say, “not much different than what I have now, so no reason to replace it”. I know it’s hard to do, but OEMs needed to stick their necks out on this one. Microsoft did. Touch is the future and its not going away. Just going to take a little longer to get there thanks to the overcautious OEMs.

    • guest

      Yup. But they had a poor back to school season which led to higher inventory. So they decided to discount their existing inventory of W7 machines instead. Plus many are looking at iPad and cheap Android tablets and think they can’t compete at those price points, which for some of them may be true.

  • biobots

    I agree with the CFO, there are no touch screen laptops in the stores I have gone to, and online Amazon and other do not even have a filter for “touch screens”. I can search by all sorts of stupid stuff, but not touch….
    Also all the BF deals were for non touch devices, and many were Win7 , I am thinking the retailer have lots of old stock they want to clear out and know that if they display a $500 touch screen laptop they will have to discount everything else to hell…..

  • donzebe

    I thought touch monitor for windows 8 were going to be long on shelves before windows 8 launch. It is time Microsoft get serious in hardware or partner with willing OEM and take control of the situation. Microsoft is making a steady climb on every front not hitting the roof over night as analyst have hope for, but marching on in the right direction.

  • Mr.InTernaTionaL

    I am sorry but the OEMs cannot complain when they had more than a year to prepare for this. It is not like Windows 8 was just released to them when it was released to the customers. They could had their developers like all others take on the early versions but they have no excuse not to come out strong after they have been shown up by Microsoft themselves.

  • Quinn Stone

    It’s really amazing how the OEMs have screwed the pooch on this one. I’m gonna pick on Asus. They announced a couple of amazing devices, the Taichi and the Transformer Book. Windows 8 release date comes, and Asus has a 10in VivoBook RT to offer, WEEKS later, mind you. Hmmm, kinda like an iPad, but not as cool. HELLO OEM marketing departments (right now I’m imagining rapping someone on the forehead with my knuckles). Apple is nearing 30 million iPad units sold. Everyone who wants a 10 in toy for Angry Birds HAS one already, and it’s an iPad!

    You’d think someone at Microsoft or an OEM or whatever Windows 8 consortium they have put together would have had the noggins to hire an intern to call iPad users and ask, “If we offered you a device similar to the iPad, only without the zillions of apps and without the cool factor that Apple has, would you buy it?” Not one “yes” I bet, unless it’s one of Bill’s relatives who sneaks around with an iPad when he’s not looking. Now on the other hand, if they had called people who use computers to help themselves make a living, and asked “If we offered you a touch enabled mobile device that let you get your work done quicker, and was fun, would you buy it?” they would have found their target market.

    If the Transformer Book, which is something that we can all use get our shit done, was ready in October, Asus would be complaining right now about all the money they have to pay accountants to help avoid paying taxes on the boatloads of money coming their way.

    I REALLY want to buy a touch enabled mobile device to help my business run more efficiently. No one wants to sell me one. I can’t be alone.