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The real reasons to blame Windows 8 for plummeting PC sales

PC sales suffered a 14 percent drop in the first quarter, the largest drop for a single quarter in the 20 years that IDC has been tracking the data. Fingers immediately began pointing at Windows 8, but the new Microsoft OS isn’t to blame—at least not in the way you might think.

Traditional PC sales are down. There’s no arguing that. However, it’s misguided to assume it’s the result of a failure on the part of Windows 8. Rather, it’s because the definition of “PC” is evolving.

In addition, Windows 8 runs well on older hardware and was offered at a bargain price. That means there has been less incentive to buy a new PC, even for users who wanted Windows 8. Many who did purchase new hardware for Windows 8 chose a Surface Pro, another tablet, or a tablet-PC hybrid. This skews the data because analysts aren’t tracking PCs and tablets as a unified market.

Don’t hate Windows 8

Windows 8 is a radical shift, but it also offers the comforts of Windows 7.

Windows 8 is a dramatic shift from earlier versions of Windows. Its Modern interface was designed with touch-enabled gadgets in mind, and Windows 8 is an attempt to straddle the line between a traditional PC and a tablet. Microsoft melds the two, but in a Jekyll-Hyde, split-personality way that many users aren’t comfortable with. Plus, of course, there’s no Start button (gasp!). Yet, Windows 8′s desktop mode is nearly identical to Windows 7, and you can easily simulate the Start button with a third-party add-on.

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