MORE PRODUCTS COMING
What might finally accelerate Windows 8 uptake is the industry's making a broader variety of PCs available at retail, including more affordable touch-screen systems.
PC makers are picking up the pace and building more new Windows 8 systems, she said. The company has validated 2,400 models, up from 1,000 at the software's launch. Reller said "hundreds more" will debut by the US holidays.
Touch-screen laptops are starting to appear in the $US450 range and lower-priced models are coming, Reller said. Microsoft is expecting to see a bigger variety of models available in time for back-to-school shopping, followed by a bigger array of models for the holidays.
The lineup will also include new tablets with 7-inch and 8-inch screens, such as the 8-inch Acer Windows 8 tablet that Amazon.com prematurely posted on its site last week. PC World caught a glimpse of the listing, for $US380, before it was taken down.
Reller said retail preparedness for the software launch "was not sufficient" and Microsoft is putting a lot of effort into improvements.
"The level of change and the level of complexity of all of the devices that were coming out, we needed to do more," she said.
While Microsoft's Windows 8 ads have shown snazzy new touch-screen models, major stores are often displaying plain old laptops and desktops.
"We're working on that - just getting the retail experience so customers can find what they want," Reller said. "It has to be obvious to customers that there are all of these options."
Microsoft's multi-pronged approach to boosting Windows 8 sales also includes expanding the offerings at the Windows app store. Reller said the number of apps available has increased sixfold since the launch and Microsoft's now going after apps needed to complete the "dream screen" of favorite apps in different regions of the world, to lure developers to its platform.
"The majority of the top iPad apps are either confirmed or on the path to building" a Windows version, she said.
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