NEW YORK (AP) — Sales of personal computers in the U.S. didn't get any boost from the launch of Windows 8, confounding the hopes of Microsoft and PC makers, research firm NPD Group said Thursday.
In the three weeks after Windows 8 launched on Oct. 26, sales of Windows PCs and tablet computers fell 21 percent compared with a year earlier, according to NPD, which tracks U.S. retail sales.
There's no sign that Windows 8 made things worse for PC makers. Rather, NPD said the weak sales are a continuation of a trend seen throughout this year.
U.S. consumers appear more interested in spending electronics dollars on smartphones and tablets than on upgrading their computers. Several tablet makers have released new models this fall, and Apple has made a smaller version of its market-leading iPad.
Microsoft Corp. developed Windows 8 with tablets and touch screens in mind. The new operating system features a new look and is designed to make desktops and laptops work more like tablets.
The Redmond, Wash., company is supporting the launch with its largest-ever advertising campaign. UBS analyst Mary Jo Foley put the value of the campaign at $1 billion.
PC makers were officially optimistic and have largely switched their consumer-focused product lines over to Windows 8, but they were cautious about stocking large numbers of PCs ahead of the launch. Reviews of the new operating system were mixed.