Microsoft CFO Amy Hood said that Microsoft’s business of licensing Windows out to PC manufacturers was up five percent last quarter, accounting for both business and consumer PCs.
The outfit’s business of licensing Windows for the “non-pro” (as in, consumer) market had its own five percent growth last quarter, beating the overall shrinkage of the PC industry, “as our partner ecosystem continued to see growth and share gains in the Windows premium device category”.
These “premium devices” are computers in the $900-plus price range which in the consumer market are those with more money than sense – Apple’s turf.
Microsoft’s PC partners spent the last several years focusing on low- to medium-priced computers and let Apple have that ground. After all it was not really worth the effort.
Microsoft changed all that with the Surface Book laptop in 2015, the company explicitly declared that those days were over, pitching it as a more powerful and versatile alternative to Apple’s flagship MacBook Pro.
There was also a market for laptop/tablet hybrids like the Surface Pro 4. Meanwhile there had been a slow rise of virtual reality headsets like Facebook’s Oculus Rift – which requires a powerful gaming PC for the best results.
And what was the fruity tax-dodging cargo cult doing while Microsoft was staging its come-back? Well nothing really. In fact, it did not upgrade its hardware for four years.
When it did it stripped a lot of the functionality out of the MacPro making it useless for professionals.
Now Volehas introduced the Surface Studio PC, a unique blend of tablet and desktop computer, competing with the Apple iMac. It is not cheap at $2,999, it’s reported to be selling better than even Microsoft’s most optimistic projections.