The holiday season is upon us and Microsoft (MSFT) hopes it will be good for Windows tablets.
The company wants to sell 16 million Windows tablets during the season, reports Paul Thurrott at the Supersite for Windows blog, quoting unnamed sources.
That actually seems doable, if we’re talking about the whole fourth quarter and all Windows tablet vendors. That’s about how many tablets Apple sold in the 2011 holiday quarter (15.5 million iPads), it said. In the 2012 holiday quarter, Apple (AAPL) sold 22.9 million iPads, Apple said.
To be sure, it’s unlikely that Microsoft will sell that many of its own brand of tablets, the Surface. Last quarter (the back-to-school quarter). Lenovo sold 14.1 million PCs, according to Gartner. It’s hard to see the Surface zooming past Lenovo this quarter. But across all Windows tablet makers? Could be done.
To help with that, Microsoft will spend $405 million on retail and promotions this fiscal year (which began for Microsoft in July) including $131 million on incentives and offers, Thurrott reports. One incentive is expected to be a $25 gift certificate that can be used to buy apps.
Still, for all these grand plans, there’s a fly in Microsoft ointment. Thurrott says that 80% of the PCs on the shelves don’t have Windows 8.1, Microsoft’s newest operating system that went live in October. Microsoft is giving some retailers, like Best Buy (BBY) some sort of USB upgrade kit, he says. But convincing people to buy a new PC and then deal with an upgrade? Not the best way to make a sale.
Microsoft had no comment on its holiday sales goals and plans.