Writing at his SuperSite for Windows Paul Thurrott says Window 8 sales are well below Microsoft’s expectations and the company blames PC makers for the poor performance.

Understandably the story has had a lot of publicity. Thurrott has good sources inside the company, behind the headline his story says the weak start and lack of support from PC makers explains why Microsoft choose to make its own hardware.

While the story is plausible, there’s more to this than meets the eye.

Windows 8 is a big departure for Microsoft. It doesn’t fix any obvious shortcomings. In other words, there’s no compelling reason for consumers to upgrade – unless they own a touch screen, and in market share terms those devices are still a freak show.

Once Windows 8 native apps appear in large numbers that may change.

Also, Microsoft’s timing with Windows 8 is partly about laying down a marker. It looks further ahead than recent Windows launches.

Windows customers aren’t like Apple customers, they’ve always been less inclined to march in lock-step. Companies will upgrade in line with their refresh cycle, consumers will move to Windows 8 the next time they buy a Windows PC.

Three weeks is far too early for anyone to press the panic button. If Windows 8 sales still look poorly six months from now, it’ll be another story.

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