$1.5 billion Microsoft spend fails to do the trick for Windows 8 and Surface

It has been one of the world's biggest-ever campaigns -- $1.5 billion was one estimate reported earlier by the Drum -- but Microsoft has done less well with Windows 8 and the Surface tablet than the American giant must have hoped.

Surface: Fewer sales than hoped.

Early Windows 8 sales have disappointed in an increasingly fragmented computing market, says AdAge. Sales of Windows devices were down 21% in the four weeks after Windows 8 launched on Oct. 26, compared with the same period last year, according to research firm NPD Group.

Customers are particularly uninterested in "Microsoft's flashy new operating system," as the mag put it. Devices that use Windows 8 accounted for just 58% of all Windows units sold in the four weeks after the launch, NPD said. In the four weeks after Windows 7 was released, it

accounted for 83% of all device sales.

AdAge wondered if the advertising was at fault.

Stephen Baker, NPD's VP of industry analysis, didn't think any advertising could change where the PC market is going this year.

"I don't think there's enough advertising money in the world [to do that]," he said.

Baker says consumers are favouring simpler devices to complete simple tasks at a lower cost. Windows 8 and its devices "offer a more robust experience with corresponding prices" .

Sales of the Surface tablet have also been much less than expected . Brokerage firm Detwiler Fenton has estimated that Microsoft is likely to sell just 500,000 to 600,000 Surface tablets this quarter; previous hope was 1 million to 2 million.

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