To Spur Touch-Screen Windows 8 PC Sales, Best Buy Is Offering Two-Week Discount

Best Buy will cut the price of all Windows 8 touch-screen PCs by $100 starting Sunday, February 24. The promotion lasts for two weeks and applies to Windows 8-based portable computers, and desktop PCs with touch-screen capabilities. (Related: "Windows 8 Tablets.")

Note: The discount doesn't apply to tablets, including Microsoft's Surface devices.

The price cut, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, is being absorbed collectively by the retailer, Microsoft, Intel, and the PC makers. It’s aimed at offsetting what is arguably the major downside to such devices, which are more expensive than non-touch devices. But Windows 8 is also more natural with a touch screen, and Best Buy research shows that consumers who bought touch-screen Windows 8 devices were much happier than those who bought traditional, non-touch PCs.

According to this research, 74 percent of customers who purchased touch-screen Windows 8 PCs said they liked the new OS “very much” or “somewhat.” But only 53 percent of customers who purchased traditional PCs running Windows 8 rated the OS that highly.

“Touch unlocks an entirely new way to interact with Windows that we believe represents the future of computing,” Microsoft Senior Director Janelle Poole told The Wall Street Journal. “We’re pleased to see how retailers such as Best Buy are promoting this at their stores, including their latest promotion that starts this weekend.”

As you might recall, there was some controversy around Windows 8 sales over its initial launch period, which encompassed the 2012 holiday selling season. That quarter, PC sales fell year-over-year and when compared with the Windows 7 launch period—the first time a new version of Windows didn’t provide a significant boost to PC sales in over a decade. As I exclusively revealed, Microsoft internally blamed its PC maker partners for this shortfall: Those firms didn’t deliver the innovative touch-based PCs they promised in time for the holiday selling period, instead relying, as ever, on cheap, low-end, non-touch PCs.

Not coincidentally, Best Buy reports that only 35 percent of the Windows 8-based PCs it currently sells include multi-touch functionality. But while it hopes to raise that percentage to at least 50 percent by the 2013 holiday season, even a cursory examination at a local Best Buy location shows that things have improved dramatically: On a recent trip to the Best Buy in Dedham, Massachusetts, I encountered a surprisingly large selection of PCs, including many new touch-based PC hybrid devices.

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