Surface Pro, Windows 8 Sales: Why It’s Not 1995 All Over Again

Back around July 2012, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) predicted big things from a new round of products — Windows 8, tablets, Phone 8, Office 365, Office 2013. In fact, Microsoft compared its current product refresh cycle to 1995, when Windows 95 and Office 95 triggered a sales boom. Soon after Windows NT 4.0 took enterprise servers and workstations by storm. But all along, The VAR Guy told readers that it was unfair to compare Microsoft’s current product refresh to the 1995 sales boom. Here’s why.
Let’s take a look at each product segment — then and now.
1. Operating Systems: 

Then (1995): The installed base of PCs was fairly small, Apple was imploding, Novell missed the mark with DR-DOS, and IBM’s OS/2 had a range of limitations. PC makers still made decent margins on hardware, so they bowed to Microsoft for continued innovations. Windows 95 arrived with built-in networking, a vastly improved GUI, pre-emptive multitasking (at least in most cases), and a boatload of other features that greatly leapfrogged Windows 3.x. It was a no-brainer upgrade — for PC makers and customers alike.
Now (2013): The PC market is contracting, and PC makers now face slim margins. Two major rivals (Android and iOS) have a

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