Hewlett Packard Co. is promoting a sale featuring Windows 7 as the main enticement for buying its Pavilion or Envy laptops and desktop PCs in the U.S.

Offering buyers of the Windows 7-based PCs a $150 discount on the original price, HP proclaims Windows 7 is “back by popular demand” in the promotional graphics on its website. The clear insinuation is that Windows 8 isn’t appealing to many consumers and there’s still a healthy market of buyers looking for the traditional desktop version of Windows they are familiar with.

HP Canada’s store doesn’t look to be offering the same Windows 7-centric promotion. Instead, it is featuring the EliteBook line and HP 200 Notebook line that comes loaded with Windows 8. So it’s possible the Windows 7 promotion is designed to move some older stock. But it’s not the only indication HP is sensing market challenges related to Windows 8 – it announced an Android-based All-in-One desktop at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this month.

Microsoft Corp. has been facing some uphill battles in driving adoption of its new touch-screen friendly interface for Windows 8. The OS is the first that attempts to unite both tablet users, laptop users, and desktop users with the same platform. Microsoft’s marketing focus has been on creating a seamless experience for its users across multiple form factors. Many PC makers have used Windows 8 to invent new hybrid PCs that merge tablet features with that of a laptop, including HP with its Envy X2 hybrid and TouchSmart Ultrabook.

On the mobile device side, Microsoft faces fierce competition from Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android OS used on best-selling tablets such as the iPad and Samsung’s Galaxy series. On the desktop and laptop side, Microsoft has had trouble communicating the value of upgrading to Windows 8 if the user doesn’t plan to use the touch screen aspect. With the Windows 8.1 upgrade, Microsoft back-pedalled slightly from its wholesale redesign on user interface, allowing users to boot directly into the classic desktop mode and restoring the Start Menu button in the bottom-left corner.

OS market share tracker NetMarketShare reported that Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 combined passed a 10 per cent market share in December. Meanwhile Windows 7 is sitting at 47.5 per cent and the soon-to-be unsupported Windows XP has 29 percent market share. Keep in mind Windows 8 still surpasses all versions of Mac OS X combined in market share.

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