Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MFST) has seen a number of bearish sales estimates, sometimes by analysts sitting outside of physical store locations (see Surface vs. IPad, Black Friday Battle), and other times by notable research firms like The NPD Group.
Regarding the latter, NPD said in a late-November press release that "clearly Windows 8 did not prove to be the impetus for a sales turnaround some had hoped for," adding that Microsoft's newest operating system "captured just over half (58 percent) of Windows computing device unit sales, compared to the 83 percent Windows 7 accounted for four weeks after that launch."
Understandably so, this report received quite a bit of negative reaction from Wall Street to Main Street, and it's worth noting that in the near-two week period since the press release, shares of MSFT are down by more than 1.5 percentage points.
Well, at least one prominent ratings agency thinks that investors might want to wait until Redmond execs release Microsoft's official sales data before initiating an investment decision. Originally reported by ZDNet, Fitch Ratings issued a press release last week titled "NPD PC Data May Not be Indicative of Windows 8 Demand."
In the release, the ratings agency mentions that "[d]ata indicating that U.S. retail sales of Microsoft-based PCs declined 21% year over year in the four weeks ended Nov. 17, 2012 does not provide an accurate view of demand for Windows 8."
Fitch says that a whopping "20% of NPD's evaluation period [...] excluded any sales of Windows 8 PCs," and "Hurricane Sandy also had an adverse effect on PC demand during NPD's study."
In its data, Fitch indicates that Windows 8 sales are more or less on track, stating that "Microsoft reportedly sold 40 million licenses for Windows 8 since its release on October 26, 2012, approximately in line with Window 7 in its first month of availability."
While it remains to be seen exactly what the tech giant's Windows 8 sales will be at the end of the current quarter, it's extremely encouraging that NPD's bearish data is being countered by one of the most well-respected ratings agencies on Wall Street.
What are your thoughts on the rare data clash between NPD and Fitch Ratings, and should Fitch's latest statements have an effect on shares of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.