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Analysts argue Windows 8 does not bring a compelling set of features for business users, drawing Vista comparisons

Windows 8 lands on Friday, and with it the big question of whether the consumer-friendly operating system is as good a fit as previous versions of Windows, which were more stodgy and business-minded from an interface perspective.

I. Businesses May Not Want Windows 8

While there have been some opinionated folks decrying the merits of Windows 8 for business users, the greater sentiments of the business community towards the upcoming product remain largely unknown.  Currently an estimated 41 percent of the world's 1.5 billion PCs run Windows XP.  In other words, in the near term, many businesses are still working on their Windows XP to Windows 7 transition plan and have little thoughts on Windows 8 adoption.

Analysts are still busily debating the merits of the upcoming Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) OS product, whose early adoption rates are trailing those of Windows 7

Analyst Michael Cherry told Reuters in a recent briefing, "Some organizations, when they look at Windows 8 Intel tablets, they are going to like them because they are manageable.  When they look at RT they are going to be disappointed, because it's no easier to manage than an iPad."

In other words, x86 tablets -- like those bearing Intel Corp. (INTC) chips -- may bear an advantage for businesses over current tablets, but Windows RT tablets (built with ARM chips) will likely not.

Gartner, Inc. (IT) analyst Michael Silver says he expects Windows 8 to never catch on to the extent of Windows XP or Windows 7, even years down the road.  He comments, "We believe 90 percent of large organizations will not deploy Windows 8 broadly, and at its peak, we expect about 20 percent of PCs in large organizations will run Windows 8."

Windows 8 boxes
Windows 8 boxes on diplay at Wal-Mart [Image Source: The Verge]

Doug Johnson, head of risk management policy at the American Bankers Association, similarly argues to Reuters, "Windows 8 is, frankly, more of a consumer platform than it is a business platform, so it's not something that makes any sense from a business perspective at this juncture.  There is really no additional business functionality that Windows 8 gives you that I see."

II. Does it Matter?

Increasingly Microsoft's revenue stream is driven by licensing software (such as Office and SQL Server 2008), rather than licensing operating systems.  Last year OS sales only accounted for 25 percent of Microsoft's bottom line versus 30 percent five years ago.  

And a large portion of OS revenue -- roughly 40 percent -- comes from bulk licensing agreements with free upgrade provisions.  For that type of licenses, IT departments' decision to adopt or pass on a particular version of Windows makes no difference, as long as the business is using some version of the OS.

In other words, as murky as Windows 8's business fate may be, the impact of those long-term sales on Microsoft's bottom line is even more unclear.  That said, the general air of skepticism from business users is a concern for Microsoft in the long term, and definitely something Microsoft will (or, at least, should) take into acount when crafting Windows 8's successor.

Source: Reuters

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RE: Don't forget about Server 2012.
By retrospooty on 10/22/2012 6:13:31 PM , Rating: 3
as a network admin for a mid size company of 500 users, I can tell you we will never roll out Windows 8 on the desktop, but I have already rolled out 4 servers running 2012. 1 brand new and 3 upgraded from Server 2008... Of course these are all 4 VM hosts, so there really isnt any compatibility issues, and Hyper V 3 from server 2012 is just brilliant to use. A huge upgrade from Hyper V 2 on Server 2008.

As a VM host, server 2012 is awesome, but I would have to think long and hard before using for an actual app server. Maybe in a few years, but definitely not sooner.

RE: Don't forget about Server 2012.
By Pirks on 10/22/2012 6:39:52 PM , Rating: 2
I would have to think long and hard before using for an actual app server
why? any concrete reasons? or... just being afraid of new platforms in general?

By retrospooty on 10/22/2012 11:11:50 PM , Rating: 2
Running apps and what not on a new OS at home is fun. Doing it on a new OS at work with 100's of users depending on you for uptime is reckless. When new OS's come out bugs happen, it just isnt something you do.

RE: Don't forget about Server 2012.
By damianrobertjones on 10/23/2012 4:35:43 AM , Rating: 2
Surely you have a site licence and so can change straight to Windows 8 and Office 2013? If you don't then that's MADNESS.

As it stands we've got around 120 ish computers here and we WILL be updating to Windows 8.

Why? Why not? Via GP I should be able to lock down the modern UI and roll out new 'apps' if (at all) required. The four test 'subjects' are working away just as they did before with no issues and the charms took them less than one demonstration to understand.

RE: Don't forget about Server 2012.
By JediJeb on 10/23/2012 6:45:48 PM , Rating: 2
This may work in large offices like law offices and such but it a nightmare in a laboratory environment like we have. For us to roll out an across the board OS update would probably require several million dollars in equipment purchases to cover maybe 20 computers. That is because those computers are attached to equipment costing anywhere from $50k to $250k each with proprietary software some of which right now only will run on WinNT, or W2K or XPsp2. We just spend $150k upgrading some equipment to get away from WinNT because we feared that losing 400mhz PII machine could cost us a lot of down time. The equipment still worked great and had many years of life left in it, but was ham-stringed by the software not being compatible with anything other the WinNT4. (Yes we even tried it on W2K and XP to no avail). Agilent even has some of the newer software set so that if it detects sp3 on XP it will refuse to install.

For some places the fast onward and upward march of OS and processor development just does not make financial sense to try to keep up with.

RE: Don't forget about Server 2012.
By Jeffk464 on 10/24/2012 12:00:34 AM , Rating: 2
You could still run the old software on newer hardware couldn't you?

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