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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: Businesses wouldn't upgrade anyway
By Ringold on 10/22/2012 6:34:03 PM , Rating: 1
I disagree to an extent. If Windows 8 was simply Windows 7 but simply better optimized, latest hardware and feature support, etc., I think they'd end up getting upgrades from XP and Vista, though you're right, probably not 7.

And it may never of been a sales performer like 7, but it never was preordained to be the sales stinker that we all suspect it will be.

They've also created another opening for their ultimate demise too; desktop linux. Linux has until Windows 9 ships to stop being such a pain*, and while it has a long way to go, if it can do it, and somehow find the bandwidth and infrastructure to support millions of new adopters, they could permanently take a chunk out of Windows' market share. That also wasn't preordained, but simply a result of Windows 8 epic failure for the desktop crowd.

* By pain I mean the command line, mostly. Haven't HAD to use it in Windows since XP, no matter what heinous, awful, twisted things I did to Vista or Win7, no matter what driver or program I screwed up, no matter what huge UI overhaul I attempted, etc. Ubuntu and Mint are nice, and their acolytes would like to live in denial, but it's not there yet. Anything outside the neatly defined sandbox of repository-provided apps, drivers., etc too often requires a trip to a command prompt.


RE: Businesses wouldn't upgrade anyway
By Pirks on 10/22/2012 7:12:34 PM , Rating: 3
the real deal is that ms now knows that byod is the way of the future so they just shifted all their energy into byod market. there is nothing for them to do on the old style bulk purchase renewable site license corporate market, it's all locked in and 100% windows anyway, so why even bother? but byod is now owned by apple and google with no ms presence at all and ms is doing the right thing by striking at the heart of apple movement, that is the byod market

if byod is won back by ms then apple is not a threat anymore

it's going to be extremely hard for ms to win back byod because their windows division never dealt with consumer markets directly it's all alien to them

but it's good sign ballmer is sweeping the company with fast paced changes like their own pc (surface) and their own phone (eta 2013 rumors say)

he understood at last that if he doesn't win byod then ms is finished

so this should explain why businesses will not _officially_ get to win 8, but you have to understand that they will _unofficially_ via byod

all the people bringing in surfaces and wp8 to workplaces... this will make sure itoy movement is stopped and reverted back. err that is if ballmer executes well enough which is a big if


By damianrobertjones on 10/23/2012 4:37:50 AM , Rating: 2
"he real deal is that ms now knows that byod is the way of the future" - Or so we're told. Just like how cloud will change everything for business.

Nah, I'm still going to keep buying the hardware and users can keep their own device at home :)


By polishvendetta on 10/23/2012 10:04:49 AM , Rating: 2
these comments make me feel like youve never been a part of the financial industry, or any industry with highly sensitive data.

Ive never worked for a company that allowed byod. the best we can get is maybe get access to corperate email on our phones. any company i have worked for recently has either not allowed or looked down upon any device plugged into a usb port (phone, usb drive, ect).

and as a few of the commenters have mentioned, the fact that businesses wont upgrade has very little do to with the operating system its self. one company i worked for purposely sayed 1 release behind on nearly 100% of the software it purchaced due to risks. ive been using windows xp machines at work for nearly 10 years now, and i havent heard anything about being upgraded any time soon.

also, in my opinion, windows 8 was not designed for corperate use. corperations have no use for metro apps or new GUIs. I wouldnt be suprised if microsoft started developing a sepperate operating system for corperations that striped out metro all together. maybe thats what server 2012 is, i dont have any experience with that. but going back to a windows desktop and windows n/t like corperate systems sounds plausible.


By Jeffk464 on 10/24/2012 12:06:24 AM , Rating: 2
They've also created another opening for their ultimate demise too; desktop linux. Linux has until Windows 9 ships to stop being such a pain*, and while it has a long way to go, if it can do it,

Chrome OS is the first linux thats easy enough for anyone to use, even easier then osX or windows. The new chromebook is suppose to be the best selling laptop on amazon, so linux might just grab some market share.


"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer














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