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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 Master Kenobi (blog) on 10/23/2012 7:06:41 AM , Rating: 5
Your experience is quite normal for Windows Server. The above poster is parroting some nonsense from the 90s when NT4.0 was the only Windows Server in town.

These days unless you are building some sort of massive database cluster running Oracle or DB2, Windows Server does everything you need and more, without the extra headaches. Windows Server is edging out Linux in many enterprise settings such as web/file/print sharing that traditionally went to a Red Hat box. Linux has never been particularly enterprise or support friendly with the job falling to the stand alone admins to maintain whatever trickery they needed to implement to get it working. Red Hat is really the only Linux distro out there that has a form of legitimacy to it, the others are viewed as the normal flash in the pan that most distros turn out to be.


RE: Don't forget about Server 2012.
By Ammohunt on 10/23/2012 1:33:56 PM , Rating: 3
I am going to have to disagree completely with you; Smart enterprises that run Linux do not replace Windows functionality with it but rather replace expensive, ageing Unix machines. Windows and Unix/Linux play completely different roles in the Enterprise and Linux/Unix is hands down superior to Windows in those specific roles.


RE: Don't forget about Server 2012.
By kleinma on 10/24/2012 5:08:22 PM , Rating: 2
I see what you did there... make a point, and back it up with no facts.. clever.


RE: Don't forget about Server 2012.
By Ammohunt on 10/24/2012 9:56:45 PM , Rating: 2
12 years of experience gives me a Senior Unix/Linux/Windows Systems Administrator title which means i am the guy companies pay to design and maintain computing environments. In other words I am an expert in my field.


By Xplorer4x4 on 10/31/2012 8:38:29 PM , Rating: 2
Says some guy behind a computer screen...I can claim to be the head of Windows Server development. Maybe I am, maybe I'm not, but how do you know from there? So far, the vague nature of your post sure doesn't convince me you have any experience in the field. You probably do, but "because I say so" won't get you taken very seriously.


By Digimonkey on 10/25/2012 9:08:05 AM , Rating: 2
I'm in a place that runs both Windows and Linux servers about 50/50. I like both platforms and realize each has their weaknesses and strengths. Windows excels when it comes to user and desktop management. I prefer Linux when it comes to web serving and file sharing.


RE: Don't forget about Server 2012.
By Argon18 on 10/24/2012 10:39:36 PM , Rating: 2
Meh, not quite. Reboots multiple times per week is the norm, even with the latest version of Windows Server.

Secondly, Linux and UNIX does just about everything an enterprise needs, without the hassle and expense of Windows. HP-UX for example, excels at Virtual Machines, and delivers a real value proposition to large businesses, as a single HP-UX license is good for unlimited virtual machines. Microsoft, on the other hand, charges a per-VM OS licensing cost that can be in the $Millions for a large business. No thanks.

Thirdly, Yes RedHat is a major player in the Linux space. But so is SuSE. IBM is huge in Linux, including supporting it on a variety of hardware platforms including AMD64 and IBM POWER.

Yes, the admins support the machines. They're stable enough and intuitive enough that they don't need to spend countless hours and countless headaches on the phone with Microsoft Support services - instead they can do real work and solve real business problems on their own.

Lastly, Microsoft's "big box" approach to software works fine for canned tasks like corporate email, or Windows file & print. Not so good for anything else. The Linux and UNIX command line, with plain text as the data interchange standard, and the tools to pipe input and output between ANY pieces of software is unparalleled in the Windows world. Microsoft has nothing that compares to this. If Exchange doesn't have the specific feature you want, too bad, you can't do it.

FYI, I know what I'm talking about, I just recently migrated over 60 Exchange/Win2003 servers to RHEL and HP-UX virtual machines, saving the company more than $200,000 per year in Microsoft licensing.

Cheers


“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads














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