Gartner: 80 Percent of Businesses Will Never Adopt Windows 8
October 22, 2012 4:08 PM
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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
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. (
) OS product, whose
early adoption rates are trailing those of Windows 7
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. (
) chips -- may bear an advantage for businesses over current tablets, but Windows RT tablets (built with ARM chips) will likely not.
Gartner, Inc. (
) 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 on diplay at Wal-Mart [Image Source: The Verge]
Doug Johnson, head of risk management policy at the
American Bankers Association
, similarly argues to
, "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.
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Delaying makes much of training free.
10/24/2012 7:19:32 AM
Businesses have gotten ridiculously stingy about training expenditures. Any training that does happen will be for those things the user is never going to encounter outside of work. Most often proprietary or vertical apps.
So, along with the reluctance to upgrade before end of support forces the issue, another big reason to wait is to let the consumer realm take care of training your employees to work with the newer generation of software. Similarly, I know of several companies that use their licensing situation to give their employees deep discounts on items like Office for home use. Although they still have Office 2003 on their work machine the disc they get to install at home is Office 2010. When the change finally comes at the office the users will be ready.
People keep treating the slow adoption of Windows 8 by business as some harbinger of doom when it is just the normal pace of things. I know of several large enterprises of over 100K desktop users that only got serious about getting rid of the last of their Windows 2000 systems when the end of support was less than a year off. When they'd finally gotten the entirety of their client gear on XP they were testing Windows 7 with the knowledge that 2014 (the year XP support ends) was closer all the time. It works out well with the three year life cycle of their client systems.
Staying with old stuff too long is very bad policy but the same can be said for trying to implement ever new release to come along. Microsoft's sales people are more concerned with moving companies still on XP forward to 7 or 8 than they are about getting anyone on 7 to upgrade. This is no different than a car salesman seeing a more likely sale to a person driving a seven year old car than someone whose car is still under warranty.
"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner
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